Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Phil Attends CINEQUEST 30: Day 2 - March 4, 2020

Hello again folks and welcome to Day Two of the 30th Annual Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival! After a celebratory opening night and after party last night, I popped up at 3:30am for work, then afterwards came home to shower and change so I could head back to beautiful Downtown San Jose to see a total of four movies! And I’m case you’re all wondering how I’m still awake, it’s called caffeine! So let’s talk about all the films I saw today!

The first screening I attend was held at the ultra cool 3Below Theater & Lounge. Before the main feature, there was a quick short entitled LABOR RELATIONS, which was about a women named Emogen (Christine Lin), who goes into labor during her big presentation with her department, and continues the presentation even after her baby's birth! Strangely, her co-workers are unaffected about her going to labor, as the other women are busy with their own children. A very surreal and funny short!

 The main feature HOMEWRECKER is about a young and beautiful interior designer named Michelle (Alex Essoe) who becomes the obsession of the psychologically unbalanced stalker Linda (Precious Chong of L.A. CONFINDENTIAL, PEARL HARBOR, and ACCORDING TO SPENCER fame)). Linda cons Linda into coming home with her in hopes to hire her to fix up her place. But then Linda’s true nature unfolds and thus, Michelle becomes her victim and the focus of unhinged madness.

Good Lord was this film freaking amazing and disturbing! Chong is absolutely creepy and horrifying, yet sympathetic and sad. Her performance was out of this world! The scene that really made my skin crawl and made me twitching in my seat was when she was singing Lisa Loren’s 1994 classic "Stay" while starring directly into the camera! It felt like she was singing directly to me and it pierced my soul. I was so uncomfortable that I wanted to cry because I was so freaked out! This was an excellent psychological dark comedic thriller that had me from the word go! 5 out of 5 stars!

The film will have three more screening at the Cinemark Century Theaters in Redwood City: Thursday, March 6th at 11am, Wednesday, March 11th at 7pm, and Saturday, March 14th at 10pm.
I headed over to the Hammer Theatre Center to see the North American premiere of the drama BEFORE OBLIVION from Mexico. The film focuses on the community that resides in the neighborhood called Jonathan Perez Pillar, They're a close nit group that consists of families, friends, outcasts that have made this place their home. But soon there's trouble, as the city has been evicting families and communities from several other neighborhoods; all against their will to build up a new mall. The community at Jonathan Perez Pillar fight back against the city and the authorities, as they refuse to give in and be tossed out on the streets, homeless and hopeless.

This was powerful film to watch unfold, but it also addressed issues that have plagued many families in Mexico. The people versus the government and the authorities is still common to this day, but it also spotlights the will of the human spirit: to fight for what you believe in and refusing to compromise your morals and beliefs. But this was also very difficult to watch without comparing the events in the film to what has been happening here in the states in the past decade or so. The banking buyouts, the mortgage forclosures that left hundreds of families without a home, and the skyrocketing housing costs here in the Bay Area that has forced families to live in shelters or in their cars. It's sad to think that in the 21st century, we are still dealing with these issues that are affecting everyone from all over the world. 5 out of 5 stars!

The film will have three more screening: ThursdayMarch 12th at 9:30pm here in San Jose, and then at the Century Theater in Redwood City on Friday, March 13th at 6:40pm, Saturday, March 14th at 3:00pm.
For film number three, I stayed at the Hammer Theatre Center to watch another North American premiere, a British comedy entitled LOVE TYPE D. Meet Frankie (Maeve Dermody). She gets dumped a lot by men. Like, by A LOT of men! Thomas (Oliver Farnworth), the latest man to dump her is the most painful, seeing that he sent his eleven year-old brother Wilbur (Rory Stroud) to break up with her while he starts seeing a breathtakingly beautiful astronaut! How does Frankie move on from this devastating break-up? By enlisting Wilbur's help, since he's a schoolboy science prodigy. Together, they learn of the Type D Gene, better known as the "Dumpee Gene." Through a series of hilarious mishaps and comedic timing, Frankie must contact all of her exes so SHE can dump them! But out of all of them, it's Thomas that proves to be the most difficult to execute, seeing as she's still in love with him and will do anything to get him to love her again. But will it work out for Frankie in the end?

