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Doomwatch (1970-1972) | The prophetic British sci-fi series gets a UK DVD release

Doomwatch (BBC TV)

In the early 1970s, the BBC1 sci-fi drama series Doomwatch made for compulsive viewing with its persuasive and frighteningly prescient storylines about science and technology gone awry. The series followed a group of dedicated scientists at the semi-secret The Department of Measurement of Scientific Work and their efforts to keep check on unprincipled scientific research which was creating hyper intelligent rats, plastic eating bacteria and genetic mutations, while also facing off volatile corporations, smug civil servants and government bureaucrats.

Heading up Doomwatch was the abrasive but dedicated Nobel Prize winning physicist Dr Spencer Quist (John Paul), and he was supported by former intelligence agent and ladies man Dr John Ridge (Simon Oates); young researcher Toby Wren (Robert Powell), who meets tragic end in the season one finale; computer specialist Colin Bradley (Joby Blanshard); and secretary Pat Hunnisett (Wendy Hall).

Doomwatch (BBC TV)

Doomwatch was the brainchild of Doctor Who screenwriters Kid Pedler and Gerry Davis, who tapped directly into the era’s zeitgeist by taking real scientific concepts to their terrifying extreme – which led Pedler to describe the show as ‘sci-fact’. This made for great drama, but also provoked headlines and debates on issues including growth hormones, subliminal advertising, sonic booms and dangers of lead petrol. Questions were even raised in Parliament when the fourth episode about killer rats was aired.

Doomwatch (BBC TV)

The show was certainly controversial, and not just for environmental reasons. Being a product of its times, it had an unenlightened portrayal of women – something that the producers attempted to redress by introducing female scientists like Barbara Mason (Vivien Sherrard) later in the run. Also dating the show are the 1970s stylings and location shots (which makes all of the UK look grey and grubby), and you’ll get a laugh from the scenes in which the actors flub their lines and bump into furniture (the show was shot as live). But these slight annoyances shouldn’t spoil your enjoyment of this prophetic, dark-edged and hugely influential sci-fi series. The BBC certainly don’t make them like this anymore.

Doomwatch (BBC TV)Never before available on DVD, all of Doomwatch’s existing episodes (the show met with the same fate as many other BBC shows that got wiped or destroyed after their initial transmission) have now been released from Simply Media in one box set which includes the unseen episode, Sex and Violence (deemed too much for British audiences of the day owing to the use of stock footage of a public execution) and the BBC documentary The Cult of Doomwatch.

The episodes presented here include eight from the first series (unfortunately Robert Powell’s dramatic exit from the show in the episode Survival Code is one those missing, believed wiped), all 13 episodes from series two, and three episodes from the final series (which many believe was not as good owing to the departure of Pedler and Davis at the end of the second series).

Doomwatch is out on DVD from Simply Media

• For more about the series, check out this fantastic fansite: Doomwatch Blogger


Craze (1974) | Jack Palance goes OTT in a slice of prime British horror sleaze

Craze (1974)

From Nucleus Films in the UK comes their remastered DVD release of 1974’s Craze. Now, the description really does sum this Britsploitation cult up to a tee, so read on… it will make you want this for your cult film collection by the time you get to the last line.

jack and dianaApparently, director Freddie Francis (Tales From The Crypt, Torture Garden) didn’t care much for this, his 1974 assignment for the Kandel and Cohen production house- even going so far as to describe it as “worse than Trog” We at Nucleus, however, disagree: Craze is a slice of prime British horror sleaze, ripe for rediscovery.

It’s got everything!! It’s got Jack Palance (Dracula, Torture Garden, Hawk The Slayer) pretending to be English, exclaiming “Jeezus Christ Almighty!” and picking up dollybirds in funky psych nightspots!! It’s got Martin Potter (Goodbye Gemini, Satan’s Slave, Cruel Passion) as his paranoid, hard-drinking gay business partner, Julie Ege (Creatures The World Forgot, Legend Of The Seven Golden Vampires) and Kathleen Byron (Twins Of Evil) as ritual victims, and Michael Jayston (Thriller, Quiller, Tales That Witness Madness) Percy Herbert (The Fiend, Black Snake) and David Warbeck (The Beyond, The Black Cat) as a trio of grumpy flatfoot coppers!! It’s got Suzy Kendall (Up The Junction, Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Torso) as a curly-wigged hooker with a jaw-dropping sex-aid collection, and Trevor Howard, Diana Dors, Hugh Griffith and Edith Evans (you KNOW who they are), slumming it in late-career cameos!!!

chukuNot convinced? How about an homage to Peeping Tom (though we’re not telling you where, so you have to buy it) an occult coven in purple robes chanting “armuneminuum” and a series of ghastly, grisly, gory, gruesome deaths? Or, best of all, how about Chuko, the ugliest, most googly-eyed fetish idol ever seen onscreen? Seriously, this doll makes both Hammer’s Charlie Boy and the Zuni from Trilogy Of Terror look handsome by comparison. Let him into your life (even better, let this beautifully remastered disc into your player) and the rewards are plenty- but they don’t come cheap. As the song says, “it’s no sacri-fi-i-iiiice…”


• 1.66:1 / 16×9
• Optional English Subtitles
• Theatrical Trailer
• Crazy Days – Brand new featurette with Jonathan Rigby who explores the book to screen
• Freddie Francis trailer reel (45 minutes!)
• Nucleus trailers

The Uninvited (2009) | Emily Browning fears for her life in a brilliantly twisted tale of creeping terror


Catch the psychological thriller on BBC1 HD today at 11.50pm (Sky 101/141, Virgin 101/108, Freeview 1/101, Freesat 101/108)

Nodding its hat to the South Korean cult hit A Tale of Two Sisters (on which it is based), as well as The Others and Orphan, 2009’s The Uninvited is a classy looking thriller boasting gorgeous cinematography, that harks back to the Technicolor days of Leave Her to Heaven, and a great lead in Emily Browning, who actually looks like Gene Tierney’s younger kid sister.

The Uninvited (2009)

High praise indeed, but Browning, who went on to cult success in Sucker Punch after this film, is mesmerising as troubled self-harmer Anna, who has just been released from a mental hospital after slashing her wrists because she could not get over witnessing the horrific death of her mother. Returning home, she finds Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), the nurse who cared for her ailing mother, is now her father’s new girlfriend, while little sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel) is fearful that Rachel is taking over. When a background check uncovers that Rachel is not her real name and Anna starts having visions that Rachel killed her mother, the two sisters set out to unmask Rachel as a murderer…

The Uninvited (2009)

Cue: loads of suspense and creeping dread as you find yourself hoping goody two-shoes Rachel gets her just desserts. I won’t say anymore, as I don’t want to spoil the exciting twists and turns of this brilliant chiller. Oh, and Christopher Young’s score is just divine. And whatever you do, don’t watch the extras on the UK DVD until after you have seen the film, because the climax will have you choking on whatever snack your munching on.

The Uninvited is available on DVD, can be rented online from Paramount Movies UK

Punishment Park (1971) | Why does Peter Watkins’ subversive pseudo-documentary continue to upset America?

Punishment Park (1971)

Set in a future where America’s war in Vietnam has led to the setting up of detention camps to hold dissidents, director Peter Watkins’ 1971 pseudo-documentary involves a British film crew, led by Watkins himself, following one group of radicals who accept three days in a ‘punishment park’ over a prison sentence. But it’s not going to be easy. The group are on foot, have no food or water, and cannot ask the assistance of the documentary crew as they cross 60-miles of desert to reach their target – an American flag. And standing in their way – squads of law enforcement officers waiting to take them down…

Punishment Park (1971)

Punishment Park might seem like a dystopian sci-fi in the vein of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four or a futuristic take on the classic adventure The Most Dangerous Game, but it’s actually a despairing indictment of repression in a country that boasts of freedom, liberty and human rights for all.

Mercilessly attacked for being an anti-American paranoid fantasy on its release in 1971, Punishment Park remained virtually unseen in that country for over three decades until it was finally released on DVD in 2005. It’s now available in the UK in a restored version in HD on Blu-ray and DVD (see below).

Punishment Park (1971)

To fully understand the film, you need to know what was happening to America at the end of the 1960s. As militant elements within the peace movement against the Vietnam War were becoming vocal, the Johnson and Nixon administrations turned to show trials and police force to silence them.

Using an actual piece of US legislation from the 1950s, which provided for the setting up of detention facilities for communist subversives, Watkins structured his pseudo-documentary around the stories of real-life protestors as told by non-actors.

