Never Too Young to Die (Gil Bettman, 1986)

“… explosions, one-against-a-hundred bazooka battles, and chases …” – LOS ANGELES TIMES

Drafthouse Films LogoAction: Bond style.  Beauty: Vanity style.  Hero: American style.  Never Too Young to Die stars teenage idol John Stamos and the sensually exotic Vanity as two of the most dynamic secret agents seen in years.  Gene Simmons plays the super-villain who plans to take over the country, and finds his plot blocked by Stamos and Vanity.  The two suddenly find themselves the targets of the vicious Simmons, and must take on the maniacal hermaphrodite.  The resulting battle of the “sexes” blows the lid of the evil plan, and Stamos joins the ranks of the American Hero.  Powerful heavy-metal music, state-of-the-art weaponry, and the explosive chemistry between two of the sexiest stars on the screen blend to make this exciting action flick an automatic winner!

Special Features:

Stargrove Edition – Package Includes:

  • Never Too Young to Die on Blu-ray or Standard DVD featuring over 2 hours of bonus material
  • High quality 720p HD Digital Download of the Film Available on Street Date
  • Instant Download of the 7-track Never Too Young to Die Soundtrack including Tommie Lee Bradley’s theme “Stargrove”
  • 27″ x 40″ Reversible Poster
  • Limited Edition “DUNBAR” Tank Top

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The War of the Stars: A New Hope Grindhoused (George Lucas/The Man Behind the Mask, 1977/2010)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The War of the Stars: A New Hope Grindhoused.

criterion logoA poor orphan working on his uncle’s moisture farm on the remote desert planet Tatooine, Luke Skywalker dreams of becoming a starship pilot like his friend Biggs Darklighter, but when Luke discovers a hidden message for an old hermit, he becomes embroiled in a quest of galactic scale.  Trained in the arcane ways of a lost order of knights by the reclusive Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke, with the help of a robotic duo and a pair of greedy space pirates, must save a princess from the clutches of the maniacal Darth Vader and destroy an evil Empire’s planet-sized weapon, the Death Star.  The War of the Stars: A New Hope Grindhoused roughs up George Lucas’ sci-fi classic, using an original 16mm print, unused footage, fearsome digital effects, and other surprising additions to recast it in the spirit of 1970s exploitation cinema.

Disc Features:

  • High-definition digital master, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Interactive lexicon cataloging incorporated material
  • Interview with George Lucas
  • Audio commentary by faneditor The Man Behind the Mask
  • Roundtable discussion with Robot Chicken co-founder Seth Green, Robot Chicken: Star Wars cowriter Breckin Meyer, actor and faneditor Topher Grace, Slash Film writer Peter Sciretta, and Fanboys director Kyle Newman
  • Fanmixed, a new interview with legal scholar Lawrence Lessig on fanediting, copyright, and piracy

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Double Feature Fandom: 2 Grindhouse Fanedits by The Man Behind the Mask

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Double Feature Fandom: 2 Grindhouse Fanedits by The Man Behind the Mask.

criterion logoOriginally conceived as a fan-made double feature re-imagining two classic ’70s blockbusters as B-movie exploitation cinema, The Man Behind the Mask’s JAWS: The Sharksploitation Edit and The War of the Stars: A New Hope Grindhoused are presented here as the first authorized, commercially released fanedit features.  These homemade films mix source material with unused footage, new digital effects, original and appropriated music, and audio and visual content from other films to produce a new viewing experience that elaborates on otherwise familiar content.  Considered two of the best regarded and most entertaining edits produced from within fan subculture, The Man Behind the Mask’s Grindhouse Double Feature is a thoroughly contemporary, decidedly nostalgic, assuredly postmodern tribute to 1970s cinema and to a pair of popularly beloved favorites.

Disc Features:

  • High-definition digital master, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray editions
  • Interactive lexicons cataloging material incorporated into each fanedit
  • Interviews with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg
  • Audio commentaries by faneditor The Man Behind the Mask
  • Roundtable discussions with Robot Chicken co-founder Seth Green, Robot Chicken: Star Wars cowriter Breckin Meyer, actor and faneditor Topher Grace, Slash Film writer Peter Sciretta, and Fanboys director Kyle Newman
  • Fanmixed, a new interview with legal scholar Lawrence Lessig on fanediting, copyright, and piracy
  • From Cornell and Conner to Fanedit.org, film scholar Michael Zryd on the found footage film tradition
  • PLUS:  A booklet of essays by cult film scholars Ernest Mathijs and Jamie Sexton.