I absolutely adored this film! I'm also a sucker for romantic comedies, IF it's done right! Seeing how the British have a different take of the affairs of the heart, it's wonderful and interesting to see how a rom-com is done from another country. Maeve Dermod deserves all the credit for pulling this all off. It's her performance as the sad sack Frankie that makes the audience connect with her, and thus we relate to he emotional baggage and hang-ups, as we have all been there! Dermond is just fantastic in the role of Frankie, and truth be told, if Frankie were a real character, I would totally go out with her! Because I can relate to her! This was a fun-filled rom-com that made me smile and warm my heart with laughter and love! 5 out of 5 stars!!

The film will have two more screening at the Cinemark Century Theaters in Redwood City: Saturday, March 7th at 12:20pm, and again on Saturday, March 14th at 12:45pm. 
After the movie was over, I jammed back over to the 3Below Theater & Lounge to see my fourth and final screening, the shorts program entitled SHOCKS, THRILLS, AND DARK VISIONS. Actually, these were really television pilots, and these were awesome pilots as well! There were a total of four pilots (there was a fifth one called GLITCH! that was supposed to be part of this program, but it wasn't shown. As to why it wasn't screened, I have no idea.)

ASKING FOR A FRIEND: After a long day at work, Blake comes home only to find her best friend and roommate Q standing over a freshly dead body, blood soaked in the rug and spilling over on the hardwood floor. Blake helps Q to get rid of the body, in ghastly fashion, and their exploit s a funner than hell! This was so gory and over-the-top that I laughed my ass off! If this was on Shudder, I would binge watch the shit outta this!

R.L. ALLMAN'S PETER PAN: This re-imagining of the classic children's tale takes place in San Francisco (Neverland), where we met the new incarnations of Peter Pan, The Lost Boys, and Tinkerbell. Peter refuses to grow up, even though he lives among biker gangs, drugs, and the threat of eviction, thanks to the evil conglomerate Hook Corporation. A fanatic take on the Peter Pan tale told through modern storytelling!

S41NT: In the corners of the dark web, there are a group of hackers who rob and steal people's personal information and sell it to anyone who's buying. Unfortunately, a brilliant hacker named S41NT is arrested for selling information to an undercover FBI Agent, But when she gets caught up with the government, she is told that she lived a very different past life that shocks her to her core. A powerful thriller that deserves to be on CBS!

SUCKED IN: A young woman comes home and finds a dangerous intruder who thinks she's stealing prescription drugs from the hospital she works at. Unfortunately for him, that's not what she's stealing, and now, because of her roommate, he is no longer the dangerous person in the apartment! A great concept pilot for a series!

I couldn’t help notice that all four pilots contained both political and social commentary. With ASKING FOR A FRIEND, it talked about violence in society, the meaning of friendship, and how women can be just psychologically disturbed as men. R.L. ALLMAN'S PETER PAN commented on gentrification, the housing crisis, and the lost of the innocence that made the art world in San Francisco so alive. S41NT pointed out the dark web, the fear that Big Brother is constantly watching you, and identity crisises. SUCKED IN addresses violence against women, home invasion, and what if you’re roommate is a deadly vampire. Okay, I may have made that last one up, but it did cross my mind.

The program will have one more screening at the Century Theaters in Redwood City on Saturday, March 7th at 4:15pm.

After the screening, all the filmmakers who were present (which was all of them) partaked in a fun and entertaining Q&A session. Then we all went into the lobby to converse some more and take a plethora of pictures. Then everybody went to the Maverick Meet-Up over at Chacho's, while yours truly went home, wrote up my review of opening night, and then I went to bed and slept for four hours before waking up and going back to work.

And folks, there you have Day Two of Cinequest 30! And there's still 11 more days of movie watching for me! Remember the festival ends on Sunday, March 15th so make sure you come out here to San Jose! To view the festival's film schedule and purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Phil attends the Opening Night of the 30th Annual Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival - March 3, 2020

It's that most amazing time of the year!! That's right folks!! Tonight was the opening night of the 30th Annual Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival!! I am expecting to see some of the very best in independent, foreign, and documentaries here for the next thirteen days! Once again I got to see some of my old friends like Jason Wiener from Jason Watches Movies as well as my old buddy Roy from the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Terra Wood-Taylor, Michael Rabehl, and a few others. At this year's festival I hope to once again make new friends and as well as new memories. Back in 2014, I set an all-time personal record by attending 60 screenings in 13 days! Let's see if I can even bet that record this year!!

