Willard

Tear Into the Original Willard – Out On Scream Factory Blu-ray & DVD!

I’ll be totally honest with you dear reader, I’d never seen the 1971 horror film Willard until I received my review copy of this Blu-ray. Sure, I knew it was about rats. Yes, I guessed the rats committed some violent acts. That was it.
Willard - Bruce Davison

After watching, I admit it’s not the movie I thought it was. I imagined it being a dark, gruesome horror film from top to bottom. It isn’t. It’s an oddball drama about a socially awkward man named Willard who doesn’t have many friends. His home has become infested with rats, but instead of obeying his mother’s orders to kill them, he saves them. In fact, he shares some of his birthday cake with them! Then, the rats become his friends. He gives them names, talks to them and even brings them to work. Eventually, they become the only friends he can trust. This friendship Willard has with his rats doesn’t extend to some of the other people in his life, namely Willard’s cavalier boss, Mr. Martin. Like me, you can assume how the film ends, but it is truly spectacular and worth the lean 95 minute runtime.

The title character of Willard is played by Bruce Davison, an actor who’s been in everything – no really, he has 244 acting roles listed on his IMDB. Davison solidly walks a tight rope between Willard’s macabre loneliness and momentary charm. Sondra Locke, Elsa Lancaster and Ernest Borgnine fill in the other major roles and each performance is planted firmly within their reality. Even with the camp factor, the all star ensemble plays it up just enough to keep the movie grounded, but quirky.

Equally as interesting as the film is its history, which you can learn all about thanks to the wonderful release Scream Factory has put together. The audio commentary with star Davison is full of facts and anecdotes, and he shares a real passion for this movie. Davison explains that this release is a big milestone in Willard because it was a box office hit when it came out, yet due to legal issues, fans had a hard time finding many home releases and certainly nothing in HD. Until now!

I don’t know how the transfer compares to any of the limited previous releases, but knowing Scream Factory I would imagine they found the best version available. For my money, it looked and sounded great. And Scream Factory has also released Ben, the sequel. If rats are your thing, then they’ve got you covered.
Willard - Ben Poster

Friends, Patrick was kind enough to let me chime in on his article. When he submitted his latest review I kind of freaked out. As I have been wanting a proper release of Willard for quite some time. In fact the only way I have been able to watch this cult classic besides the occasional television airing is thanks to my VHS copy. If you will pardon the pun I would point out that its certainly become rather ratty.
Willard

I would add that the equally awesome 1972 sequel Ben also provided the late Michael Jackson an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song! – Vic

[Via] Oscars

Scream Factory Unleashes Bubba Ho-Tep!

Scream Factory
With Bubba Ho-Tep Don Coscarelli delivers an absolutely stunning film. Of course being a devotee to Coscarelli’s Phantasm series and 1982’s The Beastmaster might make that statement suspect. However I would point out that Coscarelli not only created a movie that has laughs, scares, but heart.

Furthermore Bubba Ho-Tep manages to combine all of that and it works. As a matter of fact it does more than work it as it trancends it’s source material. When all is said and done, Coscarelli gifts the audience with a poignant movie about not just battling evil – but the very real fear of growing old and being left behind.

Of course Bubba Ho-Tep is also about Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy fighting an evil mummy. With the battleground chosen being none other than a retirement home. John F. Kennedy by the way happens to be wheelchair bound and played by the late great Ossie Davis. Did I forget to mention that Bruce Campbell portrays Elvis Presley?
Bubba Ho-Tep

Yeah. To say this movie is in fact magical is an understatement.

[Via] Scream Factory TV
I am happy to add that Scream Factory is releasing the Collector’s Edition on Blu-Ray this Tuesday!

So what is Bubba Ho-Tep about?

An ancient evil in the form of a mummy begins to stalk the elderly residents of the Shady Rest Retirement Home. After all who best to prey on than those who are ignored and in some cases too weak to defend themselves?

