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!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The VHS Archives: Angelo Pannaccio's HOLOCAUST 2 (1980)

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

HOLOCAUST 2
Angelo Pannaccio's Holocaust parte seconda: i ricordi, i deliri, la vendetta (1980)

The VHS Archives Factsheet
Label: All American Video
Catalog: AAV112
Box Type: Clamshell
Year of Release: ?
Runtime: 77:17
Print: 1.78:1 / English / No subs
Extras: None

About the Film
Director: Angelo Pannaccio
Year of Release: 1980
Country of Origin: Italy
Stars: William Berger, Tina Aumont, Kai Fischer, Andres Resino, Gordon Mitchell, Marzia Damon
AKAs: Holocaust 2: The memories, delirium and the vendetta part two

Verbatim Box Synopsis
A series of vicious killings seem to have no connections; but as T.V. and the press report on the murders it is discovered that all of the victims were either former Nazi's or members of their families.

The story of a merciless vendetta ...... a group of vigilantes have banded together to track down those who had a part in the massacre of over six million Jews.  We relive the horror and the paralyzing fear of those terrible days. 

 U.S. All American sleeve! 

Danish Film-Lab sleeve, courtesy of Hans-Jorn Reimer and his Danish Ex-Rental VHS Appreciation Group

Dutch Sunrise Tapes sleeve, courtesy of Cult VHS

Alternate Dutch Sunrise Tapes sleeve, originally scanned by "anarkotiko21"!

Italian Cinelux sleeve

Spanish MKM sleeve!

Finnish United Film sleeve, courtesy of Daniel Liljefors!

Greek LTV sleeve, again courtesy of Daniel Liljefors!

Japanese Mimi Video sleeve, courtesy of Jayson Kennedy's Basement of Ghoulish Decadence!


Some especially ridiculous scenes, compiled and uploaded by "R6dw6C"!

Looking for Holocaust 2 on VHS? It's available on Amazon here.

Investigate more titles with Project: MOGUL!

For a look at other labels, check out The VHS Archives!

© 2011 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The VHS Archives: Bruno Fontana's THE DIRTY SEVEN (1982)

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

THE DIRTY SEVEN
Bruno Fontana's La belva dalle calda pelle (1982)

The VHS Archives Factsheet
Label: All American Video
Catalog: AAV102
Box Type: Clamshell
Year of Release: ?
Runtime: 92:23
Print: 1.66:1 / English / No subs
Extras: None

About the Film
Director: Bruno Fontana
Year of Release: 1982
Country of Origin: Italy
Stars: Laura Gemser, Angelo Infanti, Gabriele Tinti, Giovanni Brusadori
AKAs: The Beast with Hot SkinEmanuelle Queen of the Desert

Verbatim Box Synopsis
A party of commandos go on a dangerous mission to kill...
... two are killer, their captain is wounded and the rescue craft which was supposed to pick them up, shoots at them instead...
... betrayed, forsaken and hungry, filled with fear and despair, the survivors become brutes...
... A strange girl joins them.  Sheila (LAURA GEMSER) is a fascinating and sensuous woman who agrees to lead them to safety; but instead she makes them betray each other.......
A picture full of HIGH SUPSPENSE and HUMAN DRAMA starring LAURA GEMSER, ANGELO INFANTI, GABRIELE TINTI written and directed by BRUNO FONTANA

U.S. All American sleeve!

Danish sleeve, originally scanned by "Diabolik"!  

Argentinean Lucian Films sleeve, courtesy of Raro VHS!

French Cine Budget sleeve, taken from Nanarland! 

French Delta Video sleeve, originally scanned by "fred932000"!

German VTD sleeve, taken from The Video Museum

Alternate German VTD sleeve, taken from The Video Museum!
.
It looks like the All American artwork can be traced back to GO Video's UK cover for Apocalypse, the Untold Story! (Scan taken from The GO! Video Tribute Site!)

Looking for The Dirty Seven on VHS? It's available on Amazon here, though it's not the All American release.  There's also a Simitar DVD available.

Investigate more titles with Project: MOGUL!

For a look at other labels, check out The VHS Archives!



© 2011 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Name that Movie Monday! Challenge #25!

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

Welcome back to Name that Movie Monday!

It's time for Challenge #25 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 reader "Paul" for identifying this mystery photo as Denis Heroux's The Uncanny (1977).  I thought the image would be a little tougher to nail with half of Samantha Eggar's face hidden, but I guess it's hard to mistake those eyes!

The film itself is a Canadian attempt at aping the success British companies like Amicus had been having with the anthology format, bringing in plenty of that country's stars and some of their backers, too.  Peter Cushing hosts as a writer pitching his newest research tome; one dedicated to the concept that cats have been exploiting mankind instead of the other way around.  Seriously.  What follows is a trio of supposed terror tales involving feline forces dooming a surprisingly loaded cast that includes, in addition to Eggar and Cushing, turns from Ray Milland, Donald Pleasance, John Vernon, Susan Penhaligon and more.

