Blood Island, Halloween 2018, Zombie, & Paragon Video
Blood Island Collection
Just in time for Halloween Severin Films will be releasing The Blood Island Collection Blu-Ray box set. The set includes the infamous “Blood Island” movies from the Philippines. The “Blood Island” trilogy (Brides of Blood, Mad Doctor of Blood Island and Beast of Blood) are joined in this set by another Philippines shot horror, Terror is a Man. Curiously the old Image DVD set called Blood Island Vacation added Brain of Blood instead of Terror is a Man. But the real draw is the “Blood Island” trilogy and all of its green blooded goodness. It looks like many of the extras including Sam Sherman’s terrific audio commentaries are being ported over from the older set along with some juicy looking new features.
I know this thing has gotten good reviews and is doing bang-up box office, but damn I was utterly underwhelmed. The whole thing just plods along with so much nonsense that the first hour feel completely superfluous except to pad the body count. A huge basket of easter eggs isn’t making up for a hopelessly meandering first hour and the longer it goes just makes you wish the whole thing had half the tension and creativity of A Quiet Place. The whole thing is just building to the inevitable and predictable climactic showdown between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode which we have seen multiple times already. No matter how much the filmmakers insist that all the sequels, remakes, and reboots since the 1978 classic don’t exist, the fact is we’ve still seen them and no PR spin is going to make us forget that Michael Myers was killed by fire in Halloween 2.
Zombie 40th Anniversary
Zombie, Lucio Fulci’s gore masterpiece is celebrating its 40th birthday and Blue Underground is pulling out all the stops on an epic multi-disc Blu-Ray release. If you’re not sure if you’ve seen Zombie, it is the one where the zombie fights a shark. This release promises a 4k uncensored transfer of the film with 2 audio commentaries and hours of extras (interviews, documentaries, original soundtrack, special covers) spanning 2 Blu-Ray discs. This will surely surpass any of the previous releases of Zombie and make a worthwhile double dip. It won’t be out for Halloween but its late November drop date makes for perfect Christmas buying.
Back in the pre-Blockbuster, non-corporate new frontier of VHS rental there was one video label that just didn’t disappoint: Paragon Video. Even if the movie was terrible (as they often were) there was always a huge block of amazing trailers for exploitation movies beyond reckoning, especially in the hard scrabble streets of the suburban midwest. Paragon titles ran the gamut from family fare (Great Alaska Adventure) to sex movies like Emmanuelle on Taboo Island. Hickspoitation and kung fu flicks, even comedies and westerns made appearances but Paragon is mostly remembered for horror and gore films. Even if your local store didn’t have the tapes you could get plenty of gore and nudity in trailers in ten, fifteen, twenty minute blocks. I remember being in video stores and irate customers would be returning a Paragon tape because “there wasn’t a movie, just ads”. Better remembered titles like Gates of Hell aka City of the Living Dead, Alien: Contamination, Blood on Satan’s Claw and Doctor Butcher MD populated the Paragon trailer reels but completely forgotten relics were on there too. Hotwire, For Your Love Only (episodes of a German soap opera edited into movie form, with a young Nastassja Kinski, Cheerleader Beach Party, and Going Steady are probably not big contenders for Blu-Ray release. The memories of Paragon and the extreme randomness of their offerings was a great deal of fun and while many of the films were a disappointment, there trailers were often the best part of the rental.
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