The opening night was held once again at the beautiful California Theatre on South First Street. There was the traditional red carpet with numerous filmmakers talking about their films to the press and posing for the cameras. Soon I found my way towards the front of the stage, bouncing in my seat with excitement. Then at 7:15pm, the lights slowly dimmed and the show began!

Cinequest director and co-founder and Halfdan Hussey came out and greeted everyone and thanked all our sponsors. He then had the theatre screen this year's festival trailer, which was done once again by SF Bay Area production company Guerrilla Wanders. We also saw SJ Mayor Sam Liccardo, a touching and inspiring trailer from Stand Up to Cancer (which was founded by Laura Ziskin, who passed away from breast cancer in 2011). After, Halfdan introduced Dave Gilliam from Cisco, TJ Rogers from Clos de la Tech (one of the new sponsers of the festival), and comedian Matt Donaher performed a hilarious stand-up that had the audience in stitches! We then saw the funny animated short film CRUEL SHOES, narrated by Steve Martin,and directed by Kevin Peterson, who also introduced his short. And then, it was time to watch the festival's opening night film JOHN PINETTE: YOU GO NOW.

The documentary tells the life of comedian John Pinette, who would become one of the hottest and fastest rising young comedian of all time. Told by family, friends, and peers like Lewis Black, Dane Cook, Bill Burr, Howie Mandel, and Iliza Shlesinger just to name a few, we're told the story of Pinette's early years dealing with loss and personal setbacks to becoming one of the biggest stars in stand-up, to his tragic fall from grace, his redemption and comeback, to his final days. Throughout his ups and downs, we get a better understanding of who John Pinette actually was; the man behind the laughs, the fat jokes, and his smile he wore to cover up his pain.

Truth be told, I had totally forgotten about John Pinette. I used to see his Comedy Central specials back in the day, and it was fantastic to see this footage in the documentary, along with several clips of him doing his stand-up throughout the years. I found myself laughing uncontrollably one minute, then wiping away my tears the next. Pinette hid his pain well from the rest of the world, and it was so tragically sad when he passed away on April 5, 2014 at only 50 years old. After the screening, there was a Q&A with the filmmakers, which was very informative and heartfelt.

Now I just became aware that Cinequest here will be having an encore screening of the documentary on Monday, March 9 at 6:45 at the Hammer Theatre. This is the first time Cinequest ever had an encore of their opening night film, which makes this a very rare and special occasion.

After the Q&A, everybody headed over to the lavish after party, which was held over at The Glass House on 12 South Market Street, where there was plenty to eat, drink, and music to shake our booties to all night long! Drinks were once again provided by Tito's Vodka, as well as by  Hendrick's GinDrake's Brewing, and J. Lohr Winery!!

JOHN PINETTE: YOU GO NOW was the perfect film to kick off Cinequest 30! And there's still 12 days of movie watching left! So what are you waiting for? Now you can partake in this very important downtown event. The 30th Annual Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival runs from March 3rd to March 15th!! To view film schedules, information about the festival, and to purchase tickets and passes, visit their website at www.cinequest.org.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Phil's Cult Classics: GLEN OR GLENDA (1953) from Image Entertainment - December 1, 2019

GLEN OR GLENDA DVD Cover
GLEN OR GLENDA (1953)

Starring Edward D. Wood Jr. (as Daniel Davis), Bela Lugosi, Lyle Talbot, Dolores Fuller, Conrad Brooks, Charlie Crafts, 'Tommy' Haynes
Written by Edward D. Wood Jr.
Cinematography by William C. Thompson
Edited by 'Bud' Schelling
Produced by George Weiss
Directed by Edward D. Wood Jr.
Originally released by Screen Classics
Re-released by Image Entertainment

A plethora of adjectives flood my mind when someone mentions the name Edward D. Wood Jr. They includes words like filmmaker, actor, alcoholic, pornographer, and a transvestite with a severe fetish for angora. Wood was all these things and so much more. He was a complex individual, who longed to become a filmmaker like his idol, the great Orson Wells. That did not happen, in fact, the complete opposite transpired. Two years after his death in 1978, film critics Michael and Harry Medved (known as the Medved Brothers) published their book "The Golden Turkey Awards" announced that Ed Wood was voted the "Worst Director of All time" while his 1958 sci-fi film PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE won the "Worst Film of All Time" award. This garnered world wide attention to Wood, and soon after, he garnered a legion of new fans, his movies being played all over the world, VHS and DVD copies of his films selling like wildfire, and Wood himself being championed as a bona fide auteur. This is evident in his feature film debut GLEN OR GLENDA, which has gone on to become not only a cult classic, but an important documentation of transvestism, and a beloved film within the LGBTQ community.

The film's official synopsis: This is it! The true story of a man who lusted after women so much that he wanted to dress like them. The first film based on the strange tastes of legendary filmmaker Ed Wood and a sordid plea for acceptance in the world of bondage and the sexually confused, decades before THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and TV's Ellen. Starring famous shock star Bela Lugosi as the "Puppet Master" an Wood himself in the role of Glen/Gelnda. It also markes the screen debut of Wood's main squeeze at the time, Dorlores Fuller, who went on to become one of Elvis's star songwriters. An important film document, years before its time.

Original Theatrical Poster (1953)
Loosely inspired by the sex reassignment surgery of Christine Jorgensen in 1952, exploitation producer George Weiss was hoping to cash in on this hot story that was sweeping the headlines across the country. Wood convinced Weiss that he would be the perfect person to direct the film. However, he would make the ultimate film about self-expression, making a film about the understanding of transvestism (with about five minutes at the end talking about sex change). He would cast the great Bela Lugosi to appear in the film, portraying "The Scientist", or the "Puppet Master", or in actuality "God." By this time, Lugosi had been out of the spotlight and was a drug addict, but was hoping for a comeback. Wood cast himself in the lead role of Glen and Glenda under the handle Daniel Davis (Davis was his middle name), and cast his then girlfriend at the time Dolores Fuller as Glen's girlfriend/fiancée Barbara. He would also cast his friends Lyle Talbot (TV's Ozzy and Harriet) and Conrad Brooks (PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE).

Shot in four days, Wood would break every conventional rule there was in filmmaking. He would often shoot scenes in one take, his dialogue sounded inept, he would shoot exterior scenes with no permits, spliced in stock footage to make his films look bigger, and continuity was pretty much tossed out the window. In fact, the stories of Wood often directing in drag in later films can be attributed to this film, having to direct several scenes while dressed as Glenda. But yet, he made his films to his unique and quarky vision, and he bared his soul in this film without question.

The movie received a limited released by Screen Classics in April 1953, under the main title, as well as under different titles like I Led Two Lives, He or She? and I Changed My Sex . The film bombed, but when Wood received the Golden Turkey awards, he became a hot Hollywood property. This led major motion picture studio Paramount Pictures to re-release the film to theaters in 1981. In 1983, Kansas City native Wade Williams acquired the rights to Ed Wood's films, along with several other intellectual properties, ranging from movies to television shows. He would team up with Rhino Home Video to release these films on VHS, with Image Entertainment re-releasing them on DVD.

GLEN OR GLENDA remains a true cult classic, inspiring transvestites and queer kids to dress in drag for decades to come! It also put Ed Wood on the map as a filmmaker, leading him to create some of the most off-the-wall, mondo bizzaro, cult classics that has ever graced the silver screen! The fact that we're still talking about him 41 years after his passing is testimony on how this strange and beloved human being has touched and enriched our lived for the better! And this film is a perfect example of his love of motion pictures, and it's importance to the world of cinema is unapologetic! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


GLEN OR GLENDA is currently available on DVD from Image Entertainment. To purchase a copy, visit your local retailer or visit the Amazon website at www.amazon.com. Also, check out the Wade Williams Collection of films at www.wadewilliamscollection.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Phil’s Horror Watch: BASKET CASE (1982) from Arrow Video - August 14, 2019

