Werner Herzog week 2

September 1st, 2006

Sorry for the very long wait, but part 2 of our Herzog review fest is finally here. We have reviewed all seven films from the Anchor Bay USA Werner Herzog Collection and you can read all of the reviews from the boxset page.

Sadly Grizzly Man (2005) will have to wait until Herzog part 3, watch out for that later this year. September is all about horror here at Mondo Esoterica, so keep your eyes open for more news about that tomorrow.

Wicker Man 3-disc Special Edition preview…

August 26th, 2006

We got it, the first review of the new 3 disc Wicker Man SE DVD. Sadly there are no new prints but there is an interesting new 50 minute documentary, plus a soundtrack CD, so it might be tempting for an upgrade.

Fully reviewed here.

PS. stay tuned for more Werner Herzog reviews at the start of next week.

Werner Herzog – week 1

August 20th, 2006

Yes, its finally here – hours of reviewing and writing have gone into this new review of the Anchor Bay Herzog/Kinski boxset.

The Films: 

Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)

One of the best films of all time, at least in my opinion – it is a haunting yet realistic story of madness and fever in the jungle with some incredible acting and directing.

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)

Another incredible film, a remake of the classic 1920 silent vampire film, Herzog’s production is scary and atmospheric in a way that no other vampire film has come close too.

Woyzeck (1979)

A lesser known entry, this film was shot in just a few days and is based on a play that is little known outside of Germany. However, it includes some powerful acting and interesting direction, so worth seeing.

Fitzcarraldo (1982)

Herzog really moves a boat over a mountain in this exciting, although slightly rushed film. Kinski gives a rare happy performance.

Cobra Verde (1987)

The last of the partnerships is this rather flatly directed film with an unimpressive plot.

My Best Fiend (1999)

With the exception of some interesting archive shots, there is nothing new in this tribute documentary made by Herzog 8 years after Kinski’s death.

The People:

We have new biographies of Klaus Kinski and composer Florian Fricke, plus an all new 2000 word biography of Werner Herzog himself.

Stay tuned to this blog for some one-off Herzog film reviews over the next few days, including his latest production, Grizzly Man (2005), and watch out next week for our complete review of the 7 film Werner Herzog boxset from Anchor Bay USA.

Turkish cinema – blog readers exclusive review!

August 12th, 2006

Howdy blog readers. Yes, both of you. I’ve sadly got to report that the first Werner Herzog review week is likely to take slightly longer to arrive than expected, so look forward to that in a week or two. Until then, just as a treat for the blog readers, here is a sneak preview of a new review that will be officially announced in the middle of next week:

We all know about American, British, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese cinema, but what about those lesser known countries? Mondo Macabro have been releasing some very obscure films to DVD over the past few years, and recently they topped it all with this exciting double-bill of Turkish pop cinema films from the 1970s and a very interesting 30 minute documentary. If you like your cinema very obscure and very very strange, then check this new release out:

Tarkan versus the Vikings (1971) and The Deathless Devil (1973)

Enjoy, and don’t forget to e-mail with suggestions for new reviews and themes.

Mario Bava reviews…

August 9th, 2006

Yep its finally here, Mario Bava reviews all round:

Black Sunday (1960)

Bava’s directoral debut is a well directed and very scary film, although the plot is a little creaky. A decent E-M-S R2 DVD.

Hercules in the Haunted World (1961)

A pretty average peplum storyline is boosted by some strong direction and a good cast, including Christopher Lee. Entertaining. A good looking Fantoma/Image R1 DVD.

The Whip and the Body (1963)

Often plugged as Bava’s best horror film, his direction and subtle visual nuances are over-shadowed by a very poor plot. A decent looking E-M-S R2 DVD.

Danger: Diabolik (1968)

With a well written storyline, a perfect Morricone score, Bava’s direction pushes this film into a true visual comic-book experience. Decent looking Paramount R1 DVD

Baron Blood (1972)

A return to gothic horror with a rather generic story, loads of missed opportunities and uninspired direction. Decent looking E-M-S R2 DVD.

Stay tuned for Werner Herzog reviews next week… and don’t forget to e-mail with any theme or review suggestions.

