Archive for the ‘DVD Reviews’ Category

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

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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

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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

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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.

The Legend of the Three Peplumators

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

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If you hadn’t guessed, we’ve got more Peplum reviews up today, this time from the Historical Peplum field. Read and enjoy:

The Colossus of Rhodes – Sergio Leone’s directoral debut starts slowly but provides some genuinely awesome spectacle and is certainly worth watching.

Messalina – Based, loosely, on real history this is a very unusual film, more akin to a Shakespeare play than a Peplum, with not much action and loads of court intrigue and murder. Worth checking out.

Gladiators 7 – a rather generic, but enjoyable adventure film set in Sparta, with Richard Harrison in the lead role. Genre fans should check this one out.

So, this takes us up to 11 Peplum reviews and there are plenty more to come, keep watching this blog! As usual, comments, corrections and suggestions are more than welcome, via e-mail or the comments form below.

Soledad Miranda sampler

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Jess Franco, you either love his films or hate his films and even his most ardent fans will admit that he is at best unpredictable in his output.

Often most highly spoken of was his tragically short lived union with the beautiful Spanish actress Soledad Miranda. Today we take a sampler of their work with one of the best and one of the worst of Franco’s films:

Vampyros Lesbos – undoubtedly on of Franco’s best, this genuinely erotic and mysterious Dracula riff is highly recommended.

Nightmares Come at Night – probably one of his worst there is nothing here to keep you interested and even the beautiful Soledad makes a mere cameo appearance.

I’ll be covering lots more Franco later on in the year with a particular look at his three favourite women…

Steve Reeves: Peplum Icon

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

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Stunningly handsome, amazingly muscle-bound Steve Reeves is without a doubt the hero of the Peplum and our guide to the genre would be useless without a biography of the actor.

So, to round off 2007 in style, here is the all new Mondo Esoterica Guide to Steve Reeves.

We also have all brand reviews of three of Reeves’ best performances:

Throw away your PD discs, all three titles are available on great looking German DVDs and look out for even more Peplum entertainment in 2008!