“Maniac” Review – 0:52
“Die! Die! My Darling” Review – 5:30
“Never Take Candy from a Stranger” Review – 10:18
“Scream of Fear” Review – 14:41
“Images” Review – 20:23
“Panic” Review – 29:34
Weekly Western “Rio Bravo” – 33:22
“Goin’ Down the Road” Pick A Movie (Sarah Read) – 44:17
Pick a Movie Winner Drawing– 53:20
Q&A – 53:44
Update – 59:21
DVD Room Tour – 1:01:36
Hammer Films Double Feature "Maniac" and "Die! Die! My Darling" Blu-Ray Review (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Mill Creek brings two more Hammer Horror titles to Blu-Ray at an affordable price.
First up is the black and white “Maniac,” a twisty narrative about an escaped mental patient out for revenge.
“Maniac” starts out in a rather unpleasant fashion with a rape and revenge. The audience never sees the face of the man carrying out the vendetta, leaving his identify a somewhat mystery. Entering the picture is an American foreigner, seemingly ready to fall in love after being abandoned in France after a breakup with his girlfriend. The local inn keeper and her daughter catch his attention when they take pity on him. The latter being the rape victim from the opening of the film. A strange love triangle begins between them. The black and white photography, along with this set up, gives us the feeling that a femme fatale may be in our lead's future. Our naïve lover is soon in a ploy to spring out the titular character from the asylum he now resides at, but is everyone involved telling the truth? Is the maniac in question too dangerous to be let free?
A stand out part in “Maniac” is the killer’s choice of weapon, a blowtorch, and its use of foreshadowing for said weapon. The best of which is when the blowtorch seems to have been turned on in the garage and left there with no one around. Seeing the burning hot flame and hearing the hissing gas gives us a taste of what hell may look like and a possible end for our characters. The twist is pretty impossible to guess, but manages to work even if we don’t have all the facts in front of us. The film unfortunately shows its age at how likable our lead is portrayed, he is jumping back and forth between a mother and daughter without worrying about anyone’s feelings or desires… or age for that matter! By the end of the film “Maniac” is solid albeit a tad forgettable.
“Die! Die! My Darling!” is the second feature on the double bill, directed by TV Vet Silvio Narizzano and with a screenplay by legendary author Richard Matheson. The duo creates a solid story with some great psychological touches.
Patricia, while traveling through Britain with her new finance, decides to pay a visit to the family of her first finance who died tragically. What is supposed to be a quick day trip turns into something much more. Patricia soon is held against her will and forced to learn the family’s strange religious rituals.
“Die! Die! My Darling” is a solid enough film with a nice story, but the real attraction here is Tallulak Bankhead who plays the matriarch of the family. Her domineering personality and fragile mental state create a menacing presence. The film seems to give nice glimpses into this character more than the others making the head baddie somewhat intriguing and a tad sympathetic. The rest of the family is cast solid, as well including ,Peter Vaughan (Straw Dogs) playing a sex crazed closet drunk, Yootha Joyce, and screen legend Donald Sutherland two years before “The Dirty Dozen”. The idea of a crazed family holding someone hostage also predates the “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” by 9 years for what it’s worth. One of the negatives of the film seems to be it does tend to be a little repetitive after the family reveals that they don’t intend to let Patricia leave. Her escape attempts happen often, but never seem to feel any different in tone from the previous one. On the contrary the build up to the initial scuffle was filled with tension and took its time. In the final act there is a surprisingly beautiful use of vibrant lighting including teals and purples which resemble that of Mario Bava or Dario Argento. All and all “Die! Die! My Darling!” is a nice little horror thriller that creates a bit of tension while creating an interesting villain.
Both films are presented in HD and look and sound great. The discs are bare bones, but the price point makes up for it.
(1963) - B&W - Not Rated
Kerwin Mathews, Nadia Gray, Donald Houston, Liliane Brousse
While vacationing in France, an American artist becomes romantically involved with an older woman, Eve, while also attracted to her teenage stepdaughter, Annette. Pulled between them, a plot is hatched to free Eve's husband from jail but Eve has a different plan in mind.
Die! Die! My Darling!
(1965) - Color - Not Rated
Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughan, Donald Sutherland
Young Pat Carroll (Powers) goes to the home of her dead fiancé to meet his beloved mother, Mrs. Trefoile (Tallulah Bankhead). There, she discovers that Mrs. Trefoile is not the loving mother she had anticipated, but rather a grieving psychopath who blames Pat for the death of her son.
Mill Creek Website – http://www.millcreekent.com/
Buy – “Maniac”/ “Die! Die! My Darling” on Blu-Ray – https://www.amazon.com/Hammer-Films-Double-Feature-Darling/dp/B07894WWYZ/
Hammer Films Double Feature "Never Take Candy From a Stranger" and "Scream of Fear" Blu-Ray Review (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Mill Creek presents another thriller double bill with “Never Take Candy from a Stranger” and “Scream of Fear”.
The first half the bill is “Never Take Candy from a Stranger” a bizarre black and white flick about pedophilia, victim blaming, corruption, and a scary small town mentality.
The new principle moves into town with his wife and daughter. Not long after this, his daughter complains of a strange encounter she had with an old rich man who offered her and her friend candy to strip. Quickly, our parents decide to press charges and realize that by doing this they are going up against the most powerful family in town.
