Archive for the ‘Site Updates’ Category

Papaya: Love Godess of the Cannibals (1978)

Saturday, June 28th, 2008


What Mondo Macabro started, it looks like Severin have taken over – releasing really obscure European films, with great looking prints. From Joe D’Amato, Papaya (1978) has only previously been released on DVD by X-rated Kult in Germany and without any English options. As usual Severin’s release looks amazing.

The film is a rather minor affair, the slow pacing will put some off but there is quite a bit to see (of Sirpa Lane in particular!) and D’Amato shows off his directoral talents in a way he is rarely credited for. Not a film for everyone, but if you don’t mind slow pacing and a couple of rather gruesome gore scenes (pigs guts anyone?) then this will be worth picking up.

Papaya: Love Godess of the Cannibals

Icons of Adventure

Saturday, June 21st, 2008


During their three decades of production, Hammer’s films were distributed by a number of different companies, and the rights to the DVD releases of these films generally remain with these firms. The Columbia Hammer titles have become the most sought after and for years the company saw no interest in releasing any of their titles aside from Revenge of Frankenstein.

Fortunately that policy seems to have changed with the release of the Icons of Adventure boxset containing three all new to DVD Hammer adventure films, and a re-release of ‘Devil-Ship Pirates’ with a beautiful new transfer. In yet more good news Sony today announced that a horror set will follow later in the year including Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, The Gorgon, Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb and Scream of Fear.

I’ve got an all new review of the three new films in the box, plus an updated review of Devil-Ship Pirates – take a read at: Icons of Adventure

Theatre of Blood (1973) / Madhouse (1974)

Friday, June 6th, 2008

The early 1970s saw the decline of the gothic horror film in the face of graphic new modern horror films. Production companies desperately tried to alter their styles but keep the same formats. This MGM double-film set shows how it was possible to do it well, and do it wrong.

Starring Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, and a co-production of AIP and Amicus, Madhouse should be great, with a storyline about death on horror film sets – however the storyline is only good for about 45 minutes and the rest of the film is useless padding with loads of extra subplots that really detract. Not recommended.

In contrast, the independent British film Theatre of Blood (1973) seems at first to be nothing more than a Dr. Phibes rip-off, but thanks to an original and highly literate script, and an amazing cast of British character actors it is really enjoyable and recommended.

Reg Park

Monday, May 26th, 2008

The only Yorkshireman to play Hercules, Reg Park was a three time Mr Universe, who like many well known body-builders during the 1960s found himself acting in Italian adventure films. In the case of Reg Park, a duo of very popular titles in 1961 saw him called back to make three more before the genre decline in the middle of the decade.

Amazingly, all five of the titles are now available on DVD, although the quality, both of films and prints, varies heavily. So the complete filmography is now reviewed, along with a complete guide to the man himself at our all new Reg Park biography.

Hazel Court 1926-2008

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008


Despite only starring in two Hammer films and a trio of Roger Corman productions, Hazel Court has become a fan favourite actress from the gothic horror era.

As a tribute I am pleased to present an all new biography of the English born actress as well as new reviews of two of her AIP Horror pictures, Masque of the Red Death (1964) and Premature Burial (1962).

Dr. Phibes

Sunday, April 6th, 2008


Fresh from the wagon, two of Vincent Price’s best performances but in two very different films. While The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) is an original and well written horror film with a darkly comic streak, Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972) is a rather pallid effort relying on too many logical jumps and flat humour to be of interest.

Il Mio nome è Shangai Joe (1972)

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Kung-fu in the Old West  – sounds like a winning combination, but despite this idea, and the casting of Klaus Kinski and Gordon Mitchell, not to mention the presence of veteran Euro-cult director Mario Caiano behind the camera, Shanghai Joe is little more than a plain old exploitation western with nothing to really recommend it.

The DVD from Germany is similarly unimpressive, but like the film, it is serviceable and it is one that SW fans might well want to track down.

The Review: Shanghai Joe

Pepla Español

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Fans of Pepla will know how hard it is to find genre titles on good looking DVDs, particularly with English options as well. I have already imported discs from Italy and Germany in search of original aspect ratios and now a pair of DVDs from Spain. Although the picture and audio quality are not perfect, to anyone used to watching the US PD sets these two should come as a revelation! As films neither are remarkable but genre fans should find plenty to enjoy. So check out the all new reviews of:

Caesar the Conqueror

The Conqueror of Corinth

Terror in Space!

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

As fans of this site will doubtless know, I am not the biggest Mario Bava horror fan. I love his non-horror work, but have been rather disappointed by the horror titles I have seen so far. So for this horror/sci-fi fusion I had mixed expectations.

Fortunately the film turned out to be completely worth watching and one of the best films I have seen this year. Despite a ludicrously low budget, Bava provides his unique look and feel to the production and the planet has an hellish, alien feel that has rarely if ever been bettered.

The Italian DVD has the original Italian print, and very good it looks too, with solid English subs. Read the full review – Terrore Nello Spazio

Criminal Cinema, British style

Saturday, February 9th, 2008


Optimum UK continue their library of releases this Tuesday with a trio of classic British crime films, including two making their first appearances on DVD anywhere.

  • The Long Arm (1956) – Jack Hawkins is well cast as a police detective in this rather traditional British crime/mystery film from Ealing studios. DVD debut.
  • The Frightened City (1961) – Herbert Lom and Sean Connery star in this decent crime story, let down by a rather poorly written and acted police subplot.
  • Payroll (1961) – a vividly brutal attack on an armoured car is the highlight of this well written, directed and acted thriller. DVD debut.

As usual, we have got the first look and it is good news. Although completely lacking in extras, the picture quality is a good as we have come to expect with all three films boasting superb prints and only The Long Arm suffering from some slight audio problems.