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The Wind | Nico Mastorakis’ 1986 stalk ‘n’ slash Euro thriller gets an Arrow Video Blu-ray release

Wanting some inspiration and solitude so she can concentrate on her latest novel, mystery writer Sian Anderson (Meg Foster) leases a cliffside cottage in a quiet island village in Greece from British expat Elias Appleby (Robert Morley). But it comes with a warning:  Don’t go outside at night when the wind starts to come in. Well, of course, she does the complete opposite and ends up witnessing Elias’ murder at the hands of his handyman Phil (Wings Hauser), who then sets out to silence Sian just as the wind starts to howl…

This Euro slasher thriller from Island of Death director Nico Mastorakis went straight to video (except in West Germany and Portugal) when it was released in 1986, and as I don’t remember coming across it in my local video rentals stores back in the day, even under its original title Edge of Terror, I was keen to seek it out – especially as I rather enjoyed Island of Death (check out my review later). And Arrow Video’s new Blu-ray release gave me just the chance. But, I’m sorry to say, I was rather disappointed.

Meg Foster certainly carries the film well – in a sub-par Linda Hamilton/Terminator kind of way – but her piercing blue cat-like eyes are a huge distraction and they totally overshadow Wings Hauser’s poppered up performance, even if he does deliver the inane dialogue with a great amount of glee: ‘If you need any technical advice on death just holler I’m next door’ being just one of them.

Mind you, Robert Morley provides the film’s other distraction – gnarly eyebrows and a chin that looks like a bullock’s ball sack. Luckily, he only gets a couple of scenes before he ends up in a shallow grave. Talking of which, there’s a Jason King** moment when Foster’s Sian transcribes the killing as it happens. Is she clairvoyant or are we seeing her murder mystery playing out before our eyes?

Lending credence to the latter is that Sian doesn’t run away after she witnesses the murders (yep! there’s another), instead she seems to want to be part of the mystery – which works well on the page but not in reality (you’d get the hell outta there!). And when she is chased through the streets (all backlit like a music video with fog and wind machines going full throttle), I was reminded of Mario Bava’s hallucinatory horrors Lisa and the Devil and Kill, Baby, Kill, where reality and fantasy also blur.

But Mastorakis is no Bava and what we see is what we get – an island village completely deserted apart from an old lady (who gets the chop), a backgammon-playing cop and a random seaman (Steve Railsback) who, just because he can speak English, decides to take on the copper’s job and check on Sian. Which brings me to David McCallum. Oh yes, he crops up here too (mainly in a pool talking on a yellow phone). He plays Sian’s boyfriend who becomes worried when their long distance phone call is suddenly disconnected. That’s it. Then he’s gone.

What follows is ludicrous with a capital ‘L’. However all the stalking and running that ensues is a great excuse for some lovely location shots of Monemvasia (AKA the Gibraltar of the East) – including its ancient stone buildings and alleyways, majestic oleander trees, and a medieval fortress that provides the setting for the climactic showdown between Sian (who finally remembers there’s some hunting weapons locked in a cupboard in her villa) and Hauser’s seemingly unstoppable killer.

The whistling synth track is by Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers, Marlboro Lights feature often and note to self: Its best to have short hair when you are visiting a tourist destination where it’s windy all the time.

Arrow Video presents The Wind for the first time on Blu-ray, with the following features, and the film is also available on the Arrow Video Channel via Amazon Prime Video.

• New restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original negative, approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis
• High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
• Optional English subtitles
• Optional Greek subtitles
• Original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround and LPCM Stereo 2.0 Audio
Blowing The Wind: Brand new interview with Nico Mastorakis
The Sound of The Wind: The complete soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers
• A collection of trailers for the films of Nico Mastorakis
• Reversible sleeve featuring original artwork by Graham Humphreys
• Collectors’ booklet featuring new writing on the film

** Jason King was a 1970s ITV crime drama starring Peter Wyngarde, whose eponymous novelist-turned-sleuth used events happening around him as the source of his crime novels featuring his 007-inspired adventurer called Mark Cain. In one episode, Chapter One: The Company I Keep, King writes about a murder that has actually happened.

