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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

New Jean Rollin blu-Ray and CD Releases for 2019

2019 sees the arrival of two new Jean Rollin releases.  On February 19th Kino Lorber/Redemption continue their Jean Rollin series with a double feature of  DRACULA'S FIANCEE  and LOST IN NEW YORK.  This set features an audio commentary by Samm Deighan and is a particularity welcome addition to their previous blu-ray releases.  I'm especially excited for LOST IN NEW YORK, which is extraordinary.   More information on this release can be found here and Samm can be followed at Twitter.  Copies of the Rollin Book, LOST GIRLS, Samm edited for Spectacular Optical are still available here as well.  

Another Rollin related release arrives next month in the form of another limited edition soundtrack collection from The Omega Productions Recording Company.  This release features Philippe d'Aram's soundtracks to LA MORTE VIVANTE / LA FIANCÉE DE DRACULA in a limited run of just 500 copies.  More information can be read here.

-Jeremy Richey, 2018-


Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Christ, I don't know what to say about the passing of Bernardo Bertolucci.  The man was one of my great artistic heroes and I simply cannot imagine what my life would have been like without his films.  I've done so many of these rest in peace posts over the years (and some I couldn't do because they hurt too much like Burt Reynolds) but I just don't know what to say about this filmmaker reached Bertolucci's heights...none even came close.  

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Racy Reels From The Something Weird Vault: A Mac Ahlberg HD Double Feature

Out now from Pop Cinema, Film Media and Something Weird is Volume 3 of their series Racy Reels From The Something Weird Vault.  This collection sees the HD debut of two Mac Ahlberg titles, I, a Woman part 2 and The Daughter:  I, a Woman part 3.  The official sequels to the Ahlberg's groundbreaking 1965 original, that Radley Metzger's Audubon films turned into a stateside smash in 1965, I, a Woman part 2 and The Daughter:  I, a Woman part 3 are both presented in uncut English dubbed versions on these new DVD and Blu-ray sets.  These newly mastered versions both look and sound quite splendid despite some minor print damage throughout.   Ahlberg and Lars Karlsson's splendid colorful photography for Part 3, my personal favorite film from the series,  looks especially vibrant here.  For this release Pop Cinema have delivered some terrific extras including liner notes, and an audio commentary, by Tim Lucas as well as trailers and outtakes from part two.  A trailer can be viewed here and more information can be found over at Alternative Cinema.

-Jeremy Richey, 2018-

Saturday, November 24, 2018

"I realized I've spent all my life creating a past."

-Nicolas Roeg (1928-2018)-

Friday, August 31, 2018

"The Crows are Laughin." Visiting Two SCARECROW Filming Locations

Last month I spent my final day, of one of the saddest years of my life, in a city I had grown to despise visiting two shooting locations of one of my favorite films...Jerry Schatzberg's magnificent 1973 work Scarecrow.  I had been meaning to visit these two spots since I had arrived in Denver nearly two years ago but this particular morning, still reeling from the news that my marriage of eight years was unexpectedly ending, seemed fitting.  "Guess what I'm a scarecrow" but the crows hadn't been laughing at me in Colorado only attacking...

What was once the Turk's Supper Club at 539 West 43rd is still standing...abandoned but I felt the ghosts of Hackman and Pacino as young men everywhere around me as I photographed the building.

The house where Max and Lion briefly stayed, at the second location at 4256 Elati Street, was long ago demolished.  In its place sits a depressing and ugly industrial storage unit...reminding me only of Trump's terrifying and bullshit once United States.  After snapping a few photographs I hopped in my car and left behind the life and future I thought I had forever.
I hope to never return to Denver again.

-Jeremy Richey, 2018-

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Frankie Teardrop Lives! Buddy Giovinazzo's COMBAT SHOCK on Blu-ray

"Frankie teardrop
Frankie put the gun to his head
Frankie's dead
Frankie's lying in hell
We're all Frankies
We're all lying in hell."

-Alan Vega, Martin Rev-

An absolutely stunning release from Severin films, the new Blu-ray edition of Buddy Giovinazzo's grueling 1984 masterpiece Combat Shock is perhaps the great archival release of 2018 amidst very stiff competition.  Limited to just 2000 signed copies, that are already out of stock at Severin, this new version of Combat Shock restores Giovinazzo's mesmerizing vision to his original American Nightmares director's cut in a package filled with hours of essential extras that put recent releases by the likes of Criterion to shame.  

