Vampires Mummies Monsters
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In The Velvet Vampire, a couple accepts an invitation from the mysterious Diane LeFanu (Celeste Yarnall, The Mechanic) to visit her in her secluded desert estate. Unaware that Diane is actually a centuries-old vampire, the couple soon realize that they are both the objects of her seduction and cravings . . .
When Baron Frankenstein is killed by his creation, his daughter Tania (Rosalba Neri, a/k/a Sarah Bay) creates her own creature using the brilliant mind of her assistant and the body of her dimwitted servant in Lady Frankenstein. She not only ends up with the perfect lover, but one that can destroy her father’s killer. Also starring Joseph Cotten (The Third Man) as Baron Frankenstein.
Lisa (Linda Blair, The Exorcist) was looking forward to a nice, relaxing vacation at the family cabin, but instead she bears witness to the brutal death of her friends and family at the hands of a group of mindless punks in Grotesque. As the thugs close in on Lisa, they don’t realize they are about to come face to face with something far more horrifying than themselves
From deep within the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, Professor Douglas McCadden ships the coffin of Ankh-Vanharis to the California Institute of Sciences, where X-rays reveal five diamondlike crystals hidden within the coffin. Technician Peter Sharpe steals the crystals, but he doesn’t notice that the powerful X-ray has revived a green fungus. When the coffin is opened at a university press conference, the reporters uncover more than they bargained for. The mummy has disappeared . . . the Time Walker is alive again!
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Lady Frankenstein is a bad horror movie from 1970 that has never been treated good on home video. Shout! has released two versions of the film. The original at 83 minutes and an extended cut that runs 95 minutes. The extra scenes are noticed by a slight pause in the print, but its not too annoying. Both versions are presented in anamorphic widescreen and look really good for this low budget movie (compared to the Alpha video release).
The last two films are from the '80s and Time Walker isn't too bad. It is laughable in some scenes. But this anamorphic widescreen print is the best looking of this set. Grotesque is piller boxed at 1.33 aspect ratio, while the other three are 1.78/1.85.
Not much in way of special features on this two disc set, except commentary from the star of Velvet Vampire. There are trailers, poster galleries, tv spots and that is about it. These classics stand on their own where special features aren't needed.
Just glad to see the under appreciated Lady Frankenstein finally get a decent home video release. Velvet Vampire has had a decent DVD out, but this print is much better.
You can definately tell these cheap movies are Roger Corman fun!
LADY FRANKENSTEIN is fun because it clearly follows the Corman philosophy: blood and nudity sell the picture. It's a little jarring to see a monster movie with naked chicks in it, but Corman knew what he was doing. The funnest part? Watching the completely over-the-top trailer for LADY FRANKENSTEIN first, noting all the leering hints that Lady Frankenstein is creating a monster (in every sense of the word) for her own fiendish and perverted pleasures...then watch the movie. Technically, the trailer is correct in what its delivering. But just not the ghoulish orgy hinted at in the trailer. (Plus, I've always loved that 70's schlock narrator featured in the trailer. I think John Landis used him as well for KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE).
But the real reason to get this collection is for THE VELVET VAMPIRE. Produced by Corman and probably on a very thin budget, THE VELVET VAMPIRE actually ascends to the level of an art film. If I sound surprised, it's because I am: you usually didn't think "art film" and Roger Corman in the same sentence. Directed by Stephanie Rothman, this may be, I believe, the first genuinely erotic vampire tale. Many would came later, from Hammer's THE VAMPIRE LOVERS and COUNTESS DRACULA to the bloody orgy of 1975's VAMPYRES, but I think THE VELVET VAMPIRE is the first vampire film that brazenly uses seduction and nudity in the storyline.
Celeste Yarnall, the 60's babe who also appeared on the original "Star Trek" and with Elvis (he sings "A Little Less Conversation" to her in LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE), provides a commentary that sheds light on the film's production and insight into the Corman moving-making machine.
I have another DVD of THE VELVET VAMPIRE but I think this is the only one with Celeste's commentary on it. That is reason enough to get this collection.
The Velvet Vampire--a fairly cool desert setting and copious amounts of nudity (both female and male) elevate this somewhat. It's still not very good, and the blonde (Sherry Miles) is stupendously annoying.
Lady Frankenstein--the worst film in the set, and that's saying a lot. There are two versions available here--the U.S. theatrical version and the "international cut," which is approximately 15 minutes longer. The 'cut' scenes have been restored in such an awkward, haphazard manner that I found myself wishing I'd skipped it and watched the edited version instead. The re-inserted scenes are noticeably fuzzier, and there's an international tv logo in the upper left side of the frame during these scenes, which I assume means they were copied from a foreign television presentation and re-edited back into the film with a hacksaw. Joseph Cotton, scraping the absolute bottom of the barrel, is featured. Awful, by any standards (and dubbed too--I believe this was made in Italy). So bad it's....just bad.
Grotesque--Linda Blair (who I actually like, she was such a trooper) in full 80s regalia...a couple of linebackers could fit into those shoulder pads. This has a home invasion theme, and is quite violent, though the "grotesque" finally makes an appearance to even the score. I won't spoil who, or what, the 'grotesque' is--but rest assured it's one of the worst makeup jobs I've ever seen. Also stars Tab Hunter, which might alert you to what's in store here. This film has not been given a new transfer and is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio (all of the other films in this set have new anamorphic transfers). So there's that, too..
Time Walker--I actually kinda sorta liked this one. It sports some cool visuals, a fairly interesting script, and also a decent performance from Ben Murphy. The mummy/alien concept got my attention and held it, though be assured this is still a 'B' movie at best. However, it is in my opinion the most polished and interesting film in this rogue's gallery.
Shout Factory once again outdoes itself with the presentation of three of these films...they look great, allowing the cheese to shine through like never before on home video. Proceed, however, at your own risk...you have been warned!