Thankfully to put a stop to the threat – or at least try to is Elvis and JFK. It should go without saying that a running gag throughout the film is whether these two men…are just crazy. But the strength of Coscarelli’s direction and his screenplay which is based on the story by Joe R. Lansdale – in addition to the powerhouse performances by Campbell and Davis keep you emotionally invested throughout.

Having said that the film never forgets that in the end it belongs to the horror genre.

So did Scream Factory load up the Blu Ray with goodies?

Are you kidding? Of course they did. Thank you, thank you very much.

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author Joe R. Lansdale
  • NEW All Is Well – An Interview With Writer/Director Don Coscarelli
  • NEW The King Lives! – An Interview With Star Bruce Campbell
  • NEW Mummies And Make-up – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Robert Kurtzman
  • Audio Commentary By Don Coscarelli And Bruce Campbell
  • Audio Commentary By “The King”
  • Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Don Coscarelli And Bruce Campbell
  • “The Making Of Bubba Ho-Tep” Featurette
  • “To Make A Mummy” Make-up And Effects Featurette
  • “Fit For A King” Elvis Costuming Featurette
  • “Rock Like An Egyptian” Featurette About The Music Of Bubba Ho-Tep
  • Joe R. Lansdale Reads From Bubba Ho-Tep
  • Archival Bruce Campbell Interviews
  • Music Video
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Still Gallery

So you can totally get off work or school on Tuesday and watch the elections. However I would offer that you could totally go out and pick up Bubba Ho-Tep on Blu-Ray. So why not spend the evening with Elvis and JFK for some laughs and fears – and explosions?

If you don’t feel like heading out you can still pre-order your copy at Scream Factory!

You Can Trust Scream Factory’s The Thing On Blu-Ray!

John Carpenter’s The Thing is one of the greatest movies ever made. I know that is a pretty bold statement. Almost universally vilified on release 34 years ago it managed to achieve cult film status. Slowly finding the audience over the years that could appreciate this masterpiece of horror.
John Carpenter - The Thing

Thanks to Scream Factory The Thing has been released on Blu-Ray today in a Collector’s Edition. If you count yourself a fan of the movie you need to rush out and pick this up right now.

Yes. I am telling you that this Blu-Ray is that worthy. This is more than a chance to crow about a disc with a new interview here or featurette there. This is hands down one of the most epic releases I have had the privilege of reviewing!

I think I might have watched The Thing on TV once.

You are dead to me for saying that! All my joking aside I realize there are people who haven’t seen the film. In a nutshell the movie concerns an American research station in the Antartic that encounter a shape-shifting alien that can perfectly mimic a living organism.

The problem is twofold. The organism wants to assimilate all life and gets very angry when folks try to stop that.

For the next 109 minutes the viewer is treated to one of the most intense science-fiction/horror films ever. The Thing is claustrophobic and bleak – but also strangely uplifting in the character’s defiant actions. You will actually care about those characters too, thanks to the memorable acting by the ensemble cast. I mean when your film boasts the talents of Kurt Russell, Keith David, Donald Moffat, Wilford Brimley, and Richard Dysart to name a few – you can’t help but have great performances.

[Via] Horrorfan

Now let’s talk about those Special Features!

On Disc One:

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive Supervised And Approved By Director Of Photography Dean Cundey
  • NEW 4.1 Audio Mix Created From The Original 70MM Six Track Dolby Stereo Soundtrack (5.1 Audio Mix Also Included)
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Of Photography Dean Cundey
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Co-producer Stuart Cohen
  • Audio Commentary By Director John Carpenter And Actor Kurt Russell
  • Teaser Trailer (1 minute)
  • Theatrical Trailers (U.S. And German) (5 minutes)
  • TV Spots (1 minute)
  • Radio Spots (2 minutes)
  • Still Gallery (Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Posters And Lobby Cards) (15 minutes)

On Disc Two:

  • NEW Requiem For A Shape Shifter – An Interview With Director John Carpenter In Conversation With Filmmaker Mick Garris (28 minutes)
  • NEW The Men Of Outpost 31 – Interviews With Keith David, Wilford Brimley, David Clennon, Thomas Waites, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur And Joel Polis (51 minutes)
  • NEW Assembling And Assimilation – An Interview With Editor Todd Ramsay (11 minutes)
  • NEW Behind The Chameleon: The Sights Of THE THING – Interviews With Visual Effects Artists Peter Kuran And Susan Turner, Special Make-up Effects Artist Rob Burman, Brian Wade And Stop Motion Animators Randall William Cook And Jim Aupperle (25 minutes)
  • NEW Sounds From The Cold – Interviews With Supervising Sound Editor David Lewis Yewdall And Special Sound Effects Designer Alan Howarth (15 minutes)
  • NEW Between The Lines – An Interview With Novelization Author Alan Dean Foster (16 minutes)
  • NEW Back Into The Cold: A Return To The Shooting Locations Of THE THING – An Animated Photo Gallery Narrated By Todd Cameron Of Outpost31.com
  • NEW The Art Of Mike Ploog Gallery (12 minutes)
  • Disc Two Archival Extras:

  • John Carpenter’s The Thing: Terror Takes Shape – A Documentary On The Making Of THE THING Featuring Interviews With John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, Special Effects Make-up Designer Rob Bottin, Legendary Matte Artist Albert Whitlock Plus Members Of The Cast And Crew (80 minutes – SD)
  • Network TV Broadcast Version Of THE THING (92 minutes – SD)
  • Outtakes (5 minutes – SD)
  • Vintage Featurettes From The Electronic Press Kit Featuring Interviews With John Carpenter, Kurt Russell And Rob Bottin (13 minutes – SD)
  • Vintage Featurettes – The Making Of A Chilling Tale And The Making Of THE THING (14 minutes – SD)
  • Vintage Product Reel – Contains A Condensed Version Of The Film With Additional Footage Not In The Film (19 minutes -SD)
  • Vintage Behind-The-Scenes Footage (2 minutes -SD)
  • Annotated Production Archive – Production Art And Storyboards, Location Scouting, Special Make-up Effects, Post Production (54 minutes – SD)

So why not treat yourself today and pick up The Thing Collector’s Edition on Blu-Ray? You can hop on over to the official Scream Factory site and order your copy or just head out to the stores and grab it from the shelf!

Scream Factory Presents: John Carpenter’s Village Of The Damned On Blu-Ray (1995)

Scream Factory
I have mentioned on more than one occasion that in all honesty I have drank deeply of the Kool-Aid that is the work of John Carpenter. There is truly not a film he has made that I haven’t cared for…he is one of the main reasons in my youth that I wanted to pursue a career in filmmaking, so I have a lot of of love for his talent as a Director.

That isn’t to say of course that I don’t hold some films from his career over others. Which brings us to his 1995 remake of the 1960 classic Village of the Damned, this is a film I saw at the Razorback Theater with a group of friends and we quite liked it…it would seem though audiences and critics of the time didn’t share our appreciation of the film. I have come to learn that John Carpenter chose this film as a way to get Universal to green-light another remake he wanted to bring to the big screen, which was The Creature From The Black Lagoon! There was a bit of studio tinkering…and if Peter Jason (They Live!, Village of the Damned) is to be believed…and there is no reason to doubt him, Universal took the picture out of Carpenter’s hands before he was 100% finished with the product. Which might explain why this film doesn’t reach the heights of say Escape From New York or Halloween but it is STILL a good movie, it’s creepy and possesses an embarrassment of quality actors and awesome visual effects.

Thankfully Scream Factory feels the same way as they’ve decided to release a Collector’s Edition on Blu-Ray!

[Via] Pedro Benetone

Village of the Damned concerns the quite little seaside town of Midwich, California when during a joyous fundraiser for the town, every woman, child, man, anything living passes right out after a curious cloud travels over. Anyone that attempts to enter Midwich is knocked out and unlike the 1960 original Carpenter is quick to point out how deadly being rendered unconcious can be as some of the residents lose their lives during this bizarre event.