The House That Dripped Blood | Time to break out the claret and colourful cravats

Written by Robert Bloch, the 1971 Amicus horror anthology, The House That Dripped Blood, stars Denholm Elliott, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Jon Pertwee in four tales of terror that unfold as a Scotland Yard Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) investigates a mansion with a ghoulish history…

To celebrate Second Sight’s Limited Edition UK Blu-ray release, I’ve embarked on my own investigation — into the campy, colourful men’s neckwear worn by the film’s leading male stars. Here’s what I unearthed…

Method For Murder
In this first tale, Denholm Elliott’s horror novelist Charles Hillyer rents the old mansion with his wife (Joanna Dunham) but becomes haunted by visions of Dominic (Tom Adams), the murderous, psychopathic central character of his latest novel.

As he’s working from home for most of the time, Elliott’s hack writer doesn’t really need to dress up – so we only see him wearing a dashing little brown cravat on the day of his arrival to the house.

Our second story features Peter Cushing as Philip Grayson, a retired stockbroker who gets a surprise visit from his old friend Neville (Joss Ackland). But after they visit a local wax museum, the two men become fixated on a statue of Salome, that appears to look like the woman they once knew and fell out over…

While relaxing in his new abode, listening to Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D minor (aka Death and the Maiden – and director Peter Duffell’s preferred title for the movie), Cushing sports a classy red smoking jacket with black lapels, white wide collar shirt and a white cravat with a naval motif tied with a toggle. He also matches this white shirt and cravat with a cream sports jacket while out strolling through the local pond, graveyard and high street – where he happens upon Jacquelin’s Museum of Horror.

He also favours a lovely burgundy and gold cravat which he pairs with a pink shirt and his red smoking jacket while lounging, and its this ensemble that he wears when Ackland’s Londoner arrives flourishing a flowing green and pink silk number (how very Ossie Clark).

The next morning Cushing is back in his white shirt, cravat and cream jacket; while Ackland has ditched the Ossie Clark number for a too-long blue tie (the kind that Boris Johnson favours). Why ditch the silk scarf? I suspect Neville thought it a tad too ginger beer to wear down in the village. After all, this isn’t hip and happening London

But there are two more neckties to admire before this one ends – a paisley cravat worn by Wolfe Morris’ waxworks proprietor and one with what looks like a Mexican theme worn by a customer (as seen in our first picture above) who gets the shock of his life  – a terrible dummy head on a plate that’s suppose to be Cushing’s Grayson.

Sweets to the Sweet
In this one, Nyree Dawn Porter plays a private tutor who is perturbed by the severe way Christopher Lee’s widower treats his young daughter (played by Chloe Franks), even forbidding her to have a doll. The teacher feels like a helpless bystander, but his daughter is not everything that she seems…

Given Lee’s role here as the uptight puritanical father, there’s nothing colourful or fanciful on display here – just a rather dull Houndstooth suit… roll on the next tale.

The Cloak
Horror film actor and occult specialist Paul Henderson (Jon Pertwee) moves into the house, which we discover is located very near the studio where his latest film, Curse of the Bloodsuckers, is being shot (In reality, the house used in this film was actually an old cottage used for storage on the Shepperton studio lot before it got torn down to make way for an ugly council block).

Furious about the poor production values, cheap sets and crap costumes, he buys a black cloak from a shopkeeper (Geoffrey Bayldon channelling Ernest Thesiger’s Dr Pretorius in The Bride of Frankenstein) to use as his film character’s costume. Unfortunately, the cloak turns its wearer into a vampire, something his co-star (Ingrid Pitt) quickly discovers…

This final tale is an all-out campfest and the best of the bunch – especially in regards to men’s attire. Pertwee chews the scenery as the preening peacock horror star  and has a nice line in fashionable clobber – from trendy scarves, ties and cravats to white ruffle shirts and the titular vampire cloak – all of which wouldn’t look out of place between the pages of The Chap.

