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Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #18!

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Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #18 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:

And Chris Poggiali (Temple of Schlock) takes the lead, scoring four by naming Lucio Fulci's The Psychic (1977), a supernatural-tinged giallo whose U.S. retitling and tagline kind of give away some of its worthy surprises.  After receiving visions of a vicious murder, a woman uncovers a skeleton at her husband's family estate.  Believing his cries of innocence, it's up to her to piece together the mystery of the images she saw, before it's too late...

Originally titled Seven Notes in Black, this transitional film for Fulci (smack dab in the middle of his earlier, more traditional thrillers like A Lizard in Woman's Skin and Don't Torture a Duckling and his later, legendary gore romps) is easily one of his best.  Its compelling script peels away its layers carefully, and the director is constantly aided by a wonderful score and nice photography by frequent collaborators Fabio Frizzi and Sergio Salvati, respectively.  While usually overlooked in favor of Lucio's more graphic endeavors, The Psychic has at least found itself memorable enough to be paid tribute in some unexpected places: there's an awesomely daft Bollywood remake named 100 Days, and a soundtrack cue popped up during an especially inspired sequence in Kill Bill, Vol. 1.

Group 1 released the film to domestic theaters in 1979, attempting to wring some name value out of former Cover Girl model and descending actress Jennifer O'Neill.  Like most of their holdings, it hit VHS care of Catalina Home Video, and was later reissued by Lightning Video.  (There's apparently a Video Treasures tape, too, but I never had it.)  DVD-era rumors circulated that the title was slated for re-release from Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder Pictures--a clip was even included in one of his introductory wraparounds--but it was never to be.  Image Entertainment had their hands on it for a time, but that never materialized, either.

Finally, Severin Films gave The Psychic its English-friendly digital debut in 2007 (discounting the Alfa Digital bootleg that married the French DVD's video with an old VHS' audio track), containing a good-looking transfer of the full European version (the U.S. prints were all missing some credit footage and other minor bits), Group 1's preview and a half-hour featurette with writer Dardano Sacchetti and others.  (I contacted Jennifer O'Neill's reps requesting an interview for the disc; I never heard back...)  (And screw Fed Ex for losing my 35mm trailer on its way to Severin!)  A nice package for a highly recommended film.



Television ad swiped from Fred Adelman's magnificent Critical Condition, of course.

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, October 18, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #17!

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Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #17 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?

(Things have been a bit hectic lately, but I should get last week's Challenge updated shortly, along with posting a new interview and a look at some rare unused promo negatives.  Stay tuned to this channel!)

Anywho, here ya' go -- good luck!


UPDATE:

Congrats to Todd Bridges, who makes it three by identifying Jean LaFleur's Ilsa, Tigress of Siberia (1977) as this week's Challenge, scoring him dead even with current leaders William Wilson and Chris Poggiali.

The fourth and final entry of the gloriously sicko series finds our top-heavy heroine the commandant of a Russian "rehab" clinic, punishing her political prisoner population with forced ice baths, chainsaw arm-wrestling bouts and mind-altering electroshock treatments. If that doesn't work, they're simply fed to her pet tiger. When Stalin falls, our titular temptress makes her way to Canada(?), where she heads up a whorehouse and is more determined than ever to finish what she started... Less sadistic than its predecessors, this action-oriented Canuxploitation romp really should enjoy a greater reputation than it does. It's fast-paced, has plenty of explosions, inventive bloodshed, wholly gratuitous nudity -- plus, you get to hear stock music cues from Dawn of the Dead used in a shower sex scene!

Seeing release in its home country by production company Cinepix, New World Pictures grabbed it for U.S. release and issued a cut, R-rated version to a few screens in 1978 under the title The Tigress. (Cinepix also used this moniker; the character is never actually addressed as Ilsa in the film. Copyright reasons? Or perhaps fear of a backlash?) Their hilariously-misleading poster featured a generic model on a tiger-skin rug; one can only imagine how thrilled audience members were to find a film rife with impalements, shootings and the occasional snowplow dismemberment. According to Christopher T. Koetting's book, Mind Warp!, the film then went on to "a four-year engagement at US military bases overseas, at which it premiered in May 1980." That's one way to keep morale high!

This censored edit found its way to VHS from Charter Entertainment, again titled The Tigress, while American Video issued it intact under the more exploitable Ilsa, the Tigress of Siberia. Amazingly, there's currently no domestic DVD; however, those with PAL capabilities can grab the 2004 release from Shock Distribution. It's an okay anamorphic print -- not up to today's transfer standards but it's uncut and remains the best current option (other import discs are flawed with forced subtitles, optical censoring, etc.). Supplements include the ironically-narrated trailer (embedded below) and a stills collection that consists of a lot of screen captures, followed by some genuine advertising materials. It'd be great to get a new hi-def transfer of this sucker, with Dyanne Thorne commentary and some other extras; hopefully someone out there reading this can make it happen!
 


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, October 11, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #16!

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Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #16 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:

Thumbs up to Dave S., who recognized Norman J. Warren's Satan's Slave (1976) through the satin scribblings of the censor's Sharpie.  Apparently filmed as Evil Heritage, the story follows young Catherine, who, after watching her parents inexplicably blow up in a car crash, moves in with her uncle Alex (a ridiculously-mustached Michael Gough). Unfortunately for her, it seems ol' unc' is a closet cult leader and has one hell of a birthday party planned for his new tenant.


Receiving its belated Stateside release in 1979 courtesy of Crown International Pictures (who also issued Warren's later supernatural slashfest Terror the same year), the film surprisingly never garnered a domestic VHS issue (unless there's something I'm forgetting) and the curious were forced to seek out the Canadian tape (sometimes popping up in more well-stocked rental outlets) or one of the European imports.

