A Life In Blood – Tales of A Horror Queen by Genoveva Rossi #5 – A Death House Special

A Life In Blood – Tales of A Horror Queen by Genoveva Rossi #5 – A Death House Special

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gendh5Shock and sadness ran threw the horror community in November 2015 when Gunnar Hansen died of pancreatic cancer. Horror fans all over the world mourned the passing of Leatherface, but Hansen was able to leave loyal fans with a parting gift: Death House.

What is Death House? It is an incredibly ambitious horror film written by Gunnar Hansen and director Harrison Smith. This film has been called “The Expendables of Horror” due to it’s spectacular casting choices: Adrienne Barbeau, Bill Moseley, Kane Hodder, Sid Haig, Michael Berryman, Tony Todd, Barbara Crampton, Dee Wallace, Tom Savini, Bill Oberst Jr and more. Directed by Harrison Smith.

gendh1I am truly honored to have a cameo among such a talented cast and crew. It was great to spend some time on set with horror icon Kane Hodder. We have both been guests at the same cons a few times, but Death House is our first film together. While on set, Hodder said, “It is truly an honor to be in Death House. This is an amazing film.”

Michael Berryman and I previously worked together on a Sci-Fi thriller called Apocalypse Kiss and it was great to be in a film with him again.

“I was very proud to be a part of this film. Gunner was a good friend and the story is solid with a cast that includes many friends and the best actors in our genre. Harrison is a keen director with an editor’s eye as the scenes are composed. I know that this film will be well received.” -Michael Berryman

gendh3“Harrison Smith is an actor’s director with affection for our genre’s past and a real vision for its future. Gunnar Hansen would be very, very proud of what Harrison has done with DEATH HOUSE, and speaking as a life-long fan of classic horror, so am I.”
-Bill Oberst Jr.

A big thank you to “Scary” Sheri Fairchild and her husband Frank Nicosia. I have worked with both actors on a few film projects in the Buffalo area and Sheri reached out to tell me Death House was looking for more actors.

gendh4I was going through my own spiritual upheaval at the time. I had found my poor mother passed away of a sudden heart attack on Easter Sunday. That huge loss had left me shaken, but not beaten. My mother always said, “My daughter is tough” and lately I have been challenged to continue to prove her words right no matter the obstacle; even losing her so tragically. But God only gives us what he knows we can bear.

So I got in touch with the casting director of Death House and ended up on set in Philadelphia at the beautifully grotesque and haunting Holmesburg Prison. I had the good fortune of being in a scene with screen legends Barbara Crampton and Dee Wallace.

gendh2While on the set of Death House I was able to sit down and talk with producer Rick Finkelstein. He explained, “This film was started by Gunnar Hansen. It has really come together better than we ever imagined. We have the best locations, best cast, horror icons, and an amazing script.”

Even the location was perfect, Holmesburg Prison, which is part of the Philadelphia prison system. It’s history already sounds like a horror movie. For thirty years chemical companies tested on inmates with sometimes horrific results. Also the prison warden and assistant were murdered mere steps from where we conducted our interview.

gendh6Watch for Death House for it’s amazing cast, horrific special effects, and to see Gunnar Hansen’s last blood splattering performance. This film was Leatherface’s baby, it was Gunnar’s dying wish that Death House be finished, and made into a huge success in the genre. Horror fans are sure to enjoy this truly epic film. Finkelstein promises, “When you leave this film you will be questioning your own thought processes and concepts of good and evil.”

gendh7This article is dedicated to the memory of Gunnar Hansen and my mother.

Che Gilson’s Netflix Roulette #10 – Galaxy of Terror (1981)

got1Che Gilson’s Netflix Roulette #10 – Galaxy of Terror (1981)

Join Che as she plays Netflix Roulette and watches a randomly selected horror film (usually but not this month) . Will it be awesome? Will it be torture? What horrors await?? Find out every month with Netflix Roulette!

