a Mondo Digital subsite

Looking for the Upcoming Releases List? Here it is!

Cinema Arcana presents The VHS Archives!

Looking for Something Else? Check our Table of Contents!

Swing by and "Like" our Facebook Page for even more news & updates!

Follow our movie reviews at Letterboxd!

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #14!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #14 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?

(And forgive the lack of non-Challenge posts lately; I had one lined up for the weekend, but Blogger was kinda being a dick. Fear not, there'll be posts aplenty soon enough; I currently have four interviews in the works, two random articles, a few top ten lists and some rare behind-the-scenes stuff I think you guys will dig.  Stay tuned!)

Anyway, here ya' go -- good luck! (And could my still get any more beat up?)


UPDATE:

Kudos to Chris Poggiali (Temple of Schlock) for making it a hat trick (our first!) by identifying William L. Rose's Girl in Room 2A (1973). Ostensibly a giallo following the demented goings-on at a way-out boardinghouse, it's usually derided for being slow or nonsensical, but when has that ever bothered us?  For the less-demanding viewer, there's plenty of fun to be found here.

Girl in Room 2A is probably most notable for its oddball mutt pedigree.  Filmed in Italy with an Italian crew, the director is actually an American known to Something Weird followers for his '60s New York-based roughie work like Rent-A-Girl and the Olga series. Production duties were shared with notorious exploitation producer Dick Randall. The cast is a hodgepodge of Eurotrash perennials, including Daniela Giordano, Brad Harris, Karin Schubert and even a small role for Rosalba Neri!

Joseph Brenner Associates, Inc. gave the film a domestic theatrical release in 1975, and, like most of their holdings, it was issued to VHS by Prism Entertainment in 1985. Unfortunately for fans, that's pretty much it.  It hit theatres in Italy under its original handle La Casa della Paura, but I don't think this version ever made it to video.  There are clips on Youtube containing Japanese subtitles, but I've never come across that edition (nor seen a cover scan!) and I'm not sure if it's any different than what JBA presented Stateside. I was hoping Mondo Macabro would issue it on DVD as part of their Dick Randall Collection, but was told Spectacular Trading doesn't hold the US rights. I guess all is we can do is wait and hope that someday everything will get sorted and we'll get a proper release!

Here's the trailer, not exactly safe for work. (Did Brenner's crew make the best trailers or what?  Eyeball, Beyond Erotica, Torso, Because of the Cats... someone needs to make a custom comp of these suckers!)



(Since this post was originally written, Mondo Macabro did sort out Girl in Room 2A for DVD.  It can be purchased from Amazon here.)

Poster art courtesy of Wrong Side of the Art.  The newspaper ad, as usual, was swiped from Fred Adelman's excellent Critical Condition.  I should probably start paying these guys royalties.

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, September 20, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #13!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #13 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? 

(It must be, as all past challenges have now been beaten, including #11 and The Champ, #9, which remained undefeated for a record 26 days!)

Anyway, here ya' go -- good luck!


UPDATE:

Congrats to Chris Poggiali (Temple of Schlock) for scoring win Numero Two-o, identifying this week's photo as William Fruet's Death Weekend (1976). This way-above-average Canadian rapesploiter showcases a battle of the sexes when fashion model Brenda Vaccaro (on a getaway with her swinger dentist!) outraces local rough Don Stroud and his gang of creeps. Not thrilled with getting showed up by a chick, a Straw Dogs-esque home invasion scenario ensues and the not-so-happy couple is forced to fight for their survival.

Gaining a Stateside release in 1977 by American International Pictures, they retitled the film The House by the Lake to capitalize on its Last House on the Left similarities, while North of the Border (and pretty much everywhere else) it remained Death Weekend. In 1985 Vestron Video released it under this title, and that's unfortunately been the last word so far. (At least it's a decent, open-matte print!) A frequent staple of "Why Isn't This on DVD" lists, one can only hope the future will bring us a nice, new remaster. I would think MGM still control the rights; at the very least let's get an HD cable screening!


