Shout Factory | Varied Celluloid

Scream Factory Phantasm II special features finalized

Posted by Josh Samford On January - 30 - 2013

The Phantasm II release that we’ve always dreamed of!

If you have been a moderate fan of the Phantasm series, you know about it’s initial rarity during the big DVD boom of the early 2000s. It didn’t hit DVD until 2009 and then the disc was bare bones. There had been a great bit of hooplah made about the rights of the film being tied up and unfortunately it never made it into the hands of a company who truly appreciated the horror genre, until now! Shout! Factory, under their “Scream Factory” arm, will be releasing the DVD/Bluray on March 26th and they have recently made public the special features that will show up on the disc. If you guessed that this is going to be a stacked release, then you guessed right. Read on and enjoy.


PHANTASM II Collector’s Edition Bonus Content
– Audio Commentary with director/writer Don Coscarelli and actors Angus Scrimm and Reggie Banister
– “The Ball is Back!” Documentary – featuring new interviews with writer/director Don Coscarelli, actors Reggie Banister, Angus Scrimm, Paula Irvine, Samantha Phillips and more!
– Vintage Behind the Scenes footage: Makeup Effects
– Vintage Behind the Scenes footage: On the Set
– “The Gory Days with Greg Nicotero” Featurette
– Deleted Scenes from archival film elements from Don Coscarelli’s archive
– Additional Scenes – alternate takes and deleted gore footage from the workprint
– Original TV Spots
– Trailers for Phantasm , Phantasm II & Phantasm III
– Still Galleries (Behind the Scenes , Makeup Effects , Hollywood Premiere )
– Rare short film starring Rory Guy (aka Angus Scrimm) as Abraham Lincoln

I think I just had a horror nerd’gasm. March 26th can’t get here soon enough!

Lots of action coming from Shout! Factory

Posted by Josh Samford On January - 30 - 2013
Shout! Factory


If you missed out on the excellent Jackie Chan collectors set of The Protector & Crime Story from Shout! Factory, you missed out on one of my favorite releases in a while. Sure, The Protector isn’t a great Jackie Chan title, but Crime Story certainly is and the great special features added to the excellence of this Bluray set. Well, Shout! aren’t done yet. There are many more Hong Kong classics on the way. Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee are getting the Shout! treatment, and some of their most incredible films are being re-released within the next few months. Read on to get the full descriptions.

Jackie Chan’s Police Story 1 & 2 hitting Bluray/DVD on April 16, 2013


The first time the Police Story has hit Bluray in the US

International superstar and cultural icon Jackie Chan is a master of action and comedy. Chan’s illustrious film career ranks as one of the most amazing success stories in the entertainment industry. His movies continue to have an enduring impact throughout the world. On April 16, 2013, Shout! Factory will unleash POLICE STORY and POLICE STORY II Double Feature deluxe Blu-ray™ and DVD. Boasting world renowned international film stars and pulse-pounding action sequences, these two highly regarded world cinema classics debut in a double feature movie presentation on Blu-ray™ in North America . A must-have for loyal fans, collectors and movie enthusiasts, own two of popular Jackie Chan cult hits on Blu-ray at an attractive price of $19.97 SRP. The special double feature DVD has a suggested retail price of $12.99.


POLICE STORY/ POLICE STORY II Double Feature Special Bonus Content:
  • Outtakes
    Theatrical Trailers


  • Pre-order for Police Story and Police Story II Double Feature Bluray Collection on Amazon.com

    Pre-order for Police Story and Police Story II Double Feature DVD Collection on Amazon.com



    Bruce Lee’s The Big Boss/Fist of Fury & Way of the Dragon/Game of Death hitting DVD on April 30, 2013


    Four of Bruce Lee’s classic films to be released on April 30th

    The on-going celebration in honor of Bruce Lee’s illustrious career continues in home entertainment as Shout! Factory invites loyal fans, collectors and movie buffs to dive into four spectacular Bruce Lee martial arts epics. On April 30, 2013, Shout! Factory presents TWO special Bruce Lee home entertainment collections when THE BIG BOSS/ FIST OF FURY Double Feature DVD and WAY OF THE DRAGON/ GAME OF DEATH Double Feature DVD hit store shelves everywhere! Featuring anamorphic widescreen presentation of the original movies from new HD-transfer, these iconic Bruce Lee movie classics deliver action-packed, adrenaline-filled escapade that will sure appeal to die hard action buffs. Each Bruce Lee Double Feature DVD is priced to own at $14.97 SRP.


    Pre-order for the The Big Boss/Fist of Fury set on Amazon.com

    Pre-order for the Way of the Dragon/Game of Death set on Amazon.com

    Private Duty Nurses

    Posted by Josh Samford On April - 6 - 2012

    Private Duty Nurses (1971)
    Director: George Armitage
    Writers: George Armitage
    Starring: Katherine Cannon, Joyce Williams and Pegi Boucher



    The Plot: Private Duty Nurses doesn’t really look to change around the formula when it comes to its plot. Similar to the other films found in the Roger Corman nurses collection from Shout Factory (such as Night Call Nurses and Candy Stripe Nurses), this is a story about three nurses who each have their own stories to tell. In this story we are introduced to Spring (Katherine Cannon), who is persuaded by a doctor to become involved with the Vietnam veteran Domino (Dennis Redfield). A young patient who is fresh back in regular society, but finds it hard to cope with his regular life after the war. He has now turned to motocross riding, and has been taking some extreme risks. Next up is Lola (Joyce Williams), an African American nurse who runs into many prejudices due to her ethnicity and her sex. As she attempts to help her boyfriend get hired into a all-white hospital, she runs into racism and sexism at every turn. Finally we have Lynn, who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy that may very well bring down some of the political elites found in their city.


    Continue reading “Private Duty Nurses” »

    MST3K: Manos – The Hands of Fate

    Posted by Josh Samford On August - 30 - 2011

    MST3K: Manos: The Hands of Fate (1993)
    Starring: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu and Kevin Murphy.



    The Plot: Joel Robinson and his robotic friends Crow and Tom Servo are stuck in outer space aboard the Satellite of Love where they are forced, by the evil Dr. Forrester, to watch very bad movies. The crew try to make the most of the flicks that are presented to them by continually cracking jokes while the movies play on for the audience at home. This time it seems that Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank have chose a movie so bad that even THEY feel rotten about sending it! The movie is Manos: The Hands of Fate, an insufferable picture that details a “frightening” roadtrip through the midwest as we watch a young family who stop off at a spooky little hotel. When they arrive they meet Torgo, who watches over the establishment while the master is away and before long all three (father, mother and daughter) are fending off a satanic cult lead by “The Master” who has a strange obsession with hands.

    The Review
    Where does one start with Manos: The Hands of Fate? It could very well be the most well known discovery of Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s entire run, and it is a movie that almost defies all conventional description. Many films lay claim to the title of being the “worst movie” ever made and there is no clear consensus for what the definitive number one of all time will ever be, but if you were to ask an audience of b-movie fans who are “in the know”, I have no doubt that on almost every list you would see Manos: The Hands of Fate pop up. Cornering every possible facet that appropriately titles a movie as being “bad”, Manos is the sort of flick that the phrase “so bad, it’s good” was invented to describe. It has a lot of aspects to it that make for a good time amongst b-movie fans, but at the same time it is probably the most dreadfully slow piece of work you will likely ever stumble upon. A nightmarish piece of celluloid, Shout! Factory has re-released the movie in a special 2-Disc collection that gives a new look at an old classic and paints a fresh view at both what this episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 meant at the time that it was released and it also helps feed the need for more information on the original film itself.

    The claim to fame that Manos has is its title as the “worst movie ever made.” Yet, why do people feel this way about Manos? Is it really that bad? The short and sweet answer to that is: yes, yes indeed it is. Poor in every possible aesthetic value, Manos puts in overtime to assure that not one person possibly has fun or is entertained by its presence. From every possible angle you look at it, Manos is a poor movie. The cinematography is dreadful as the camera consistently zooms in and out of focus without any rhyme or reason. The framing is always off the mark and you’re never exactly sure where the focus should actually be. The colors used in the film are often nauseatingly contradictory and although the filmmakers did find certain sets that actually come across as halfway decent (I’ll get to the few positives a little later on), for the most part the movie just looks really bad. The acting is all of the amateur variety, which is forgivable in some circumstances but in this we aren’t even able to accurately judge the performances due to the poor dubbing. It seems that the film was either shot with no sound or with very poor microphones, because all of the audio looks to have been added after the fact. So, throughout the film the characters speak out of sync at all times or have audio added on top in scenes where they don’t actually open their mouths. Yep, Manos definitely pushes the limits when it comes to tremendously awful cinema.

