Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN dvd from Scorpion Records

When I posted about new DVD releases of American-Filipino coproductions the other day I forgot this one, NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN, - maybe because it's not released from Vinegar Syndrome (like the other five) but instead it's out on Scorpion Records (run by Code Red's Bill Olson's brother).

NIGHT OF THE COBRA WOMAN (1972) is yet another Roger Corman produced flick shot in the 'Pines. Until this release the film had only been released on VHS. I haven't got the new DVD yet but according to one online source the DVD is pretty good, and it's got a few great extras on it; There are new interviews with Marlene Clark, who plays the main character, and Roger Corman. The trailer is also included and the film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

"Queen of Black Magic" director passes away

According to Ekky Imanjaya over at Finding Jaka Sembung blog, Lilik Sudjio, the director of the cool Indonesian horror film QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC (starring Suzzanna) has passed away. This is sad news indeed. To read his post go here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Bava double bill to remember - a quarter of a century ago!

I used to live in the UK in the late 80s/early 90s. Actually, my love of horror films began in the UK, and in early 1990 I went to visit a friend in London. I'm not sure if I already knew about what was going to be screened on TV that night or if I found out during the visit. I probably knew already, but then again maybe I just brought a blank tape by chance. Or maybe my friend Suzanne had one that she gave it to me. Who knows. And it's not all that important - what is of much, much, much greater importance is what was on BBC2 that night! A double bill of Mario Bava's THE MASK OF SATAN and LISA AND THE DEVIL! It was introduced by Kim Newman and yours truly was ready at my friend's VCR and said blank tape. And... I just found my old tape!

Needless to say, better versions of the two films are available on DVD and blu-ray now but that broadcast was historical as it was: 1) the very first time THE MASK OF SATAN was screened in its uncut original version in the UK (i.e. not neither the re-edited and re-dubbed American fiasco, nor the British censored version of the American edit). And 2) it was the first time the director's cut of LISA was shown in the UK. The screen grab is not from my tape but one I found online.

Tonight I've uploaded Kim Newman's intros to the two films, and I've watched them a handful of times now. So weird, it's so fresh in my memory and yet... that double bill was 24 years ago!

PS: the title-card screen-grab from THE MASK OF SATAN isn't from my tape but one I found online.

Monday, December 1, 2014

THE MUTHERS from Vinegar Syndrome!

A few minutes after I had just posted the previous post about the five Filipino movies from Vinegar Syndrome I check their facebook page and, lo and behold, someone just posted the news that they'll be releasing yet another American-Filipino coproduction soon!!

The film is Cirio H. Santiago's THE MUTHERS from 1976.

The film has already been released on DVD in Australia a couple of years back. It was included as a bonus on the 2-disc release of MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED doc on US-Filipino coproductions (check my old post about it here). According to the post on fb the DVD is slated for March, 2015.

I would have posted the trailer here but I can't find a copy anywhere! So instead here's the way cool Japanese VHS cover! (which I found at Video Culture. Thanks, mates!).

5 Filipino cult movies from Vinegar Syndrome...

...and one of them is a blu-ray/dvd combo release of RAW FORCE!!!

The new(ish) American video label Vinegar Syndrome has put out no less than five cool American-Filipino coproductions in the last few months!!!

The first four films came out as two double DVD releases and the last one, RAW FORCE, has been granted a blu-ray/DVD combo release! (Yay!! Spiffy!!!) Needless to say, this is pretty fucken awesome.

Only two of the films have had official DVD releases in the past (BLOOD THIRST and THE THIRSTY DEAD came out from Something Weird Video), the latter three have so far been VHS releases only (yes, you'll find DVDs if you look for 'em but they are ALL bootlegs taken from old video releases!). 

(I haven't got hold of any of these releases yet and all info is from the Vinegar Syndrome website)

- aka Vengeance is Mine
(directed by Cirio H. Santiago, 1978)

Presented uncut and under its original title, VENGEANCE IS MINE!
110 minutes / Color / AR: 1.85:1

(Cirio H. Santiago, 1978)

79 minutes / Color / AR: 1.85:1
+ Dual Layer DVD-9 | Region Free | 16:9 Anamorphic | 1.85:1 AR | MONO
+ 2k scan from 35mm IPs
+ Original trailer VAMPIRE HOOKERS

(Newt Arnold, 1971)

74 minutes / B&W / AR: 1.85:1

(Terry Becker, 1974)

88 minutes / Color / AR: 1.85:1
+ Dual Layer DVD-9 | Region Free | 16:9 Anamorphic | 1.85:1 AR | MONO
+ 2k scan from 35mm archival elements

(Ed Murphy, 1981)

86 minutes / 1981 / Color / 1.85:1
Newly restored from the original camera negative and on blu-ray for the first time.
+ Blu-ray & DVD Combo Pack | Region Free | DTS-HD Master Audio
+ Restored from 35mm camera negative
+ “Destination: Warriors Island” (The Making of RAW FORCE) w/ Director Ed Murphy and Cinematographer Frank Johnson
+ Audio interview w/ Finishing Editor Jim Wynorski
+ Original theatrical trailer

You'll find Andrew Leavold's review of RAW FORCE here.