But let’s not forget the film’s director, script supervisor and art director all decked out in the latest fashions from Carnaby Street. This scene sees Paul vent his anger, asking the director ‘Since leaving the depressing confines of television, how many films have you made?’, to which he replies, ‘Well actually this is my second’. ‘But your first horror film,’ Paul retorts, ‘Well let me tell you, I’ve made hundreds!’ No doubt this scene spoofs the real-life altercation between Vincent Price (who was originally approached to play Pertwee’s part) and his Witchfinder General director Michael Reeves.

This is one of Amicus’ most entertaining horror anthologies with a terrific cast, smart direction, funny (in-joke) script and great production values (especially those costumes sourced by Laurel Staffel), and it all looks terrific in the new Blu-ray release from Second Sight, which has some superb extras (check them out below), some great new artwork from Graham Humphreys, and a collector’s booklet. Apologies for the quality of my screen grab, but I do assure you that the Second Sight print is amazing.

• Audio commentary with director Peter Duffell and author Jonathan Rigby: This is the definitive take on the making of the movie from the man who made it.
• Audio commentary with film historian and author Troy Howarth: I loved all the background info on Shepperton, the actors and crew. Very well researched.
• Interview with Second Assistant director Mike Higgins
A-Rated Horror Film: Fang-tastic vintage featurette featuring interviews with director Peter Duffell and 
actors Geoffrey Bayldon, Ingrid Pitt and Chloe Franks
• Radio Spots
• Stills Gallery
• Reversible sleeve featuring new artwork by Graham Humphreys

• Rigid slipcase featuring new artwork by Graham Humphreys
• 40 page booklet with new essays by Allan Bryce, Jon Towlson and Kat Ellinger
• Reversible poster featuring new and original artwork




The Old Dark House (1932) | James Whale’s macabre masterpiece restored and released at long last!

The Old Dark House (1932)

1932’s The Old Dark House is arguably director James Whale’s greatest cinematic feat, a macabre queer comedy disguised as a horror, delightfully acted (by lots of Brits abroad), and fused together with Whale’s stylistic, sardonic humour, well-knit scenario witty and insightful screenplay, and moody camerawork, lighting and production design. It is, quite possibly, the best British horror ever made – in Hollywood.

The Old Dark House (1932)

Taking its queues from JB Priestley’s 1927 novel, Benighted, and the ‘Old House’ chillers of stage and screen, Whale’s storm-driven adaptation finds five weary travellers becoming stranded at the ominous Welsh mansion of the reclusive and very strange Femm family, who are all quite possibly all insane. What follows is a wicked parody of the British class system, and one that features a performance from Ernest Thesiger that outshines even his iconic turn as Dr Pretorius in Whale’s The Bride of Frankenstein a couple of years later.

The Old Dark House (1932)

Thesiger plays Horace Femm, a sniffy little man, who is probably wanted by the police (for crimes we can only imagine) and has seething contempt for everything and everyone. He owns the house along with his pious half-deaf sister Eva (beautifully played by Eva Moore), and their scenes together provide the film with its most memorable moments and best lines: like ‘Have a potato’ and ‘How reassuring’.

Gloria Stuart and Raymond Massey play married socialite couple Margaret and Philip, while Melvyn Douglas is their playboy friend Roger. When a landslide forces them off the road, they seek shelter with the Femms; and are soon joined by Charles Laughton (making his screen debut and speaking his in native Yorkshire tongue) and Lilian Bond, who play the self-made businessman Sir William Porterhouse and chorus girl Gladys. But with no beds on offer, they are all forced to spend the evening huddle together around a fireplace after a frugal meal of roast, gravy and – yes- potatoes…

The Old Dark House (1932)