    So, who do we blame in a situation like this? Well, apparently you blame fertilizer salesman Harold Warren. A small figure in the El Paso theater scene, from most sources it seems as if he financed Manos on a dare but the circumstances behind the situation aren’t readily apparent. However, from the interviews supplied on this disc, it does seem that he was a filmmaker with delusions of grandeur. In the tradition of Ed Wood, he seemed like a filmmaker who anticipated many great things from his small film but ultimately his own self assured positivity kept him in denial despite his very apparent lack of knowledge when it came to creating his own motion picture. Hearing horror stories about the debut of the film, which even saw the mayor of El Paso showing up at the screening, shows the kind of local notoriety the feature had taken on likely due to Warren’s self aggrandizing. Still, the feature kind of stands out as a “how not to” for any would-be filmmaker who sits down to watch it. From the atrocious editing, which segues into strange valleys that have nothing to do with the main plot (such as a police officer who continually breaks up a young couple who are making out on the side of the road), to the dreadful script, Manos definitely holds itself up high on any list of really bad movies.

    Still, for all of the horror, I won’t be that guy who stands on a podium to point my finger and laugh. These people did their best and that’s more than a lot of us do. Also, to be quite honest there are some things within Manos that almost work. The painting of “The Master” that is used throughout the film truly is legitimately creepy and had the filmmakers been a little more subtle, they could have built a creepy atmosphere off of that. The character of Torgo unfortunately kills any attempts at subtlety, but even he has some interesting traits. His wardrobe is great for this type of character and the guy looks and acts genuinely creepy. If he had been reigned in a bit and been a little less over the top… who knows? “The Master” too kind-of works. His robe, which he shows off to no end (as Joel and the bots say in unison after he displays it for the millionth time: “Seen it!”), is actually very well made. The hands in red on his black uniform is quite slick and the makeup on the actor really works. Yet, this for me basically marks the end of great things to talk about when it comes to Manos: The Hands of Fate. It is a title that suffers from one of the worst features any movie can, and that is “boredom”. Similar to the Hamlet episode, Joel and the bots have to fight hard to entertain but somehow they ultimately save this movie from itself, which is the polar opposite of what happened with Hamlet. When there is absolutely nothing left to riff on this time out, the guys ultimately make a joke out of the fact that there’s pretty much nothing left to riff on! Long stretches of boredom are expected during any viewing of Manos, but with the MST3K crew around thankfully they make everything work.


    The Conclusion
    It’s one of those episodes you really have to recommend to all MST3K fans. It’s a title that they introduced to the world and made movie history while doing so. The quality of the riffing and host segments are through-the-roof and this 2-Disc set from Shout! Factory is absolutely amazing. Features include Manos without commentary, an interview segment with the cast and crew reflecting on how the Manos episode came about, a intriguing documentary on the creation of Manos and much more. I think if you’re looking for a first step into the world of Mystery Science Theater 3000, you probably can’t go wrong here. I give it the highest rating we have: a 5 out of 5.




    MST3K: Gamera vs. Zigra

    Posted by Josh Samford On August - 26 - 2011

    MST3K: Gamera vs. Zigra (1991)
    Starring: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu and Kevin Murphy.



    The Plot: Joel Robinson and his robotic friends Crow and Tom Servo are stuck in outer space aboard the Satellite of Love where they are forced, by the evil Dr. Forrester, to watch very bad movies. The crew try to make the most of the flicks that are presented to them by continually cracking jokes while the movies play on for the audience at home. This time out the crew take on their very last Gamera film! The giant turtle doesn’t seem interested in going out quietly however, as he invites along the gigantic water monster Zigra along for the ride! The plot revolves around Zigra, the aforementioned water-based creature from outer space who looks to enslave all of mankind. Zigra has the ability to hypnotize any creature it comes in contact with and after kidnapping a female astronaut from the moon, the monster heads to the earth and looks to use this brainwashed young woman in order to further his goals of world domination. While this is going on, a group of kids based in a water park that best resembles Seaworld are soon on the case and look to put an end to Zigra’s nefarious plans! Their secret weapon? The one and only Gamera, friend to all children!