BASKET CASE Slipcover
BASKET CASE (1982)

Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, Robert Vogel, Diana Browne, Lloyd Pace, Bill Freeman, Joe Clarke
Screenplay by Frank Henenlotter
Cinematography by Bruce Torbet
Edited by Frank Henenlotter
Produced by Arnold H. Bruck (as Arnie Bruck), Tom Kaye, Edgar Ievins
Directed by Frank Henenlotter
Originally released by Analysis Film Releasing Corporation
Re-released by Arrow Video

Welcome back horror fans to another edition of Phil's Horror Watch. For today's cinematic fright flick, I thought it would be fun to stroll down memory lane and visit the old grindhouse theaters that populated New York's 42nd Street. There, you could see some of the most outrageous films ever made! Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong decade. I would have love to see many of the film I have watched on Blu-Ray or on DVD up on the big screen. Just imagine walking around The Deuce, looking up at all the marquees, seeing what's playing, then buying a ticket to watch a movie and wonder what the hell am I watching! Take for example today's film. I guarantee that you have never seen a film like BASKET CASE before, nor could you ever forget it!

The film's official synopsis: Duane Bradley is a pretty ordinary guy. His formerly conjoined twin Belial, on the other hand, is a deformed, fleshy lump whom he carries around in a wicker basket. Arriving in the Big Apple and taking up a room at the seedy Hotel Broslin, the pair set about hunting down and butchering the surgeons responsible for their separation. But tensions flare up when Duane starts spending time with a pretty blonde secretary, and Belial’s homicidal tendencies reach bloody new extremes.

Now doesn't that sound like a fun film to watch in a 42nd street grindhouse theater? Well guess what? It DID play at a 42nd street grindhouse theater! Budgeted at only $35,000, the film was released by Analysis Film Releasing Corporation in April of 1982, but it gained a cult following once it was released onto home video by the mid 80's. The special effects for Belial consist largely of a puppet in some scenes and stop motion in others, which only added to the magic and the allure of the film.

Original Theatrical Poster (1982)
The film was written and directed by Frank Henenlotter, and it was his feature length debut. Henenlotter would go on to direct other cult classics such as BRAIN DAMAGE, FRANKENHOOKER, and two sequels: BASKET CASE 2 and BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY. He also directed the documentaries  HERSCHELL GORDON LEWIS: THE GODFATHER OF GORE and THAT'S SEXPLOITATION! (both for Something Weird Video). He also did the audio commentary for FUGITIVE GIRLS along with Ed Wood biographer Rudolph Grey.

Arrow Video did a tremendous job with this release! It boasts a brand new 4K restoration from the original 16mm negative by MoMA )Museum of Modern Art), a High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation, Original Uncompressed Mono Audio, and Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck, which looks awesome!

Then there's the Special Features, which are both phenomenal and plentiful: Brand new audio commentary with writer/director Frank Henenlotter and star Kevin Van Hentenryck, BASKET CASE 3-1/2: An Interview with Duane Bradley – Frank Henenlotter revisits Duane Bradley decades after the events of the original Basket Case, Seeing Double: The Basket Case Twins – a brand new interview with Florence and Maryellen Schultz, the twin nurses from Basket Case, Brand new making-of featurette containing new interviews with producer Edgar Ievins, casting person/actress Ilze Balodis, associate producer/effects artist Ugis Nigals and Belial performer Kika Nigals, Blood, BASKET and Beyond – a brand new interview with actress Beverly Bonner, Belial Goes to the Drive-In – a brand new interview with film critic Joe Bob Briggs, Outtakes Featurette, In Search of the Hotel Broslin – archive location featurette, SLASH OF THE KNIFE (1972) – short film by Frank Henenlotter, Belial’s Dream (2017, 5 mins) – brand new Basket Case-inspired animated short by filmmaker Robert Morgan, Behind-the-scenes of Belial’s Dream, Extensive Still Galleries, Trailers, TV Spots and Radio Spots! *whew* Holy crap that's a lot of special features!

BASKET CASE is a true bona fide cult classic, a grindhouse classic, a horror film classic, and still one helluva fun ride to watch! Take from me folks. Horror, B-movies, and exploitation films are my main passions in life, and I can assure you that this film is just awesome to watch! And thanks to Arrow Video, the film looks exquisite, contains astounding special features, and is required for any horror fans film library! This is a must-own release!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!



