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Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #10!

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Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #10 here at the ol' Arcana!  Can you identify this week's mystery photo, scanned direct from The Holecheck Archives?  If you think you recognize it, post a comment below.  As the week goes on, if no one guesses correctly I'll begin adding some pretty useless hints.  Easy, right?  (Apparently not, as Challenge #9 is still up for grabs!)

Here ya' go -- good luck!


UPDATE:

Congrats go out to Rod Barnett for identifying this week's photo as belonging to Brunello Rondi's Black Emmanuelle / White Emmanuelle (1976), a rather odd sexploiter that tries to shoehorn itself into Joe D'amato's Black Emanuelle series, and nearly succeeds! 

Fashion model Laura takes a trip to Africa and is pressured to pose with dog carcasses and camel dung, and before you know it she's banging mystics and drinking goat blood.  All in a day's work, right?  Starring a Eurotrash dream-team of Laura Gemser, Annie Belle, Al Cliver, Gabrielle Tinti and Susan Scott, this one adopts a more artsy and surreal atmosphere than Joe's efforts, but remains worth a watch.

Dimension Pictures slapped it up on U.S. screens in 1977 under the name Smooth Velvet, Raw Silk, and gave it a rerelease in 1979 under the title Naked Paradise.   The '80s were less kind, as the film was badly cropped for its VHS releases from Continental Video (as Emanuelle in Egypt) and Cult Video (as Smooth Velvet, Raw Silk).

Severin Films came to the rescue in 2007 and finally issued it to DVD in its proper screen ratio, and as an added bonus they restored the film to its full European length!  Included as part of their second Black Emanuelle collection or available as a standalone release, the disc sports a good looking transfer and an interview featurette with Cliver, mixed with audio memories from Gemser and Belle. 

I couldn't find the domestic trailer online (which I know I have on one of my Something Weird tapes), but you can check out the import one here.  As expected, it's not safe for work.

For a look at last week's entry, click here. And don't forget, our Upcoming Releases List (the best on the 'net) is constantly updated, so stop by and preorder some cool stuff!

© 2010 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #9!

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Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #9 here at the ol' Arcana. Can you identify this week's mystery photo, scanned direct from The Holecheck Archives? If you think you recognize it, post a comment below. As the week goes on, if no one guesses correctly (which hasn't been a problem lately... Challenge #8 was nailed in ten minutes flat!) I'll begin adding some pretty useless hints. Easy, right?

Here ya' go -- good luck!


UPDATE:

Congrats to Todd Bridges for finally identifying Juan Lopez Moctezuma's The Mansion of Madness (1973) after a record-setting 26-day stint!  Based on Edgar Allan Poe's 'The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether,' the film is an inmates-take-over-the-asylum piece, spiced up considerably with the director's surreal touches (he had previously collaborated with both Alejandro Jodorowsky and Fernando Arrabal) and some exceptional production design and locations.  While it doesn't reach the insane heights of his later Alucarda (then again, what does?), it's still an interesting movie well worth checking out for lovers of the weird and wild.

Group 1 International released a slightly trimmed version Stateside in 1976 under the more exploitative handle Dr. Tarr's Torture Dungeon, waiting a short time before pairing it with other acquisitions like Amuck (see Challenge #2). It fared pretty well on VHS, with two issues in the '80s; one by Catalina Home Video, and later by Magnum Entertainment.  (The former definitely more rare than the latter.)

These transfers were recycled into the DVD age through numerous budget-bin companies, and The Mansion of Madness didn't see a proper disc until 2005 when genre saviors Mondo Macabro cleaned it up for a nice, new, full-length special edition.  Their remastered presentation really adds to one's appreciation of the visuals, and they've supplemented it with several good extras, including a look at the director's work, a tribute by Guillermo del Toro, and more.  Be sure and give it a chance!



The double-bill newspaper ad was swiped from Fred Adelman's Critical Condition.

For a look at last week's entry, click here. And don't forget, our Upcoming Releases List (the best on the 'net) is constantly updated, so stop by and preorder some cool stuff!
 
© 2010 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #8!

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Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #8 here at the ol' Arcana. Can you identify this week's mystery photo, scanned direct from The Holecheck Archives? If you think you recognize it, post a comment below. As the week goes on, if no one guesses correctly (which hasn't been a problem lately...) I'll begin adding some pretty useless hints.  Easy, right? 

Here ya' go -- good luck!


UPDATE:

Congrats go out to Chris Poggiali (Temple of Schlock), who nailed Harry E. Kerwin's Tomcats (1976) in ten minutes flat!  (And here I was thinking this would be a tough one...) 

The film, a financial follow-up by the Kerwin Bros. to their prior year's slaughter-in-the-sticks outing God's Bloody Acre, is a mean and sleazy little effort detailing a brother's vendetta against the quartet of rapists who abused and murdered his waitress sister.  As expected, things get violent.