Title: Galaxy of Terror

Year: 1981

Director: B.D. Clark

Starring: Edward Albert, Erin Moran, Ray Walston, Robert Englund, Sid Haig, Grace Zabriskie

IMDB Rating: 5.1

Seen it before: No

First Impressions: Full disclosure, I picked this film because a bunch of people on Twitter were talking about a maggot raping a woman to death and it sounded so insane I had to see it for myself. It is NOT promising that it is produced by Roger Corman. That automatically means it’s going to be cheap. But, will it live up to its infamous hype? Let’s find out.

The Verdict: Soooooo, what the hell was that anyway? Besides a confused and underwhelming mess full of weird and interesting ideas that go nowhere and accomplish nothing.

got2Basically the crew of a spaceship is sent out to rescue another spaceship and they discover an alien pyramid that is killing them off with their own fears. A bunch of really goofy stuff happens to some pretty decent actors and then Edward Albert becomes the new planetary Master of where ever they started form (sorry I didn’t take notes and I’m not going to watch it over to get this right).

There is zero explanation of the Planetary Master- who he is and why he’s master of this planet or why he plays games with an oracle/witch, who opens the film with voice over and then is never heard from again. There are so many confused ideas in this it’s bizarre, and it seems like some of them COULD have gone somewhere with a little extra effort at explaining things to the audience. Instead it feels like a mishmash of Dune/Alien/Solaris/Battle Star Galactica but without any of the cohesion of those other films.

The effects are as cheap as expected. Say hello to some old school, and not very well done matte paintings. Though I guess James Cameron needs to get some props for the Gigeresque pyramid.

Galaxy could almost be saved by the acting, which is decent. A lot of TV and movie stars are in this. A young Robert Englund was very good and Grace Zabriskie as the intense-as-hell Captain Trantor was a real treat. I’d actually watch the hell out of a movie about the origin story of her character.

Biggest complaint, aside from the script, special effects and whatever that ending was, is the lighting. Everything is dark and murky with poorly lit monochromatic sets. The planet itself looks like a purple junkyard full of car parts and rocks. And for some reason in the future giant backpack lights are more reasonable than flashlights?!

got3And I know your all waiting for the verdict on the maggot rape scene. Well, it too was underwhelming and honestly a bit goofy (much like everything else in this mess). The giant worm looked like a Power Rangers villain and how it got that poor woman’s clothes off I’ll never know. It only had squishy appendages that didn’t look like they could get a grip on anything let alone fabric. The scene was also mercifully short, but if you are looking for outré horror sex scenes just watch Naked Lunch again.

Galaxy of Terror is sort of so weird it’s worth watching once but no more than that.

Rating: 4/10

Bone Tomahawk (2015) Review

bone1BONE TOMAHAWK (Dir- S. Craig Zahler, USA, 2015)

Starring- Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Richard Jenkins, Matthew Fox, Lili Simmons, Sid Haig, David Arquette

Horror western is an unusual combination that has been utilised before in films such as the underrated DEAD BIRDS, GRIM PRAIRIE TALES and most recently EXIT HUMANITY. However it’s a combination that can work on it’s reliance of the use of recognisable genre traits from each particular area. The old west with it’s almost lawless arena, which is patrolled and overseen by the lone sheriff, outlaws, bank robbers, and the progression of a new American age, combined with horror of monsters, spirits, undead and in the case of BONE TOMAHAWK, cannibals. Zahler’s superb debut works as a neat combination of two genres and whilst it certainly has recognisable elements from prior classic western and horror films, it somehow comes off as a unique and often brutal movie.

Opening with a scene of two bushwhacking robbers Buddy and Purvis cutting the throats of sleeping cowboys and stealing their possessions in the vast western wilderness, is a great set up into the mood of the film and on in which genre fans will recognise the two actors as Sid Haig and David Arquette which is a nice tip of the hat to those familiar with horror cinema. The robbers soon stumble upon what looks like a burial site of some sort and after one of them is shot down by an arrow and axed by a shadowy yet domineering figure, the remaining one member of the two thieves makes his way to the town of Bright Hope. Here he arouses the suspicions of the local sheriff Franklin Hunt (Russell) and in an altercation in a saloon is shot in the leg and taken to the local jail.

bone2However at the same time in the town a local stable hand is butchered by what seems to be the same things or people from the burial site and in the morning it’s soon discovered that the thief from before, a local doctor Samantha O’Dwyer (Simmons) and one of Hunt’s deputy’s have been abducted. Hunt has no choice but to lead a rescue party, including his acting back up deputy, the well meaning if bumbling Chicory (Jenkins), an experienced trekker John Brooder (Fox) and Samantha’s husband Arthur (Wilson) who is nursing a nasty broken leg. Yet before they set out they are warned by a local expert on tribal history that what they are up against is not Indians but ‘troglodytes.’ A savage tribe that is “a spoilt bloodline of inbred animals that rape and eat their own mothers.” Needless to say they head off, though along the way they encounter obstacles such as other thieves and bandits and weakened with Arthur’s broken leg which is holding him back. This does not prepare them for what they encounter and how their eventual rescue mission becomes a struggle for survival.

bone4No doubt BONE TOMAHAWK will probably be a hard sell to a wider audience who might not be prepared for it’s utilisation of the western with some dark and often grizzly horror elements that are especially prevalent in the film’s second part. However, it is a film that I highly recommend seeking out as somehow on this second viewing I enjoyed it a lot more. From it’s character’s, the dialogue, the setting’s and even the nightmarish and often threatening presence of the cannibals in the film who wear grotesque body modifications and cry out a horrid scream once any unwitting victims have entered their territory and acts as an attack call. Aside from the opening scene Zahler sets up neatly the town of Bright Hope and focuses on it’s residents who will become key players in the ensuing rescue mission. It’s only when the posse go out of the civilised township and into unknown territory that they encounter civilisation at it’s base and most primal. Yet it’s interesting to note that the violent tribe in this is not ‘Indians’ but instead cannibals or the aforementioned ‘troglodytes.’

bone3In this instance, rather than relying on the old western cinema’s demonising of an Indian tribe, the one featured in this case is a far more violent and brutally primitive being and therefore their eventual confrontation and anything that happens to them is justified and that their inhuman quality’s can be measured against our human characters, who even though they live in a civilised place, are still prone to reliance on weapons and violence to maintain a degree of stability. This is demonstrated at the start with Hunt shooting the remaining survivor of the thieving murders in the leg, yet stating that they need a doctor to heal the wound to allow him time to be hung up by the neck in front of his victims family’s. In the landscape BONE TOMAHAWK occupies it’s only a few days journey between a civilised community to an uncivilised community and it’s only the living space and the progressive way of life in Bright Hope that separates them from the Cave Dwellers.

bone5Indeed one of the more aggressive yet still rounded characters in the film is the bigoted trecker Brooder, who boasts about killing more Indians than anyone in the rescue party. Yet his hatred for natives stems from witnessing his family murdered at the hands of a tribe when he was 10. Brooder, is brilliantly played by Fox who hasn’t really hit his stride since leaving the TV series LOST. However, he envelopes himself in a character that brings to mind the Indian hating bigotry of John Wayne’s Ethan Edward’s in THE SEARCHERS (1956) and whilst being ruthless and arrogant remains the more experienced of the group. The cast handle themselves brilliantly in the roles and you can tell it was character’s that they jumped at the chance to play thanks to Zaher’s sharp dialogue.

Jenkins is particularly memorable as Chicory who has a tendency to break off onto rambling reminiscing monologues. Wilson spends much of the time clutching onto a walking stick yet somehow remains a strong moving force pushing himself through the punishing landscape on his mission to save his wife. Though it’s Russell who is enjoying a sort of renaissance at the minute, who is brilliant as Hunt. Already starring in another western this year (Tarantino’s THE HATEFUL EIGHT), his role as the sheriff in this film is a more restrained and compelling character compared to the angry suspicious bounty hunter he played in Tarantino’s film.

bone6Zaher is also aided by some superb cinematography by Benji Bakshi which perfectly captures the changing landscape from the sharp bright colours of the township to the almost grayish, alien and death like landscape of the cave dwellers area, with the grey dust resembling the crushed ashen-ed bones of both animal and man. BONE TOMAHAWK is a film deserving of acclaim and whilst its not an easy ride, especially in the violence portrayed in the final part which requires a strong stomach, there is much to enjoy in Zaher’s mish mash of genre’s which is destined to become a cult classic. This is also might be the first and only time to say that a film has taken elements of or from John Ford’s THE SEARCHERS and Umberto Lenzi’s CANNIBAL FEROX, something which you wont say that often.