But it’s not long before the Femms skeletons starting coming out of the closet as the lights go out and the group are soon menaced by Boris Karloff’s mute butler Morgan, who hits the bottle and goes on a drunken rampage, which results in the release of Femm’s pyromaniac brother Saul (Brember Wills) from his locked attic room…

Whale’s shows off his perverse sense of humour through the stylistic, expressionistic camerawork (by Arthur Edeson, who also shot Frankenstein) in some very memorable scenes: like when Horace announces, ‘My sister was on the point of arranging these flowers’, then summarily throws them into the fireplace. Another is when Morgan makes his menacing entrance, and a particularly surreal funhouse mirror shot of Margaret and Rebecca, their features distorted in a vanity mirror. Then there’s the terrific trick shot of Morgan coming down the stairs only to reveal the hand on the banister is not his…

The Old Dark House (1932)

Packed to the rafters with morbid mirth and a sly wink at class and society, this is one of the most entertaining horror films of the 1930’s. The Masters of Cinema Series special dual format edition of James’s Whales’ queer comedy horror features a stunning 1080p presentation from the Cohen Media Group 4K restoration (with a progressive encode on the DVD), uncompressed LPCM audio (on the Blu-ray) and optional English subtitles; and includes a collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp, archival material and previously unseen imagery and ephemera; and Limited Edition O-Card (first run only) featuring artwork by Graham Humphreys, created especially for the 2018 UK theatrical release. The special extras (below), however, are the icing on the cake, making this a must-have for any classic film collection…

The Old Dark House (1932)

Meet the Femms This video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns is exceptionally executed, with loads of informative back stories on the production, cast and crew, super behind the scenes photos, incuding Whales’ own set designs, and I really enjoyed hearing actors Steven McNicoll and Angela Hardie voicing the various characters in Priestley’s novel, Benighted, as well as the author himself and Laughton’s wife Elsa Lanchester.

Daughter of Frankenstein Sara Karloff talks candidly about her father and his work on this production, and has a great story about how Boris and Charles Laughton did not see eye-to-eye.

Curtis Harrington Saves The Old Dark House This archival interview has the late-director (who became a close friend of Whale’s) recalling his efforts in rescing the film from oblivion back in 1968. Please, someone, give this man a posthumous medal for doing this!

Commentary by Kim Newman and Stephen Jones This is a great listen, with some interesting bits of trivia  like that fact that Karloff was dubbed, and Kim makes a very interesting link between the film’s structure (and its class-based ensemble) to disaster movies. This was made prior to Gloria Stuart’s death (aged 100) in 2010, as the duo talk about her in the present tense, and their comments are all based on viewing an inter-negative print.

Commentary by Gloria Stuart This is absolutely riveting. Stuart is a joy to listen to and she provides huge amounts of personal insight (the film was a real high point in her acting career): admiring Whales’ sardonic humour, the uncomfortable shooting for the actors, her regrets at being a young 22 upstart making her second film who was unaware of Eva Moore’s pedigree (a suffragette, one of Edward VI’s favourites and the mother of Laurence Olivier’s first wife, Jill Esmond), and shedding light on some truths about why Karloff and Whale weren’t on friendly terms during the shoot.

Commentary by James Whale biographer James Curtis This has lots of great insight into the film’s production, and I certainly learnt a few things. Did you know that Karloff’s mute butler Morgan became the model for the butler Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons? These were subsequently published as Drawn and Quartered, with a Foreward by Karloff and thus effectively the character became Lurch in The Addams Family. Curtis also examines the similarities and differences between Priestley’s novel and Whale’s screenplay – which makes for an interesting analysis.




Time to reveal Graham Humphreys’ exclusive artwork for the Attack of the Adult Babies limited edition Blu-ray

Attack of the Adult Babies

Nucleus Films have released the stunning new artwork created exclusively by the legendary graphic artist Graham Humphreys for the slipcase 1-1000 numbered limited edition Blu-ray of Dominic Brunt’s Attack of the Adult Babies, which is being released nationwide on 11 June.