- German Vinegar Syndrome licenced blu-ray

In addition to Vinegar Syndrome's own DVD release of DEATH FORCE the German label Subkultur Entertainment has licenced the VS print and released it as a blu-ray/DVD combo! As a bonus feature the full MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED (2010) documentary film has been included!!

Unfortunately, the German release omits VAMPIRE HOOKERS so you'll still need the Vinegar Syndrome DVD for that. Also, it's limited to a 1000 copies! The VS site quotes the German info from so check there if you want this release.

Specs for the German DEATH FORCE release:

Both German and English tracks
German subtitles
Bonus feature length doc: MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED (2010)
Grindhouse Trailershow
Filipino Exploitation Trailer Reel
Trailer for DEATH FORCE
Behind the Scenes Gallery




Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mattei's FILIPINO CANNIBALS come to reg. 1 dvd

Ahh, we are squatting in exciting times - at least in regards to new releases of foreign films shot in the Philippines!

There's no less than five cool Filipino films on dvd (and one blu-ray) from Vinegar Syndrome, and Severin/Intervision has just released Bruno Mattei's two post 2000 cannibal movies, LAND OF DEATH and CANNIBAL WORLD, on reg. 1 DVD in the US.

The new DVDs are retitled In The Land of the Cannibals and Mondo Cannibal. They've previously been out on DVD and VHS in Japan (check my old post and see way cooler Japanese covers here).

Check Steven Ruskin's review and DVD info on AVMANIACS here. And yeah, I'll agree with Steve on the films. They're not great by anybody's standards but if you like your entertainment trashy you know what you'll get with these two films, entertaining trash. I do however think Bruno's two post 2000 zombie films and THE JAIL: A WOMAN'S PRISON are way better (they were shot in the 'Pines as well).

Friday, November 28, 2014

Tonight at Cinema J: HELL UP IN HARLEM

 Tonight, I watched HELL UP IN HARLEM. It's the sequel to Larry Cohen's excellent blaxploitation classic BLACK CAESAR from 1973. For some reason I've never watched the sequel before and that's clearly a mistake as it turned out to be pretty entertaining but then again... how could it not be, it stars FRED WILLIAMSON for crying out loud! Of the male blaxploitation main leads Fred was always the one a tad (a lot!) more unpleasant then the rest of the bunch; He always played the hero but there was always something that made him a mean bastard despite being the hero. Richard Roundtree (Shaft) is tough and cool but he's also a flødebolle. HELL UP IN HARLEM isn't as good as BLACK CAESAR but even so it's more entertaining that most stuff today. Anyhoo, up next is dinner and then GET CHRISTIE LOVE!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Abel Ferrara's black & white weirdo vampire film about low life drug addicts

I've finally watched Abel Ferrara's vampire film THE ADDICTION which I had held off watching for years on end due to some bad reviews. Guess what, I fucken loved the movie (and could kick myself in the head for having listened to daft reviewers). However, I could imagine a lot of horror fans wouldn't like it as it's probably too "weird" and outside the box for them but I loved it for those very same reasons. It's like if ERASERHEAD had been a vampire film directed by Frank Booth. lol. (unfortunately the only lbx dvd is the German one).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A superior EVIL DEAD remake to the official EVIL DEAD remake!

WITHER aka Vittra
- dir by Sonny Laguna & Tommy Wiklund
Sweden, 2012

Two nights ago I watched the Swedish VITTRA (aka Wither) from 2012 and it's a better remake of THE EVIL DEAD than the EVIL DEAD remake if you ask me! I bought the UK dvd from Amazon but if you're a sucker for extras I'll suggest you go for the reg. 1 DVD! There is nothing on the UK DVD! Needless to say, there's also a Swedish DVD but it's not English friendly.

Gory, good story, and the FX are great. Recommended.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

20 years "Banned in Britain" zine!!!

I published the first issue of my first fanzine 20 years ago! Wauw. Think about that for a second. 20 years ago. T-w-e-n-t-y  y-e-a-r-s!!! 

A4 reprint of "Banned in Britain" No. 1 from 1994

As I'm sure a few of you know the zine was Banned in Britain.
It was photocopied.
Black & white.
Typed on a typewriter (I didn't own a computer till sometime in the late '90s).
Cut and pasted.
And the pictures were pulled from other magazines and books.
The layout was your typical chaotic punk zine look.
32 pages in A5 format.