Distributed theatrically by Dimension Pictures in 1977 with an ad compaign that downplayed its rougher aspects, Tomcats turned up on VHS in 1985 from Continental Video under the much more fitting title Avenged.  (Great cover art, too!)  Out of print for decades, a 35mm print was turned up by Something Weird Video in 2005 and they now offer it on tape and DVD-R.  While no mass market DVD is available, Code Red claim to have licensed the film but haven't been able to locate acceptable elements.  Hopefully they'll work something out, as the film is an unexpected treat for fans of '70s exploitation cinema and deserves a wider audience.

Here's the hilariously hyperbolic trailer! (Definitely not safe for work.)



(Since this post was originally written, Code Red did release Tomcats on DVD, double-billed with God's Bloody Acre.  You can find it at Amazon here.)

Poster image courtesy of Wrong Side of the Art.

For a look at last week's entry, click here. And don't forget, our Upcoming Releases List (the best on the 'net) is constantly updated, so stop by and preorder some cool stuff!

© 2010 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #7!

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Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #7 here at the ol' Arcana. Can you identify this week's mystery photo, scanned direct from The Holecheck Archives? If you think you recognize it, post a comment below. As the week goes on, if no one guesses correctly I'll begin adding some pretty useless hints. Easy, right?

Here ya' go -- good luck!



UPDATE:

Congrats go out to the man, the myth, Marty McKee, for identifying this week's challenge in a half-hour flat, smashing our prior record!  The still above is indeed from Alberto De Martino's Strange Shadows in an Empty Room (1976), a surprising little gem with a killer cast (including Stuart Whitman, Tisa Farrow, John Saxon and Martin Landau) that doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves.  Known to the rest of the world as Blazing Magnum, this poliziotteschi (with some giallo trappings) features, as AIP's pressbook states, "one of the most breathtaking and destructive car chases ever seen on the screen," as well as, "a crashing helicopter, a transvestite crushed in a cement mixer, fights and falls from a skyscraper, and all sorts of shootings." 

American International Pictures issued it theatrically in 1977, oddly playing up the thriller elements more than the action.  (To be fair, their publicity did devote some space to Whitman's stuntwork, along with his exercise regimen of handball and horseback riding...)  On VHS the title found release in the '80s from Vestron Video, whose onscreen title dropped the word "Strange." 

Unfortunately, the film is still lacking a proper DVD release; an unlicensed version turned up as part of VideoAsia's Grindhouse Experience, Vol. 2 set, but it's a crummy transfer a few generations removed from VHS.  We can only hope that one of the boutique labels will roll the dice and give it a shot.

I couldn't find the trailer online (even though I know I have it on a compilation somewhere; perhaps one of the Something Weird tapes?), but plenty of folks have uploaded the car chase! 



For a look at last week's entry, click here. And don't forget, our Upcoming Releases List (the best on the 'net) is constantly updated, so stop by and preorder some cool stuff!

© 2010 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My First Award! (aka Ten Things I Like that You Probably Don't Care About.)

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It seems I've been tagged with some sort of random award, the "Happy 101," by Alex B. of Trash Film Addict. He had this to say in his write-up:

"Bruce Holecheck of CINEMA ARCANA.
You need to check that blog out. Even just to see the fab banner. And they have cool movie quizzes and other stuff. Recommended."
 
Not bad for a blog I basically started with the singular purpose of housing the Mondo Digital Upcoming Releases List. So thanks, Alex; I really appreciate it.  I'm just happy at least a couple of people are reading this thing!
 
Now, Alex didn't leave me with any details about what this award actually was, so I had to do a little digging on my own.  Apparently I'm supposed to list ten things that make me happy, and then name ten other blogs that make me happy.  Like some sort of nerd-ass new millennium chain letter. Normally I'd ignore this portion quicker than a Carl Lewis morning jog, but it's my first award and I don't want to look ungrateful, so...
 
Ten Things that Rock Out Loud:

1)  Dan Taylor's Pulled Pork.  Probably at the top of my mind, since in a few hours I'll be heading over to good pal Dan Taylor's place for his yearly ETPBBQ, joining old friends that I don't get to see nearly enough, like Tomb it may Concern's David Zuzelo and ex-Videooze editor Bob Sargent.  It's my favorite cookout of the Summer, as we drink and eat ourselves silly all day long, then eventually make our way inside for a triple-threat trash treat.  This year I programmed a Redneck Rampage bill with God's Bloody Acre, Rituals and Hunter's Blood.  Can.  Not.  Wait.
 
2)  Exhumed Films' Annual 24-Hour Horrorthon.  Going on its fourth year this October.  24 nonstop hours of 35mm weirdness, courtesy of Exhumed Films.  Words can't adequately describe the feeling of communal frenzy that occurs at 4 o'clock in the morning, when hundreds of people, unstable and delirious from already sitting through 16 straight hours of cinematic insanity, have Teenage Mother's live birth footage unexpectedly dropped onto their eyeballs.  Ditto for any part of Wicked, Wicked, Raw Force, Lady Terminator, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, or anything else you can't believe you're seeing on the big screen.  I wouldn't miss it for the world.
 
3)  Demolition Derbies.  I mean, seriously, it's three hours of cars crashing into each other.  I'll see you at The Buck!
 