9/10

Filmbuff to bring Devil In My Ride to Digital Audiences.

FILMBUFF TO BRING “DEVIL IN MY RIDE” TO DIGITAL AUDIENCES

dimr_posterFilmBuff Will Release Red Band Films’ Horror/Comedy “Devil in My Ride” on May 13th Through Multiple Video-on-Demand Platforms

Los Angeles, CA / New York, NY – April 15, 2014 – It was announced today that digital entertainment curator, FilmBuff, will release the horror/comedy “Devil in My Ride,” starring Sid Haig (“Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” “Jackie Brown,” “The Devil’s Rejects”) and directed by Gary Michael Schultz.

FilmBuff has set a release date of May 13 for “Devil in My Ride,” and will make the film available to audiences through leading video-on-demand platforms including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Cable Movies On Demand, Google Play, Sony PlayStation, Xbox Video and Vudu.

When Doreen becomes possessed by the devil on her wedding night, her groom Hank and her rebellious brother Travis put aside their differences to travel across country from Chicago to Las Vegas in the hopes of finding a mythical street preacher who is said to be the last exorcist in America.

Starring alongside Sid Haig are Frank Zieger (“Conviction,” “Ocean of Pearls,” “Finding Preet”), Erin Breen (“Housekeeper,” “Rose White,” “Fate Accompli”), Llou Johnson (“Barbershop,” “Let’s Go to Prison,” “Normal”) and Joey Bicicchi (“Rudderless”).

“Devil in My Ride” is the first feature produced by Red Band Films, the specialty genre label of L.A. based production and finance company Unified Pictures. Gary Schultz produced the film and also wrote the original screenplay with Mike Dozier. Schultz also recently co-produced William H. Macy’s “Rudderless,” which was just acquired by Paramount, as well as “Beautiful Now,” starring Abigail Spencer.

“We are thrilled to have FilmBuff as a partner for the VOD distribution of ‘Devil in My Ride.’ I’m extremely excited for this venture and cannot wait for everyone to be able to watch it at home,” said Schultz.

“Gary’s film is a hilarious take on a road trip movie, unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” said FilmBuff’s Head of Content, Steven Beckman. “We’re thrilled to be able to share ‘Devil in My Ride’ with audiences everywhere.”

[youtube=http://youtu.be/iShghiPbofc]
redband2About FilmBuff

Founded in 2007, New York-based FilmBuff is the leading distributor of incomparable digital entertainment. The Company draws upon its deep relationships within the film industry to curate content that consistently informs, entertains and inspires. FilmBuff designs innovative digital strategies to supply content to all on-demand outlets. Serving as a bridge between filmmakers and audiences, FilmBuff actively engages in conversations with fellow entertainment lovers through its exclusive access, original content and unique voice. Find FilmBuff content on all cable, satellite and telco services, game consoles, online retailers, wireless platforms and hardware manufacturers worldwide. Connect with FilmBuff at www.FilmBuff.com and @filmbuff.

redband1About Red Band Films

Operating as a specialized production and distribution unit within Unified Pictures, Red Band Films was created as a label where feature films can be developed and created with the genre-specific audience in mind. The company seeks to highlight the best offerings from up and coming directors, as well as established veterans looking for a highly creative, brand-specific outlet.

The Red Band Films banner provides for a genre alternative to Unified Pictures’ existing line-up of high quality artist driven films such as Adam Rapp’s “Loitering with Intent” starring Marisa Tomei, Sam Rockwell and Natasha Lyonne; the music film “Rudderless” directed by William H. Macy and starring Macy, Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne and Felicity Huffman; the thriller “A Single Shot,” directed by David M. Rosenthal, starring Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy and Jeffrey Wright; and the dark comedy “Trust Me,” directed by and starring Clark Gregg, Amanda Peet, Molly Shannon, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell.

