Tag Archive | "Roger Corman"

Shout! Factory TV & Twitch to Host 24-Hour ‘Piranhathon’ Livestream Event for Film’s 40th Anniversary!

Shout! Factory TV & Twitch to Host 24-Hour ‘Piranhathon’ Livestream Event for Film’s 40th Anniversary!

Just when you thought it was safe to take a dip in the water again… This summer at Lost River Resort, the fish are most certainly biting! Shout! Factory TV will partner with social video platform Twitch to host a 24-hour marathon of Joe Dante’s cult classic Piranha on August 3 in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary. Fans can watch the film streamed all day and night long, in a presentation complete with behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers, outtakes and The Making of Piranha, which features interviews with Roger Corman, Joe Dante and many more. The marathon begins Friday, August 3 at 6 p.m. PT on Shout! Factory’s official Twitch channel.

In 1978, audiences discovered Piranha, widely considered one of the very best films inspired by the success of Jaws, and for 40 years Piranha has been one of the true cult gems in the Roger Corman canon.

Lost River Lake was a thriving resort until they discovered … Piranha! While searching for missing teenagers, rookie skip-tracer Maggie McKeon (Heather Menzies) and booze-soaked river rat Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) stumble upon a top-secret military laboratory conducting genetic research on piranha fish for the purpose of developing the most lethal form of biological warfare imaginable.

When the deadly eating machines are accidentally released from the compound, they’re soon headed downstream, consuming everything — and anyone — in their path. With Paul and Maggie in hot pursuit, the piranhas’ next stop is the children’s summer camp, where Paul’s young daughter is vacationing, and then the newly opened, multi-million-dollar water resort. Time is running out, and the piranha are hungry!

Piranha marked the solo directorial debut of Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch), after a long apprenticeship under Roger Corman’s tutelage at New World Pictures, and also marked the first produced screenplay of future indie-film icon and two-time Academy Award® nominee John Sayles (Lone Star, Passion Fish, Eight Men Out).

Not only was Piranha a box-office hit – becoming one of New World Pictures’ biggest worldwide hits – but it also earned rave reviews from critics, who appreciated its fast pacing, energetic cast, clever conspiracy satire, inventive special effects and, of course, the scares. Piranha won the Saturn Award for Best Editing (shared by Dante and Mark Goldblatt) and was nominated as Best Horror Film.

Backlot: The Making of Piranha special is also available on VOD at Shout! Factory TV. 

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Blu-ray Review: Arrow Video Revisits 1966’s ‘Blood Bath’

Blu-ray Review: Arrow Video Revisits 1966’s ‘Blood Bath’

blood-bath-2016

It’s horror time and this week Steve Johnson takes a look at Arrow Video’s limited edition release of “Blood Bath.” It includes four versions of the film and stars William Campbell, Patrick Mcgee and the amazing Sid Haig.

Here’s a rundown of the film before we jump into the bath:

The films of Roger Corman are often as well-known for their behind-the-scenes stories as they are the ones unfolding on the screen. He famously made “Little Shop of Horrors” in just two days using sets left over from “A Bucket of Blood” and shot “The Terror” over a long weekend because bad weather prevented him from playing tennis. However, none of these tales is as complex, or extraordinary, as the making of “Blood Bath.” The saga began when Corman invested in a Yugoslavian Krimi-like picture entitled “Operation Titian” just prior to it going into production. Insisting it be filmed in English, he sent actors William Campbell and Patrick Magee, and uncredited story editor Francis Ford Coppola (all fresh from “Dementia 13”), to Dubrovnik to make a US-friendly movie but wasn’t satisfied with the end results. First it was re-cut and re-scored to create “Portrait in Terror,” a film more in line with drive-in tastes, then it was handed over to Jack Hill (“Spider Baby”), followed by Stephanie Rothman (“Terminal Island”), each undertaking reshoots that resulted in vampire picture “Blood Bath.” One final twist was provided when a TV version was required, chopping scenes and adding others to create “Track of the Vampire.” For this release, Arrow Video searched through the vaults to provide all four versions of “Blood Bath,” newly restored from the best materials available to offer a definitive release of one of Corman’s craziest ventures.

blood-bath1

REVIEW: After taking a brief break from horror, I’m back in the saddle with Arrow’s epic release of “Blood Bath.” When I say epic, I mean epic in the amount of material included. This set has it all, including what is described by Arrow as four versions of one film. I take exception to that and would describe it a bit differently. Yes, there are technically four films, but they play out as two different films with an alternate version of each. “Operation Titian” and the re-cut version, “Portrait in Terror,” represent one of the two films, while “Blood Bath” and its re-cut version, “Track of the Vampire,” represent the other.

I was not blown away by any of these films. Sure, they were beautifully shot and had good performances from the actors, but there was something about them that didn’t resonate with me. Both “Operation Titian” and “Portrait in Terror” play out as a murder-mystery involving a stolen painting, while “Blood Bath” and “Track of the Vampire” are straightforward vampire films. Not good vampire films, but vampire films none the less. If I had to choose the best film in this package, it would be “Portrait in Terror.” The cuts made to “Operation Titian” resulted in a much more cohesive constructed to play for a drive-in audience. “Blood Bath” and “Track of the Vampire” were boring and left too many unanswered questions. These two films aren’t total losses though, as there is a fun performance by a very young Sid Haig. While I didn’t care for these films much, I encourage you to take a look and make up your own mind. Maybe I’m just being grumpy and need a beer or something.