4)  Special FX Make-Up. I always wanted to be a make-up artist when I grew up. Didn't quite get around to it. Today's CGI beasties sicken my stomach. I love the imagination, the invention, the creativity of practical fx work. The physicality of it, the act of creating that illusion with real world means. Anything else is bullshit.
 
5)  Traveling Variety Shows.  I'm way too young for the real heyday of freakshows, spiritualists, carnies and the like.  But that doesn't mean I won't go out of my way for any and all sword swallowers, burly q dancers, daredevils or contortionists that happen to be passing through.  If you're barking a bit of showmanship, I'll be there.  Promise me a two-headed kid, and you've got my $2.
 
6)  Off-Kilter Tourist Traps.  There's a place in Natural Bridge, Virginia named Dinosaur Kingdom that wonders what it would be like if there were dinosaurs around during the Civil War.  And it recreates this wonder with lifesize fiberglass models, some of which are animated.  And since this is Virginia, the dinosaurs are only eating Northern soldiers.  Right here in Baltimore we have the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum.  One of the exhibits is The Middle Passage, detailing the history of the slave trade in graphic detail, including corkings, brandings, decapitations, castrations, lynchings and more.  It's your own personal Farewell, Uncle Tom, but in wax. These places were someone's "good" idea, and I love them for it.
 
7)  Reverse Cowgirl. Just because.
 
8)  Old-School 'Zines. In an era where anyone and everyone can spit out whatever slop they want all over the internet, it's almost alien to think that there used to be people with such unbridled enthusiasm, dedication and desire to share that they slaved away, for no profit, on their own homemade publications. John Szpunar and I were once working on a book documenting this practically now-dead phenomena, and while it's currently stalled (at least on my end; I've hardly talked with John since the Barrel days) I hope we someday finish celebrating this little slice of history.
 
9)  YouTube Videos of People Getting Hurt.  I've seriously spent inordinate amounts of time on the site searching terms like "falling off of ladder," "shark attack," "snowmobile wreck," "trampoline accident" and more.  I can't stop.  It's a sickness.  I've joked about unrolling a new endeavor titled Ouch! The Blog! to chronicle the pain.  Why do I have a feeling it would eclipse this page's views in about 45 minutes?
 
10)  Being Recognized for this Award.  Who doesn't want to hear that someone likes what they're doing?
 
As for other blogs, pretty much anything on my sidebar is worth checking out.  Davey Z's Tomb it may Concern is constantly updated with enthusiastic reviews and rambles, not to mention pictures of naked Eurotrash actresses.  Chris Poggiali is an exploitation encyclopedia, and his Temple of Schlock is not to be missed.  Jared Auner's Worldweird Cinema covers titles you're not going to read about elsewhere.

My new favorite blog find is actually Quasi-Interesting Paraphernalia, Inc., which I stumbled upon while looking for an image of the Slithis Survival Kit.  The page finds itself home to scans of vintage travel brochures for oddities long gone, in addition to occasional catalog pages, commercials and newspaper advertisements.  If you're a sucker for this stuff like I am, you'll spend more time than you want perusing their past posts.  So that's who I'll nominate for this award; instead of ten blogs, I nominate one! 

And with that, I'm done writing for today.  It's time to clean myself up and travel across town for a day filled with good food, good beer, good company and good times.  Hopefully everyone reading this can do the same!

© 2010 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #6!

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Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #6 here at the ol' Arcana.  Can you identify this week's mystery photo, scanned direct from The Holecheck Archives?  If you think you recognize it, post a comment below.  As the week goes on, if no one guesses correctly I'll begin adding some pretty useless hints.  Easy, right?

Here ya' go -- good luck!


UPDATE:


Congrats go out to two-time winner Will Wilson for identifying this week's flick as William Girdler's Day of the Animals (1977).  After having a surprise hit with the prior year's awesome Grizzly, Girdler mined similar territory with this fun nature-goes-nuts romp, starring Christopher and Lynda Day George versus all sorts of snakes, birds, dogs, bears and, uh... an ozone-juiced Leslie Nielson.

Theatrical duties went out to producer Edward Montoro's Film Ventures International, who proceeded to advertise it with several different campaigns, including a 1978 reissue as Something is Out There.  There was even a tie-in novel!  Shortly thereafter, Girdler and Montoro would find themselves in a legal dispute over the ever-growing Grizzly profits, leading to the end of their collaborations.

On home video, Day of the Animals saw VHS release in 1982 from Media Home Entertainment.  The tape was intact, but cropped from its original scope framing, eliminating a lot of the gorgeous location shooting the film benefits from.  Fans hoped for a correctly formatted release when it was announced for DVD in the infancy of the format (by an outfit known as DVD, Ltd.; how's that for imagination?), but it unfortunately remained an aged, cropped transfer.  In 2006, Media Blasters thankfully did the title right, striking a new master from one of the few 35mm prints known left to exist, finally restoring its full picture and supplementing it with interviews, trailers, commentary and more.  (They even issued it in a triple-pack including Grizzly and Curtis Harrington's Devil Dog, Hound of Hell!)



For a look at last week's entry, click here.  And don't forget, our Upcoming Releases List (the best on the 'net) is constantly updated, so stop by and preorder some cool stuff!

© 2010 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.