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Robert E. Rodden II (Peoria, IL. United States)

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It Came From Outer Space [DVD] [1953] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
It Came From Outer Space [DVD] [1953] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Richard Carlson
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: 4.38

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The DVD Falls Just Short of Meteoric, 26 Sep 2005
This is a wonderful movie, even in the flat 2-D we are offered on this DVD. I've actually never seen this movie in its original 3-D splendor, but I've been told it was stunning.
The story is, by today's standards, typical for the 1950's science fiction film. Handsome, rugged scientist (Richard Carlson of Creature From The Black Lagoon fame) and beautiful girlfriend (Barbara Rush) witness a meteor crashing to ground in the Arizona desert, only to learn it is a spacecraft from another world. No one believes them until people begin to disappear, and later return as almost robotic zombies. But this story was based on a Ray Bradburry short story, and that story, combined with wonderful script writing, takes this from a bland sci-fi popcorn muncher to a thinking man's (at least on the B-grade movie level) story of paranoia and terror that ultimately shows the weaknesses, and the strenths, in humankind.
What most young people today don't realize is that this film was a first of many kinds. It was the first science fiction movie to portray aliens as anything but blood thirsty. It was the first of the desert sci-fi films. It was one of the first films to use the theremin for the eerie, wavering, electronic music we all associate with science fiction films from that era. It's the first time a movie used the perspective of the "monster", by letting us see through its cyclopian eye.
The lonely desert landscapes are almost alien in themselves, sweeping and harsh, and seen many times in the long shadows and gray light of dusk. The soundtrack is mono that has been encoded to stereo, which sound wonderful on a home stereo system. The acting is top notch, and the special effects, though dated, have that comic book Buck Roger's feel that was bigger than life in the 1950's.
The extras here are nice, as well. There's a really nice documentary about the movie and a few other films in the same genre. There's a audio commentary with film historian Tom Weaver. There also a nice photograph and poster gallery, as well as the theatrical trailer, production notes, and a brief cast and filmakers section.
The only reason I don't give this DVD five STARS is because they didn't include a 3-D version of the movie. Maybe that's asking too much for the ... price tag, but darnit, Univeral has been so commited to releasing wonderful horror and sci-fi gems to DVD in wonderfully restored condition, that I can't help but wonder why it was decided not to offer this rare and exciting way of viewing the movie. Especially after the glowing way it is described in the docummentary included on the DVD. What a missed opportunity for Univeral and for the fans of this wonderful movie. That aside, this is a lovely package and a wonderful edition to any science fiction film fans collection.

Masque of Red Death & Premature Burial [DVD] [1962] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Masque of Red Death & Premature Burial [DVD] [1962] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Ray Milland

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double Corman, 26 Sep 2005
This is MGM at their best. A double-feature DVD with two Roger Corman classics, both in glorius widescreen, both in luscious technicolor. The first gem, "Masque of the Red Death", has never looked better. A tale of decadence set during the black plague, here represented as the "red plague", thus Edgar Allen Poe. But where Poes wonderful poem ends, is, so-to-speak, at the end of this film. Corman took Poes frightening vignette on the black death and spun a tale of Satanism versus Christain belief, all set in a richly atmospheric castle in the middle of a hellish landscape -- For those of you squemish about anything to do with Christianity, think of it as a morality play of Good against Evil; afterall, Corman is rather ambiguous as to who the hooded "death characters" really are -- And our host to the party to end all parties, none other than Vincent Price himself.
The second film, Premature Burial, I'd never seen until this DVD. It is not as hypnotic at "Masque", but it is a fun, macabre journey into madness with a superb actor, Ray Milland, at the helm. Also starring the very sexy, very voluptious Hazel Court, which some Hammer Horror fans may remember from the up and coming dvd "Curse of Frankenstein", due out in October. The film is presented in widescreen. Both films, one on each side of the DVD, include very nicely produced extras with Roger Corman, giving some nice information on the creation and production of both films. If your a fan of Vincent Price, buy it for "Masque". If your a fan of Roger Corman, you will not be disapointed in either film.