And, in further good news for genre fans, HMV will be racking the limited Edition Blu-ray in their “Special Edition range” in stores across the country.

Attack of the Adult Babies

Jake West, co-director of Nucleus Films, said today: “In a time where it’s increasingly difficult to release truly independent movies in physical formats, this is a real treat for film fans. As a movie collector myself, who enjoyed the thrills of the Video Nasty era, I loved the ritual of browsing through the racks and taking a chance on something because the cover art and title caught my eye.

We wanted to re-create the thrill of that era and what better artist could we ask to do that than Graham Humphreys – and what better film could there be than Dominic Brunt’s outrageous Attack of the Adult Babies!”

West’s partner at Nucleus Films, Marc Morris. added: “We’re very excited that HMV are really getting behind the release, giving fans of physical media a chance to pick up their copy in the real world!”

Attack of the Adult Babies

Graham Humphreys commentated: “I met Dominic Brunt at FrightFest some three or four years ago, where he mentioned the idea for the Adult Baby project, so it was a happy surprise to be asked to provide this slipcase cover for the Nucleus films release.

It’s always daunting working on an image with multiple elements, as a busy layout can be visually confusing. However, by focussing on key characters and using carefully considered colour palette, I hope I’ve managed some level of visual restraint. I’ve intentionally used ‘baby’ colours, pinks and pale blues, these contrast well with the dark red blood, capturing the creepy mix of the infantile and adult horrors.”

World premiered at FrightFest 2017, Attack of the Adult Babies has been described as disgusting, depraved, brave, bonkers, brilliant and quintessentially British in its humour and depravity…

The aftermath of a shocking home invasion forces three frightened family members to break into a remote country manor and steal Top Secret documents. Little do they know the stately pile is also the clandestine venue where a group of high-powered elderly men go to take refuge from the stresses and strains of daily life by dressing up in nappies and having a bevy of beautiful nurses indulging their every perverse nursery whim. Nor do they realise this grotesque assembly is compelled to refuel the world’s economy by very sinister, sick and monstrous means. As the bodily fluids hit the fan, the bloody carnage and freaky weirdness escalates.

Starring Sally Dexter, Charlie Chuck, Kate Coogan, Joanne Mitchell and Laurence Harvey, Attack of the Adult Babies is released on 11 June on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download and there is a special advance screening at Derby Quad, Friday 4 May, 7.45pm, with Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell in attendance. A special London screening will be announced soon.










Vault of Horror – The Italian Connection | Demon Records to unleash 20 classic terror themes on 8 December

Vault of Horror

Vault of Horror – The Italian Connection presents 20 classic soundtrack themes from the golden era of Italian horror. A heady mix of funk, disco, electronic and prog rock, the 2-vinyl set features scores by some legendary composers, including Stelvio Cipriani, Nico Fidenco, Ennio Morricone, Fabio Frizzi and Riz Ortolani, who conjured up iconic scores to some of most outrageous terror films of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, including Zombie Flesh Eaters, The Beyond, The New York Ripper and (one of my personal favourites) Tentacles.

Released on 8 December from Demon Records, this must-have also includes specially-commissioned artwork from artist Graham Humphreys (aka Britain’s Quadfather), biographical notes, a CD version in a replica card wallet, and a 12 x 12″ reproduction collector’s art print of the sleeve painting.