 

Pit Stop (1969) BluRay Review

pitstopdvdPit Stop (1969) BluRay Review

Directed by Jack Hill

Starring – Brian Donlevy, Richard Davalos, Ellen Burstyn, Sid Haig, Beverly Washburn, George Washburn.

Out Now from Arrow Video on Dual Format DVD & BluRay

 

Legendary exploitation director Jack Hill takes to the racetrack in the excellent blu ray release of Pit Stop A.K.A The winner (1967) from Arrow Films; an exhilarating and high octane action film that works both on and off the track.

 

Drag Racer Rick Bowman (Richard Davalos) is sprung from prison and recruited by racing promoter Grant Willard ( Brian Dowley in his final film) to move from the drag to a more dangerous and chaotic figure 8 track, this reckless and unrelenting race at first frightens the tough guy greaser who is reluctant to participate, but he soon finds the thrill of the speed and danger, brought on by an intense rivalry with Hawk Sydney; played to perfection by Jack Hill main-stayer and exploitation legend Sid Haig.

 

pitstop1The charismatic Haig holds the screen whenever he is present and this groovy slice of 60s americana and his brash loud-spoken character oozes bravado and fearlessness and put stop is a great introduction to this highly talented, varied performer.

 

Richard Davalos plays the great anti-hero loner, perfectly brooding and intriguing as his motives and ideologies unfold over the films short runtime.

 

The beautiful and captivating Jolene (Beverly Wishburn) is one of the highlights, her free spirited racecar junkie/groupie is a breath of fresh air and a relic from an age of strong female personalities and as always Hill showcases a very positive image with his female characters; Hill fans will undoubtedly be drawn to Coffy for an example but add mechanic Ellen McCleod to that list as well she is a bold statement for women’s equality and her tale unfolds into a bitter sweet story of a neglected wife who’s husband is dedicated to his sport rather than the gem he has in Ellen.

 

Legitimate race car driver and stuntman George Wishburn – brother of Beverly, whom plays the aforementioned Jolene – brings realism and gravitas to the racing sequences and plays the part of a man who’s love of the speed and racing overshadows the love of his wife, these race sequences are heightened by the kinetic and energetic camera work and exciting pile-ups, crashes and burnouts.

 

The film is so much more than a brainless action-er and as with all good characters Bowman evolves from a reckless and carefree young man with nothing to lose to a sympathetic and believable hero.

 

The roaring sounds and powerful noise of the stock cars bring so much more to the table and bring the atmosphere and exhilaration of the race track to life, but the film does not rely on stock car junkies as its target audience as viewers whom are not avid race fans will find lots to love in this fun, exciting and ultimately tragic story of ambition, desire and passion.

 

pitstop2The score is another welcome addition to the package with psychedelic funk bank band The Daily flash bringing in warm fuzzy guitar tracks and a reoccurring theme which has the viewer tapping their feet and nodding their heads in time, perfectly capturing the era in hazed out mix of acid blues and funky, fuzzy guitar overlays. Perfectly chaotic and mellow in one swift package.

 

Innovatively filmed at the now closed Ascot Racetrack in California, the crashes, smashes and near misses are all filmed with gusto and the natural talent of Hill as a director is evident, close up shots of the two protagonists are as much part of their persona as the actors themselves convey with acting, Haig’s Hawk is filmed erratically and chaotic, while the cool stillness of Bowman’s hero are captured with gusto in POV shots from inside the cars, the fact that each differs in essential the same set up is remarkable and is a credit that Hill doesn’t receive enough.

 

As usual Arrow have pulled out all the stops to bring the most comprehensive release of this film, offering a commentary track with Jack Hill, extensive interviews with Hill, Haig and producer and genre legend Roger Corman making this an essential purchase Calum Waddell and his High Rising Productions are churning out extras as good or even better than the movies themselves, the dedication and effort is commendable.