The effect – combined with the brutal desert setting (Bear Mountain in California) and Watkins’ sly investigative reporter – made it all seem real (something he also succeeded in doing in his seminal 1965 BBC TV documentary, The War Game – which gets a BFI Blu-ray release in the UK on 28 March 2016). And it was too real for some, as Danish TV thought it was an actual news report. But there’s certainly no winking to the camera in Watkins’ film. Instead, he challenges the documentary film form, making us (the viewer) complicit in the terrible, brutal acts that unfold.

Punishment Park (1971)

Post 9/11 and and Punishment Park still makes for uneasy viewing – especially when you consider the abuse, brutality, humiliation and loss of civil liberties that dominate our news bulletins every day. As such, it remains a powerful tour-de-force that needs to be experienced and debated once again.

Punishment Park is available on Dual Format (Blu-ray and DVD) through Eureka!’s The Masters of Cinema Series, and inclues the following features:
• Restored high-definition transfer (shot on 16mm, Punishment Park has been re-mastered from a new 35mm print struck from the restored 35mm blow-up negative held in Paris).
• 30-minute introduction by Peter Watkins, filmed from 2004.
• Audio commentary by Dr Joseph A Gomez (author of the 1979 book Peter Watkins).
• Optional English subtitles.
• Booklet with two essays and reprints by Watkins.

Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre (2009) | Horror legend Gunnar Hansen chills in his final film

Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching MassacreEver been part of a tour group with a bunch of strangers in some remote foreign clime and wondered; ‘If we got into serious trouble, would we all work together to protect each other?’ Well that’s the premise of 2010’s Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, an Icelandic slasher that’s definitely way better than its exploitive title might suggest.

Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre

Texas Chain Saw‘s original Leatherface, the late-Gunnar Hansen (who died in November 2015, aged 68), plays the captain in charge of a whale watching boat, Poseidon, that sets out on a three-hour tour with handful of eco-tourists: amongst them is a German night-clubber, who smashes her knee while boarding the boat; a Japanese translator, who is struggling to please a misogynist businessman and his loyal wife; and a quiet African-American man.

Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre

But this is no Gilligan’s Island adventure, as events soon take a dark path. While coaxing a drunk French Arab down from climbing the ship’s mast, the captain becomes impaled by a stray harpoon. Instead of helping, the Poseidon’s repellent first mate then jumps ship, leaving the tourists to fend for themselves. Hailing down a small craft, the tourists think they are heading back to the harbour, but they are far from safe. On boarding an old whaling boat, the small group are soon fleeing for their lives, as they become blood sport for a family of revenge seeking whale hunters.

Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre

Scary, exciting and with characters that you really can believe in, this is a slasher for grown-ups. While it may conjure up memories of Hostel and its ilk, there is so much more here, thanks mainly to the screenplay (from Sjón Sigurdsson, the lyricist for Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark), which is a blackly comic social commentary on commerce, race and morality, and Júliús Kemp’s careful direction, which stays on the right side of gore – thrilling, but not eye-wincing.

From the inventive opening credits to the punk-rock remix of Bjørk’s It’s Oh So Quiet over the closing credits, this chilly Icelandic offering is a carefully crafted, intelligent addition to the horror genre. As for who survives, well I was genuinely surprised… but I loved it.

Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre screens on The Horror Channel in the UK (Sky 319, Virgin 149, Freeview 70, Freesat 138), with the next showing on today (Tuesday 15 March) at 10.55pm.


The Vampire Lovers (1970) | Hammer’s blood, breasts and blades Gothic horror is a buxom beauty indeed

The Vampire Lovers (1970)

By the late 1960s, those ghoulish purveyor’s of British Gothic horror, Hammer Films, needed more than Christopher Lee’s blood-shot-eyed Count Dracula to get bums back on the seats at local picture houses. What they needed was a good dose of sex and sadism. And so lesbianism reared its fangs in darkest Styria (just a couple of counties away from Karlsbad and Ingolstadt), where Ingrid Pitt put the vamp in vampire and the bite on some busty beauties, including Madeline Smith, Pippa Steele and Kate O’Hara, in 1970’s The Vampire Lovers.

The Vampire Lovers (1970)

In the first of two films for Hammer, Polish actress Pitt plays Mircalla Karnstein, the last remaining descendant of a family of vampires who conducted a reign of terror until Baron Hartog (Douglas Wilmer) took his blade to the heads of her undead loved ones. Now she’s back corrupting the daughters of a General (Peter Cushing) and a wealthy family headed up by Minder’s George Cole. But she’d better watch her head because Hartog and the General are hot on her tail…

The Vampire Lovers (1970)

A somewhat faithful adaptation of Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871 Gothic novella Carmilla (that had been tackled by Carl Dreyer in 1932’s Vampyr and Roger Vadim in 1960s Et Mourir de Plaisir/Blood and Roses), The Vampire Lovers was Hammer’s first sex vampire film and their only co-production with American International Pictures (who were in Europe at the time making a new slate of Poe/Price films).

The Vampire Lovers (1970)

It was also a watershed moment for the studio as by taking advantage of the change in the age restriction for X-certificate films, from 16 to 18, they could now include more sex and nudity, something that would dominate their horror output for the remainder of the decade.

The Vampire Lovers (1970)

Thanks to Ingrid Pitt’s totally uninhibited portrayal of the nipple-sucking vampire, the UK censors got their knickers in a twist over the film’s overt lesbianism, but it earned Pitt cult status, and with English Rose Madeline Smith under spell, Pitt sent the pulses racing of young males everywhere. Meanwhile, the censors also got nervous over decapitation scene, something that the US censors cut out altogether.

Shot at Elstree under the helm of Roy Ward Baker (who was slightly embarrassed by the sex content), but making excellent use of Moor Park Mansion in Hertfordshire, the film also introduced something new to Hammer’s vampire lore: the sexual possession/addiction aspect of vampirism, which Kate O’Mara brings to the fore in her masochist governess, Madame Perrodot.

Vampire Lovers 5

When it was originally released in the UK in October 1970, The Vampire Lovers was one of the country’s biggest money spinners, which resulted in Hammer continuing the Karnstein legacy in Lust for a Vampire (where Yutte Stensgaard’s Mircalla invades a girl’s finishing school) and Twins of Evil (where Damien Thomas’ Count faces off Peter Cushing’s puritan witch hunter).

According to Hammer fans, including expert Jonathan Rigby (who co-hosts the audio commentary), Final Cut’s Region B digitally re-restored release (which came out on Blu-ray in November 2014 and gets its DVD debut on 14 March 2016) is regarded as the best home entertainment version available to date (an earlier Australian release had questionable audio, while the Scream Factory release contained an inferior transfer print). It’s also the most complete version as it includes a decapitation sequence that was cut from previous (US) versions. The extras include audio commentary with Rigby and Marcus Hearn (who really know their Hammer), a 25-minute documentary New Blood: Hammer Enters the 70s (which includes a look at the Hammer archives at De Montfort University in Leicester), stills gallery, original trailer, restoration comparisons; and subtitles for the hard of hearing. While Scream’s release may lose points on print quality, it does have, amongst its extras, an archive audio commentary with director Roy Ward Baker, actress Ingrid Pitt and producer Tudor Gates, who – alas – are all no longer with us.

Rocco and His Brothers (1960) | Lucino Visconti’s working class melodrama is a gritty, gripping masterpiece

Rocco and his Brothers (1960)

From Eureka Entertainment comes the worldwide Blu-ray release of Luchino Visconti’s melodramatic 1960 masterpiece Rocco and His Brothers.

In 1950s Italy, recently widowed Rosaria Parondi (Katina Paxinou) and her four sons, Simone (Renato Salvatori), Rocco (Alain Delon), Ciro (Max Cartier) and Luca (Rocco Vidolazzi), leave their impoverished home in Bari in the south for metropolitan Milan where they hope to lodge with their eldest brother Vincenzo (Spiros Focás). But, on discovering he is to be engaged to young Ginetta (Claudia Cardinale) without her consent, Rosario makes a scene that insults his potential in-laws.

Finding temporary housing in the basement of an unheated block of flats, the family struggles to fit into a city where southerners are treated with the utmost disdain. Simone and Rocco soon begin to train as boxers, while Ciro sets about studying, and Vincenzo begins a family with Ginetta. Over time, however, Rosaria finds her southern values challenged, while her sons’ tight-knit bond becomes sorely tested…

Rocco and his Brothers (1960)

Taking inspiration from the novel Il Ponte della Ghisolfa by Giovanni Testori, Lucino Visconti weaves a working class melodrama that might seem grim, grey and angry on the surface, but it’s full of intensity and energy borne out by the sublime performances of Alain Delon, Renato Salvatori and Annie Girardot, whose characters are at the heart of this powerful, often violent tale of love, passion and morality.