A film friend of mine offered to xerox the mag at her work. We had to be careful that no-one would find out, so we did it late one night after midnight. We printed 150 copies. 100 with black & white covers. 50 with red covers. I've later printed up another approximately 50 copies. A total print run of 200 copies. Now, that's underground!

Apart from the copies I shipped out myself I had three - maybe four - zine distributors, Rage Distribution in Norway and two distros in the UK. I forget the names of the UK distros. And I even forgot to get payment from one of them. Haha. Now that I think about it one of them actually ripped me off of the shipment payment. He asked me to pay for shipment to the UK and then refused to pay for the return shipment (my payment was magazines from his catalogue). Arsehole! I should find him and demand a refund!
I'm not sure if Simon Nielsen in Denmark also distributed Banned in Britain via his "Full Family Entertainment" distro (or whatever it was called). He might have.

Rage in Norway was run by Thomas Eikrem who did a zine called Rage. Rage is actually still around now in its second volume, altho now as a book edition (a very expensive book edition I might add!). Thomas was the first distro guy I got in touch with. He asked if I wanted to be paid in cash or choose stuff from his distro. I picked Michael Weldon's original Psychotronic book and a handful issues of the Psychotronic Video magazine.

Putting out Banned in Britain #1 in 1994 was a blast. It felt good. I had wanted to be a zine editor for a long time. I think the urge was already spawn when I bought two issues of a Danish thrash metal fanzine called Metallic Beast in (I thiink) 1986. And in 1987 Lars Krogh sent me the first issue of his punk zine Moshable. Lars later launched his Bad Afro record label (which is still running) and his co-editor, Simon Nielsen, wrote a handful of reviews for Banned in Britain #1.My friend who printed the first batch of issue one was a horror film friend that I'd hook up with for late night video nights two or three times a year. My way of saying thanks was to list her as the co-editor but in reality she didn't have anything to do with the contents other than to xerox the pages as I mentioned. She lived in a different part of the country and it was somewhat of a travel to meet. We lost touch in the mid '90s. Then around 6 months ago she suddenly pops up again out of nowhere. We spent an evening chatting online about the old days and then... poof! She was gone again.

Even though it was awesome to publish a fanzine it kind of didn't last. On one hand there was too much trouble putting the stuff together and getting it printed. I had no money to do a new issue and besides I was basically just too bloody lazy. And also, if you ever hear a fanzine editor talk about how cool it was to type stuff on typewriters instead of a computer they're either full of shit, have drowned one too many pint to actually remember the old days, or maybe they weren't there in the first place. Doing a fanzine on a bloody typewriter was a fucking pain in the ass! Trust me, it was. I didn't get another issue off the ground until a full decade later. Issue No. 2 came out in 2004, same size, same original print run, same page count and format.

And now it's 2014 and yet another decade has slipped thru the cracks of time. Down the drains? Well, zine wise yes cos I still haven't gotten better at putting out new issues. And to tell you the truth, I hadn't actually thought about the fact that it's been 10 years until Nigel of Aenigma! zine asked me if I was going to put out a new one since it's 2014. And my buddy over in the UK (and sometimes Germany) Pete Davies (of Mondo Squallido and Mattei of the Dead fame) had been bugging me to do reprints of my old zines so he could get them. I tried to reprint a pile BiB #1 in A4 size last week at work but messed up the setting on the Xerox machine and ended up with only ONE copy in A4 and a handful in the original A5 size. I sent the A4 copy to Pete a few days ago (along with a copy of the Bloody Weekend horror film festival booklet). It's Pete's facebook picture you seen in the above. I wanted to do A4 copies as the print is way too tiny in the original A5 edition (and with my now less than perfect vision I have trouble reading the A5 copy even with my reading glasses on!). Maybe I'll get another chance - or maybe Pete's copy is gonna be the only one in existence forever and ever.

And what about future issues? I can't tell you, I simply don't know if there'll be another issue of BiB. But if there is it'll be this year in order to keep the 10 year distance between each issue. I've decided that if I don't put out BiB #3 this year I won't do it at all. It's either this year or not at all. BiB #2 from 2004 could very well be the final issue. Let's wait and see. But still, 20 years of Banned in Britain and people still ask me about reprints, that's pretty rad!!!

Oh, and yesterday I spoke to a horror film fan in the UK about the old In the Flesh zine that we both used to buy around 1990. She's got a ton of the old zines, and she's kept them all, and when I mentioned I had published BiB she said, "I've got that zine!!!" Now, THAT is also pretty cool!