Curse of the Demon + Night of the Demon (Ws) [1958] (REGION 1) (NTSC) [DVD] [US Import]
Curse of the Demon + Night of the Demon (Ws) [1958] (REGION 1) (NTSC) [DVD] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Dana Andrews
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: 5.61

85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devil Of A Good Time, 26 Sep 2005
This is a slick cat-and-mouse-game movie. Dana Andrews, perhaps best known for the beautifully filmed murder classic Laura, plays American pscycholigist John Holden, who journey's to England in order to debunk a so-called Satan-worshipping cult-leader. Instead, he finds himself pitted in a pscychological and spiritual war against a real-life head of a devil cult. At stake is his soul.
I've heard Dana Andrews described as "the aging leading man" when refering to this role, but he looks fit, and performs in top shape. The entire supporting British cast is wonderful, and co-star Niall McGinnis, who plays the part of cult leader Karswell, is at first a genteel, likable middle-aged man, even fearful at times, but he is determined in his evil beliefs and acts.
The movie begins with the "accidental death/murder" of a fellow pscychologist of Holden's, which leads to his staunch investigation into the cult and its leader. As he nears the truth, his owned "cursed" life begins to take on a distorted, frightening twist. He is on a countdown to his own murder(literally predicted to the hour and second by his nemisis), by a horrific fire-demon that will tear his soul from his body and carry him to the depths of hell. The movie really picks up pace in the last act, where Dr. Holden and his investigative team interviews an ex-cult member accused of murder while under hypnosis. The horror coming out in the man's testimony, and the following panic-maddened flight into death, leads Holden on his own break-neck-speed flight, to do a final battle of wits with Karswell.
This DVD includes both the shortened American version, "Curse of the Demon", and the longer (better) British version, "Night of the Demon." Both are presented in widescreen. The source print shows little wear or damage, for being such an old film. This is a wonderful, bump-in-the-night thriller. And if the appearance of the demon is dated by todays special effects standards, it is still amazingly well done, and at times frighteningly believable.

Castle of Blood [DVD] [1967] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Castle of Blood [DVD] [1967] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Barbara Steele
Price: 7.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Creepy Horror Film, 26 Sep 2005
This was great! I'd never seen this film until this newly released, uncensored international version put out by Synapse. It shows how perfectly a black-and-white film can be used to produce growing, sustained horror with atmosphere. With the lights out, I watched this little gem, and occasionally paused the film to listen to the house when I thought I'd heard an unusual "bump" in the night; after all the horror films I've seen, that doesn't happen that often any more.
Castle of Blood (in Italy, "Danse Macabre") was directed by Itallion icon Antonio Margheriti, who made a name for himself with Sword and Sandle and Sci-fi films. In this movie, he created perhaps one of the best evil dead stories of all time. The premise, an eager, young reporter for the London Times meets Edgar Allen Poe and a companion of his, Blackwood, at a tavern called the Four Devils. From the start, we feel as though we've stepped right into a Poe story, where everything is dream-like, and turning slowly towards some approaching horror. Our hero is offered a wager that he can not survive the night in Blackwood's family castle, emerging at dawn unscathed. The castle is supposed to be haunted by something not just frightening, but deadly. In order to assure an interview with Poe for his paper, the young man takes the bet, not at all believing in the supernatural. What follows is a night fraught with evil manifestations, as ghost after ghost must relive the last insanely violent moments before their deaths in the house once a year. Our hero, aided by a beautiful exotic ghost played by Barbara Steel (fresh from her success in "Black Sunday") discovers his very soul is in jepardy unless he can escape the claustraphobic, shadow-filled interior of the house.
We're treated to murder and mayhem, and a plot that quickens in pace until it reaches an urgent pitch at the climax of the film that leaves us sitting on the edge of our seats.
This movie may not be for everyone, especially young, jaded movie-goers used to glossy red slasher films and cgi monster effects. This is old-style ghost-story telling, where black-and-white filmography is used for the full effect of atmosphere and character empathy. This is also not a film for children, as there is nudity and a brief scene of lesbianism. Four film sources were used to reproduce this original, longest version of the film (it was released in America with the afore-mentioned scenes cut), so at times the sound track switches to Itallion with english subtitles. These scenes are usually brief and do not detract at all from the movies appeal. Understand too, this film is over forty years old, and some of the film elements used to put it back together were hard to find and slightly damaged by time; they are still of such a fine quality, you hardly notice it. The movie is presented in widescreen with a mono soundtrack. Though the voices of the Italion actors is dubbed in english, they did a fine job, so don't worry about a silly, bad acted dubbing that many associate with foreign films from that period.
So, if you like fog-shrouded castles, evil ghosts seeking human blood, and fearful flights through dusty, cob-webbed hallways, this is your movie.