The release history of Combat Shock should be fairly well-known to most fans of American independent cinema but a quick overview goes like this.  Buddy Giovinazzo was a student filmmaker from Staten Island when he began shooting his self-funded feature film debut, under his preferred title American Nightmares, in 1984 with family, fellow-students and friends.  After some early screenings, the film was picked up by Troma and retitled the more commonly known Combat Shock.  While Troma should be applauded for picking up such an uncompromising DIY feature, they did cut many of Giovinazzo's most extreme moments and added in stock Vietnam footage in an attempt to capitalize on the namsploitation movement of the mid-eighties.  The cuts and new footage neutered the film but Giovinazzo's haunting story of a shell-shocked veteran collapsing under the weight of the 'American dream', on the streets of New York, still managed to resonate.  Audience members tricked by Troma's poster promising a Missing In Action/Rambo style picture were shocked into submission by the most harrowing vision of the horrors of post war trauma seen since the The Deer HunterCombat Shock was dismissed by most 'respectable' critics while being championed by the likes of the great Stephen Bissette and other underground writers who recognized its importance.  Despite Giovinazzo never being granted his proper place as one of modern cinema's most important and visionary filmmakers, Combat Shock refused to die and by the mid-nineties the uncut American Nightmares became one of the most essential and sought after bootlegs on the grey market VHS circuit.

It was in this grey market area that I first encountered American Nightmares in the nineties via the mail order company Midnight Video.  Like many others I was completely shocked by the film and absolutely floored in every way.  While the film's scenes of horrific violence were what originally stuck with me, as I have aged and matured it is the film's heartbreaking heart and humanity that keep me returning to it.  As played by Buddy's brother Rick Giovinazzo (who also composed the film's remarkable soundtrack included as a bonus CD), the lead character Frankie remains one of the most moving creations in all of modern American cinema.  Much like Alan Vega's devastating title character in Suicide's 1977 jaw-dropping track off their legendary first album, Giovinazzo's character is a good man buried by a system designed to destroy the helpless and poor.  It's every sad headline of a man pushed to the brink of madness and murder brought to life.  Sadly American Nightmares plays better than ever now in this brutal era of Trump.  This film isn't just a prophetic time capsule.  It is instead a nightmarish depiction of NOW and I must admit that viewing Severin's recent collection reduced me to tears.  I saw Frankie every day during my recent sad stint in Denver where the streets are crowded with homeless veterans desperately in need of help they aren't receiving.   Giovinazzo knew ignoring our veterans in need was a criminal act by the American government in 1984 and it remains one today.

Of course American Nightmares doesn't just survive as a political and sociological statement as it stands as a glorious reminder to the power of film in the hands of a truly visionary artist who refused to back down no matter the financial and personal hardships.  The essential book that comes along with Severin's package, featuring Giovinazzo's shooting diaries from the time, should be REQUIRED reading for all young students of cinema.  It's a triumphant portrait of an artist not enslaved by the dollar and corporate sponsorship....our tragic current sell-out culture should take note...this is how it should be fucking done.

Severin's release is the kind of true deluxe edition that great films deserve but rarely get anymore.  Powered by a 4k scan of the fully uncut American Nightmares, an essential commentary by the Giovinazzo brothers (along with make up effects artist Ed Varuolo), hours of interviews with the makers of film and the critics who championed it, short films and Troma's original terrific extras it is an absolute triumph for Severin and Giovinazzo.

Although it came out just over a month ago Severin's release is already becoming near impossible to find so the curious and established fans are advised to seek it out now.  Earlier this year I thought Criterion's way past due Dietrich and Von Sternberg collection would be the release of the year but that frustrating dropped ball pales in comparison to Severin's Combat Shock.  I keep hearing physical media is dead but you sure as hell wouldn't know it watching Severin's grand slam new releases.

-Jeremy Ross Richey, 2018-

 "He's just trying to survive
Well lets hear it for Frankie
Frankie Frankie..."
-Rev, Vega-

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Please Support Brandon Colvin's A DIM VALLEY at Kickstarter

The extraordinary filmmaker Brandon Colvin has just recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fiance his upcoming film, A Dim Valley, and I would greatly appreciate if everyone would share the campaign's link and pledge if you can.  