Carlo Rustichelli – ‘Atelier (totoli)’ from ‘Blood And Black Lace ‘(‘Sei Donne Per L’Assassioni)’
Franco Micalizzi – ‘Seq 1’ from
‘The Last Hunter’ ‘(L’Ultimo Cacciatore)’
Nico Fidenco – ‘Seq 6’ from ‘Porno Holocaust’
Roberto Donati – ‘Main Theme’ from ‘Eaten Alive’ ‘(Mangiati Vivi!)’
Francesco De Masi – ‘New York One More Day’ from ‘The New York Ripper’ ‘(Lo Squatatore Di
New York)’

Franco Micalizzi feat. Warren Wilson – ‘Bargain With The Devil’ from ‘Beyond The Door’ ‘(Chi Sei)’
Stelvio Cipriani – ‘Small Town Pleasures’ from ‘Tentacles’ ‘(Tentacoli)’
Roberto Donati – ‘NYC Main Title’ from ‘Cannibal Ferox’
A. Blonksteiner – ‘Apocalypse’ from ‘Cannibal Apocalypse’ ‘(Apocalypse Domani)’
Carlo Maria Cordio – ‘Absurd’ from ‘Absurd’ ‘(Rosso Sangue)’

Fabio Frizzi – ‘Main Theme’ from ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’ ‘(Zombi 2)’
Fabio Frizzi – ‘Mystery’s Apotheosis’ from ‘City Of The Living Dead’ ‘(Paura Nella Citta Dei Morti Viventi)’
Fabio Frizzi – ‘Voci Dal Nula’ from ‘The Beyond’ ‘(L’Aldila)’
Walter Rizatti– ‘I Remember’ from ‘House By The Cemetery’ ‘(Quella Villa Accanto Al Cimitero)’
Stefano Mainetti – ‘Main Theme’ from ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters 2’ ‘(Zombi 3)’

Walter Rizatti – ‘Main Theme’ from ‘Bronx Warriors’ ‘(1990: I Guerrieri Del Bronx)’
Claudio Simonetti – ‘Nuke Is Over’ from ‘The New Barbarians’ ‘(Nuovi Barbari)’
Riz Ortolani – ‘The Fighter Centurions’ from ‘Rome 2033 – The Fighter Centurions’ ‘(I Guerrieri Dell ‘Anno 2072)’
Ennio Morricone – ‘End Theme’ from ‘Holocaust 2000’
Nico Fidenco – ‘I Celebrate Myself’ from ‘Emanuelle In America’











The FrightFest Phantom is on the loose!

Horror Channel FrightFest has unleashed Graham Humphrey’s spooktacular new artwork for this year’s annual Bank Holiday event taking place at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from 24 to 28 August 2017.

Drawing on the revivals of genre icons Chucky, Victor Crowley and Leatherface and paying homage to the annual event’s return to the Empire (aka Cineworld Leicester Square), Graham has created the FrightFest Phantom…

Horror Channel FrightFest 2017

‘My image is an attempt to amalgamate the Gothic roots of horror with the 70s Monster revival that saturated the US and UK, inspiring generations of filmmakers that created some of the most successful film franchises and oddities of the last 40 years,’ says Humphreys. ‘Universal monsters meets 70s bubble gum pop. I also thought it would be fun to play with the idea of a FrightFest Phantom, the face behind the best in horror and added the scratches and dirt to make it look like old damaged film stock.’

Festival Passes and day tickets for Friday and Monday are still available.

For full programme details click here 


Horror Hospital (1973) | This campy cult horror spoof is a guilty pleasure

Horror Hospital (1973)

The nightmare is about to begin!
Lobotomised patients, a cheeky dwarf, a pair of vicious biker boys, and a prowling monster keep Robin Askwith awake at night in this outrageous 1973 horror spoof. Imagine Confessions of a Pop Performer meets Blood Feast by way of Carry on Screaming.

Michael Gough (Konga, Horrors of the Black Museum) chews the scenery as never before playing the mad Pavlovian scientist, Dr Storm, who is hell bent on creating on an army of obediant slave through experimental brain surgery. And it’s Askwith’s burnt-out singer pop singer and dolly bird Judy (Vanessa Shaw) who are next in line for his scapel…

Horror Hospital (1973)

Featuring bloody decapitations (via a luxury Rolls), gratuitous nudity and a melty monster getting it on with a cripple, this horror oddity from arthouse movie distributor turned director Antony Balch combines exploitation and parody to great effect, while the characters are an outrageous treat. None more so than Gough, who plays Storm as a cross between Bela Lugosi in The Devil Bat and Colin Clive in Frankenstein. And the fact he plays it straight (he didn’t know it was a spoof) only makes his performance one to relish.