Things became even more problematic in the digital age.  Satan's Slave didn't get a U.S. home video release proper until 2004 when Rhino included it as part of their Horrible Horrors Collection, Vol. 1.  While the disc was completely uncut, notably showing a harder psychosexual scissor-assault than found in some foreign versions, it was also badly cropped to fullframe from the original 2.35:1 framing. Shortly thereafter, Britain's Anchor Bay UK issued a nice, correctly-framed special edition as part of their Norman J. Warren Collection, and it was almost perfect; as expected, the aforementioned scissor bit wound up being replaced by a less explicit alternate version.  (The BBFC wouldn't even pass the complete sequence for inclusion as an extra.)  Hopes were briefly buoyed when BCI Eclipse announced their acquisition of the Crown catalog, and their 2008 disc (paired with Terror) sported a new transfer in the correct ratio, but was cut of multiple sex & violence highlights.  It was this censored edit that eventually made its way to Mill Creek's 2009 Gorehouse Greats set. 

So what's a fan to do?  Buy the Anchor Bay UK DVD for the print and supplements, and grab the old Rhino disc for the complete harder cut?  One can only hope eventually someone will come along and finally present the hard export version in its intended scope.

(Since this writing, Scorpion Releasing have announced they'll be issuing the full uncut version in its correct scope ratio.  You can find it on Amazon here.)



Poster courtesy of Wrong Side of the Art.  Newspaper ad taken from Serious Exploitation.

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, October 9, 2010

Deep Inside the LOVE CAVE (in Eroticolor)

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The pain... the pleasure...

As I noted in my last post, I recently acquired literally hundreds of sexploitation stills, most for titles I've never even heard of.  The majority seem to be redubbed French and German romps; Max Pecas, Jean-Marie Pallardy, Erwin Dietrich, etc. are all well-represented, along with the schoolgirls and their reports, bored housewives, lonely salesmen, and even the spouse of a coal minor [sic]. 

Others are a bit more puzzling, and one in particular really has me curious: Love Cave, whose amusingly literal title makes for an awesomely filthy double-entendre. (Or I just have the mentality of a seventh grader. Your call.)  It's actually rougher looking than the rest; its name conjurs up a different image than the photos represent, but I don't know if Rape Cave would've gone over very well.


So far, I haven't been able to turn up anything regarding its identity. Its distributor is listed as Danton Films Limited, a Canadian outfit.  The photos indicate a '74 release, though it may not have hit Canada until '75.  Based on the clothing and hair, I would wager it was filmed several years earlier. 

Here are the pictures; hopefully someone out there has some information to contribute about this one! (You have to love the hand-scribbled underwear printed onto the photos.)







The second still down actually isn't mine; I found it at One Sheet Index and have included it here (reframed and cleaned up) for completeness.

UPDATE:

John Charles sent along a newspaper ad for Love Cave, paired with something called Under Cover Girls, from the July 11, 1975 edition of The Toronto Star.


© 2010 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

181 Frames of Gut-Crunching, Man-Eating Terror! Behind-the-Scenes of William Girdler's GRIZZLY

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The one that got away. [Insert sad face here.]

I've been hard at work procuring mountains of goodies for The Holecheck Archives lately (read: hemorrhaging money I don't have); some impressive, some not so much.  (Did I really need hundreds of sexploitation stills for movies I'm clueless about?  What the hell is Love Cave, anyway?)

Unfortunately, I missed out on one particularly awesome set:  not one, not two, but 181(!) 35mm still camera negatives taken behind-the-scenes of William Girdler's Grizzly.  I tried -- believe me, I tried -- but apparently my several hundred bucks wasn't good enough. Hopefully the current owner sees fit to do something worthwhile with them. 

Until then, I've presented a few low res examples below, for posterity's sake. I've tried to frame, sharpen and color correct them to get 'em as clean as possible, but there's only so much I could do.  Enjoy!


 





  





French poster courtesy of Devildead.com.

More rare photo displays coming soon, including some negatives I actually do own!

© 2010 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #15!

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Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #15 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 to William Wilson, who ties it up at three by identifying this week's flick as Constantine S. Gochis' The Redeemer: Son of Satan (1977). An oddball proto-slasher with quasi-religious leanings, the film tells of a high school reunion gone bad, as six returnees are whittled down in numbers by a costume-changing killer with a pretty straight-line view about sin. A strange and sometimes confusing outing, The Redeemer is nevertheless one of those rare gems that succeeds more on vibe and atmosphere than logic. Give it a shot with an open mind and you should find a lot to like.

(Writer William Vernick once told me even he didn't know what was going on for most of it.  The additional thumb subplot was brought about by the producer, who traced his hand on a copy of Bill's script, added the extra phalange and said, "Put this in there!" Maybe I'll need to throw together an interview...)

Submitted for MPAA approval in 1977, Dimension Pictures didn't actually release the film theatrically until 1978 in an attempt to steal some publicity from that Summer's official Omen sequel.  The company's typically misleading ad campaign highlighted a Damien-esque kid with the phrase "First 'The Omen'... Now 'The Redeemer'" above his head. At home, Continental Video popped out a nice version on VHS in 1985 as Class Reunion Massacre, the title the film is most commonly assocatiated with. Later (and rarer) tape editions from VCI and Genesis reverted back to the film's original moniker.

Aside from some bootleg DVD appearances, that's been it for the last 25 years -- until now. Code Red recently gave the film a new digital transfer from a 35mm print (reportedly the source is a little beat up, but I'll take a new 35mm transfer over a decades-old tape master any day!) and it's streeting next week! Hopefully this time around it'll find its audience.


For an interview with star T.G. Finkbinder, check out Justin Kerswell's Hysteria Lives

The newspaper ad comes courtesy of Temple of Schlock.

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.