BASKET CASE is available on Blu-Ray from Arrow Video. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit the Diabolik DVD website at www.diabolikdvd.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Phil’s Horror Watch: INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS (1972) from Severin Film - August 13, 2019

INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS Slipcover
INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS (1972)

Starring Norman Kelley, Tanna Hunter, Bruce Detrick, Paul Craig Jennings, Jack Neubeck, Richard Erickson, Cynthia Fleming
Screenplay by Ed Adlum, Ed Kelleher
Cinematography by Roberta Findlay (as Frederick Douglass)
Edited by Michael Findlay
Produced by Ed Adlum, Milton S. Greenman
Directed by Ed Adlum
Originally released by N.M.D. Film Distributing Company
Re-released by Severin Films

Today's film review is an interesting one. It was probably one of the worst films ever made.  And I've seen some bad films in my lifetime. Granted, some you have to take with a pinch of salt, while others I wondered how they were even made, let alone how the filmmakers would watch their final cut of the film and say to themselves, "Yup, we have a winner here!" Today's film is one of those films that I would see religiously on the shelves at my local mom & pop video store, but never had the balls to rent it. Over thirty years later, I finally watched INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS, and now I wish that I rented this all those years ago!

The film's official synopsis: In 1972, a team of New York City exploitation outlaws that included Ed Adlum (SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED), Ed Kelleher (PRIME EVIL) and Michael & Roberta Findlay (THE TOUCH OF HER FLESH, SNUFF) – along with first-time assistant cameraman and future award-winning cinematographer Frederick Elmes (ERASERHEAD, BLUE VELVET) – descended on bucolic Westchester County with 8½ bottles of stage blood to make a movie about a Druid cult seeking to resurrect their dead queen. The budget was $24,000. The cast was paid in beer. And the result remains one of the greatest achievements in schlock/shock cinema history.

Original Theatrical Poster (1972)
Believe it or not, despite its low budget, the film has yet made its money back. Which is a real shame, if you ask me. The movie would have killed it at the drive-ins in rural America, and in the grindhouses that laced 42nd Street in New York City. The movie has it all: bewildering story, inane acting (both Richard Erickson () and Richard Kennedy () were so bad that they had to read off cue cards for their lines), and, according Adlum, the production went through eight and a half bottles of stage blood. Seriously, what more do you want in a cheesy low budget horror movie?

The film was released by N.M.D. Film Distributing Company on August 23, 1972 (364 days before my birthday). It was released on VHS in 1984 by Regal Video. After several years, it was released on DVD by filmmaker Fred Olen Ray's company Retromedia Entertainment in 2001. Afterwards, both Cheezy Flicks Entertainment and Code Red released DVD editions in 2011 and 2013, respectively, before landing at Severin Films.

Hailed as a  “accidental masterpiece” among genre fans, the film has garnered the status as a cult classic, and has been on many horror fans' Blu-Ray wish list. Again, Severin Films have come to the rescue, thanks to a brand new 2k restoration scan from the original negative for the first time ever! Plus they've added some cool bonus features to go along with this collector's release: Audio commentary with director Ed Adlum and actress Ortrum Tippel, moderated by Kier-La Janisse, author of "House of Psychotic Women", Nothing You’d Show Your Mom: Eddie Adlum’s Journey through Exploitation, Coin-Op & Rock n’ Roll, Harvesting the Dead: Interview with actor Jack Neubeck, Painful Memories: An interview with cinematographer Frederick Elmes, and the film's original theatrical trailer.

INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS is an unspeakable, grizzly, gory, Grade-Z horror flick that will make you go mad just by watching the first five minutes of it! So of course it's gonna be awesome!! It's hard to believe that it's taken me 30 years to get around to watch this movie! And now, thanks to Severin Films, I, along with horror fans, can now watch it whenever we want! And it's never looked this good before! So grab yourself a copy of this diabolical fright flick, and see what the hype is all about! You'll be glad you did! 4 out of 5 stars! Highly recommended!


INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD from Severin Films. To purchase a copy, visit their website at severin-films.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Phil’s Exploitation Cinema: FUGITIVE GIRLS (1974) from Vinegar Syndrome - August 10, 2019

FUGITIVE GIRLS Blu-Ray Cover
FUGITIVE GIRLS (1974)

Starring Jabie Abercrombe, Rene Bond, Tallie Cochrane, Donna Young, Margie Lanier, Harvey Shain, Nicolle Riddell, Edward D. Wood Jr.
Screenplay by Stephen C. Apostolof (original screenplay) (as A.C. Stephen), Edward D. Wood Jr. (original screenplay)
Cinematography by Robert Birchall
Edited by Luigi Rogatoni (as Louigi Rogatoni)
Produced by Stephen C. Apostolof (as A.C. Stephen), S.B. Cooper
Directed by Stephen C. Apostolof (as A.C. Stephen)
Originally released by SCA Distributors
Re-Released by Vinegar Syndrome

Awww......is there anything better than 70's exploitation smut? The short answer is no! During this groovy decade, drive-ins and grindhouses were filled with these types of movies: sex crazed fiends, hot nude scenes, sizzling sex scenes, violence, and acting that ranks right below high school drama class. However, they were never boring; sometimes there were really risque with the subject manners ranging from lesbianism, rape, violence towards women, and prison treatment. A lot of these topics appear in the grindhouse sexploitation classic FUGITIVE GIRLS (which was co-written by the late, great Edward D. Wood Jr.) from Vinegar Syndrome!

The film's official synopsis: Beautiful Dee is implicated in a fatal liquor store shooting committed by her boyfriend. Sent to an all-female work camp, she quickly finds herself at the mercy of four other violent and sex crazed prisoners who force her into their daring escape plan. Once on the outside, the five fugitives embark on a brutal and sex filled rampage across the countryside, while making their way to a mystery site rumored to have a buried suitcase full of money!

Original Theatrical Poster (1974)
The movie was directed by Stephen C. Apostolof (as A.C. Stephen) and co-written by Edward D. Wood Jr. The same team that brought us ORGY OF THE DEAD (also from Vinegar Syndrome), this dynamic duo hit their peak with this movie (the two made nine films together). Hell, even Wood has a couple of roles in the movie, unfortunately you can see how hard life has hit him. Sadly, Wood would pass away on December 10, 1978, four years later after appearing here. Another legendary sexploitation star appears in the film. Rene Bond got her start acting in several Harry Novak produced exploitation flicks, such as COUNTRY CUZZINS, COUNTRY HOOKER, and PLEASE DON'T EAT MY MOTHER. She would also appear in several hardcore pornography films, and was one of the first actresses to have a breast enlargement. She left the film industry in the late seventies and was never seen again, until he appeared on the old game show Break the Bank in the mid-eighties. She passed away from of liver problems on June 2, 1996 at the young age of 45. Apostolof made two more movies after this, then left the film industry. He made several appearances in Ed Wood documentaries, then died on August 14, 2005, aged 77.

There were actually two different versions of the film being played back then. There was the exploitation version called FUGITIVE GIRLS without the softcore sex scenes, then there was the one with all the softcore sex scenes which was called FIVE LOOSE WOMEN. Now, thanks to Vinegar Syndrome, they were able to restore the film with all of the sexiness and put it out under the title.

Vinegar Syndrome once again has done an incredible job of restoring the film, featuring a newly 2k scan from the 35mm original camera negative. Some of the special features include the following: Audio commentary track with Frank Henenlotter (Exploitation filmmaker) and Rudolph Grey (Ed Wood biographer), archival audio interview with Tallie Cochrane (actress), moderated by Casey Scott, original theatrical and promo trailer, and English SDH Subtitles. The region free Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is limited to only 2,500 units, ans as I am writing this review, there are only eight copies left on their website!!

FUGITIVE GIRLS is a sexploitation cult classic for fans who love these films, and is a required addition to any Ed Wood library!! Here is a film that has been long overdue for a reissue and a rediscovery, and now you have a chance to won this amazing sex-filled, nudity laced, Ed Wood hamming it up acting, and lesbian loving gem of a flick! So what the hell are you waiting for? Order this movie now! 4 out of 5 stars! Highly recommended!