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Wicked City (Yoshiaki Kawajiri, 1987)

“The best parts of John Carpenter’s The Thing and Videodrome packed into a sexy sci-fi actioner.” – Adam Groves, FRIGHT.COM

Drafthouse Films LogoThere is Earth, our familiar world, and then there is the Black World, a parallel dimension that very few people are aware of.  For centuries, a pact between the two worlds has ensured our peaceful coexistence, but terms must be negotiated and renewed to continue the relative harmony.  With little time before the expiration of the existing treaty, a militant faction of Black World radicals commit themselves to preventing the establishment of a new peace accord.  Two agents from the elite organization called the Black Guards – defenders of the balance between the two worlds – are charged with ensuring the success of the treaty.  Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll) blends stylish eroticism, graphic horror and pulse-pounding action as these two agents from distant worlds struggle to protect a key figure to the peace process, a centuries old psychic with plans of his own.  Long out of print and unavailable in North America, Wicked City finally returns!

Special Features:

  • Introduction with cartoon historian and Wicked City distributor, Jerry Beck
  • Audio commentary with Japanese film curator, Jasper Sharp
  • Interview with director, Yoshiaki Kawajiri
  • Original theatrical trailers
  • Character biographies
  • Original Japanese and English-dubbed language options
  • 16-page booklet with image gallery and concept art

Black World Edition – Package includes:

  • Wicked City on Blu-ray or Standard DVD
  • High quality 720p HD Digital Download of the film
  • Instant Download of the 10-track Wicked City soundtrack
  • 27″ x 40″ Theatrical Poster
  • Unofficial Wicked City black tie and cufflinks set

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Age of Assassins (Kihachi Okamoto, 1967)

Eclipse LogoIt’s now or never for meek university professor Shinji Kikyo.  He is the target of the Japanese Population Control Council’s collection of quirky assassins and his athlete’s foot is acting up worse than ever.  If he’s to survive the nefarious plans of the Council’s sinister leader, an insane asylum director obsessed with war and murder, he’ll need the help of his friends, a spunky female reporter and a loyal car thief.  Charismatic leading man Tatsuya Nakadai stars as the milquetoast scholar who is more than he seems, facing down deadly eye-patches, killer crutches, evil hypnotists, heavy artillery, and a bevy of swimsuit clad beauties.  Age of Assassins is Dr. Strangelove meets The Pink Panther, a spy-spoof spectacular bearing the hallmarks of the “Kihachi Touch”.

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The Kihachi Okamoto Touch

Eclipse is a selection of lost, forgotten, or overshadowed classics in simple, affordable editions.  Each series is a brief cinematheque retrospective for the adventurous home viewer.

Eclipse LogoKihachi Okamoto was a pioneer of New Japanese Cinema and a master of genre film, producing outstanding samurai films, gangster movies, and modern war epics, however his best films may have been a collection of comedies produced in the 1960s.  Ever the iconoclast, Okamoto used established genres like salariman comedies, yakuza films, musicals, and spy flicks to satirically examine modern Japan and its wartime legacy.  The four films collected here each bear the mark of Okamoto’s idiosyncratic style, employing elegant camerawork, black humor, and up-tempo, rhythmic montage to embody his humane and compassionately rebellious spirit – simply called the Kihachi Touch.

The Elegant Life of Mr. Everyman  (Eburi manshi no yûga-na seikatsu)

A lowly ad agency writer drunkenly promises two magazine editors he will create for them an impressive story and finds unexpected acclaim when he creates an autobiographical novella admitting his personal struggles and financial insecurities in post-war Japan.

Oh, My Bomb!  (Aa bakudan)

A slapstick, musical comedy, Oh, My Bomb! follows an elderly yakuza boss, recently released from prison, and his plan to assassinate a gangster-turned-political candidate using an explosive fountain pen.

Age of Assassins aka Epoch of Murder and Madness  (Satsujin kyo jidai)

Okamoto’s wildly hilarious spy spoof follows the efforts of a nebbish university professor, together with a confused car thief and a plucky female reporter, against an ex-Nazi mad scientist and his cadre of murderous patients.

The Human Bullet (Nikudan)

A conflicted kamikaze at the tail-end of World War II, floating in an oil drum and adrift in the Pacific Ocean to man a single torpedo, reflects on his efforts to enjoy his last days in this disorienting and savage anti-war satire.

With notes on the films by Japanese-cinema historian Chris D.

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