Gorehouse Greats Collecti
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From CROWN INTERNATIONAL PICTURES, INC. Mill Creek Entertainment is proud to present 12 cult horror classics that will surely entertain and will fit everybody s budget. For over 40 Years as a Leading Force in Independent Film Production and Distribution to a Worldwide Entertainment Industry, Crown International has produced quality films with big stars. Includes:
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"Blood of Dracula's Castle": A young couple inherits a castle in the middle of nowhere, but to move in they have to first evict the current tenants, Dracula and his wife and staff. This ended up being the last film I watched in the set, despite having the most appealing title to me (because I love the old Christopher Lee Dracula stuff). From 1969, this film is in color, but it is also probably the worst print in this set, at times being hard to watch at all, though being fine at other times. For the record though, most of the films in this DVD set are pretty decent quality. Anyway, Blood of Dracula's Castle also ended up being the last film I watched because it starts out so hokey. You really have to stick with it through the introduction of the young couple, because it quickly becomes a very enjoyable, entertaining flick after that. It's cheesy, but it's also funny and surprising at times, because in the beginning it seems like it's a 60's beach movie or "Girl in Gold Boots" or something. Thankfully, it's not. When all is said and done, while "Blood of Dracula's Castle" is not the best film in the set or anything, I'd definitely list it as one of the better ones, despite the awful quality of the print.
"Blood Mania": A doctor being blackmailed over his history of illegal abortions attempts to gain the money by romancing a rich woman, but she turns out to be too jealous for his own good. From 1970 and in color, "Blood Mania" would be on the lower end of the spectrum for me in this set. It's interesting enough to hold ones attention, but you keep wondering when it is going to live up to the title. It doesn't until near the end, when it starts to get pretty good but ends too abruptly and leaving too big of a question. This one is more about blackmail than anything else, at least until near the end.
"Brain Twisters": A college professor's experiment in mind control goes out of control in this sci-fi thriller. Pretty descent flick from 1991, and the most recent in this set. Still, not a top fave.
"The Devil's Hand": When a man is bewitched by a sorceress in a bizarre cult, he joins the group and struggles with the decision, especially when it begins to endanger his former fiancé. This 1962 horror film is your typical black and white, low budget fair. It's a good film over all, surprisingly interesting.
"The Madmen of Mandoras": Better known as "They Saved Hitler's Brain", that bit of info alone makes this black and white 1963 film worth having. It is as bizarre as it sounds. At least, the scenes with Hitler's head in a jar being ported around by Nazis in a South American country. Unfortunately, those scenes are the most interesting part of the film, which otherwise isn't that great. Ya gotta see this at least once though.
"Nightmare in Wax": From 1969 and in color, this story of a disfigured man forced to leave the world of filmmaking to work in a Hollywood wax museum from where he exacts a gruesome revenge is pretty good, but it's also one of the not so good prints in this set, if I recall correctly. It's totally watchable though, and I particularly found this one interesting because it was partly shot at the Movieland Wax Museum I have memories of visiting on a family trip to California as a very small child. I even recognized some of the displays.
"Prime Evil": From 1988, this film about a sect of monks turned to Satanism is very entertaining, though at times feels like one of those barely coherent Italian horror films, ha. It surely took some inspiration from those, but it's a bit better.
"Satan's Slave": From 1976 and in color, "Satan's Slave" is among the best movies in this set, I'd say, though it's also the first one I watched, so I don't remember it as well now, ha. It is more in line with something from Hammer or Amicus, which I really like, and is the story of a young woman who goes to visit her secretly deranged cousin and Satanist uncle, not knowing they have big plans for her. This one and two others I'll be describing soon make this set worth the price on their own.
"Stanley": This quirky, 1972 film about a man who only seems to be able to relate to rattlesnakes, to the point where he lives with tons of them in his home and usually carries his favorite freely around his neck, is another of my absolute faves in this set. I even remember seeing the trailer for this one at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater one day, so maybe some of you saw that too. It's just plain weird, but it is great!
"Terrified": From 1963 and in black and white, this film about a mysterious hooded killer is only occasionally interesting, though the ending is good. It's one of the weaker ones in this set, and just not very memorable.
"Terror": From 1978, this color film starts out very promising, but it quickly loses its oomph to the point where you're lucky if you can remember how it ends, as I can't right now. I can tell you it's about some filmmakers and actors in London, one of which believes there is a curse placed on his family from way back when they helped destroy a local witch.
"Trip with Teacher": This 1975 color flick is about a small group of female students and their young teacher who are going on a camping trip when they are sidetracked by a crazed biker and his brother and become tortured hostages. This one is very much in the vein of "Last House on the Left" and its copycats, but it's also one of the three best films in this set alongside "Stanley" and "Satan's Slave". There are a lot of moments when you wonder why certain people do the stupid things they do, or don't do other things, to improve their situation, but that's to be expected. It's still a highly engaging and tense flick. Good stuff!
And that's the "Gorehouse Greats" collection, a fantastic set for the price. These flicks aren't going to give you nightmares, but many of them will sure entertain you! Too bad there are no DVD extras, as some trailers for these flicks would have been a hoot to see as well!