 

Jack Hill fondly reminisces about Put Stop in an excellent featurette entitled Crash and Burn, he fondly about being asked by Roger Corman to make a stock car racing film and wanting to make a movie where the hero loses, after being persuaded by Corman and finding out about the figure 8 races he agreed to do the picture.

 

Hill was in the thick of the action during filming placing himself on the intersection to get footage of the best crashes, shot in six weeks this certainly doesn’t look like it was a quickly produced.

 

pitstop3Jack Hill comes across enthusiastic and its hard not to cling onto his words and his stories about the cast and film making techniques are a pleasure to listen to.

 

Interviews with Sid Haig and Corman himself are both excellent, Life in the Fast Lane: a conversation with Roger Corman is fascinating as he talks about the AIP pictures, having some of his 60s pictures cut due to their radical nature (the Trip in particular) and the genesis of his own company. Corman speaks slowly and eloquently the only downside is this feature is only 11 minutes long, the stories he tells are important, interesting and informative.

 

A particular highlight are the stories from Hill’s later films such as the Big Dolls House(1971) and the women in prison sub genre.

 

Sid Haig is a genre actor most horror and exploitation fans will be familiar with, his charisma and energy are prevalent in this interview as he chats about making Pit Stop, working with Hill and his experiences talking to the drivers and real life racers( during filming Sid haig actually couldn’t drive) and about his character Hawk Sydney and how Hill pushed him in filming to gain confidence and method in his acting.

 

A short but welcome feature is included about the restoration process that James White does for Arrow Video, including comparison screens with narration explaining the reasoning and processes in making a film look its best while retaining the original “feel” of the original prints, keeping with the drive-in feel of Pit Stop.

 

The inclusion and supervision of Jack Hill is another testament to the amount of love and care that Arrow have for these lesser known titles, more companies could and should take note of this.

 

This high octane, thrill ride into the dangerous world of figure eight stock car racing is full of action, thrills and a heart highly recommended

 

7/10

 

Spider Baby (1968) Arrow Video BluRay Review

 

Spider Baby (or The Maddest Story Ever Told) (1968) BluRay Review

 

Dir Jack Hill

Starring Lon Chaney Jr, Jill Banner, Carol Ohmart, Quinn Redeker, Beverly Washburn, Sid Haig, Mary Mitchel, Karl Schanzer, Mantan Moreland.

UK Bluray Release 24th June 2013 from Arrow Video

 

As soon as you see and especially hear the opening credits of Spider Baby you realise this is something special. It looks and feels like the start of a 1960’s US sitcom but when you hear Lon Chaney Jr singing lines like – “Sit around the fire with the cup of brew, A fiend and a werewolf on each side of you, This cannibal orgy is strange to behold, And the maddest story ever told”.

Then the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

 

Spider Baby tells the tale of the three Merrye children , they live in the family home (an imposing Gothic house) and are looked after by their late Father’s chauffeur Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr , The Wolf Man). The children have a inherited genetic disease/curse that when they reach the age of 10 they start to regress mentally as they develop.

 

Bruno receives a letter (courtesy of the unfortunate postman played by Mantan Moreland) telling him that the children’s Aunt and Uncle will be arriving to view the estate and take custody of the children. So Aunt Emily (Carol Ohmart – House on Haunted Hill) and Uncle Peter (Quinn Redeker – Starsky & Hutch, Six Million Dollar Man) turn up with their solictor Mr Schlocker (Karl Schanzer – Dementia 13, Bloodbath) and his sexy secretary Ann (Mary Mitchel – Dementia 13) and poor Bruno attempts to portray the children and the house itself as a perfectly normal and happy enviroment.

 

The children are in their late teens and early 20’s , there is the odd and dominant Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn – an american child actress from the age of four) , the youngest Virginia (Jill Banner – who tragically died aged just 32) who is the titular Spider Baby, she is aggressive, psychotic and sexually awakening .Virginia will throw a handmade web and play spider by stinging her pray with a knife in each hand . And finally Ralph (Sid Haig – House of a 1000 Corpses , Devils Rejects) who is the eldest and far more regressed, he hides in the dumb waiter, his speech is now all but gone and he has a fondness to hunt and eat cats that enter the gardens.

