Trailer Tuesday

Let’s kick off this “Trailer Tuesday” with my favourite film of the year so far – Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy (2018). For me, this is Cage Rage by Tor Books and I completely love it. Mandy is so clearly defined in its aesthetic bravura, so hilariously aware of its fantastic absurdity. Cosmatos’ direction is stunning, managing to swing between hilarity, tragedy, awe, and back again within the same scene. (Plus, it’s always great to see the dildo from Se7en still working.)

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Arrow Made Mine! (Sort Of)

Maybe it’s because Arrow Video made their announcements while I was at the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival. Maybe I’m just asleep at the wheel. Either way, MMC! is overdue in noting that Arrow Video will be releasing Robert Harmon’s The Hitcher (1986) at the end of this month, albeit not in the hi-def Blu-ray edition previously proposed here but rather in a scholarly monograph.

Arrow describes the book on its website as:

Robert Harmon’s 1986 film The Hitcher is a complex beast: reviled at the time of its release, it has been adored in the long term as one of the most intoxicating, unrelenting highway cult films ever made. Starring Rutger Hauer in the title role whose alluring villainy would give his turn as Blade Runner’s Roy Batty a run for its money, The Hitcher – both the film and the character – is simultaneously of its time and of the now, a film about the real and the mythic, and a film that challenges our assumptions about masculinity and femininity. Its horrors unfold as The Hitcher tracks and tortures the film’s protagonists across the highways of Nowhere USA, and the film reveals a tangle of contradictions: it is, at times, simultaneously dense, shallow, obvious, subtle, absurd and deeply intelligent.

The critical paths into The Hitcher that this book explores are rich and plentiful, and through an exploration of its origins and production history, a close analysis of the film itself and a consideration of the immediate fallout following its release and its longer legacies, this book celebrates one of the greatest highway horror movies ever made.

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas is a film critic and academic from Melbourne, Australia, who has written four books on cult, horror and exploitation cinema.

Featuring new artwork by Gary Pullin and original stills.

Sounds good!  I’ll definitely be picking this one up.

And once again, MMC! shapes the boutique film label world. You are welcome, cinephiles.

The Flesh and the Fiends (John Gilling, 1960)

MURDER WAS THEIR BUSINESS!

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddEdinburgh.  1827.  The Scottish capital is the world leader in medical research but a scarcity of legally available cadavers has caused medical schools to turn to “resurrectionists,” grave-robbers selling freshly buried (and not so freshly buried) bodies liberated from local graveyards.  Irish immigrants Burke (George Rose) and Hare (Donald Pleasence) join the ranks of the body-snatchers, striking up an uneasy business relationship with eminent surgeon Dr. Robert Knox (Peter Cushing) and quickly deciding to speed the process along by murdering the poor and the homeless.  Men and women, old and young, everyone becomes a target for the deadly duo, but even as the body count rises, Knox turns a blind eye to their methods in order to further his research.  When Burke and Hare go too far and murder a well known figure of the Edinburgh slums, the public goes mad for the killers’ blood and Dr. Knox’s conspiracy is revealed with harrowing consequences.

John Gilling’s The Flesh and the Fiends is a forgotten and under-appreciated classic of British horror, a historical thriller with a disturbingly black heart that is made all the darker for having told the true account of Scotland’s most famous serial killers.  Violent and salacious, yet grand and expressionistic, The Flesh and the Fiends is presented here, for the first time, in high-definition presentations of both the British and the infamous “Continental” cuts of the film.

Special Features:

  • New high definition digital transfer of the British cut of The Flesh and the Fiends and of the “Continental” version with added scenes of nudity and violence shot for the more permissive European market
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD Presentation
  • Uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • New interview with director Joe Dante and graphic artist Charlie Largent on The Flesh and the Fiends and its subsequent versions
  • In Search of Burke and Hare, a documentary on the West Port murders by David Street and hosted by David Hayman
  • Theatrical trailer for The Fiendish Ghouls, the shortened US re-release version of the film
  • Alternate title sequence from Mania, the first US version of the film
  • Gallery of photos, posters, and lobby cards
  • Collector’s booklet featuring an essay by genre writer Jonathan Sothcott and film scholar Edwin Samuelson

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Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (James Signorelli, 1988)

HERE COMES ELVIRA … THERE GOES THE NEIGHBOURHOOD!