As this set features everything from Hitlers head, snakes to wax dummies, now how can you beat a collection like that?
I have to take my hat off to Mill Creek, what they can lack in quality and to be fair some prints are quite good, they sure make up in quantity and price, while offering some very rare gems, warts and all.
Aside from 'Dracula's Castle' and 'Terrified', I would judge the sound and picture for the rest are sufficient for the overall quality and type of films they are. Unfortunately, 'what type of films these are' may not be readily apparent. Judging from the pose of the attractive, be-spattered young woman on the cover, if one didn't know better, it would appear as if this is a collection of gore-soaked and splatter films. The title adds to the confusion - as far as I know, 'gorehouse' isn't even a word, so what it actually means is up for grabs. Obviously it is supposed to combine the ideas of gore and grindhouse, which is still a pretty sketchy area, since fans of these genres have a wide range of likes and dislikes. Additionally, you simply cannot stretch your imagination far enough to consider this collection 'Great', gorehouse or otherwise. Instead, these are a mix of horror films from the sixties and seventies, with two from the late '80's and early '90's thrown in for good measure, all of which will probably be extremely disappointing for gore fans weened on films by Eli Roth and Rob Zombie. Conversely, those who are looking for weird grindhouse stuff are also likely to be less than enthused - classics of that ilk are pretty well identified and priced as such, and not haphazardly included in a collection like this with 12 films for less than 10 bucks. A few flicks included here have moments that may appeal to the eclectic connoisseur of bizarre rarities, but it will be more the exception than the rule, and none of these films approach the truly ugly depths that the worst of exploitation films can sometimes tap into.
What is here is sometimes odd, sometimes quirky, sometimes dreadful, but mostly just plain bad. I can't imagine any of these films garnering more than three stars except on the most ardent fan's scale, and most will rate much worse. Still, if approached with zero expectations, they do have some charm. I reviewed as many of these films as possible on their individual product pages, so for anyone interested in a particular film, they can find more detailed comments there. Here is a quick rundown of the films included in this collection, with my individual star ratings, from best to worst.
*** Stanley: Special Edition - A warm-hearted tale of a boy and his six-foot rattlesnake that go on a spree of revenge killing. See individual review.
*** Satan's Slave - Kindly British uncle turns out to be murderous occultist bent on acquiring Satanic power. Who knew. See individual review.
**1/2 The Devil's Hand - I probably like this more than anyone else will. Commissioner Gordon from TV's Batman is the high priest in the cult of 'The Great Devil God Gamba'. Worth it just to watch Linda Christian for 60 minutes or so. See individual review
**1/2 Trip With Teacher - Before 'Red Shoe Diaries', we get this little nasty entry in Zalman King's oeuvre. Not really a good film, but is probably the closest thing in the collection to what I think of as 'grindhouse'. Some rather intense scenes as a psychotic biker and his brother terrorize four girls and their teacher on a class trip through the desert. Contains the inadvertently hilarious scene of a biker going over a cliff that looks like a parody shot in an 'Airplane' film. The film is also available on an 'Exploitation Cinema' two-fer (OOP), but I'm surprised this film doesn't have it's own release, considering that the tremendously more awful 'Prime Evil' does.
**1/2 Blood Mania - Little blood, little mania, lots of soft-core sex. See individual review.
**1/2 Brain Twisters, Nightmare in Wax, and Terror - Silly, dated, and boring. See individual reviews.
** Blood of Dracula's Castle [VHS] - Terrible transfer, but it wouldn't rate any higher anyway. Al Adamsondirects. See individual review.
*1/2 The Madmen of Mandoras (AKA They Saved Hitler's Brain) - This one had so much going for it - great special effects, if by great you mean really, really bad, and Hitler. I'm not really sure how you can make a bad film with the title of 'They Saved Hitler's Brain', but director David Bradley manages it. The question needs to be asked, is this where Ira Levin got his inspiration?
*1/2 Terrified - people run around a ghost town while a hooded killer chases them. Not as good as I've made it sound.
* Prime Evil - Primarily awful. See individual review
As with the 'Savage Cinema Collection', there are no extras included on these discs, and each disc comes with two movies per side. The three discs are inserted into paper sleeves which do a good job protecting them, and the inside of the case has a space fitted for the sleeves to lay, so nothing should jump around while the case is closed. I actually like this system pretty well - far better than pushing the disc onto the small spindle that's standard with most DVD cases. What's more, there are no Mill Creek water marks cluttering up the screen on any of these films. I gather that Mill Creek stopped doing that around 2008, so all current copies should be safe.
All in all, I liked the 'Savage Cinema' slightly better, though I don't know if there's really that much difference between the two of them. I would say that this collection is worth it if only for the inexpensive and only in-print versions of 'Stanley' and 'Trip with Teacher', and perhaps 'Satan's Slave' too, but that's only for those who go for those type of exploitation films. Still, three flicks for the price isn't a bad deal - and if you shop around, you may even get it for less. You're not getting my copy though, unless you pry it out of my cold dead hands.
Last note - Despite the Amazon listing information, Tor Johnson does not appear in any of these films.