While bypassing theatrical play in the States (going direct to television airings on CBS), The Uncanny did hit screens in its financing countries; North of the border Astral handled the job, and across the pond Rank took charge.  There was even a novelization issued in the U.K.!  Receiving an '80s VHS release Stateside courtesy of Media Home Entertainment, the film never gained much of a following here, probably due to its lack of particularly exploitable content -- at the end of the day, it's still a flick about killer kitties, no matter what you do!  No domestic DVD as of this writing, but there are imports available in Australia and Britain.




For a look at Challenge #24, still unsolved, click here. We also have quite a few unidentified Grab Bag photos, if you really want to show your stuff. And don't forget, our Upcoming Releases List (the best on the 'net) is constantly updated, so stop by and preorder some cool stuff!

© 2011 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The VHS Archives: Pedro Luis Ramirez' SCHOOL OF DEATH (1975)

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

SCHOOL OF DEATH
Pedro Luis Ramirez' El colegio de la muerte (1975)

The VHS Archives Factsheet
Label: All American Video
Catalog: AAV109
Box Type: Clamshell
Year of Release: ?
Runtime: 89:37
Print: 1.33:1 / English / No subs
Extras: None

About the Film
Director: Pedro Luis Ramirez
Year of Release: 1975
Country of Origin: Spain
Stars: Dean Selmier, Sandra Mazarowsky, Norma Kastel, Carlos Mendy, Victoria Vera
AKAs: ?

Verbatim Box Synopsis
'School of Death'...
A spine tingling tale of horror.
Leonor and her boyfriend discover a series of horrifying events involving many victims at an orphanage.
Then Leonor, too, was chosen as the next victim of terror.

U.S. All American sleeve! 

All American combo VHS sales sheet, courtesy of Fred Adelman's Critical Condition

Spanish Video Future sleeve! 

 Spanish Select Video sleeve!

Looking for School of Death on VHS? It's not readily available, but there is a Sinister Cinema DVD-R here.

Investigate more titles with Project: MOGUL!

For a look at other labels, check out The VHS Archives!




© 2011 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The VHS Archives: Javier Seto's MACABRE (1969)

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

MACABRE
Javier Seto's Viaje al vacio (1969)

The VHS Archives Factsheet
Label: Mogul Communications, Inc.
Catalog: MOG1003
Box Type: Clamshell
Year of Release: ?
Runtime: 85:13
Print: 1.33:1 / English / No subs
Extras: None

About the Film
Director: Javier Seto
Year of Release: 1969
Country of Origin: Spain / Italy
Stars: Larry Ward, Teresa Gimpera, Silvana Venturelli, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart
AKAs: Shadow of Death, Invisible Assassin, The Emptiness All Around 

Verbatim Box Synopsis
The beautiful and cunning Denise hates her husband and wants him dead...
She falls in love with her husband's twin brother and together they plot the fiendish, chilling murder.
A story of lust, evil and hate!

U.S. Mogul Communications sleeve! 

U.S. Mogul Communications sales sheet, courtesy of Bill Knight! Check out his rare VHS auctions!

Italian Cinehollywood sleeve, originally scanned by "jungle killer"!

Dutch Sunrise Tapes sleeve, courtesy of Daniel Liljefors!


Bonus fan trailer, put together by our pals at Exhumed 'Zine!

Looking for Macabre on VHS?  It's available on Amazon here.

Investigate more titles with Project: MOGUL!

For a look at other labels, check out The VHS Archives!

© 2011 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The VHS Archives: Lucio Fulci's CONTRABAND (1980)

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

CONTRABAND
Lucio Fulci's Luca il contrabbandiere (1980)

The VHS Archives Factsheet
Label: Mogul Communications, Inc.
Catalog: MOG1019
Box Type: Clamshell
Year of Release: 1987
Runtime: 90:25
Print: 1.33:1 / English / No subs
Extras: None

About the Film
Director: Lucio Fulci
Year of Release: 1980
Country of Origin: Italy
Stars: Fabio Testi, Ivana Monti, Guido Alberti, Venantino Venantini, Ajita Wilson, Marcel Bozzuffi, Romano Puppi
AKAs: Luca, The Smuggler, The Naples Connection

Verbatim Box Synopsis
The gang leader of a smuggling racket makes a miraculous escape from an ambush in which his brother is murdered.  Meanwhile a traitor in his gang informs the authorities and their activity is curtailed.

All hell breaks loose and murder follows murder as rival gangs try to eliminate each other.

