Yeah, I know this was all over Facebook yesterday, but damn if I’m not going to help spread the word a bit more! While I may be a huge Hammer fan, their 1966 film The Plague of the Zombies is one of my all time favorites of theirs. So I am more than thrilled to see this hit Blu-ray, thanks to Shout Factory!
This was Hammer’s only movie that dealt with zombies, though these are the voodoo type, not the flesh-eating type. Maybe because Romero didn’t unleash his until two years later. But this is a prime example of what Hammer did best. They had an great cast with two powerful leads, André Morell as Sir James Forbes and John Carson as Squire Hamilton. Morell is so much fun to watch, being so proper and the whole stiff upper lip, but yet still has a dark sense of humor. Carson, who plays the villain, was born to play this part. Whether it is his voice, which is very similar sounding to James Mason, or his evil stare, that can easily hide behind a smile. Of course, throw in Michael Ripper in a minor role, and it makes it even better!
Fangs of the Living Dead (1969)
Directed by Amando de Ossorio
Starring Anita Ekberg, Gianni Medici, Diana Lorys, Rosanna Yanni, César Benet, Carlos Casaravilla, Adriana Ambesi, Julián Ugarte
There are times when you sit down with a movie and maybe you’re just not in the right mood, or frame of mind to really watch it. As the saying goes, you can never watch the same movie twice with the same eyes, and my experience with this title is a perfect example of this. I had seen this years ago, from a grainy old VHS tape, mainly because it was the same director as the Blind Dead series. But I didn’t remember that much of it at the time. When it came out on DVD, I course added it to the collection. I’m sure I watched it at some point, but just didn’t have a strong memory of it, meaning that if I had thought it was that great, I would have remembered it. Then the recent Blu-ray from Shout Factory came out and I was going upgrade to this new version when realized I remembered not caring for it that much. So I sat down with the DVD to refresh my memory and realized that I think I was okay with just this DVD version. Nothing really jumped out at me, so no reason to upgrade. But then I read that this new Blu-ray is actually the European cut which is a bit longer than the version I had. Then the “collector” part of me kicked in and decided I had to have this version now … I mean, it’s longer which means maybe I’m missing all the good parts! So I had to have it. Once it arrived, I sat down with it again, to see if this version was going to be another boring repeat viewing. Oh, how I was wrong.
Finally! We can happily announce the titles for the Paul Naschy Collection Vol. 2! Now, not to diminish how amazing it was to get the films in Vol. 1 released on Blu-ray, but to be fair, those titles all had been previously released on DVD. BUT…Volume 2 is going to give us some that were not only never released on DVD in the states before, but one of them is probably one of the most sought after titles amongst Naschy fans. That title would be the 1975 masterpiece, The Werewolf and the Yeti (aka Night of the Howling Beast). We’re used to seeing copies from either the Super Video VHS tape, or the Greek PAL VHS, both of which didn’t look that great. The Super Video print was so dark that during the night scenes it was hard to see anything! Well, knowing Shout Factory’s quality, all of that should be corrected now.
When the news broke today of the Paul Naschy Collection coming from Shout Factory, I was notified by more than a few friends on social media about it. I’m guessing my fondness of Senor Naschy and his work has gotten around! With all the titles that have been released, or have been announced, or ones that I’ve heard rumors are still coming, I am just in awe that this man’s work is finally getting the treatment and recognition he’s been deserving for way too long. It’s one thing for a company like Shout Factory to release a Vincent Price collection, since we all know that Price is a horror icon (and rightly so). So to see them give the same kind of treatment and spotlight on Paul Naschy…well, it is just an amazing thing. Even after his death, I know there are plenty of us out there still waving the flag to bring attention to him and his work, and with all these Blu-ray releases does nothing but help that cause. 2017 really will be the Year of Naschy!
While I tend to hate reality shows, as well as never being too good at self-promotion, I do want to point this little adventure I was involved in that was a lot of fun. Horror Hunters is a pilot show where to horror fiends go to visit different like-minded fans to see their collections, and maybe do a trade with them. It debuts this Wednesday on Shout Factory TV at 9pm ET/6pm PT, with an encore screening at 12am ET/9pm PT. See below for the press release from Shout Factory.
Fans of the Italian Giallo films has lost another actress that graced the screen in more than a few films in the early ’70s. Marina Malfatti passed away on June 8th, at the age of 76. She appeared in titles like The Fourth Victim (1971), The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971), All the Colors of the Dark (1972), Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972), and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972).
How strange that two of her films, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, were recently released in a box set from Arrow, called the Kiler Dames collection. We can only hope that because of these films, it will introduce her to even more film fans around the country. And each time we watch one of them, or any of her movies, we will be paying tribute to her and remembering this beautiful talent.
Okay, let me just say that I really hate when someone asks me for my top ten horror films, simply because it is pretty much impossible for me to narrow down such a huge list of films that I love to just ten titles. This list may change and change again, depending on my mood, the time of day, the weather, and any other number of factors. That being said, one title that would always be on that list, no matter what, would be John Carpenter’s version of the John W. Campbell’s story, Who Goes There?….more commonly known as simply The Thing.
Coming this September, Shout Factory will be unleashing their 2-disc collector’s edition of this 1982 (now) classic. Did we really need another edition of this, since the previous release from Universal Studios back in 2008 was a pretty stellar release? Even more so that you can still pick up copies for well under $10? I guess it really remains to be seen, but the list of new extras on this one are pretty impressive. Here they are, right from Shout Factory’s website: