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

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 nevr 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!