Rocco and his Brothers (1960)

Delon delivers one of his finest roles as the noble Rocco, a gentle soul who will go to the ends of the Earth to save his boxer brother Simone from the moral abyss that confronts him. Playing Caine to Delon’s Abel, Salvatori is a standout: raw, rough and the epitome of wounded pride; and as the spirited prostitute in love with both brothers, Girardot is totally captivating and makes for a truly tragic screen heroine. (Incidentally, Girardot and Salvatori married two years later).

But watch out for Katina Paxinou, her protective matriarch Rosario is the Italian mother personified. Her scene unleashing her wrath (complete with southern dialect profanties and gestures) on Girardot’s Nadia is one of the film’s most memorable, and identifiable, moments.

Rocco and his Brothers (1960)

The film’s social statements may walk a thin line at times, but Visconti brings a neo-realist eye and an operatic sensibility to his episodic epic that grips you until the bittersweet end. But kudos go to cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno’s film for bringing Visconti’s powerful imagery to luminous life. From the framing of the film’s four male stars in all their masculine beauty to the sweeping city vistas; and from the dark side-streets and shadow-lit boxing ring to Milan’s deserted Ravizza park where the film’s most violent scenes play out, Rotunno’s monochrome camerawork is breathtaking, while Nina Rota’s hypnotic jazz score is an atmospheric highlight.

Eureka’s Blu-ray, released as part of The Masters of Cinema series, features a HD presentation of the film (which reinstates two scenes cut by the censors) from a new 4k restoration, which also feature the following extras…

  • Optional English subtitles
  • Two audio choices; the original Italian, and the French dub
  • Les coulisses du tournage, a 2003 French documentary about the film
  • 1999 interview with cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno
  • Interview with actress Claudia Cardinale
  • 2002 interview with actress Annie Girardot
  • Luchino Visconti: A 60min documentary about the director’s life and career
  • Two vintage newsreels
  • Original Italian trailer

Among the Living (2014) | A surprising and disturbing French indie horror with a Stand By Me vibe

Among the Living (2014)

Brooding bad boy Tom (Zacharie Chasseriaud), nerdy Dan (Damien Ferdel), and troubled outsider Victor (Theo Fernandez) skip detention on the last day of school to explore an abandoned film studio lot. But after witnessing a distraught woman being kidnapped, they alert the police, who refuse to believe their story. But as the boys return to their homes, the killer sets out to silence them, one by one…

Among the Living (2014)

Reviewers have called this French indie horror ‘Wonderfully disturbing’ and ‘a blend of ‘Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes imagery, with the likes of ET’ and they’re on the right track. But I think it’s more like Stand By Me meets Hooper’s Funhouse with some It’s Alive in its DNA.

Among the Living (aka Aux yeux des vivants) isn’t your standard slasher, being as surprising as it is disturbing, but with a real backwoods American vibe that sets it apart from most Euro-made horrors. It also features some knockout performances from the three young leads, who bring real grit and emotion to their characters, who all have their crosses to bear within their dysfunctional families. Tom has an abusive alcoholic father to contend with; Dan’s middle-class parents have little time for him; and Victor is still unsure about his mother’s new partner. And families are at the dark heart of this horror, which puts an inventive twist on why the killer is being tasked with taking down these youngsters.

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Watch out for Beatrice Dalle (aka Betty Blue, You And the Night) in a graphic, OTT opening cameo and a truly frightening scene involving children’s plush toys. Next up for writer/directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo is the new Texas Chain Saw prequel, Leatherface. Let’s hope that’s just as inventive…

Among the Living is out on DVD in the UK from Metrodome.

The Saragossa Manuscript (1965) | Wojciec Has’ surreal supernatural masterpiece restored on Blu-ray

The Saragossa ManuscriptA huge favourite of cult director’s Luis Buñuel and David Lynch, as well as rock star Jerry Garcia, the surreal supernatural tale The Saragossa Manuscript  from legendary Polish director Wojciec Has is a mysteriously magical and sometimes disturbing 1960s cult classic like no other.