Newspaper ad stolen 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, September 13, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #12!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #12 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?

(Or not so much? We now have two unsolved challenges: last week's Challenge #11, a movie I guarantee everyone who reads this blog has seen, and Old Faithful herself, Challenge #9.  Hints have been added to both posts; give 'em another look, wrack your brains, and see what you can come up with.  I may end up posting another photo to #9; unfortunately, I think my other three stills are all dead giveaways! I will say it's not a sexploitation flick...)

Anyway, here ya' go -- good luck!


UPDATE:

Congrats go out to "Cinezilla" for correctly identifying this week's film as Ruggero Deodato's Jungle Holocaust (1977).  Probably the best of Italy's short-lived slew of cannibalism gross-out epics, this "true account of the series of events" details the struggles of an industrialist trapped in the titular foliage who becomes captured by a primitive tribe of flesh-munchers. Much more an adventure outing than its atrocity-minded bloody brethren, Deodato's film still doesn't pull its punches and remains recommended viewing due to his deft direction and compelling storyline.

Released theatrically in 1978 by United Producers Organization under the title The Last Survivor and later reissued as Carnivorous (usually paired up with Gary Sherman's Raw Meat), the movie fell victim to censorship practically everywhere it went. No surprise, really, considering its continuous nudity (female and male -- sometimes in close-up) and continuous violence (torture, dismemberment, rape... and a fun scene where a woman feeds her newborn to a crocodile); I once caught a 35mm print as Last Cannibal World that was relieved of practically all its highlights!

In 1985 Video City Productions dubbed the film Jungle Holocaust for their VHS issue, trying to ride the coattails of Cannibal Holocaust's then-current theatrical dates, I suppose. The tape was finally uncut, but unfortunately cropped to fullframe from its original scope framing.  Years later another VHS tape made the rounds, this time from Saturn Productions under the name Cannibal, and while it presented the film in a less-compromised aspect ratio (around 1.85:1), it was regrettably struck from the British 'X' print and was missing the good stuff. The situation didn't get any better overseas, and as far as I know there was never fully ltbx, fully uncut VHS release.

And then came DVD.  In 2001 Media Blasters finally presented Jungle Holocaust right as part of their Shriek Show line, completely uncut in its 2.35:1 ratio, packed with supplements including director's commentary, interviews with stars Massimo Foschi and Ivan Rassimov, trailers, stills... hell, they even included miniature lobby card reproductions! Of course, that was almost ten years ago; how 'bout a remastered Blu-Ray, guys?!



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, September 6, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #11!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #11 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? (Or not so much?  For two weeks and running Challenge #9 is still up for grabs!  I've already added a few hints; maybe another picture is in order?)

Anyway, here ya' go -- good luck!


UPDATE:

Congrats go out to Todd Bridges for scoring his second win (in a single day!) by identifying George A. Romero's Martin (1977) as this week's challenge.  A melancholic tale of a maladjusted teen who may or may not be a vampire, Romero claims the film as his favorite, and it's hard to argue.  (Ask me next week, and I might name Knightriders or The Crazies as his true masterpiece, but for now, it's Martin!)


Released to theater screens in 1978 by Ben Barenholtz's Libra Films, it eventually made its way to home video from Thorn/EMI (with various reissues from its parents/subsidiaries) in the '80s.  There was even a laserdisc, for those lucky enough to get one.  In 2000, Anchor Bay Entertainment gave Martin its DVD debut (and again issued a VHS) in the director's preferred 1.33:1 ratio; the subsequent 2004 producer-approved disc from Lionsgate mattes things to a tight 1.85:1.  Both are worth getting, just for the different perspectives presented in their commentary tracks.  One can hope someday we'll see a definitive edition on Blu Ray, including the Italian variant (which was restructured and scored with Goblin tracks!) and the long-lost 165-minute original cut! (A pipe dream, I know...)