 

As the four guests settle in the house for the evening and have a well cooked meal , Bruno starts to realise that he is starting to lose his grip on the family and the promise he made to the children’s late father to always look after them and keep them safe in the house.

 

Spider Baby is a wonderful look into family values and society in general in the early 1960’s. Jack Hill does wonders here on very little budget and the cinematography is fantastic. Lon Chaney Jr is absolutely immense , while he is on screen you just can’t take your eyes off him he just hold the audience in the palm of his knarly old hand. Also Jill Banner is stunning as the Spider Baby herself Virginia , she lights up the screen with her presence and look of innocence, while having an air of malevolence continually throughout the film.

 

Spider Baby is a fantastic cult classic, it is fun, heart-warming yet insane and violent. A wonderful combination with great OTT acting and a wonderful story – 8/10 .

 

The BluRay Disc

The BluRay transfer is superb , the majority of the film is crisp and clear with only a couple of noticeable drops in quality towards the end . A beautiful looking film , that shot in black and white looks even better for it now.

 

Arrow are renowned for their BluRay releases and here is a summary of the extras on Spider Baby.

 

Spider Baby with Audio Commentary

Commentary from writer/director Jack Hill and star Sid Haig. Not a lot to say about this other than watch it.

 

The Hatching of Spider Baby – The making of the Maddest Story Ever Told

This is a wonderful 30 minute documentary and a great insight into how the film was made, how everyone got involved and got the parts.

Featuring Jack Hill , Sid Haig, Karl Schanzer, Quinn Redeker, Mary Mitchel and fan Joe Dante talk about the making of Spider Baby and also about Lon Chaney Jr on set.

It also tells the story of how Spider Baby’s release was delayed by almost 5 years due to the property crash in Los Angeles causing the production company to file for bankruptcy.

This also has some beautiful stills and photos.

 

Spider Stravinsky – The Cinema Sounds of Ronald Stein

Ted Newsom (Filmmaker and Ronald Stein historian) and Ronald’s widow Harlene look at the life and works of Spider Baby composer Ronald Stein. It also looks at his work for AIP and for director Roger Corman.

Ronald Stein was responsible for the scores on other films including The Terror, Dementia 13, Attack of the 50ft Woman, The Underwater City and many more.

 

The Merrye House Re-visited

In October 2006 Spider baby writer and director Jack Hill and filmmaker Elijah Drenner returned to the Highland Park area of Los Angeles to visit the old gothic house from Spider Baby which still stands today.

A look around the exterior of the house where some scenes were shot, and it is amazing to see that the house actually stands on a normal suburban street in LA.

 

Alternative Opening Title Sequence

This shows the opening title sequence with the films original title of Cannibal Orgy .

 

Extended Scene

An extended scene of when Bruno is driving Schlocker and Ann to the house , their arrival and subsequent first meeting with the children.

You can also see here the difference in the quality from the original and bluray copies.

 

Cast and Crew Panel Discussion

This is from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Film to Film festival in September 2012.

Featuring a panel discussion with Jack Hill, Quinn K. Redeker and Beverly Washburn.

They discuss Lon Chaney Jr and reminisce of their time shooting Spider Baby.

 

The Host

Jack Hill’s 1960 30 minute short film and also Sid Haig’s debut. This was shot while Jack Hill was still a student.

 

Also original trailer and gallery of behind the scenes images from Spider Baby

 

All this comes with a reversible sleeve featuring original and new artwork and a collectors booklet.

 

As usual Arrow Video have outdone what I expected. Spider Baby is a lovely film but Arrow have made it unmissable here. The film now looks amazing , the artwork and booklet are beautiful and the extras are fantastic.

This is an absolute MUST for any horror fan, and one must applaud Arrow for their continual wonderful releases and great attention to detail.

9/10 for the BluRay Arrow release .

 

You can order Spider Baby HERE  from Arrow’s site .