Horror Hospital (1973)

Dennis Price (Theatre of Blood) puts in a boozy cameo as a leering old queen, Ellen Pollack gets some great lines as Dr Storm’s Dominatrix-attired assistant, while Skip Martin (Masque of the Red Death) is a comic riot as Frederick the dwarf. His cries of ‘Shish Kebab!’, despite his speech impediment, is LOL.

Shot over 22 days on a tiny £22,000 budget, Horror Hospital was shot on location at Knebworth House (for the exteriors) and the former Battersea Park Town Hall (for the interiors). It was released in the UK with an ad campaign comparing it to Coma.

Horror Hospital (1973)

The OEG Classic Movies Blu-ray/DVD print has been transferred in HD from the original 35mm camera negative, and includes the following special features:
• Audio commentary with producer Richard Gordon (this is from the 2010 US release)
Robin Askwith is Admitted to Horror Hospital (The hash cookie story is a highlight).
Operating Out of Battersea: The Making of Horror Hospital (lots of talking heads discussing how the filmmakers actually got something in the can despite the budget).
• Trailer (when it was on a double bill with The Corpse Grinders)
• New artwork by Graham Humphreys

Director Antony Balch, whose only other feature was Secrets of Sex (1970), was responsible for releasing the sound version of Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 documentary Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages with a commentary by William S Burroughs, whom he’d collaborated with on a series of film shorts.

Film4 FrightFest unleashes this year’s spook-tacular poster artwork

FrightFest 2015 poster

The fiendish folks over at FrightFest HQ have revealed this year’s festival poster artwork, by British graphic artist Graham Humphreys. Here’s what Graham had to say about his spook-tacular new design:

‘While I was looking for a theme for this year’s poster, I ran with the idea of magic. At a recent visit to the incredible Cinema Museum in Kennington (one of my favourite haunts) I was admiring their extensive collection, among which I noticed a number of Victorian Magic Lanterns. This formed the basis of my concept, the idea of magical projection through one of these exotic devices. Running with the theme, I took the application of Aleister Crowley’s Magik rituals and placed our regular FrightFest monster posed in the distinctive manner of one of the best known photographs of The Beast. Using the projection device, a legion of demons is unleashed, surround by magical symbols. They – just as we will – are enjoying the shared spectacle generated by the satanic lamp.’

Film4 FrightFest 2015 takes place at the Vue Cinema, Leicester Square (Thursday 27 August-Monday 31 August). The festival will be using six screens at the VUE, West End, one more than last year. Expect to see north of 80 films and events in the programme. A festival pass this year will cost £185. Day passes are Thursday – £30, Friday and Saturday £60, Sunday and Monday £50. Single tickets this year will be £13.25.

Festival and day pass sales will commence on July 4 at 10 AM and will only be available online. Single tickets will go on sale on July 18 through the VUE website, call centre and at the cinema for personal callers.

Blood and Black Lace (1964) | Mario Bava’s sumptuous, spellbinding essay in sexual perversity is simply fabulous in HD

Blood and Black Lace (1964)A fashion house of glamorous models becomes a terror house of blood!
When model Isabella is strangled, she leaves behind a diary containing the dark secrets of her fellow models and colleagues, and evidence that a Rome haute couture salon, owned by Contessa Cristina Como (Eva Bartok) and her lover Max (Cameron Mitchell), is a front for drug smuggling and blackmail. When the diary disappears, a masked killer begins picking off the models in brutal fashion. But is the fiend really only after the diary, or is it ‘mere female beauty’ that’s making him kill and kill again?