Village of the Damned - Truck crash

The horror has only begun however for the people of Midwich as they quickly realize that ten of the women in town are now with child, this includes the main protagonists of the film, Jill McGowan (Linda Kozlowski ), Barbara Chafee (Karen Kahn), and Melanie Roberts (Meredith Salenger) who is still pure. The Government who was already alerted when…you know…people just started passing out when they entered Midwich is quick to lend “aid” to those affected by these strange mass pregnancies, led by Dr. Susan Verner (Kirstie Alley). The townsfolk are rightfully frightened by these events but they at least have the support of Barbara’s husband Dr. Alan Chafee (Christopher Reeve) and Midwich’s minister Reverend George (Mark Hamill), whose wife is also one of those affected by the unexplained pregnancies.

Then, all ten of the pregnant women go into labor on the very same night at the very same time. One of the children is sadly stillborn, the child of Melanie, but even with all of the strangeness their are nine happy couples after the delivery. That doesn’t last long though as all nine of the children have pale complexions, white hair, incredibly…frighteningly…intelligent, a complete lack of empathy or any signs of emotions and they all have the same colored eyes.

Those eyes have the tendency to change hue when one of the children is upset and woe be to those that come under that gaze…I guess they do show one sign of emotion…rage…

[Via] Panchogul

It’s pretty evident that these nine children do not fit in or make the townspeople feel safe, so it’s decided that they will separated from children their age and taught by Alan Chafee, his Daughter Mara acts as the leader of the group. There is one member of the group of children that does act differently and that is Jill’s Son, David, who actually shows some small signs of humanity of being able to feel for others. The problem is that Mara and the others actions are forcing the hands of the townsfolk and even the Military. Can anything be done to change what looks to be a violent conflict between the children of Midwich and the World? Or will all of the Earth become as the Village of the Damned?

To find out that answer you will just have to pick up a copy of John Carpenter’s The Village of the Damned when it’s released tomorrow on April 12th. This being a Scream Factory release you know they will include Special Features worthy of your time:
NEW It Takes A Village: The Making Of Village Of The Damned Featuring Interviews With Director John Carpenter, Producer Sandy King, Actors Michael Pare, Peter Jason, Karen Kahn, Meredith Salenger, Thomas Dekker, Cody Dorkin, Lindsey Haun, Danielle Wiener-Keaton And Make-up Effects Artist Greg Nicotero
NEW Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – Revisiting The Locations Of The Film
NEW The Go To Guy: Peter Jason On John Carpenter
Vintage Interviews Featuring John Carpenter, Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Mark Hamill And Wolf Rilla (Director Of The Original VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED)
Vintage Behind-The-Scenes Footage
Theatrical Trailer
Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery

So feel free to hop on over to Scream Factory’s Official Site to pre-order your copy of John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned or wait until tomorrow to pick it up at your local retailer…or risk the wrath of Mara!

Scream Factory Presents: The Vincent Price Collection III On Blu-Ray!

Scream Factory
Not content with bringing horror fans just One Volume of Price films, nor even a whopping Two Volumes of classic horror and sometimes comedy, our friends at Scream Factory are set to release their Third collection of films representing the best that the late great Vincent Price left as his legacy!

640px-Vincent_Price_in_Hous

What films can you expect when this Blu-Ray is released on February 16th? How about 1961’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s Master of the World?
Master of the World
Besides Vincent Price, Master of the World also starred Charles Bronson (Death Wish), Mary Webster (The Tin Star), Henry Hull (Werewolf of London), and David Frankham (Return of the Fly). In the film, Price stars as Captain Robur who makes his home high above the clouds in the mighty airship, the Albatross. Hull and the others find themselves as “guests” aboard the vessel as Robur attempts to bring peace to World in his “War against War”…even if that means he must be forced to destroy military targets across the globe!