FUGITIVE GIRLS is available in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack from Vinegar Syndrome. To order a copy for yourself, visit their website at vinegarsyndrome.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Phil’s Horror Watch: THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH (1964) from Severin Films - August 6, 2019

THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH Blu-Ray
THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH (1964)

Starring John Scott, Alice Lyon, Allan Laurel, Eulabelle Moore, Marilyn Clarke, Agustin Mayor, Damon Kebroyd, The Del-Aires
Screenplay by Richard Hilliard (additional dialogue by Ronald Gianettino, Lou Binder)
Cinematography by Richard Hilliard
Edited by Richard Hilliard, Leonard De Munde, David Simpson
Produced by Del Tenney, Alan V. Isolines
Directed by Del Tenney
Originally distributed by 20th Century Fox
Re-released by Severin Films

Horror films of the 1960’s were interesting to watch, to say the least. It really depended on the size of its budget. You had the Roger Corman directed, AIP produced, Edgar Allen Poe adaptations that are now considered to be classics in the genre, the game changing reincarnations of classic horror monsters from Hammer Films from Great Britain, and then there were the small, DIY horror films that challenged society’s standards on what was acceptable and what was deemed immoral, grotesque, and offensive. And then there were the cheapie fright flicks, that have gone one to become cult classics despite their limitations. Case in point, the fine people at Severin Films have restored the one and only THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH for a whole generation of horror fans who may have never seen or heard of the film before!

The film’s official synopsis: In 1964, 20th Century Fox released an independent shocker – shot in two weeks for $50,000 outside Stamford, Connecticut by local producer/director Del Tenney – advertised as ‘The First Horror-Monster Musical’. More than 50 years later, this “absolute classic of exploitation cinema” (Legends Magazine) returns like you’ve never seen or heard it before: When nuclear waste dumped into the ocean mutates a shipwreck full of corpses, it will unleash an onslaught of bikini teens, surprising gore, dubious science, an intrepid maid, The Del-Aires, and arguably the greatest worst monsters in horror movie history.

Original Theatrical Poster (1964)
I was first introduced to the movie through the Paramount Pictures tribute to bad movies 1982 film entitled IT CAME FROM HOLLYWOOD. Years later, I would see the movie again via the cult classic television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (which is available in one of the many boxsets available from Shout Factory). I was finally to rent a copy at my local mom & pop video store and it was so bad I laughed the whole way through my viewing! Much like Edward D. Wood, Jr., Tenney tried so damn hard to make a good movie, but failed every step of the way! But it's his determination and spirit that makes the movie so much fun to watch!

Filmed in a mere three weeks with most of the secondary characters in the film were locals of Stamford, Connecticut, Tenney shot this film back-to-back with his other horror film THE CURSE OF THE LIVING CORPSE. The film's original working title was INVASION OF THE ZOMBIES before it was changed to its more infamous title. And despite being billed as "The First Horror Monster Musical" in the advertisements, filmmaker Ray Denis Steckler's The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies beat the film to the theaters by a couple of months. However, it did tremendous business at the box office for 20th Century Fox, when they picked up the film and released on June 1, 1964.

Severin Film did a tremendous job of restoring the film to its original glory, featuring a new 2k scan from the original negative and loaded with all-new special features! The special features include: Return to Party Beach: A Retrospective Documentary on THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH, It’s the Living End: An Encounter with The Del-Aires – Interview with Band Members Bobby Osborne and Ronnie Linares, Shock & Roll: filmmaker Tim Sullivan On Rock & Roll Horror Movies, Archival Interview With director Del Tenney, and the film's original theatrical trailer.

THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH is a truly beloved cult horror film classic that is rip for discovery by a all-new generation of horror fans that might have missed out on it originally! Filled with cheesy rubber monster costumes, insane acting, surf music, teen beach party, it contains everything you would want to watch with a bunch of your friends on a Friday night! Forget about going out to see a movie at the mall! Call up your buddies, grab some pizzas and sodas, kick back and watch this movie! You'll be glad that you did! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD from Severin Films. To purchase a copy, visit their website at severin-films.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!