by Richard Matheson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lock The Windows And Doors; And That Might Not Help, 26 Sep 2005
If you haven't read this vampire novel, you need too. Richard Matheson wrote one of the most original, gritty horror tales ever with I Am Legend. I picked it up back in 1985, while working on a ranch in Wyoming for the summer. I read this dark, bump-in-the-night tale while sleeping in the bunkhouse, and at times found myself looking at the opened hay-loft doors and windows to see if a white, bloodless face was peering in at me.
This is a gothic vampire tale placed in modern America and crouched in science. Robert Neville is the last human survivor after a plague has either killed everyone else (including his family) or transformed them into blood-lusting vampires. He now lives a barely sane life in a constant fight for survival, battling vampires, depression, and alchoholism. What he goes through is both heartbreaking and terrifying. And yet he portrayes mankind with all his weakness, and strengths, as he pulls himself up by the straps and begins teaching himself blood chemistry and medicine, in a heartfelt attempt to cure the vampires, and save his sanity.
The novel is tightly written, filled with scenes that will raise the hackles and send your skin crawling. Try reading this one at night.

Scars of Dracula [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Scars of Dracula [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Christopher Lee

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still A Good Time, 26 Sep 2005
Though not considered one of the best by Hammer fans, Scars of Dracula is still an enjoyable vampire film. It is dark and violent and at times twisted. Lee himself has said on more than one occasion that this was his least favorite in the series, because of the violent nature of the film, and the acts of torture his character was directed to perform. Yet, it is still very much the Hammer-style film, with luscious, colorful sets, ghothic atmoshere, and great performances by all the actors involved. And in a way, Lee's Dracula here is more frightening than some of his other incarnations, because of his twisted, satanic ways. He gives a feeling that Dracula could indeed originate from the lower regions of hell.
It would've been a better film with the reappearance of a Van Helsing type vampire hunter, like Cushing, or Andrew Keir (Dracula: Prince of Darkness), as the kill-scene is my least favorite of all the Lee/Dracula films. But the DVD itself is beautiful, the picture quality near perfect, the sound clear and crisp. And it is a well put together film.
The extras from Anchorbay, as usual, are far superior to anything anyone else (with the exception of Criterion, perhaps) includes with their DVDs. There's an audio commentary with Lee and director Roy Ward Baker. You get trailers, a poster gallery, and with the limited edition two disc set, you also get a neat and personal interview with Lee called "The Many Faces of Christopher Lee", and two totally cool music videos that Lee participated in. Anchorbay, as always, has treated the Hammer Horror fan with an exceptionally good product.

Blood Beast Terror [DVD] [1968] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Blood Beast Terror [DVD] [1968] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Peter Cushing

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This Is A Cushing Film (Image Release Version), 26 Sep 2005
Let's face it, this movie was a low-budget horror film with bad special effects. But, it does have one saving grace; Peter Cushing is wonderful as a police detective trying to follow the trail of a blood-feasting (totally ludicrous and campy) giant moth woman.
The picture quality of the DVD is fairly good, and the sound is fine. It is presented in letterbox (non-animorphic), which is much more pleasing to view then the Pan-and-Scan vhs copy that I first saw this picture on. The setting is Victorian, and having a British cast, the performances are believable and elegant (even if swallowing the idea of a giant Deaths-Head moth makes you gag a little). If your after a film of the quality of "Horror of Dracula", or "Curse of Frankenstein", then don't bother. But if your a die-hard Peter Cushing fan, like I am, you'll probably enjoy this movie, as I do. There's not much suspense, but there is plenty of dry British humor, and some fine performances. Just don't expect to be dazzled by the special effects. Think of it as Sherlock Holmes meets Godzilla, and you'll do fine.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2012 1:53 AM GMT