Adapted from the highly esteemed explorer Jan Potocki’s magnum opus, The Saragossa Manuscript encompasses a whole new supernatural world. During Napoleon’s invasion of Spain, two soldiers of opposing sides discover a strange manuscript at an Inn.

Spanning centuries and nations the magical text chronicles the adventures of Alfonso van Worden and follows a rich slew of journeys from the humorous to the horrifying, to the chilling final revelations.

Alternatively frightening and comical in its mind-bending exploration of human nature, the surreal 1965 film beautifully presents Has’ intricate approach to story telling, and is now available in a restored version on Blu-ray from Mr Bongo Films.


Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970) | Mario Bava’s pop art whodunit is simply ravishing on Blu-ray

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)

With a Pop Art nod to Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit, Ten Little Indians, Mario Bava’s 1970 giallo Five Dolls for an August Moon (aka 5 bambole per la luna d’agosto) is a tour de force, while Arrow Video’s new HD restoration release is a must-have. And here’s why…

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)

Playboy industrialist George Stark (Teodora Corrà) gathers a group of bourgeois friends at his beach house retreat for the weekend, where the guest of honour is Professor Farrell (William Berger (Faccia a Faccia), a brilliant chemist who has developed a new formula for a revolutionary synthetic resin. Armed with $1m cheques, the guests try to woo Farrell, but he’s just not interested. The potential investors then turn on each other, with one of them restorting to murder to get their hands on the formula…

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)

Maria Bava called Five Dolls his worst film and said he only did it for the money. But I think he does it an injustice (and it’s not anywhere as bad as Dr Goldfoot & the Girls Bombs). OK, it might have a wayward narrative, but it’s difficult not to get carried away by Bava’s dazzling visuals and production design, the camera and editing, the jazzy go-go lounge score, and the colourful characters, played by genre favourites, including Edwige Fenech and Howard Ross.

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)

A master of the giallo, each time Bava returned to the genre he tried something different. This misfire, which he edited as well as directed, is no exception. If his Girl Who Knew Too Much was a ‘monochrome Hitchcockian masterpiece in terror‘, and his Blood and Black Lace, a ‘spellbinding essay in sexual perversity‘, then his Five Dolls is a dazzling Pop Art portrait of bourgeois excess, brought to maximum effect by the film’s gaudy fashions, modernist décor, and sly camera tricks (especially those purposefully hilarious close-ups).

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)

While Bava’s slasher prototype Bay of Blood showed us each murder in explicit gory detail, all the deaths in Five Dolls occur off-screen. But it doesn’t matter, as Bava comes up with a gleefully grim-tastic device: wrapping his corpses in plastic and then having them hang them like butcher meat in a freezer to the tune of some off-key carousel music.

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)

And speaking of music, the film’s kitsch jazz lounge score is by Piero Umiliani, who is best known for the novelty song Mah Nà, Mah Nà, which I’ve always associated with Sesame Street. But it was actually first used in an Italian mondo called Sweden Heaven and Hell. Now, I’ll never think of it the same way.

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)

I can’t stress how gorgeous the Arrow Video restoration release looks on Blu-ray, which I’ve watched three times now (one for the film itself, one with Tim Lucas’ hugely informative audio commentary, and one with just that brilliant music). Which means I can finally chuck my copy of 2001 Image Entertainment DVD release.

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)THE ARROW VIDEO RELEASE
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations, re-mastered from the original film elements. Once you’ve seen this, you’ll be chucking out your old DVD versions (which is exactly what I did).
• Optional English and Italian soundtracks in original uncompressed mono PCM audio.
• Optional isolated Music and Effects track: If you don’t already have the Cinevox OST CD then this is the closest you’ll get to hearing Piero Umiliani’s knockout score, which includes his Eyes Without a Face homage, Fantoccio Grottesco.
• Optional English subtitles for the Italian audio and English subtitles
• Tim Lucas audio commentary: This is a must-hear as Lucas provides some amazing insights into the film’s production and underlying themes. But be prepared for some big reveals (like the fact the fab house is just a matt painting and a studio set).
Mario Bava: Maestro of the Macabre: This documentary may be 16 years old, but it does boast some informative interviews with genre favourites Joe Dante, John Carpenter and Tim Burton.
• Theatrical trailer
• Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
• Collector’s booklet featuring articles on Bava’s film and exploitation distributor Edwin John (EJ) Fancey.

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