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddElvira busts out in her outrageously funny, big scream, feature film debut!  When her great-aunt dies, famed horror hostess Elvira heads for the uptight New England town of Fallwell to claim her inheritance of a spooky house, a witch’s cookbook, and a punk rock poodle.  But once Fallwell’s stuffy locals get an eyeful of the scream queen’s ample assets, all hell breaks loose.  Can the Madonna of the Macabre find love with a studly cinema owner, avoid the schemes of her creepy great-uncle, titillate the town’s repressed teens, and become a Las Vegas dance sensation, all without being burned alive at the stake?

Cassandra Peterson stars as horror icon Elvira in this sexy comedy hit, filled with wild wisecracks, campy chaos, and scare movie spooks, all poured into the lowest-cut black gown in horror movie history!

Special Features:

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Love Sublime (Raj Kapoor, 1978)

A BOLLYWOOD FABLE OF LOVE, LUST AND OBSESSION

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddThere is nothing quite like Raj Kapoor’s Love Sublime – a meditation on love and beauty that lavishly mixes fantasy, psychedelia, and voluptuous sexuality against the background of 1970s India’s rural electrification program.  A playboy engineer from the city (Shashi Kapoor) is sent to a small village to oversee a new hydroelectric dam, and falls in love with a nubile temple girl (Zeenat Aman) who hides her severely scarred face from him.  He discovers her disfigurement on their wedding night and goes mad, insisting that she is an impostor and bringing her to a strange masquerade designed to restore his love.  Raj Kapoor presents a fairy tale vision that mixes the hardscrabble realism of rural life with baroque dream sequences and a scandalous degree of sexuality by his female star’s barely there wardrobe.  While representing a stunning accomplishment in visual style by cinematographer Radhu Karmakar and boasting an accomplished soundtrack by composers by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Love Sublime‘s unusual story and rampant eroticism has nevertheless defined it as the most controversial movie of Bollywood’s greatest filmmaker.

Love Sublime resembles the Hindi lovechild of Samuel Fuller and Russ Meyer, merging daring pulp perversity with a rural, Gothic, T&A melodrama and creating an irresistible social drama that may or may not teach that beauty is more than skin deep.  As Elliott Stein observes, “Although it was made for Indian audiences, I have never met an Indian who will admit to liking it and I have never met anyone from the West who didn’t like it.”

Special Features:

  • New High Definition Digital Transfer
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
  • Newly translated English subtitles
  • Raj Kapoor in the ’70sRachel Dwyer on Raj Kapoor and his late career interest in female protagonists
  • New interviews with stars Shashi Kapoor and Zeenat Aman
  • Sex, Saris, and Censorship – a visual essay by Monika Mehta exploring the reception and controversy of Love Sublime
  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
  • Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Wendy Doniger, a review by Elliott Stein, and illustrated with original stills and posters

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Scrooged (Richard Donner, 1988)

FRANK CROSS AIN’T AFRAID OF NO GHOSTS!

AV_Inferno_DVD_.inddAfter squaring off against a city full of spooks and specters four years earlier in Ghostbusters, Bill Murray returns in Richard Donner’s Scrooged to face four ghosts intent on abusing the Christmas spirit into him.  This side-splitting take-off on “A Christmas Carol” transports Charles Dickens’ tale of holiday bitterness to 1980s New York and the cynical world of network television.  Frank Cross (Murray) has made the meteoric rise from the depths of the mail-room to TV network president, and has become a modern-day Scrooge in the process – mean, nasty, uncaring, unforgiving.  But on the night of the network’s live Christmas Eve special, Cross will be visited by a maniacal cab driver from the past, a sweetly sadistic fairy from the present, and a towering messenger from the future.

A cult favorite of Christmas counter-programming (until its sing-a-long climax), Scrooged boasts a hilarious starring performance by Bill Murray and an all-star supporting cast that includes Karen Allen, Bobcat Goldthwait, Alfre Woodard, John Forsythe, Robert Mitchum, Carol Kane, David Johansen, John Houseman, Buddy Hackett, Robert Goulet, and Lee Majors.  Yule love it!

Special Features:

  • New High Definition digital transfer
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
  • Original Stereo 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Surround options
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio Commentary with director Richard Donner
  • Bill Murray’s message from the ShoWest exhibitors convention
  • Five new featurettes – “A Christmas to Remember,” “Updating Ebenezer,” “Bringing Ghosts to Life,” “The Look of Scrooged,” and the two-part “On the Set with Bill Murray”
  • “Put A Little Love in Your Heart” music video featuring Annie Lennox and Al Green
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

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