The Kickstarter page can be visited here and Brandon's work at Moon in the Gutter can be read here.  Good luck to Brandon and I am excited to see this, his third feature after Frames and Sabbatical.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

CATHODE LOVE: A New Jean Rollin related Book and Vinyl Set

A new Jean Rollin book and vinyl set is getting ready to come out! 

Here is part of the official press release on CATHODE LOVE:

"Cathode Love is a BOOK & LP focused on the fantastique, the impulse of mystery, horror and eroticism, containing essays, short stories and unreleased or exceedingly underappreciated and brilliant works of writing and music, rare soundtrack and musical materials all on the LP. It is designed to work together. Full details are below. The editions are to make the experience affordable to all. The book and LP are the same contents, but they have very different levels of intensity in terms of presentation! 

Includes essays, short stories, poetry, interviews and new translations from:
Antonin Artaud, Théophile Gautier, Stephen Thrower, Marina Warner, Michel Leiris, David Tibet, Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, Remy de Gourmont, Count Eric Stanislaus Stenbock, Matthew Brendan Clark, Charles Baudelaire, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Saint-Pol Roux, Catherine Ribeiro and more. 248pp.

This boxed set, book and LP, is an abandoned cathedral full of little prayers to directors Jean Rollin and Jess Franco, little songs from Count Stenbock and Théophile Gautier, all with colorfully darkened windows for its light source, singing its praises through a cloud of smoke, death, beauty, and WONDER. Essays on Roger Callois’s “Writing of Stones” push language into the permanent, primal and automatic, encountering others, such as the macabre oppulence and romance of Baudelaire's "unnatural" poetry of decadence, death and lust. New Coptic translations and a lovely new and insightful essay along with lyrics to his work Birth Canal Blues are offered up by the beautiful and visionary artist David Tibet. A wonderful essay by Stephen Thrower, with his incredibly perceptive and loving reading of the under-sung and mesmerizing Lorna...The Exorcist, all these coupled again with broader, essential selections on the actual processes facilitating these arts, in the essays on the metaphysics of theater by Antonin Artaud, or a variety of other works reflective of the falling shards of some Greater Mirror, then shattered and now gathered again, all that cut to the root of visual poetics. In this way, it also functions, overall, as a diary of perception by the editor. Multiple essays and poems by editor and compiler, Matthew Brendan Clark (sometimes as Comte Computer) exist, woven in and out of the shards, helping to guide this aspect. The rare essay The Hieroglyphic Monad by Michel Leiris, an ode to the Mysteries and language at once, all for your lovey-dovey pleasure, with more poems, essays and extracts supporting the nature of this book, all making up a surprising and new, totally accidental and fully-charged aesthetics treatise, that is FULL OF SUGGESTIONS WHERE TO TAKE THIS ART FORWARD FROM without spelling it out (certainly not in all caps).  Cathode Love seems to be loving "the language of aesthetics and meaning" with an open and suggestive embrace, full of black warmth, allowing all light to penetrate inside it. From the aesthetic and theatrical semiotic theory of Artaud and Michel Leiris and the poetry of renegade surrealist and true "Black Mirror", Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, to the transfigured lettering found in the work of Saint Pol Roux, or overarching symbolic curatorial aspect of Remy de Gourmont, CATHODE LOVE IS LOVING ALL WAYS NOW.  Take advantage of these readings.  They are here now.


The LP includes the first ever issuance of the hypnotic and elliptical soundtrack to Jess Franco's masterful Les possèdèes du diable (Lorna...The Exorcist), by Andre Bènichou, as well as the first vinyl release of Jean Rollin soundtracks to La nuit des traquèes (Night of the Hunted) and Les Raisins De La Mort! (Grapes of Death). Also, accompanying the exclusive interview with Catherine Ribeiro in the book is the epic, 25-minute Un Jour...La Mort by Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes, the first official issue of this since their 1972 album Paix. The LP is rounded out by key selections from Les deux orphelines vampires (Two Orphan Vampires), Ennio Morricone, and Goblin's work for the Suspiria soundtrack.

Many of these selections are issued for the first time ever on vinyl, and were all sourced from the best available elements and remastered for vinyl at Chicago Mastering Service by Jason Ward. LP housed in jacket featuring Parsifal by Jean Delville."

More information can be found at its official website and the book's progress can be followed at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram