Category Archives: Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-Ray Review: The Night Walker (1964).

Produced & Directed by William Castle
Screenplay by Robert Block
Director Of Photography: Howard E. Stine
Music by Vic Mizzy

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck (Irene Trent), Robert Taylor (Barry Morland), Hayden Rorke (Howard Trent), Lloyd Bochner (The Dream), Judith Meredith (Joyce), Rochelle Hudson (Hilda), Paul Frees (Narrator)


I love William Castle. There’s something about his movies that’s just Fun. It’s easy to see it in the gimmick-y things like The Tingler (1959) or 13 Ghosts (1960). But it’s there in the noir-ish The Whistler (1944), the whacked-out Biblical “epic” Slaves Of Babylon (1953) — just imagine: Sam Katzman tackles the Old Testament and includes a dance number by Julie Newmar, and everything in-between.

Throughout a Castle movie, it’s like he’s whispering in our ear, “I know this is really ridiculous, but ain’t it great?”

Yes, Mr. Castle, it is great

Robert Taylor, William Castle and Barbara Stanwyck at a party for The Night Walker.

By the time he got to The Night Walker (1964), Castle had stored the gimmick machine in his garage. The ballyhoo was still over the top, with Castle hamming it up in the preview trailer and some sort of monster appearing on the poster, but nowhere in the movie. But that was pretty much it.

If anything, the gimmick to The Night Walker is its cast. Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor had been married from 1939 to 1951, so there was an odd, gossip-y appeal to seeing these two big stars “together again” (as the poster boasted). Then there’s the weirdness of Hayden Rorke,  Dr. Bellows on I Dream Of Jeannie, unrecognizable (to say nothing of hideous and creepy-looking, above) as Stanwyck’s blind, rich, obsessive, jealous and severely-burned husband.

Robert Bloch, who wrote the novel Psycho, cooked up a pretty good murder plot, dressed up in all sorts of psychological dream-interpreting mumbo-jumbo. Like Stanwyck, we aren’t sure what’s real and what’s a dream. A cool prologue, narrated by the great Paul Frees, kicks things off with talk of nightmares and sex and desires and dreams and stuff.

I’m not going to spoil the plot for ya. A lot of it doesn’t make any sense, anyway.

One of the picture’s strongest points is its score by Vic Mizzy, who also did The Munsters and The Ghost And Mr. Chicken (1966). His work here is slightly reminiscent of those, with a cool guitar riff doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Then there’s the camera work by Howard E. Stein. He shot a staggering amount of TV in the 50s and 60s. His limited feature work includes several of Castle’s later pictures, along with MASH (1970) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972). He masterfully manages what we can, and can’t, see in the shadows. And that’s crucial to a movie like this.

Which brings us to the new Blu-Ray from Scream Factory. It’s beautiful, offering up Stine’s work with stunning clarity. The grain and contrast are perfect. The audio is dead on, giving Mizzy’s score plenty of punch. Then there’s a nice batch of extras: the trailer, a commentary and a hefty still gallery. This is a terrific release, and while The Night Walker isn’t what I consider one of Castle’s best, the presentation easily elevates it to Essential status.

One more thing. The set decorator on The Night Walker was John McCarthy, Jr. He was at Republic for years, working on everything from The Crimson Ghost (1946) to Trigger, Jr. (1950) to The Quiet Man (1952). He stayed at the studio to the bitter end, then worked in TV — Cimarron City, M Squad, Frontier Doctor, etc. McCarthy ended up at Universal, working on features like The Shakiest Gun In The West (1968), Coogan’s Bluff (1968) and The Hellfighters (1969) and TV shows such as Leave It To Beaver, The Munsters and two of my favorites, Dragnet and Adam-12. The fact that he worked with Republic, William Castle and Jack Webb shows he must’ve been good, quick and dependable.



Filed under 1964, Barbara Stanwyck, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Shout/Scream Factory, Universal (-International), William Castle

Blu-Ray News #148: The Night Walker (1964).

Directed by William Castle
Screenplay by Robert Bloch
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor, Judith Meredith, Hayden Rorke, Lloyd Bochner

Halloween’s the perfect day for an announcement like this. Scream Factory is bringing The Night Walker (1964) from the great William Castle to Blu-Ray in early 2018. (To me, William Castle owns Halloween.)

This was Barbara Stanwyck’s last theatrical film, and it found her co-starring with her ex-husband Robert Taylor. William Castle had a good script from Robert Block to work with, and the result is one of his best movies. It’ll be a real treat to see Harold Stine’s 1.85 photography in high definition. Not sure what extras, if any, are planned (but I can recommend someone for a commentary). Highly recommended.


Filed under 1964, Barbara Stanwyck, DVD/Blu-ray News, Robert Taylor, Shout/Scream Factory, Universal (-International), William Castle

Blu-Ray News #131: Island Of Terror (1966).

Directed by Terence Fisher
Starring Peter Cushing, Edward Judd, Carole Gray

More 60s British horror coming to Blu-Ray. I’m all for it, especially when it’s another teaming of Terence Fisher and Peter Cushing — and a really solid one like this.

Island Of Terror (1966) has cancer research gone horribly wrong on Petrie’s Island, with weird creatures injecting victims with a bone-dissolving enzyme. Its pseudo-science seems somewhat plausible (to me, at least — I’m a real bonehead when it comes to scientific stuff) and it has a pretty cool open ending. Shout Factory promises a new transfer from an interpositive, along with a number of extras. Can’t wait. Highly recommended.


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Filed under 1966, DVD/Blu-ray News, Peter Cushing, Shout/Scream Factory, Terence Fisher

Blu-Ray News #129: Missing In Action (1984).

Directed by Joseph Zito
Starring Chuck Norris, M. Emmett Walsh, James Hong

I worked in video stores all through college, and if I had a nickel for every time I handled a VHS or Beta (or even laserdisc) copy of Missing In Action (1984), well, I wouldn’t have needed to go to college.

So I’m happy to see that Shout Factory’s Collectors’ Edition Blu-Ray of the picture is keeping the original poster art. It holds more memories for me than the movie itself. And while I’m more of a Code Of Silence (1985) man, Missing In Action deserves the Grade A treatment Shout Factory will give it — yeah, I know, it’s a Cannon film. Looks like Shout Factory’s still adding to their list of goodies. I’m stoked about this one.

This is the newest film to be covered on this blog — it’s been pre-1980 till now.


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Filed under Cannon, Chuck Norris, DVD/Blu-ray News, Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-Ray News #128: The Manster (1959).

Directed by Breakston and Kenneth G. Crane
Starring Peter Dyneley, Jane Hylton, Tetsu Nakamura, Terri Zimmern

The Manster is an American movie, shot in Japan in 1959, but not released till 1962. Some might say it shouldn’t have been released at all. Whatever your take on it, it’s coming to Blu-Ray from Shout Factory.

Peter Dyneley plays Larry Stanford, an American reporter in Japan who’s injected with an experimental serum by a demented scientist. At first, Larry’s transformed into a drunken womanizer (or make that even more of a drunken womanizer), then he goes all the way to become a murderous freak with two heads.  There’s a rampant sleaziness to the whole thing that goes way beyond what we normally expect from a 50s monster movie (though The Brain That Wouldn’t Die comes pretty close).

The Manster played the States in a double bill with Georges Franju’s Eyes Without A Face (1959), which was retitled The Horror Chamber Of Dr. Faustus. One’s an eery classic, one’s a bad-movie milestone. Both are highly recommended.



Filed under 1959, 1962, DVD/Blu-ray News, Shout/Scream Factory

Blu-Ray News #121: The Devil’s Rain (1975).

Directed by Robert Fuest
Starring Ernest Borgnine, Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino, William Shatner, Keenan Wynn, Tom Skerritt

I was watching The Wild, Wild West one afternoon when the trailer for The Devil’s Rain (1975) came on. As with The Legend Of Hell House (1973) a couple years before, these commercials left me really wigged out. Pretty creepy stuff.

Severin has announced an upcoming Blu-Ray release for The Devil’s Rain. So now I can pull off a perfect hi-def movie night: this and Race With The Devil (1975, available from Shout Factory) with Peter Fonda and Warren Oates. Oh man, I can’t wait.


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Filed under 1975, DVD/Blu-ray News, Ernest Borgnine, Ida Lupino, Peter Fonda, R.G. Armstrong, Shout/Scream Factory, Warren Oates

Blu-Ray News #115: The Angry Red Planet (1959).

Directed by Ib Melchior
Produced by Sidney Pink
Starring Gerald Mohr, Naura Hayden, Les Tremayne, Jack Kruschen

This cheap. weird-looking science fiction picture was shot in 10 days for $200,000. The creepy miniatures, solarization and red tinting (advertised as CineMagic) make the Martian sequences pretty effective. As a kid, I was certainly impressed.

Since its effects and camerawork, from the great Stanley Cortez, are its claim to fame, it’s terrific that Shout Factory is bringing it to Blu-Ray. It’ll be great to see its widescreen framing restored — and hopefully the “Angry Red” will not be the muted orange of previous video releases. Guess we’ll find out this June.


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Filed under 1959, AIP, Ib Melchior, Shout/Scream Factory, Sidney Pink