“Never Take Candy from a Stranger” is an odd film, the opening lets us know that this isn’t a true story, but could happen and that this story is happening in Canada. This strange tidbit probably is added to put American viewers at ease and avoid criticism for the court room scene where people refer to the judge as my lord. The weird addition doesn’t take away from the power of the best scenes in the film though. The revealing of the molestation of the girl to the parents by her is delivered in such a matter of fact and unknowingly way so as to come across truly disturbing. Another particularly profound scene is when the grandmother overhears a pair of women talking in the beauty shop and a woman suggests it’s the little girls fault for going with the old man. Its baffling to think this sort of mindset is still strong in our culture… or Canada’s. The film turns into a full blown court room drama with a villainous defense attorney and a hopeless prosecutor toward the middle of the film. It’s standard, but good. For the less put together parts of the film we have some rather odd choices, involving the old man and his performance; he is made out to be mentally ill. This fact would be fine if he didn’t wander around like a 3rd rate Universal Monster waiting for a group of torch carrying villagers to burn him to the ground. It is a poor and dated choice to see the pedophile treated as a character that at points is oblivious of his perversions and other times seems to embrace it; it doesn’t work, but the entirety of the film does.
The second flick on the bill is “Scream of Fear” featuring a wheel chair bound, possibly mentally insane protagonist who is trying to figure out whether her step mother killed her father or if it’s all a delusion.
“Scream of Fear” opens up with the shot of a dead woman being drug out of a lake, a rather bleak opening, but one that sets the constant motif of water and fear of drowning. “Scream of Fear” follows suit with many other classics of the time with a possible unreliable protagonist. This sets up wonderful dream like scenes where we aren’t sure if everything is a reality or a figment of her imagination; a perfect setup for scares. A scene that takes place in the summerhouse where our hapless lead sees her father resting in a chair only to realize when his head falls back he is dead is terrifying. The scream is cued at the perfect time and creates for a genuine scare. Of course, will all good thrillers, there are some twists involved and before long we seem to know where the story is going. It’s a little too obvious to have it go with its setup and with the lack of characters to choose from, we know that some people aren’t who they say they are though there are a couple curve balls worth discovering. The constant reminders of water and the fear of drowning work well and tie directly in with the beginning and the end. The film manages to help viewers forget about that opening, due to the dramatic location change allowing this final twist to be effective. The lead in the film is a highlight; she carries herself well and garners sympathy without being completely helpless. Christopher Lee also stars as a Doctor whose motives are unknown. “Scream of Fear” only has one weakness; a slightly slow midsection. After the film gets to a certain level of mystery, it tends to be a little dry until the good ending soaks it with satisfaction.
Again both films are presented in HD they look and sound good. The discs are bare bones, but dirt cheap and worth picking up.
The Sweet Taste of Fear!
Never Take Candy From a Stranger
(1960) - B&W - Not Rated
Gwen Watford, Patrick Allen, Felix Aylmer, Niall MacGinnis
A serious and horrifying chiller about a small town terrorized by an elderly child molester luring young girls into his mansion with sweets, but no official will stop the perverse man because of his powerful family until it's too late.
Scream of Fear
(1961) – B&W – Not Rated
Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee, John Serret, Leonard Sachs
A young wheelchair-bound woman returns to her father's estate to find he's away on business, but she keeps seeing his dead body in various places. Her stepmother and other house guests employ a plan to drive her insane and take her inheritance.
Mill Creek Website – http://www.millcreekent.com/
Buy – “Never Take Candy from a Stranger”/ “Scream of Fear” on Blu-Ray – https://www.amazon.com/Hammer-Films-Double-Feature-Stranger/dp/B0788XWK1R/
"Images" Blu-Ray Review (Arrow Academy)
Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original English mono audio (uncompressed LPCM) soundtracks
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Audio commentary by Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger
Scene-select commentary by writer-director Robert Altman
Interview with Robert Altman
Brand new interview with actor Cathryn Harrison
An appreciation by musician and author Stephen Thrower
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Carmen Gray and an extract from Altman on Altman
Arrow Video Website – https://arrowfilms.com/
Buy “Images” Blu-Ray – https://mvdshop.com/products/robert-altmans-images-blu-ray
"Panic" Blu-Ray Review (Code Red)
Starring David Warbeck (The Last Hunter, The Beyond), Janet Agren (Gates of Hell, Eatern Alive)
Special Features: New HD master
Code Red // 1982 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated // Color // English // Region A
Buy “Panic” Blu-Ray – https://roninflix.com/collections/brand-new/products/panic
The Weekly Western "Rio Bravo" Blu-Ray Review
Director Howard Hawks lifted the Western to new heights with Red River. Capturing the legendary West with a stellar cast in peak form, he does it again here.
Commentary by John Carpenter and Richard Schickel
Documentary: "Commemoration: Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo"
Featurette: "Old Tucson: Where the Legends Walked"
Buy “Rio Bravo” Blu-Ray – https://www.amazon.com/Rio-Bravo-Blu-ray-Jules-Furthman/dp/B00THZUSR4/
Pick a Movie "Goin' Down the Road" Blu-Ray Review
Buy “Goin’ Down the Road” Blu-Ray - https://www.amazon.com/GOIN-DOWN-AGAIN-Collectors-BLU-RAY/dp/B007T5RJ3U/
1. Love Butcher
2. Tam Lin
3. Misery (been awhile)
Die! Die! My Darling – 1965 – Silvio Narizzano
Never Take Candy from a Stranger – 1960 – Cyril Frankel
Scream of Fear – 1961 – Seth Holt
Images – 1972 – Robert Altman
Panic – 1982 – Tonino Ricci
Rio Bravo – 1959 – Howard Hawks
Goin’ Down the Road – 1970 – Donald Shebib