Guaranteed! The 8 greatest shocks ever filmed!
Having established a template for the Italian thriller (giallo) genre with 1963’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much, visionary director Mario Bava introduced a box of new cinematic tricks (including colour) for his highly-stylised Blood and Black Lace in 1964. Excessive, eccentric, experimental and elaborate in its cinematic style and language, this Grand Guignol murder mystery is one of cinema’s most influential offerings, and a real showcase for Bava’s inventive visual trickery.

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It’s hard to imagine today, but this glamorous shocker, originally titled Sei Donne per l’Assassino (Six Women for the Murderer), wasn’t that well received on its original release. But its cult status flourished and is now regarded as the foremost example of 1960s Italian horror cinema and a landmark film that spearheaded the giallo genre. Without it, Dario Argento’s psycho-thrillers most certainly would never have happened, nor the giallo-fused psychedelia of Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (Amer and The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears) and their ilk.

But Bava’s beautifully photographed, ahead-of-its-time, gore murder thriller is also genuinely disturbing; ‘confronting us with a sado-voyeuristic delirium that simultaneously fascinates and repels’.* In his faceless mask, the killer carries out his sadistic attacks in a most violent fashion: misogynistic it most certainly is. But in the haunted world of Mario Bava, violence, eroticism and horror is always carried out with impeccable taste and a dark sensuality that’s hard to resist. And with Blood and Black Lace, you also get a swinging bossa nova soundtrack and a sumptuous setting (the real life Vialla Sciarra park in Rome) to entice you back, again and again…

Blood and Black Lace (1964)THE ARROW VIDEO RELEASE
Blood and Black Lace has been exclusively restored in 2k resolution for Arrow Films with the participation of Bava biographer Tim Lucas, and features audio restoration on both Italian and English tracks, but keeps some of the loose audio synch (owing to it being recorded in post-production – hence why the legendary Paul Frees gets to dub pratically all of the male characters) as per the original theatrical release.

Arrow has certainly done itself proud with this HD release, which is presented in dual format (Blu-ray/DVD), as well as in a limited edition SteelBook (Arrow Store exclusive), and features new artwork by Graham Humphreys. Just look at what else you get for your buck?

• Tim Lucas audio commentary (fascinating and informative, as you’d expect).
Psycho Analysis: Documentary featuring interviews with Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi and crime novelist Carlo Lucarelli.
• Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani discuss their love of the genre (love these guys).
Yellow (2013): Writer/director Ryan Haysom’s loving-crafted 2013 crowd-funded cine-experimental short about an old man on the hunt for a vicious serial killer in neon-lit Berlin.
• Trailer: This restored trailer revels in the film’s graphic violence and eroticism.
Gender and Giallo: Michael Mackenzie’s visual essay on giallo’s relationship with social upheavals in the 1960s and 1970s.
Blood and Bava: 2014 Courmayeur Noir Film Festival panel discussion with Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Steve Della Casa.
The Sinister Image: David Del Valle’s two-part 1986 interview with Cameron Mitchell, in its entirety.
• US Opening: Excellent, evocative mannequin filled alternate Filmation credit sequence sourced from Joe Dante’s private print of the film. In HD.
• The collector’s booklet contains articles on the film’s cinematic artistry and the actors playing the murder suspects (including George Clooney’s uncle and Italy’s Peter Lorre), one on Joe Dante reflecting on Bava’s work and an interview with Cameron Mitchell, plus a review on the 2013 short, Yellow, and notes on the restoration.

* Phil Hardy. Encyclopedia of Horror Movies

What We Do In The Shadows | Graham Humphreys limited edition movie poster launch – buy now!

What We Do In the Shadows by Graham Humphreys

Fans of the hilarious New Zealand vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows will not want to miss Silver Bow Art Gallery‘s special afternoon screening this coming Saturday at the Prince Charles Cinema in London’s Leciester Square, as all attendees who purchase a ticket will received a copy of this limited edition movie print signed and numbered by renowned British graphic artist Graham Humphreys.

To purchase your ticket now, follow the link:

What We Do in the Shadows is out on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK on Monday 13 April from Metrodome.

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