Blu-Ray Review: Black Mama, White Mama

BMWM_AV041Okay, it was Pam Grier‘s birthday last week and I only know this because I overheard some OG’s doing some paper bag stoop drinking talking about the lady today while I was out shopping. They were trying to recall the names of two movies she was in back before she became a bigger name star and you better believe yours truly stepped in to inform them HIT MAN and Black Mama, White Mama were the movies they were looking for.

I don’t think I’d seen a more grateful group of old guys since Prohibition ended and even better, when I told them both movies had been restored and can be bought online AND they both pop up on TCM on occasion, I ended up getting a free beer for that information. Yes, it was still sealed – I don’t do that passing around stuff with former total strangers. Unless it’s some Thunderbird or Night Train. That stuff can kill germs from 50 paces and tastes like someone put a heaping spoonful of sugar into a pint of paint thinner (yum!).

Anyway, I got back home, tossed the groceries I’d bought aside like Frank Cannon used to do on that old CBS show (much to the surprise of the groceries) and got to this review of Arrow Video’s chock full of fun Blu-Ray released a little while back. Black Mama, White Mama is an excellent exploitation flick with Grier and the still stunning Margaret Markov that takes the plot of The Defiant Ones, adds a dash of Caged!, and sets the whole shebang in the (literally and figuratively) steamy Philippines (doubling for a never-named Latin dictatorship of some sort). The results are a sexy, sassy potboiler/revenge flick complete with copious female nudity, sudden (but expected) violence, and the always entertaining Sid Haig in a colorful role as a really bad man. Continue reading

Arrow Video July Releases: Hot Summer Nights, Indeed

While there are only a mere three releases in July from Arrow Video through MVD Entertainment, they’re all worth nabbing thanks to being a nice set of eclectic films to watch. Amusingly enough, all are about women in trouble and/or various states of undress for plot purposes (of course). A classic sex comedy, a weird, unintentionally funny sex drama, and a killer Japanese film set that’s one of the ultimate revenge flick compilations of the era all await your eager eyeballs and shelf space.

The Swinging Cheerleaders AV058First up: on July 5th, say hello to The Swinging Cheerleaders (MSRP $34.95, Blu-ray + DVD, MVD Shop or Amazon pre-order)

They gave it all for their team…


Jack Hill spent the seventies specializing in tough female characters. He made movies about girl gangs (Switchblade Sisters) and women in prison (The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage), turned Pam Grier a star with Coffy and Foxy Brown, and contributed to the Cheerleaders line of drive-in favorites with The Swinging Cheerleaders.


Kate, an undergraduate at Mesa University, goes undercover as a cheerleader for her college newspaper in order to expose ‘female exploitation in contemporary society’. But instead of oppression she finds love, friendship and a bigger fish to fry: corruption in the football team, headed up by the coach and his pals.


A favorite of Quentin Tarantino, who screened it at the very first Tarantino Film Fest, The Swinging Cheerleaders features a cast of cult favorites including Colleen Camp (Wayne’s World, Game of Death), Rainbeaux Smith (Caged Heat, The Incredible Melting Man) and future Playmate of the Month Rosanne Katon.


– Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
– High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD Presentations
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
– Audio commentary by writer-director Jack Hill, recorded exclusively for this release
– Brand new interview with Jack Hill
– Archive interview with cinematographer Alfred Taylor
– Archive interview with Hill and Johnny Legend
– Q&A with Hill, and actors Colleen Camp and Rosanne Katon recorded at the New Beverly Cinema in 2012
– TV spots
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
– Illustrated booklet containing new writing by Cullen Gallagher (first pressing only)


But wait, there’s more!
Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood

AmericanHP_AV043Having seen my share of horror oddities on TV, in theaters an via assorted video formats since the 1970’s (okay, late 60’s if you count those Chiller Theater and Creature Feature reruns), I have to say Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood is way up there as one of the more bizarrely unfocused storytelling-wise but visually striking genre films I can recall. Thanks to Arrow Video, the film has been lovingly restored and presented as one of the three films in its must-own American Horror Project Volume 1.

Director Christoper Speeth‘s unusual flick is a loosely (VERY loosely) plotted tale of a family who’s invested in a run-down carnival that has some pretty grim secrets underneath its dilapidated thrill rides. Some viewers may note slight similarities to Carnival of Souls, Night of the Living Dead and certain silent films the movie itself spotlights at certain moments. While the film does suffer from a number of continuity issues no editor could fix thanks to many shots being done in a single take, the production design and overall tone here makes this one well worth watching. Trust me, if the bizarre found object set design doesn’t hook you in, it’ll be the general weirdness and downbeat tone you can feel from the outset that work their magic on your eyes and brain. Did I mention you also get to see singing ghouls and cannibalism by said ghouls here? Nope? Well, yes indeed you do.
Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: The Premonition (1976)


AmericanHP_AV043As with The Witch Who Came From the Sea, the second film in Arrow Video’s mostly great American Horror Project Volume 1 collection isn’t really a traditional genre flick at all. Robert Allen Schnitzer‘s 1976 film, The Premonition is more of a visually intense psychological thriller with a supernatural theme running through it.

Don’t go into this one expecting gallons of blood and guts all over the walls and floors, folks. The film is a more deliberately paced thriller with a somewhat complex “child in danger” plot that seems to have been rewritten over another idea for a competent family drama of the week TV movie. Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: The Witch Who Came from the Sea

AmericanHP_AV043Arrow Video and MVD Visual are giving horror genre fans a true trio of rarely seen treat with its new American Horror Project series. Volume 1 (limited to only 3000 copies) contains three films from the 1970’s restored as best as possible and packed with loads of must-see bonuses that make this collection well worth the cost. Each of the films here is such a revelation of both great, bizarre and bad elements that I’ll be covering them in separate reviews starting with (in my opinion) is the best of the trio.

Matt Cimber‘s 1976 film The Witch Who Came From the Sea is both amazing and disturbing on a few levels. A startling performance by Millie Perkins (best known to classic film fans for The Diary of Anne Frank) and lovely cinematography by Dean Cundey make this one of those films that creeps up under your skin and stays there for a while. Molly (Perkins) watches her young nephews during the day, filling their heads with tales of their seaman grandfather’s heroic deeds and pumping them up with admiration for sports stars they see on TV. At night she works as a barmaid in a dockside dive, sometimes sleeping with her boisterous boss, Long John (Lonny Chapman). That’s not her biggest secret, however. She was a severely abused child who descended into a quiet madness during her years of torture who’s now a serial killer with specific men as her targets. Continue reading

Four More Arrow Video Releases Landing Soon

NikkatsuDG_AV037 Your movie collection is about to get four more titles larger thanks to Arrow Video’s upcoming releases though MVD Entertainment Group. January brings you Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Volume 1 (1/26/16, $49.95 MSRP), a set of three films from the famed Japanese studio from directors Seijun Suzuki (Voice Without a Shadow), Toshio Masuda (Red Pier) and Buichi Saito (The Rambling Guitarist).

Hideaki Nitani,Yujiro Ishihara, and Akira Koabyashi  are the Diamond Guys represented in this first volume, so this set will be another essential for fans of Japanese cinema. This set also makes me wonder if there’s a Nikkatsu Diamond Gals series coming at some point as I can think of a few actresses who worked for the studio that merit a collection like this. Amusingly enough, as I was typing this, the mail arrived and yep, those Diamond Guys are nowhere. I know what I’m doing this evening, folks.

ShebaBaby_AV042February brings Pam Grier to you in fine form indeed, but don’t get any bad ideas, buster. William Girdler’s 1975 blaxploitation hit Sheba, Baby (2/9/2016) will set you straight for the more than reasonable price of $29.95 plus tax where applicable.