Then in the collection we have 1962’s Tower of London, not to be confused with the 1939 Universal Pictures version that starred not only Price but Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone!
Tower of London
In this film Price portrays Richard of Gloucester, or as History knows him better, Richard the III. Directed by Roger Corman, Tower of London entertains with a smidgen of actual history and some borrowing of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Richard the III…naturally. It also stars Michael Pate (Julius Caesar), Joan Freeman (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), Robert Brown (Here Come The Brides), and Bruce Gordon (Piranha 1978)! Check out how Price’s Richard the III gets what he wants in this clip:

Next up in the collection is the 1963 horror film Diary of a Madman!
Diary of a Madman
In this film adapation of Guy de Maupassant’s short story “Le Horla”, Price is Simon Cordier, a French magistrate as well as being an sculptor who comes into contact with what he believes is the horla, an evil force that can not only move objects at will but control minds. Will this ghost drive Simon to commit unspeakably foul deeds? Alongside Price, the film boasts the talents of Nancy Kovak (Jason and the Argonauts), Elaine Devry (Herbie Rides Again), Stephen Roberts (At War with the Army), and Ian Wolfe (Rebel Without a Cause)!

Then we have something very, very special with An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe from 1970.
An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe
This is a one-man show featuring Vincent Price performing “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Sphinx”, “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Pit and the Pendulum”. Here is a clip from my favorite of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales:

Last but certainly not least is Cry of the Banshee, also from 1970!
Cry of the Banshee
In this film, Price plays the role of Lord Edward Whitman, a cruel man who is also a magistrate (again?) in a small English village and he has decided that there are far too many signs of Witches. Which is bad news indeed a for some of local pagans headed up by Elisabeth Bergner (As You Like It), when some of her followers are put to death she has enough time to curse the Whitman household, summoning a supernatural entity to avenge those slain. Cry of the Banshee also stars Essy Persson (Strike First Freddy), Stephan Chase (Macbeth 1971), Patrick Mower (The Devil Rides Out), Hilary Dwyer (The Oblong Box), and Carl Rigg (Lifeforce).

Now this is a Scream Factory release we are talking about so you know they are going to deliver the goods and I think in this case they’ve totally gone above and beyond:

MASTER OF THE WORLD
NEW High-Definition Master From The Interpositive Film Element
NEW Stereo Soundtrack Created From The Original 4-Track Mag
NEW Audio Commentary With Actor David Frankham
NEW Richard Matheson: Storyteller – Extended Cut (72 Minutes)
Theatrical Trailer
Posters, Lobby Cards And Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery Of Images From David Frankham??s Personal Collection

TOWER OF LONDON
NEW High-Definition Master From A Fine Grain Film Print
NEW Interview With Director Roger Corman
Producing Tower Of London – An Interview With Producer Gene Corman
Two Episodes Of Science Fiction Theatre (1956): “One Thousand Eyes” And “Operation Flypaper” Both Starring Vincent Price (In Standard Definition)
Posters, Lobby Cards And Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery

DIARY OF A MADMAN
NEW High-Definition Master From The Interpositive Film Element
NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian And Author Steve Haberman
Theatrical Trailer
Poster And Lobby Card Gallery

AN EVENING OF EDGAR ALLAN POE
NEW Master Created From The Original 2″ Tape Masters
NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian And Author Steve Haberman
NEW Interview With Writer/Producer/Director Kenneth Johnson
Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery

CRY OF THE BANSHEE
NEW High-Definition Master Of The Director’s Cut From The Interpositive Film Element
NEW High-Definition Master Of The American International Pictures Cut From The Only Surviving Element, A Color Reversal Intermediate
NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historian And Author Steve Haberman (Director’s Cut)
A Devilish Tale Of Poe – An Interview With Director Gordon Hessler
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spot
Radio Spot
Posters, Lobby Cards And Behind-The-Scenes Photo Gallery

Now I know that this comes out on Tuesday, two days after Valentine’s Day, but maybe you can hop on over to the Scream Factory Official Site and pre-order your copy of the Vincent Price Collection III on Blu-Ray for your favorite Horror Lover or even yourself, if you act quickly you might even get one of those exclusive posters when you do!

Remember…Scream Factory will be keeping an eye out for your order!