Woman Eater [DVD] [1958] [US Import] [NTSC]
Woman Eater [DVD] [1958] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ George Coulouris
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: 20.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as all that, 26 Sep 2005
This is obviously a small budget British horror film. There's only mild tension when the young beauties are being fed to the flesh eating plant, and it doesn't rate the 5 Stars of say "X-The Unknown" or "The Quatermass Experiment". But you could do worse, for instance, say with the majority of American made films made with the same low budget. The British cast in this is talented, and the story is character driven instead of monster driven, so somehow works in a way that's like reading a short story from a black and white pulp science-fiction magazine in the fifties.
The "slightly" mad scientist is played by George Couloris, a veteran stage and film actor. You can also see him in a bit part that's a "bit" more colorful in Hammer's "Blood from the Mummy's Tomb". He does a good job here of giving at least a little meat to a stock mad doctor role. The real eye candy is not the man eating plant, but the gorgeous actress Vera Day, who plays Sally, a young girl who looses her job swinging her hips in a traveling fair dance show and hooks a job from the good doctor via a local car mechanic who meets her and falls in love in apparently ten seconds or less. But who can blame him. Vera Day was undoubtably a gorgeous blonde bombshell.
The monster plant is cheesy enough to give the film that comforting Saturday Matinee feel. And Image Studios has released this DVD in widescreen, though it doesn't appear to be anamorphic. The packaging says the sound is Dolby Stereo, but I had to turn the sound up, as it seemed a little low and fuzzy at time. I have to say all-in-all, if you like black and white monster movies that take place mostly in old English manors, complete with dank cellar laboratory and volumptuous girl victims, you can't pass on this one, not for this low price.

The Haunting [DVD] [1963]
The Haunting [DVD] [1963]
Dvd ~ Julie Harris
Offered by babsbargains *** WORLDWIDE SHIPPING ***
Price: 19.99

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch Your Step In Here, It's Dark, 26 Sep 2005
This review is from: The Haunting [DVD] [1963] (DVD)
Man, what can I say that hasn't already been said. This was a great horror experience. And this is truly the only version on film that represents Shirley Jackson's original novel. It is a dark and frightening place these unsuspecting people step into, and it only gets worse.
Hill House is haunted, and a parapsychologist (Richard Johnson) chooses three other "researchers" to help him investigate what exactly is going on in this house. However, none of them are prepared for what will unfold.
The cast is superb, with Julie Harris playing a vulnerable "runaway" adult trying to gain respect and freedom for herself. Richard Johnson is the brave, level-headed researcher, hoping to find proof of life-after-death. Claire Bloom, sexy and unpredictable, plays the self-reliant psychic with a secret of her own. Russ Tamblyn as the synic turned believer. And watch for a surprising appearance of Louise Maxwell, Bond's Miss Moneypenny.
The film is a black-and-white masterpiece of gathering darkness and horror. Robert Wise fought Warner Brothers to keep the movie in black-and-white at a time when all major studios were insisting on color. The DVD presents the film in its original widescreen aspect ratio. The camera work here is tricky and masterful, catching you with odd angles and directions that cause a vague, and growing sense of angst, very much like the narrative in Shirley Jackson frightening novel. The sound quality is excellent. And the extras on this DVD are exceptional, with a full-length commentary including Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Director Robert Wise and screenwriter Nelson Gidding.
Turn out the lights kids, it's the only way to meet this thing; in the dark.

The Abominable Snowman [1957] [DVD] [US Import] [NTSC]
The Abominable Snowman [1957] [DVD] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Forrest Tucker

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In America, I grew up with Cushing as my hero!, 26 Sep 2005
We've been pretty lucky in America during the past five years of the DVD boom. (I know DVD has been around twice that, but it's only the past five years the studios have started listening to you and I about what WE want on DVD) I've gotten to see more quality Hammer Studio releases of wonderful movies, like "The Abominable Snowman", then I ever did during the vhs era. And a lot of this thanks goes to AnchorBay Entertainment, who went out of their way to get permission to release them, in their original aspect ratio, and in the best possible shape they could find. This DVD is one of the gems of my collection.
The picture quality is stunning for such an old film. And to know that many of the outdoor and indoor Himalayan sets were put together in England is astounding. The sound is crips and clean. And the picture is animorphic Widescreen for those lucky enough to have a Widescreen TV.
If you don't know the story, briefly, Dr. John Rollason (Cushing) is a gentle, humane scientist working in the Himalayas with his wife and friend/co-worker, supposedly catalouging rare plantlife in a hostile region. We discover shortly that American explorer and exploiter, Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker) and his partner (Played by Robert Brown) are hooking up with Rollason for an expedition to find the one, true Yeti. Both men are driven, one by the purity of science and humanity, the other by his greed and hunger for fame. They are pushed to the limits in an hostile world that can kill at anytime. And when they come face-to-face with the Yeti, the clash of personalities no longer matters, because each man must now face his own fears alone with the only true weapons that will work; their strengths, and their weaknesses.
This was a pretty giant production for Hammer. And they handled it wonderfully, giving us B-Horror hungry fans something a giant step above flesh-eating monsters and alien invaders; they gave us an intellegent, thinking-man's adventure story.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2011 10:33 AM BST

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