June 30, 2011
An expedition going to Africa in search of the city of the dead to do photography is the premise of this film. They make it sound like they’re going on an all day hike not to a remote part of the world. While in Africa they run across Dr. Hammond (Crabbe) who five years earlier had come to find a cure for a deadly disease malaka. This PRC film directed by Harry Fraser also stars Charles Middleton, Vince Barnett, and Sheila Darcy. Superstar ‘B’ movie legend Buster Crabbe couldn’t save this picture. Plot wise very little happened and too much of the film was devoted to the use of stock jungle footage which added to the film except filler material. As is usually the case Buster saves the day by diving for his needed medicine, saving the feminine interest from death, and they live happily ever after. Comedy is provided by Buck the guide (Barnett) as he is portrayed as a clueless individual. Rev. Jim (Middleton) has a pet tiger called Satan who also adds humor to the film. This film is available at a low cost from Alpha Video (ALP 4322D). The video quality is below average. This is one I can’t
June 30, 2011
Mark July 14th on your calendar as Silva Screen will digitally release three collections of Hammer horror music. This material will be available through iTunes, Amazon, Napster, and other digital sites but no physical CD’s will be released.
SILED 4550 includes material from Kiss of the Vampire, The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula, Lust For A Vampire, Twins of Evil, Vampire Circus, Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter, and Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires composed by Bernard, Robinson, Johnson and Whitaker. Track Listing: 1… The Kiss of the Vampire-Opening Titles (1:50) 2… The Kiss of the Vampire-The Vampire Rhapsody (1:30) 3… The Vampire Lovers-Opening Titles (1:43) 4… Countess Dracula-Opening Titles (1:38) 5… Lust for a Vampire -Opening Titles (2:24) 6… Lust for a Vampire-The Dream (1:34) 7… Twins of Evil-Opening Titles (1:53) 8… Vampire Circus-Opening Titles (1:44) 9… Vampire Circus-The Tiger Dance (1:42) 10… The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires-Opening Titles (3:15) 11… The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires-Ambush (4:08) 12… The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires-The Battle Rages (3:34) 13… The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires-Introducing Vanessa Buren (3:22) 14… Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter-Opening Titles (3:11)
Tracks 1 and 2 are found on GDICDO17. The Vampire Rhapsody found on Silva SSD 1059 is completely different as it is a 7 minute track of the piano concerto. Track 3 can be found on GDICDOO2. Track 4 can also be found on GDICDOO2. Tracks 5 and 6 are on GDICDO17. Track 7 can be found on GDICDOO2 but the entire soundtrack is available on GDICD012. Tracks 8 and 9 are on GDICDO17. There is a 9 minute suite on SILCD 1026. Tracks 10-13 can all be found on BSXCD 8869. It also is the complete soundtrack. The tracks are also available on GDICO17. Track 14 is available on BSXCD 8831.The BSX release is the complete soundtrack. The main title found on the Varese VCD-4727o is completely different. The release seems to offer a fair amount not available from Silva.
SILED 4551 includes material from Curse of Frankenstein, Revenge of Frankenstein, Evil of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Created Woman, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, and Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell composed by Bernard, Banks, Salzedo, and Williamson.
While all of this material has been previously released on older Silva compilation releases much of it is no longer available. If you’re new to the soundtrack hobby this would be an excellent way to obtain some classic horror/science fiction.
June 29, 2011
Leif Erickson is given top billing in this Ensign Productions (only film they did) with Gale Sherwood picture directed by Steve Sekely, best known for The Day of the Triffids. Blake (Erickson) is hired along with his comedic sidekick and his plane to find a jungle tribe that is interfering with a diamond mind company. We soon find out that the tribe is headed up by a blond female. Blake learns that the person who hired him Harper (Dumbrille) had in fact killed her parents when she was an infant and wanted to kill her now for what she knew. Within the first few minutes of the film Blake is already involved with three different woman including Meelah (Sherwood) and Harper’s wife ( Veda Ann Borg). This film comes with some pretty corny dialogue such as I’m a good kisser because I played the trombone and I just gave you 32 bars of Sousa. Mixed in is a fair amount of some stock African footage. There is a scene with Mrs. Harper in the wilds of Africa with all the comforts of life, dressed in a formal evening gown? Of course Blake saves the day merries the blond bombshell and lives happily ever after. This film is like Swiss cheese. The film score is not any better missing the boat on a couple of occasions with the wrong kind of underscore material. It is available at a low cost from Alpha Video (ALP 4346D) (*1/2)
June 29, 2011
The output of Les Baxter releases continues to grow in fine fashion with this latest release from Kritzerland (20019-1). This is the fourth release I’ve reviewed this year and the tenth in a little over two years. At this rate given another couple of years and I’ll be devoting one shelf in my CD case to nothing but Baxter! Les was truly an ‘A’ composer working for a ‘B’ movie studio.
One of the things that American International would do in the 60’s is release Italian films in the United States. Rather than retain the music from the Italian composer they would have Baxter write a new soundtrack giving it the kind of sound Americans expected to hear and Les delivered the goods time and time again. If you click on the following link Marco Polo Main Title you’ll hear an opening title introduction that leads our ear into a lush romantic main title tinged with a touch of an oriental phrase setting our mood for the story of our action packed hero meeting a woman of his dreams, falling in love, defending her honor, and living happily ever after. Monastery of 100 Buddhists is an Oriental/Penatonic Scale track with a short revisiting of the main title theme. It has that air of mystery and intrigue about it.
. “Treacherous Companions” away from the film with its brass line sounds like it could very easily have come from a completely different picture. “Princess in Danger” is definitely in the Baxter underscore library that could have come from several different genres of film. The growling brass, dissonant chords, harp, and ever present use of the percussion highlight this track. This is an excellent example of how Baxter effectively writes underscore and puts his signature on it. He can create moods of tension without having to resort to loudness. It is fun to listen to the music away from the film a few times allowing you to digest it and then watch it in the film.