Poster scan 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.

The Zombie Rabbit Award

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It appears I've been infected, not once, but twice, by the "Zombie Rabbit Award."  The first bite was from Chris Poggiali at Temple of Schlock; the second, by Marty McKee at Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot.  Both blogs are excellent reads and have been part of my sidebar since pretty much Day One.  I highly recommened swinging by and adding them to your favorites, or subscribing, or doing whatever it is that you kids do nowadays.  You won't regret it.
 
Now, I do have to say I was a little sad there doesn't appear to be any qualifiers for this award; I'm always itching for an excuse to make a new Top Ten list or to explain why I think Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis is completely awesome.  Perhaps I'll get around to it another day...
 
What I am supposed to do is list ten other spots worthy of spreading this contagion to, which is something I'm terrible at.  All of the sites listed to the left are well worth checking out; you can't go wrong with any of 'em. 

However, in the spirit of this award, I'll talk a little about two new additions.  Jack Jenson recently started Backyard Asia to examine the odder side of world cinema; I'll be curious to see what he digs up as time progresses.  But my new favorite blog (and the one I'll nominate for this award) is The Original Video Junkie (or whatever they're calling it this week).  The short-lived print 'zine makes its web appearance with a bang, as the ridiculously prolific pair of William Wilson and original editor Thomas Simmons crank out reviews, comparisons, rants and more.  Currently they're examing all the Raiders of the Lost Ark rip-offs to pop up around the globe, and earlier topics include the later work of Tobe Hooper and a comparison of Fangoria Films' Mindwarp with its uncut Brainslasher incarnation (something I've been meaning to do for years).   
 
So there ya' have it!  Until next time...
 
© 2010 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Top Ten DVDs of... 2003?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Mondo Digital mainpage was recently given a cosmetic overhaul, and in addition to its new look several older articles have been restored.  One such piece was a round-up of 2003's best DVDs that I compiled, with input from writers like Nathaniel Thompson, John Charles, Travis Crawford and Lee Williams.  I have included my contribution below, spruced up with some images and links.  Be sure and check out the original page linked above for the other writers' lists.  For purchasing links, just click the titles!

Top Ten DVDs of 2003:

EMANUELLE IN AMERICA (Blue Underground)
The disc everyone said couldn't be done. After years of waiting, the ever-dauntless Blue Underground unleash Joe D'amato's exercise in all things mind-melting to DVD in high style, with its horse-diddlin', hardcore sex and intense pseudo-snuff intact, backed up with a slate of worthwhile extras.  Laura Gemser's erotic adventures as free-spirited, globe-hopping reporter Emanuelle have never been treated with this much respect; let's hope it's only the beginning!

ESCAPE 2000 (Anchor Bay)
Here's one I've been rooting for ever since Anchor Bay's initial New World catalog acquisition -- an outlandish and gory futuristic updating of The Most Dangerous Game replete with multiple severed appendages, hyper werewolves in cross-country vehicles, hilarious political ramblings and Steve Railsback!  Usually disemboweled, this Aussie action flick amazingly turns up as a packed special edition showcasing a resplendent uncut transfer, an active sound remix, featurettes, commentary, trailers and more.  Who would have ever guessed?

Sleazy art?  Arty sleaze?  Something in between?  Now you can decide, thanks to Synapse's gorgeous debut of this bizarro slice of violent nunsploitation.  Impossible to find a good copy prior (complete tapes were fullframe and ltbx tapes were cut) and never even released to home video domestically, we can now view the classiest "naughty nun" flick of 'em all in virtually pristine condition.  Not much in the way of additional items (save an interview with starlet Florinda Balkan and a stills gallery), but it's the movie that really counts.
(Note: Since this initial writing, the film has been reissued on Blu-Ray by Scorpion Releasing.)

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (Grindhouse)
David Durston's rabid hippie contagion classic finally lands on disc, and it's a doozy.  Aside from the remastered presentation of the main feature, Grindhouse have packed nearly every nook and cranny of this platter with some sort of supplemental material; it's enough to keep you busy for days.  Interviews, commentaries, photo collections, trailers and items that are just peripherally related to the film or its crew are included just for the sake of completeness.  All hail S.A.D.O.S.!

The epic tales of exiled executioner Ogami Ito are making their way to U.S. DVD after much delay, and let me tell ya', it was more than worth the wait.  Not only are the films (which detail the revenge-fueled exploits of samurai and child across feudal Japan) pure poetry in motion, but Animeigo's restored transfers take on an almost 3-D sheen that will steal your breath with every slow-motion spray of arterial crimson.  I picked the second entry of the series simply because I like its title more, but ALL are highly recommended.  No extras except for trailers and liner notes, but who cares?
(Note: Since this initial writing, Animeigo has upgraded the series to Blu-Ray.)

NEKROMANTIK 2 (Barrel)
Corpse-humpin' never seemed so sweet.  This strangely poignant and morbidly romantic account of the darker sides of human desire remains provocative viewing to this day, which shouldn't be a surprise considering it was purposely designed to alienate horror fans.  Never an outfit to skimp, Barrel have gone all out with its digital issue, not only delivering a beautiful transfer and loading on piles of sublime extras like outtakes, onset footage and commentaries, but also including the entire soundtracks to both installments on a bonus CD!

SCRAPBOOK (Sub Rosa)
To be frank, most independent films these days are total crap.  And do we really need another homemade serial killer opus?  Apparently yes, we did.  Believable acting, unexpected twists, inspired (but not showy) direction and a complete refusal to pull any punches whatsoever catapult this one way above its peers.  The end product is undeniably perverse, brutal and often hard to watch, but that's what makes it such an atypical surprise in a genre full of stale efforts.  Sub Rosa's DVD contains plenty of input from the makers by way of commentaries and behind-the-scenes footage, too.
(Note: Since this initial writing, the film has been reissued by Image Entertainment.)

SEVEN WOMEN FOR SATAN (Mondo Macabro)
Simply the most delirious piece of Eurotrash I've seen in years.  Reminiscent of Jean Rollin on speed, this former obscurity never fails to entertain, from its ridiculous storyline to its infectious score to director Michel Lemoine's jaw-droppingly insane turn in front of the camera.  In addition to a new transfer from the last film elements known to exist, Mondo Macabro includes a well-made interview segment, a trailer and a few informative text essays, but they're merely the icing on the cake with this newfound gem.

The hilariously misogynistic misadventures of one-eyed woman killer Richard Jennings get new life thanks to this wonderful collaboration between Something Weird and Image.  Possibly the most berserk films ever made, Michael and Roberta Findlay's grungy masterpieces of anti-female sentiment have never looked so sparkling and established fans will be thrilled to find additional footage, too!  While completely bereft of the bonus materials SWV are usually known for (there wasn't any room!), this trashy trilogy is still sure to destroy any relationship you're currently in.  "So long, sucker!"

Long seen only in horribly bastardized versions, Jess Franco's moody fever dream is now available in what can at last be considered its definitive presentation.  A personal, surreal and lyrical mediation on the uncertain nature of death that will undoubtedly frustrate some but fascinate followers with its poetic vagueness, this is not your usual Franco outing.  Bruno Nicolai's rhythmic, driving score only adds to the film's disorienting appeal.  Challenging, but rewarding.  Besides the superior French language option, Image also presents a trailer with exclusive footage and a collection of alternate takes and insert sequences.
(Note: Since this initial writing, Redemption has issued an excellent special edition on Blu-Ray.)

Honorable Mentions:
Alucarda (Mondo Macabro)
Blue Sunshine (Synapse)
Contamination (Blue Underground)
The Living Corpse (Mondo Macabro)
Revenge of the Ninja (MGM)
 
 
For a look at Cinema Arcana's top picks from years past, click here!
 
© 2003-2013 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.