10 Movie Original Cult Classics [2 Discs] [DVD]
- SKU: 6436321
- Release Date: 08/21/2012
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Ratings & Reviews
In this haunting low-budgeter, Bela Lugosi stars as Murder Legendre, a shadowy character who exercises supernatural powers over the natives in his Haitian domain. Coveting Madge Bellamy as his bride, wealthy Robert Frazier enters into an unholy agreement with Lugosi, whereby Madge will die, then be resurrected as a zombie. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi
Little Shop of Horrors
Perhaps the greatest movie ever shot in two days, Little Shop of Horrors was originally conceived as a followup to Roger Corman's black comedy A Bucket of Blood (1959). Jonathan Haze plays Seymour Krelboin, a schlemiel's schlemiel who works at the Skid Row flower shop of Mr. Mushnick (Mel Welles). Experimenting in his spare time, Seymour develops a new plant species that he hopes will lead him to fame and fortune. Unfortunately, the mutated plant -- named Audrey Junior, in honor of Seymour's girlfriend Audrey (Jackie Joseph) -- subsists on blood and human flesh. It also talks, or rather, commands: "Feed Me! FEEEEED ME!" Before long, the luckless Seymour has fed his plant the bodies of a railroad detective, a sadistic dentist, and a flashy trollop. Meanwhile, Mr. Mushnik, who has stumbled onto Seymour's secret, has inadvertently offered up a burglar (played by Charles Griffith, who also wrote the script and supplied the plant's voice) as a midnight snack for the voracious, ever-growing Audrey Junior. (When the plant blooms, the faces of its various victims are reproduced in its flowers.) Ignored on its initial release, Little Shop of Horrors began building up a cult following via repeated TV exposure in the 1960s. By the mid-1970s, it had attained classic status, spawning a big-budget Broadway musical (and followup feature film) in the 1980s and a Saturday morning cartoon series in the 1990s. Enhancing the original Little Shop's reputation was the brief appearance by star-in-the-making Jack Nicholson as a masochistic dental patient (Nicholson is often incorrectly referred to as the star of the film, though in fact he barely receives billing). Much as we love Nicholson, our vote for the most memorable Little Shop cast member goes to the ubiquitous Dick Miller ("No thanks, I'll eat it here"). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Peter Brown and Ahna Capri star as wildlife photographers, exploring the Amazon jungle. The two shutterbugs run afoul of homicidal hunter William Smith. In Most Dangerous Game fashion, the villain gives Brown and Capri a head start, then begins hunting them down like wild animals. The title is something of a giveaway: it's a safe bet that somebody's body will be picked clean by those omniverous Amazon piranhas. Filmed on location, Piranha Piranha received plenty of TV play after Jaws opened the floodgates of "death from the deep" flicks. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Carnival of Souls
A drag race turns to tragedy when one car, with three young women inside, topples over a bridge and into the muddy river below. The authorities drag the river, but the search is fruitless and the girls are presumed dead until a single survivor stumbles out of the water with no recollection of how she escaped. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) decides to forget her strange experience and carry on with her plan to move to Utah to accept a job as a church organist. She rejects the notion that because her profession leads her to work in the church, she is obligated to worship as part of the congregation, and this cold approach to her work unnerves many around her. While driving to the new city, she experiences weird visions of a ghoulish man who stares at her through the windshield, and passes an abandonded carnival on a desolate stretch of highway outside of town to which she feels strangely drawn. Mary tries to live her life in private, ignoring invitations to worship by the minister of her church and the leering propositions of a neighbor in her rooming house. Soon the ghostly apparition from the highway is appearing more often, and she experiences eerie spells in which she becomes invisible to people on the street. A doctor tries to help, but he too is rejected, and eventually Mary realizes that the deserted carnival holds the secret to her destiny. ~ Fred Beldin, Rovi
The Devil Bat
This campy, entertaining cheapie from PRC Pictures features Bela Lugosi as a chemist who plots an elaborate revenge scheme on his business partners, whom he feels have cheated him out of his share. To this end he develops a mutant breed of vicious, oversized bats and trains several of this breed to home in on a special chemical which he then blends with shaving lotion. Presenting gifts of the lotion to his partners as a peace offering (and browbeating them into splashing it on themselves while in his presence), he subsequently unleashes his monstrous pets to tear them to pieces. Believe it or not, this was one of PRC's more successful horror programmers, spawning a the sequel Devil Bat's Daughter. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi
Night of the Living Dead
When unexpected radiation raises the dead, a microcosm of Average America has to battle flesh-eating zombies in George A. Romero's landmark cheapie horror film. Siblings Johnny (Russ Streiner) and Barbara (Judith O'Dea) whine and pout their way through a graveside visit in a small Pennsylvania town, but it all takes a turn for the worse when a zombie kills Johnny. Barbara flees to an isolated farmhouse where a group of people are already holed up. Bickering and panic ensue as the group tries to figure out how best to escape, while hoards of undead converge on the house; news reports reveal that fire wards them off, while a local sheriff-led posse discovers that if you "kill the brain, you kill the ghoul." After a night of immolation and parricide, one survivor is left in the house.... Romero's grainy black-and-white cinematography and casting of locals emphasize the terror lurking in ordinary life; as in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), Romero's victims are not attacked because they did anything wrong, and the randomness makes the attacks all the more horrifying. Nothing holds the key to salvation, either, whether it's family, love, or law. Topping off the existential dread is Romero's then-extreme use of gore, as zombies nibble on limbs and viscera. Initially distributed by a Manhattan theater chain owner, Night, made for about 100,000 dollars, was dismissed as exploitation, but after a 1969 re-release, it began to attract favorable attention for scarily tapping into Vietnam-era uncertainty and nihilistic anxiety. By 1979, it had grossed over 12 million, inspired a cycle of apocalyptic splatter films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and set the standard for finding horror in the mundane. However cheesy the film may look, few horror movies reach a conclusion as desolately unsettling. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
This fourth film version of the Mary Roberts Rinehart-Avery Hopwood stage chestnut The Bat is so old-fashioned in its execution that one might suspect it was intended as "camp" (though that phrase wasn't in common usage in 1959). Agnes Moorehead plays mystery novelist Cornelia Van Gorder, whose remote mansion is the scene for all sorts of diabolical goings-on. The "maguffin" is a million dollars' worth of securities, hidden away somewhere in the huge and foreboding estate. Vincent Price is seen committing a murder early on-but he's not the film's principal villain. Others in the cast include Gavin Gordon as an overly diligent detective, and former Our Gang star Darla Hood as a murder victim. The Bat was adapted for the screen by its director Crane Wilbur, himself a prolific "old dark house" scenarist and playright. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
House on Haunted Hill
A perennial favorite of the "Shock Theatre" TV circuit, House on Haunted Hill stars Vincent Price as sinister gent (you're surprised?) Frederick Loren, who resides in a sinister mansion on a sinister hill, where seven murders have occurred. He makes a proposal to several strangers, offtering $10,000 to anyone who can last the entire night. Loren festively gives each of his guests a tiny coffin containing a loaded handgun, designed to protect them from the spooks that emerge in the house over the course of the night. The picture hinges on its surprise ending, which packs in several by-now-familiar twists. When originally released to theaters, House on Haunted Hill was accompanied by one of those gimmicks so beloved of producer/director William Castle: the gimmick was "Emergo," and it involved a prop skeleton that "emerged" from the side of the screen at a crucial moment to frighten the audience. Like most of Castle's best films, House didn't really need the gimmick, but its presence added to the fun -- especially when second- and third-time viewers responded to "Emergo" by bombarding the skeleton with popcorn and empty soda bottles. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Last Man on Earth
In a post-epidemic nightmare world, scientist Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the only man immune to the plague which has transformed the entire population of the Earth into vampire-like creatures. He becomes the monster slayer that vampire-society fears. Curing one of them, Ruth (Franca Bettoja), with a transfusion of his blood gives him hope for the future. It is a short future, however, since the other vampires quickly find and kill him. This dark tale, based on Richard Matheson's even darker novel "I Am Legend," was later remade as The Omega Man with Charlton Heston in the Vincent Price role. ~ Lucinda Ramsey, Rovi
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