Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Savage Weekend: More Like Sleazy Weekend

Director: David Paulsen

Cast: Caitlin O'Heaney, David Gale, Jeff Pomerantz, William Sanderson, Yancy Butler

Kino Lorber / Region A / Rated R / 1.85:1 widescreen (1080p) / English mono / 88 minutes

Extras: Separate interviews with stars Caitlyn O'Heaney, William Sanderson and Jeff Pomerantz / Original trailer

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David Paulsen is a TV screenwriter, director and producer from the 1980s best known for the mega-popular television dramas "Knots Landing", "Dynasty" and "Dallas". But before he delved into the seedy world of nighttime soap operas, Paulsen cut his teeth writing and directing two very salacious, nay downright sleazy horror slashers. In 1976 he began shooting The Killer Behind the Mask but the movie didn't get picked up until a few years later by none other than Cannon Films who renamed it Savage Weekend and who also snatched up his second feature Schizoid, starring the ever-creepy Klaus Kinski. It seems totally natural to go from making exploitive tits-n-blood features to writing lines for J.R. Ewing, right?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Nightmare Castle: Barbara Steele Unbound

aka Gli amanti d'oltretomba
aka Night of the Doomed
aka The Faceless Monster

Director: Mario Caiano

Cast: Barbara Steele, Paul Miller, Helga Liné, Laurence Clift

Severin Films / All Region / Unrated / 1.66:1 Widescreen / Mono / 104 minutes

EXTRAS: Terror Creatures From The Grave Feature / Castle Of Blood Feature / Audio Commentary With Barbara Steele And Horror Historian David Del Valle / Barbara Steele In Conversation Exclusive Featurette With The Queen Of Horror / "Black, White And Red" Exclusive Featurette With Director Mario Caiano / Nightmare Castle US & UK Trailers / "Vengeance From Beyond" Featurette From Terror Creatures From the Grave (Italian with optional English subs) / Terror Creatures From The Grave Deleted Scenes (French with optional English subs) / "A Dance Of Ghosts" New Featurette For Castle Of BloodTerror Creatures From The Grave Trailer / Castle Of Blood Trailer

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I have never been a big fan of the old black and white gothic horror like Mario Bava's early stuff. Truth be told, I've never given it much of a chance. I thought it was just boring old Italians running around castles with torches being chased by ghosts in long nightgowns. But when Severin Films - a home video company that I love - did the press for Nightmare Castle starring the gorgeous Barbara Steele, my interested was piqued. Not only do I like most everything that Severin has put out, but after doing a little research on Miss Steele, I was thoroughly intrigued by her unique sex appeal.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Angst: Portrait of a Austrian Serial Killer

Director: Gerald Kargl

Cast: Erwin Leder, Robert Hunger-Bühler, Silvia Rabenreither

Cult Epics / Region A / Unrated / 1.85:1 widescreen (1080p) / Austrian DTS HD MA 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 / Optional German, French and English subtitles / 87 minutes

Extras: Optional playback with or without Prologue / Introduction by Gaspar Noé (2012) / Featurette: Erwin Leder in Fear (2015) / Interview with Gerald Kargl by Jorg Buttgeriet (2003) / Interview with cinematographer Zbigniew Rybzcynski (2004) / Audio Commentary by Gerald Kargl conducted by film critic Marcus Stiglegger / New HD Trailer

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John McNaughton's Henry: Portait of a Serial Killer is a grim American serial killer movie loosely based on real-life serial killers Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole from 1986. To this day it is still recognized as one of the most realistic portrayals of madness and murder ever put on film. Three years before, one-time writer/director Gerald Kargl—along with writing partner and the movie's stellar cinematographer Zbigniew Rybczynski—made a European version of the same idea centered around Austrian psychopath Werner Kniesek entitled Angst which translates into "fear" in German. It was also called Schizophrenia in other parts of the world, which is also a fitting title. The two films are beautifully dark reflections of the same cracked mirror.
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