Recent Reviews

Troll / Troll 2 (Blu-ray)
Oh, but I try not to think back to those dark days: back when a DVD release of Troll 2 seemed like some kind of wildly unrealistic fantasy. Even though I was DVD-or-die for everything else under the sun, I'd still rent one of my all-time favorites on VHS like clockwork every few weeks. Here we are, many years later, and we're somehow on our second Blu-ray release of Troll 2. Who says we're not living in a golden age? While MGM gave this cult classic a heck of a spit and polish in high definition back in 2010, that initial release had otherwise been stripped to bare metal. Scream Factory has thankfully picked up the slack, lavishing the original Troll with the special edition treatment, recording a shiny new commentary for Troll 2, and, at least for this initial run, even making this set a triple feature.

Troll (1986)
...and, having shared a great many adventures together, Harry and Ginny embarked on what promised to be their most extraordinary one yet: that of husband and wife. In the blissful years that followed, the Potters waved farewell to England and built a new life for themselves in the distant land of San Francisco. Harry traded in his wand for a stack of LPs thousands deep. His scar soon faded. His hair thinned. For her part, Ginny swapped her ginger locks for a bob of gold and, these days, is going by the name of Anne (Shelley Hack). Soon enough, there were two Harry Potters -- father (Michael Moriarty) and son (Noah Hathaway) -- not to mention wee little Wendy Anne (Jenny Beck). Try as they might to live among the muggles, magic would all too quickly re-enter their lives once again...

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See? Because his name is Harry Potter, plus there's wizardry and stuff.

Troll is remarkable for far more than the coincidental naming of a couple of its characters,...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Troll / Troll 2]

Scream and Scream Again (Blu-ray)

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...and Scream Again!

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Of course screaming would be on the agenda. Marvel at that gorgeous cover art with a woman's half-naked body dissolving in a vat of acid! Even more critically, this marks the first time that three of the most towering names in horror -- Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing -- share the same bill. ...and yet, Scream and Scream Again isn't a horror movie, exactly, and it's certainly worlds removed from the Gothic frights that spring to mind at the mention of any of those three actors. Cushing's role is a thankless one, limited to a single scene that runs all of three minutes length. Lee's role is nearly as brief and inconsequential, and though he is briefly pitted against Price, the two never actually appear in the same frame together. Though Price scores the most screentime of the three, he only rears his head in a handful of scenes, and most of those are well into the movie. The three of them don't star in Scream and Scream Again; they're just names on a poster.

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I'm sure AIP and Amicus were desperate for the marquee draw those three actors would bring; anything would help in marketing a film this defiantly uncommercial. In most movies, you generally know rather early on who the central characters are, how they relate to one another, what hurdles they're trying to overcome, and on and on and on. The storytelling in Scream and Scream Again is so fragmented that someone could watch the first seventysomeodd minutes and still have no clue what it's about. With no real rhyme or reason, it bounds back and forth between three completely distinct storylines: one revolving around a series of gruesome rapes and murders, another involving a Third...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Scream and Scream Again]

A Black Veil for Lisa (Blu-ray)
Black leather gloves. A mysterious killer draped in shadow. A fruitless investigation by the authorities as corpses continue to pile up.

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Add in its giallo-esque title as well as a directorial credit by What Have You Done to Solange?'s Massimo Dallamano, and a certain picture quickly begins to take shape. A Black Veil for Lisa largely shies away from the conventions so frequently associated with gialli, which makes sense seeing as how it didn't yet have the template perfected by Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage from which to draw. Its murders are not the film's principal allure. The attacks are swift, straightforward, not especially gruesome, and never the culmination of any unnervingly suspenseful setpiece. The body count is low, and the kills prior to the film's climax are out of the way rather quickly. There is no shocking reveal about the killer's identity; we learn fairly early on who's responsible, and, in fact, knowing who's to blame is critical to its premise.

No, A Black Veil for Lisa is less interested in Bava-inspired murder mysteries and draws instead far more deeply from film noir. Thunderball's Luciana Paluzzi once again makes for a hell of a femme fatale as the titular Lisa. Aging narcotics inspector Franz Bulon (Sir John Mills) knows all too well that this achingly gorgeous redhead he'd somehow convinced to marry him is hopelessly out of his league. Consumed by fears of her infidelity, Franz routinely pesters his wife with calls home, taking no peace of mind unless he knows precisely where she is and who she's with at any given moment. It's an obsession that's already started to derail his investigation into a recent rash of drug-related murders. No matter how distracted he may be these days, Franz still wields a gleamingly...[read the entire Blu-ray review of A Black Veil for Lisa]

More reviews...

Stuff I've Watched Recently

  • 11/25: Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Blu-ray)
  • 11/25: The Brood (Blu-ray)
  • 11/20: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (Blu-ray)
  • 11/18: Taste the Blood of Dracula (Blu-ray)
  • 11/17: Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (Blu-ray)
  • 11/17: The Mummy (1959) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/15: Troll 2 (Blu-ray)
  • 11/15: Troll (Blu-ray)
  • 11/14: Fired Up (Blu-ray)
  • 11/14: Troll 2 (Blu-ray; Commentary)
  • 11/14: Face to Face aka Faccia A Faccia (Blu-ray)
  • 11/13: She's Out of My League (Blu-ray)
  • 11/10: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Blu-ray)
  • 11/9: Wrong Turn 6 (d-t-v) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/8: Scream and Scream Again - Twilight Time (Blu-ray; Commentary)
More of my boring video log...
Movies I've Acquired Recently

  • 11/27: Foxcatcher (Blu-ray)
  • 11/27: The Imitation Game (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/27: Boyhood (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cats: Two Adaptations By Sergio Martino & Lucio Fulci (4-Disc Limited Special Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Lizard in a Woman's Skin (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Inside Out (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Orange Is the New Black Season 2 (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Fargo (Remastered Edition) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/26: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Blu-ray)
  • 11/23: Voo Doo Man (Blu-ray)
  • 11/23: Jurassic World (Blu-ray)
  • 11/22: Cooties (Blu-ray)
  • 11/10: The Brood (Blu-ray)
  • 11/10: Ikiru (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray)
  • 11/9: Troll / Troll 2 (Blu-ray)
More stuff I've bought or been sent to review...

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