The 15 tracks are really 36 but put together in longer cues to make it easier to listen to and it’s a mono recording. This release is a limited edition of only 1000 so act sooner rather than later as Baxter material sells out.
Catalog number is Kritzerland 20019-1
1…. Main Title/The Beginning (3:39)
2…. Marco Polo Takes A Hike/Ciu-Lin/The Great Wall of China (2:17)
3…. Rescuing A Damsel In Distress/The Princess (2:40)
4…. The Monastery of 100 Buddhists/Cuday the Rebel/To Peking (3:20)
5…. The Ceremony/Food Fight/Marco in Jail (2:35)
6…. Released/Meeting Khan (3:19)
7…. Take a Wife, Please/ The Private Confessional (2:58)
8…. Marco and the Princess (3:47)
9…. The Princess’ Chamber/The Amulet/The Kiss (3:50)
10.. Treacherous Companions/Follow the Green Lanterns (5:36)
11.. Brief Encounter/Marco in Hiding/Mongka Seizes the Throne (4:02)
12.. Marco’s Plan/Inventing Fireworks/ Ciu-Lin Finds Marco (3:47)
13.. Princess in Danger/Blades of Death (4:41)
14.. End of Mongka/I Did It All For Her/Marco and the Princess Reunited (4:47)
15.. The Princess Bride and End Credits (3:30)
Total Time for CD is 54:56
June 28, 2011
My first encounter with David Julyan was seeing the film Insomnia, starring Al Pacino, Hilary Swank, and Robin Williams and being impressed enough with the eerie score to go out and purchase it. The music fit the film like a glove enhancing the suspense and definitely adding to the film. Heartless doesn’t have the typical horror motifs our ears have grown accustomed to with slashing strings, blaring brass, and headache giving pounding percussion but an eight string ensemble plus the electronics in the background. It does have its loud moments and there is some of that pounding drumming but overall this is a softer score to listen to.
“Heartless: Main Titles” is an extremely somber funeral like theme that moves forward ever so slowly. The background electronics provide an element of time while the strings offer the melody/harmony. It is an eerie mood setting track. “Demons in the Dark” is underscore material also very slow moving with background electronics to enhance the track. “New Skin” offers piano with the strings providing harmony. “You’re Beautiful” returns to the main theme with upper register string playing providing a bit of romance. “Run, Jamie, Run” offers a bit of action with a pulsating background from the electronics. Pounding percussion almost jungle style with swirling synthesizer. “So Many Stars” is a return to the somber funeral like main theme with strings tugging at your emotions backed with a simple piano line. “Into the Dark” the concluding track is also quiet with just a hint of background from the electronics. If you’re a fan of David Julyan and enjoy his simple thematic material it is going to be a winner.
CD# is Screamworks SWR-11003 (a division of Movie Score Media)
It is available as a download from iTunes as well as a CD from SAE.
1…. Heartless: Main Titles (3:02)
2….Demons in the Dark (3:09)
3….Journey to Cendrillon (3:04)
4…. Papa B. (4:53)
5….New Skin (1:37)
6…. Weapons Man (1:35)
7…. Magical Tree (2:39)
8…. It’s Ten O’Clock (3:26)
9…. You’re Beautiful (1:31)
10.. Papa B. Returns (4:35)
11.. Run, Jamie, Run (3:00)
12.. I’m Not Afraid (4:50)
13.. So Many Stars (3:07)
14.. Into the Dark (1:12)
Total Time is 42:40
June 27, 2011
Veteran Phil Rosen directed this K.B.S. production which reunited David Manners, Edward Van Sloan, and Bela Lugosi, from Dracula in this murder mystery which takes place on a movie set during the filming of a picture opening the door to a cast of suspects. Even though Lugosi is given top billing and the artwork looks like it’s a horror film Bela had no more than a supporting role as did Van Sloan. This was a David Manners film who portrayed a screenplay writer/detective for the studio. He knows a lot more than the police and of course solves the mystery and gets the girl. It is a good mystery which keeps you guessing until the end. Considering the age of the print it is in surprising good quality including the color effect they dabbled with in a couple of the scenes. This film is available for free viewing on the Internet Archive as well as from Alpha Video(4019D) at a low cost. This is one that I can recommend to any of you looking for a good murder mystery. (***) http://www.archive.org/details/The_Death_Kiss
June 26, 2011
Evil as a physical disease is the premise of this horror film starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Dr. Emmanuel Hildern (Cushing) has returned from New Guinea with a skeleton of a missing link of sorts that he immediately begins experimenting on discovering quite by accident that if the bones are subjected to water the flesh begins to grow back. This flesh as he soon discovers is the essence of evil and his goal is to secure a serum that will cure it forever. The idea is really a good one and if somehow this aspect of the film was expanded upon it could have really gotten top marks. However, it strayed to include a brother (Lee) who runs an asylum and wants to steal the prehistoric skeleton for himself. Also introduced are a daughter and deceased mother with a history of mental illness. To cure the daughter he injects her with his evil fighting serum but the results are negative. It is all tied together in the end with a great twist which took me by surprise and I still ponder the question is he or isn’t he. It was directed by Freddy Francis who was a well known screenplay writer for Hammer Films and was released by Tigon Pictures, a smaller independent company that released five pictures in the 1969-1973 time periods with Creeping Flesh being the last film. The film is available for free viewing on the internet. (**1/2). http://www.crackle.com/c/The_Creeping_Flesh/The_Creeping_Flesh/2479426#ml=fcmt%3d82%26fp%3d1%26fx%3d