Lifespan (1974) – Science, immortality and Klaus Kinski…!

August 6th, 2006

Starring Klaus Kinski in a small role, and with a very intellegent and thought provoking plot, Lifespan (1974) is one of the most unique movies ever released. A dark, documentary-like sci-fi film it is almost incomparable to any other picture – too real to be a Herzog/Franco film, too strange to be a neo-realist picture, too dark and action free to be a mainstream film. Seemingly without a target audience, and very hard to promote, the film was almost forgotten upon initial release, but is now available on a good looking DVD from Mondo Macabro, with a good set of bonus features.

Read the Mondo Esoterica Review

Editor’s notes: Don’t worry, the Bava reviews are still coming, but since they are taking slightly longer than expected, I decided to watch and review this DVD to keep the fans happy! Expect more random reviews of the exceedingly random Mondo Macabro DVDs over the next few months – stay tuned to this blog for more.

August at Mondo Esoterica….

August 1st, 2006

Howdy film fans, whats coming up at your favourite* DVD review site this month?

(* not based on any facts or evidence….)

We’ve designated August as our Top Directors month, so we’ll be looking at the films and DVD releases of some of our favourite cult movie directors. This month, a focus on Italian horror director Mario Bava and the eclectic German director Werner Herzog.

For Bava we’ll be looking at the new E-M-S German DVDs of three of his horror pictures, as well as his R1 entries very distinctive peplum entry Hercules in the Haunted World (1961), and the crazy Danger Diabolik (1968).

For Herzog we’ll be taking a look at the 13 films available in the Anchor Bay boxsets, including his infamous work with Klaus Kinski , plus the single disc R1 releases of his latest film Grizzly Man and a starring role in Incident at Loch Ness.

September is classic horror month, so keep your eyes open for that, and e-mail us any suggestions for reviews, themed months or anything else.

Spaghetti Western reviews here….

July 31st, 2006

We take a look at the genre classics, Sergio Leone’s Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965) on the amazing new German special edition DVDs.

We’ve also taken a look at the decent Gunmen of Ave Maria (1969) and the bizarre Shakespearian/Western fusion film Johnny Hamlet (1968) – both on decent German DVDs, with English options.

Stay tuned this coming week for Mario Bava reviews…

A great October for classic Horror fans…

July 24th, 2006

Well, this October is shaping up to be a good-one for fans of horror cinema. Firstly Universal are bringing out the Boris Karloff Collection with three of the missing Universal Horror pictures, plus some lesser known 1950s titles. The Inner Sanctum boxset also fills a gap in our collections. However, the lack of bonus features in these two sets is rather disappointing, instead Universal are release a duo of feature laden re-releases: Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931). WB followed suit with the Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection that looks set to fill a lot of gaps, with audio commentaries for 5 of the 6 films and original trailers for them all. The latest announcement is from Columbia/Sony for a 4 film Karloff Collection and we are waiting on a list of features to be included.

It was recently announced that a collection of the Studio Canal owned Hammer Horror films will be released as part of a Hammer Ultimate Boxset in the UK, and we are waiting very excitedly on any news on whether this set will include new prints of these films, and any bonus features. October also marks the start of the Spanish Horror Collection, some exciting movies from the 1970s with Paul Naschy and more.
These releases look set to fill a lot of gaps in our collections, filled until now with bootlegs and VHS prints. We’ve got a new Upcoming DVDs section here at Mondo Esoterica and we’re going to keep you updated on all the latest news on these and other new cult DVD releases there.

Spaghetti Western Week #2

July 23rd, 2006

The first reviews of our latest review week are here, and its Spaghetti Westerns again. This week we are taking a look at some German SW DVDs, all with English soundtracks:

First up The Bounty Killer (1966) a.k.a The Ugly Ones, the debut SW appearance of Tomas Milian. Plus as a bonus, Massacre at Grand Canyon (1965), the first SW from director Sergio Corbucci.

Stay tuned for reviews of the rarely discussed Karl May Winnetou films, some of the earliest European Westerns, plus a double-bill of Westerns from 1968 and 1969.