All action, fast-paced movie in the tradition of "The Godfather."

U.S. Mogul Communications sleeve!

German VTD sleeve, taken from The Video Museum

Alternate German VTD sleeve, also from The Video Museum

Swiss SSV sleeve! 

Dutch Eagle 6 sleeve, courtesy of Cult VHS

Italian-language U.S. Centauro sleeve!

 Argentinean International Television Film Distributors sleeve, courtesy of Raro VHS!

Alternate Argentinean International sleeve, also courtesy of Raro VHS

 Greek Diamond sleeve, again courtesy of Raro VHS!

Norwegian Video-Huset sleeve, courtesy of Dag-Johnny Elnes!

Japanese Doberman sleeve, originally scanned by "ed209vscain"!

Spanish Layons Video sleeve, courtesy of "Inspector Tanzi"!


International trailer, uploaded by Blue Underground!

Notes (partially cannibalized from my old Mondo Digital review)
Fulci's sole crime actioner eschews the traditional cops vs. criminals set-up and instead spins a gruesome mobsters vs. mobsters scenario. Fabio Testi may be our hero, but he's also a ruthless killer who lays waste to several folks throughout the flick. Relying on the old "honor among thieves" credo, followers of spaghetti westerns, samurai epics and Hong Kong "heroic bloodshed" gun fu slaughterthons will find a comfortable familiarity with the general tone. Testi's good looks and cool demeanor add credence to his performance, and it's easy to believe someone with his charm could effortlessly climb the underworld ladder. The role occasionally harks back to the skills he honed as a stuntman, forcing Fabio to really earn his paycheck by ably jumping out windows and swinging from ropes, among other things. The supporting cast also presents a few surprises, with Euro-sex superstar Ajita Wilson popping up as a slutty gangster groupie and all-around badass Romano Puppo portraying a particularly mean-spirited hitman who wipes out half the cast. Lucio Fulci's workmanlike direction lacks the energetic staging someone like Enzo Castellari or Umberto Lenzi would have brought to the table and he instead opts to spoon out his usual specialty: wholesale carnage. That's right, gang, Contraband ranks right up there alongside Tulio Demicheli's Ricco as the goriest, most ruthless poliziotteschi Italy has to offer. Bellies are blown open, heads are demolished by gunfire and, in one of the more excruciating scenes in Fulci's oeuvre, a woman's face is blistered off with a Bunsen burner. Weak stomachs beware.

Shot from the end of November through December 1979 on location in Naples with some interior work done at De Paolis Studios in Rome, Fulci's effort started life under the title Vicious and was filmed as Mean Blood before eventually settling on Luca il Contrabbandiere (Luca the Smuggler). Distributed overseas as The Smuggler and The Naples Connection (presumably to capitalize on Marcel Bozzuffi's similar role in The French Connection), the outing was skipped over for domestic theatrical dates and didn't see U.S. shores until Mogul Communications' 1987 VHS release as Contraband. A nice rarity for collectors, the tape itself, while more or less uncut, left a lot to be desired with its cropped and fuzzy transfer. Additionally, the entire opening sequence was blacked out to showcase cheesy, computer-generated credits! Blue Underground's U.S. DVD thankfully rectifies this situation with an intact print that easily eclipses past presentations. Letterboxed at 1.85:1, their anamorphic transfer represents Sergio Salvati's unusually subdued and slightly soft-focus photography as accurately as can ever be expected. By no means a vibrant movie, there are still several colorful interludes (like the discotheque sequence) that reinforce what a nice makeover the film received here. A few instances of brief print damage still pop up, but they float right by and aren't worth fussing over. The mono soundtrack, while obviously limited, is also free of any problems and the noticeable hum that plagued other issues is mercifully absent. Recommended.

Additional Notes
Over at the Lovelock & Load forums, member "Pollanet" shared this fascinating bit of information: "In the book "Lucio Fulci - Il terrorista dei generi," unfortunately Italian-language only, my friend Paolo Albiero talks a lot about the unbelievable history of Fulci's Luca il contrabbandiere.

"Producer Sandro Infascelli died while Fulci was directing the film; Infascelli's wife didn't know what to do and almost had to abort the work.  Unexpectedly, the smugglers decided to help her and finished producing the movie!

"Nothing in the film is faked; all the men and the craftsman are really Naples contrabands! Every night they gave a bag with money to Infascelli's widow to pay the production, and every day a part of them worked for Fulci as he directed.

"Fulci said that in all his career he never had as good a producer as the contrabands..."

Looking for Contraband on VHS? It's not readily available, but the aforementioned Blue Underground DVD can be had for pretty cheap!

Investigate more titles with Project: MOGUL!

For a look at other labels, check out The VHS Archives!



© 2011 -- Bruce Holecheck. All Rights Reserved.