Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Running With the Devil's Sisters

We were pleased as punch to see that a previously "lost" regional oddity, William Grefe's The Devil's Sisters, had been rescued from obscurity. The fine folks at Ballyhoo Motion Pictures worked with Grefe to release the film on DVD using an incomplete print found in Germany, with the film's final eight minutes recreated using stills.

I've posted a few advertising images below. You can see a very nice collection of stills over at Cinema Arcana as well, along with some other pics over Temple of Schlock.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Banned Aid

Things have been pretty quiet here so far in 2013, but I did want to alert you to a few interesting posts over on some other blogs that we follow.

First, the always delightful William S. Wilson over at Video Junkie Strikes Back From Beyond the Grave has delivered a lengthy, detailed review of Roberta Findlay's final, unreleased New York horror film, Banned (1989).

As it turns out, it's a pretty awful horror/comedy, but we're still itching to see it. So what gives, Media Blasters? Check out the review, which includes some screen caps and this nifty admat.

While you're at it, head over to Temple of Schlock, where guest reviewer Stephen Bissette has offered up a nice review of the Vermont-lensed film Dark August (1976). There's also some nice coverage there of the Florida film Force of Impulse (1961) and Paul Kener's early film The Streak Car Company (1975).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trailer of the Week, Reboot Edition: Evil Dead vs. Evil Dead

Not sure what to make of the new Evil Dead reboot, other than my hopes are not exactly high. View trailers for the original and 2013 edition below and draw your own conclusions.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Trailer of the Week, Reboot Edition: Texas Chain Saw Massacre vs. Texas Chainsaw 3D

We were as surprised as anyone to see that the new Texas Chain Saw Massacre "sequel" debuted at #1 this weekend, bumping off both Django Unchained and The Hobbit. Designed as a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper's original, the film picks up with a local posse taking down the original Saw clan, then jumps to the present, with a young woman (Alexandra Daddario) heading to Texas to claim an inheritance and running into a still-spry Leatherface. Word is it's not very good, and plays pretty fast and loose with the timeline (for the plot to work, 26-year-old Daddario would need to be about 13 years old or so). On the upside, you get cameos by original Leatherface Gunnar Hansen and by Bill Moseley, here recreating the role of the "Gas Man" (Jim Siedow) from Hooper's original. (Moseley co-starred with Siedow in Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2).

So here, for comparison's sake, are the trailer's for the original, and both direct sequels.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Shreveport Shrieks: Jim McCullough, Sr.

Toward the end of 2012 I stumbled across an obituary for Louisiana filmmaker Jim McCullough, Sr., and I fully intended to provide a write-up for what was already an old story (McCullough died in April 2012), and then other things got in the way and I'm just now getting around to it. But if I didn't tell you about McCullough, it would be a complete dereliction of duty as far as this blog is concerned, since he was a critical figure in the Southern filmmaking scene of the 1970s and 1980s.

According to his obituary, McCullough studied at UCLA and worked as an actor in his early years, appearing on Playhouse 90 and Highway Patrol, as well small roles in Teenage Monster (1958) and The Love Bug (1968).

But it was his work as a director and producer (usually in partnership with his son, Jim McCullough Jr.) that is his biggest legacy, and of most interest to regional horror film fans. His first big success was Where the Red Fern Grows (1974), an adaptation of the book that was required reading for middle school students for many years, but he quickly followed that with Creature From Black Lake (1976), which was directed by another southern filmmaking legend, Joy N. Houck, Jr.

After a couple of comedies, McCullough took the director's chair for the alien kiddie flick The Aurora Encounter (1986), which starred Jack Elam and Dottie West, alongside Mickey Hays, a young Progeria sufferer, as the alien. He also directed Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986), a staple of video rental shelves back in the day, and the last horror credit for character actor Bill Thurman. That unexpected dose of pseudo-slasher weirdness boasted some nice kill sequences, and one of my favorite taglines: "Please do not disturb Evelyn. She ALREADY is."

McCullough also gave us the cheap Video Murders (1988).

His company, Shreveport, La.-based Jim McCullough Productions, continued generating new titles right through the 1990s, and his son appears to still be in the business.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Reviews Are In...

The book's been out a few months now, and some online reviews have finally popped up. It will likely be awhile before any print reviews turn up, given the timing of the book's release, but I hope to see some more press as we roll into 2013.

I'd never heard of the blog Plan 9 Crunch before they reviewed my book (you can read the write-up here), but they post a lot of nice, lengthy film reviews.

Cinema Retro also provided a nice synopsis.

Finally, another site called Bookgasm, via Rod Lott, provided what is probably the most positive review to date.

From what I've read online, the only quibbles with the book so far seem to be the price ($45), and that Evil Dead cover photo, which has been used on some other books.

If you have a magazine or a website, you want to review the book and you haven't yet received a reviewer copy, drop me a line here and I'll pass it along to my contacts at McFarland.