One of Pam’s three flicks from that busy year (the other two being Bucktown and Friday Foster, both of which really deserve the Arrow treatment along with an all-new interview with Pam on her magnificent body of work), this one’s probably the most noteworthy in my book. Word on the street is you’re going to get it or someone will give it to you but good (well, if you’re lucky, that is…).

PrayForDeath_AV039 Pray For Death ($29.95) also comes your way in February (2/16/2016) and if you’re into mid 80’s action flicks, this one’s got you name all over it in big neon letters. Martial arts star Sho Kosugi (Enter The Ninja) gets his kicks on some poor villainous dopes who try to ruin his American dream.

Revenge fans, take note: director Gordon Hessler (Scream and Scream Again) amps up the violence here with a killer finale that shows Sho showing up a bunch of baddies, badly maiming them to the point that the don’t need an ambulance at all, but a nice meat wagon to take what parts remain to the closest cannibal stew pot. Ouch.

AmericanHP_AV043Speaking of horrors, American Horror Project Volume 1 ($99.95) hits at the end of February (2/23/2016) in a limited edition of 3000 copies, bringing three restored and hard to find fright flicks to you… if you dare (or something like that).

Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood(1973), The Witch Who Came from the Sea (1976), and The Premonition (1976) all get the 2K treatment and a wealth of special features horror film aficionados will appreciate. This series in particular piques my interest because there are plenty of films I can recall partially from my younger days that have yet to appear on a decent home video format in the US. Granted, some of those are in the public domain, but in pretty lousy condition. Having the fine folks at Arrow give these three oldies a new life is the best thing that’s happened to them in decades.

A Double Shot of Retro Pop Box For Your Wednesday

RPB November Stuff (5)

Due to my dopey old laptop giving up the ghost around the time last month’s Retro Pop Box arrived and me running about doing the headless chicken thing for a bit, I’m just getting around to posting the goodies in that box now. Amusingly enough, this month’s box popped up in the mail as I was getting ready to write this post, so you get two (*smooch!*), TWO mints in one! Or something like that. Anyway, November’s RPG looked like this once opened:

RPB November Stuff (6)

And inside were the following 70’s themed items:


The RPB exclusive T-shirt made me grin and yes, it’s gotten some comments thanks to that funky retro design. That Silly String (which I’m saving for the proper occasion) came with a card detailing the product’s creation and rather cool usefulness as a means for soldiers to locate booby trap tripwires in war zones (and making me wonder how much the military is paying per can or if the stuff has to be shipped out by families who want their loved ones coming home safe). That Evel Knievel First Aid Kit made me laugh out loud because while it’s not vintage, I immediately imagined the stunt king of the 70’s packing one of these in every pocket of his star-spangled jumpsuit with a spare inside his helmet each time he made one of those death-defying jumps on ABC back in the day.

I hadn’t seen a Mood Ring in some years, so having one handy is quite nice (Current mood: Happy!). I’ll need to wear that CULT LEADER button with the Retro Pop Box logo one day when I’m out and about just so when someone asks about one, I can tie in the other without worrying about them getting the wrong idea. Yes, I’d say my cult is RPB and they NEED TO JOIN. NOW. (without an “or else!” on the end of that demand. We’re a nice bunch of nostalgia-heads. As for that Brady Bunch lanyard, my brain is flicking through its Rolodex to see if I recall anyone named Marcia because this would be a groovy gift for her. Hey, better a colorful lanyard than a football to the nose, right? Yeah, I thought so.

As for December’s RPB, read on for more on that one… Continue reading

#TBT – Giant Cabbage Patch Sighting @ Toys “R” Us

30604_Package_2 30605_Package_2

They’re baaaaaaack! In case you didn’t know it, Cabbage Patch Kids are back in stores and getting doll collectors spending a few chunks of their cabbage this holiday season. If you were passing by or through a Toys “R” Us recently and almost got stampeded by a bunch of mom-looking moms, it’s because of the limited edition Cabbage Patch Kids 18 inch Big Kid – Sofia Lorraine Performer and Cabbage Patch Kids 18 inch Big Kid – Violet Anne Class President, both exclusive to the retailer.

These two big babies retail for $99.99 each and come with enough stuff in their respective boxes to earn their own room in your home. Granted, unlike actual kids, this pair isn’t going to grow older, leave for college, get great careers and support you in your golden years. But as both dolls are limited to 1000 pieces each, one day they maybe helping you fund a little vacation. Get yours NOW in time for Christmas at a Toys “R” Us and make sure to follow the Kids below on facebook if you’re a fan and aren’t already:

Some Batman Day Stuff To Drive You Batty

batman day 2015

So, it’s Batman Day tomorrow and yes, a few (well, more than a few) sites are having some nice sales on some fun to funky items. I’ll give a shout out to a handful below:

Mezco Batman Day Sale

MezcoToyz is offering up an awesome deal of mystery randomness with its 1-day ONLY Batman themed Mystery Box. $19.39 (yes, the year Bats first appeared in comics)nets you a box that will contain assorted Batman and DC Comics related merchandise. You may get something common,but you may also snag something super-rare and guaranteed to have the Joker pop by with a can of Smilex gas while you’re sleeping. Hey, he collects toys too… at your expense, of course! This sale runs from 12:01 AM on September 26th to 12:01 AM on September 27th and yes, supplies are LIMITED. Oh, and if you’ll be in NYC for the event, make sure to visit Mezco at New York Comic Con (booth 1754).

BatmanCover LEGO Batman 3 Complete Bundle

If you prefer something a bit more interactive, Bundle Stars has you covered with two cool Bat-bundles of PC games with the Caped Crusaders and friends. Ten bucks nets you the first three Batman: Arkham games along with three huge DLC packs or Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham plus SEVEN nice DLC packs.

Meanwhile, the PlayStation Store, Sony is running a Batman Day sale on a slew of Barman titles for the PS3, PS4 and Vita. Boogie on over to that link above and let your wallet fly around the room for a minute before you wring it out until it’s all dried up and you’re buried in more than enough Bat-games to keep you occupied and out of trouble for quite some time. Or IN trouble because you’ve stopped going to work and have taken to wearing a cape, boots and utility belt you’ve designed on those trips to the bathroom. Remember to duck when you throw that homemade Batarang for the first time, as it’ll swing back and crack you upside the head before you can react.

I suppose you can do some reading as well, but I’ll let you poke around online for assorted sales. I do know DC Comics is doing something fun (as always) I haven’t read a decent Batman comic in ages, so I’m kind of need to do some poking around myself. Hmmm… it looks as if I’ll be hitting up the library here tomorrow or a nearby comic shop for a few freebies.

BUY IT! Silver Scenes Sells Stellar Stills

"Let's see now. If I sell this dog and kid, I can buy ALLLL those movie stills!"

“Let’s see now… if I sell this dog and kid, maybe I can buy ALLLL those movie stills!”

(photo from Silver Scenes)

Want a piece (or a few pieces) of Hollywood history for a potential song? Even if you can’t carry a tune at all (and there’s no need to sing for your supper here), you can carry a wallet or purse and that means you can (and should) support classic film site Silver Scenes through their an awesome movie stills auction on ebay. The auction is off and running with a few bids already, so click on over to peruse the lovely selection of primarily black and white stills (only one is in color) and bid away at your leisure.

Prices start an an affordable $9.95 for each still and proceeds from the auction will go to the UCLA Film & Television Archive. So go do some charity work this weekend and add some beautiful black and white images to your collection. And hey, if you happen to strike it rich today in the lottery, make sure to spend some of Saturday’s Millions on tomorrow’s treasures!