    The Review
    This review marks our final foray into the world of MST3K vs Gamera, the box set from Shout! Factory that celebrates the brilliant gatherings between these two parties. As has been previously discussed in these reviews (starting with Gamera, then followed by Gamera vs. Barugon, Gamera vs. Gaos, Gamera vs. Guiron and finally our film today), the history that Mystery Science Theater shares with this gigantic turtle is actually quite immense. The beast has been around since the inception of MST3K as a show and has lead to some of the most memorable moments in this show’s history. Who could forget the Gamera theme song? Or Gamera spinning on that bar like an Olympic athlete in the show’s opening? Gamera vs. Zigra is treated as a celebration in this final episode, as the cast and crew make it a point to announce that it would be their final Gamera episode (something they are very excited about!), and they go out on top. Unfortunately, Gamera vs. Zigra is most certainly another lackluster Gamera outing.

    The Gamera series, as it evolved, seemed to continue in a spiral (either for the positive or negative, depending on your point of view) into a world of progressive strangeness. Each subsequent film after Gamera vs. Gaos seemed to find director Yuasa taking the series into as strange of waters as he could. During Gamera vs. Gaos when you saw the giant blood-filled bird feeder make its appearance, you knew you weren’t dealing with a series concerned with following the rules of conventional filmmaking. At least this time, as opposed to the situation with Gamera vs. Guiron, Yuasa decided to keep this movie based on planet earth. However, in placing his film around a Seaworld-esque location Yuasa does manage to craft a rather wacky childlike feeling for the majority of the picture. Gamera has long been said to be a series dominated by a fanbase of children, and the setting for Gamera vs. Zigra reinforces this feeling. It’s as if the entire world that Gamera lives in is a theme park just waiting to be wrecked. Like most Gamera titles though, there is more fixation on the children characters than there is on explosive rubber suited monster action. As always though, the final act doesn’t let us down.

    The kids are, as always, the focus here and these characters are every bit as annoying as the other children that have popped up in these American distributions. It’s funny that even though the child actors are dubbed over completely, we still get the idea that they can’t act. Although I’m sure it’s slightly more tolerable in the Japanese language, the performances from the children (especially the smallest child) show no kind of emotional reaction to anything going on around them. The older child of the two that we are saddled with through the majority of the picture is actually dubbed over as “Kenny”, which is the same name given to the young boy from the original Gamera. Despite this fact, I never picked up on any references made towards that original character and when Gamera first shows up it doesn’t turn out to be a reunion. Sure, Gamera does ultimately go pretty far out of his way to save these kids throughout the movie, but the last time we saw him he actually traveled to a distant planet for two lone earth kids that he most certainly did not know!

    Zigra as a villain is a bit weak, in my opinion. Sure, he gives Gamera a hard time for most of the picture but all bad guys in these movies do that! Honestly though, a fish monster? Did the Gamera series really need this? I do like the fact that he is able to brainwash his enemies and sends human beings to do his bidding, but overall he’s the sort of character that you expect Gamera to crush quite easily. As we watch Gamera going into battle with this oversized Goblin Shark, we as an audience expect Gamera to take him and suplex this fish-monster into a mountain. While the overall design is well done and the plot is handled well enough that I found myself engaged by the back and forth plotting of Zigra, the lack of monster mayhem really hurts the movie. Thankfully we have the MST3K crew along for the ride providing some really fun commentary. Although their work isn’t as on-point as it was in the Guiron episode, this is another fine outing for the guys (or guy and robot, as it were).

    The Conclusion
    Sure, it doesn’t go out with a bang, but it is a fun way to end a fantastic series. The episode features a watchable monster movie and many great laughs. Certainly worth a look and just another reason (of many) to pick up this fine collection. A three out of five, check it out!




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    Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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