The two-disc limited edition set includes a brand new reconstruction of “Operation Titian” that uses original film materials and standard definition inserts. “Portrait in Terror,” “Blood Bath” and “Track of the Vampire” received the 2K restoration treatment from Arrow. Once again, Arrow knocked it out of the park with these presentations. The black and white films pop off the screen. The audio for the films is presented in mono format and is adequate.

bloodbath_shot15l

Arrow put an amazing amount of effort into delivering the special features for this set. To start things off, the package has a reversible sleeve featuring the original artwork and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford. Arrow has taken things a step further with this release and also included a double-sided fold-out poster of the artwork. This represents some of the best artwork Arrow has commissioned thus far. One of the two highlights of this package is a limited edition booklet that contains new writing on the film and its cast by Anthony Nield, Vic Pratt, Cullen Gallagher and Peter Beckman. The second highlight is a feature entitled “The Trouble with Titian Revisited.” In this highly in-depth visual essay, Tim Lucas examines the convoluted production of “Blood Bath” and its multiple versions. This is easily one of the best and most informative features I have ever watched for a film. I especially enjoyed the side-by-side comparisons of the films. This feature, while long, is worth your time.

There are a couple of quick interviews in this set that are worth a look. The first is an archive interview with producer and director Jack Hill and the second is a newly recorded interview with Sid Haig. While both are quick, they are a lot of fun. I could listen to Sid Haig talk all day. If you’re reading this Sid, you are the best. Rounding out the special features are a stills gallery and optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. The only surprise concerning the special features on this release is the lack of an audio commentary.

Arrow’s release of “Blood Bath” and its multiple versions is the definitive presentation of the film. While it isn’t my favorite, I enjoyed seeing how editing and reshoots can produce a completely different film. If you are a fan of this film you need to grab this. — Steve Johnson, Horror Aficionado

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ON THE RISE: Jena Sims Discusses Her Blossoming Career and New Projects!

ON THE RISE: Jena Sims Discusses Her Blossoming Career and New Projects!

jena-sims-feature-2014

Over the past few years, Jena Sim’s hard work and determination have established her as a young actress on the rise in Hollywood. An incredibly expressive young actress, she pours her heart and soul into each and every role, leaving her poised become a breakout star in the year to come. As her career gains momentum, she continues to showcase her talents with higher profile projects. Recently, she held her own alongside seasoned veterans, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro and Kevin Kline in the box office hit ‘Last Vegas.’ She is perhaps best known for her breakout role in the summer hit “Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader.” She was personally selected by producer Roger Corman to play the lead in his most recent production (and surprisingly, first 3D picture) which premiered at Comic Con last summer. Jena has also appeared in a wide variety of hit television shows including on ‘Entourage,’ ‘Dexter,’ ‘Vampire Diaries,’ ‘CSI,’ ‘One Tree Hill,’ and ‘Leverage.’

Her latest role teams her with an all-star cast which includes Jeremy Renner, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, in the highly anticipated crime drama ‘Kill The Messenger.’ The film revolves around Gary Webb (Renner) who becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA’s role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. The film will hit theaters on October 10th!

In addition to an impressive resume, this beauty loves to spend her time giving back to the community. Jena’s experience as Miss Georgia Teen USA inspired her to become the founder and president of HBBQs (Has Been Beauty Queens), Inc., a nonprofit organization that works to celebrate children currently facing serious illnesses and challenges. The HBBQs, Inc. team travels to cities across the country and abroad to organize a noncompetitive event, called Pageant of Hope™, that aims to raise the self-esteem of children facing cancer and other serious challenges.

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Jena Sims to discuss her blossoming career, upcoming role in ‘Kill The Messenger,’ her evolution as an actor, her charity work and much more!

Jena Sims

Jena Sims

They say a career in the entertainment industry isn’t the easiest road to take. How did you start on your journey and what made you want to pursue acting as a career?

It has been something I have always wanted to do ever since I was a little girl. Even back then, I never said “I want to grow up and be a teacher!” [laughs] It was always, “I want to be in the movies and on TV.” I started modeling when I was old enough. My mom wasn’t one of those crazy pageant moms or anything like that! [laughs] I started doing pageants and got into modeling from there. One thing led to another and, when I got to college, I started auditioning for music videos because I went to college in Nashville. I did music videos and local TV commercials there and one day I moved to Los Angeles. Now here I am! [laughs]

Who had a big impact on you early in your career?

Honestly, it was the women in soap operas! Susan Lucci was a big one, along with Cameron Mathison. I remember watching the soap opera with my mom when I was really, really young. I always thought they were so pretty and I wanted to be just like them when I grew up! [laughs]

What kept you inspired through the years as you made your way through the industry?

I do a lot of charity work, so that keeps me really humble and grounded. I have always been super driven and believed in myself. It is such a thrill when I get to be on set. It’s funny because when the projects starting coming to an end, I never want it to finish!

You have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment, which is very exciting. One of the big ones is your role in “Kill The Messenger.” How did you get involved with the project and what can you tell us about the experience?

That project shot in Atlanta and I am actually from Georgia. They were looking for local hires and I still audition as a local hire for the Southeast, so I think that was to my benefit. I auditioned in Atlanta where I met with the director. Initially, the role was supposed to be a really sexy, topless character in a scene. We shot it like that but once the final product was done, they had taken all of that out. It was exciting because I am trying to limit my topless roles! [laughs] I wasn’t dreading it per se but now that I have seen it, it is completely different from the breakdown of the role for which I auditioned. I am kind of a sidekick. I am billed as the girlfriend of one of the supporting characters. I am in a drug house with Robert Patrick, who plays my boyfriend. The character that Jeremy Renner plays, Gary Webb, is coming to interview my boyfriend. The cops bust in and I get kidnapped! It is really high energy and a thrilling scene!

Jena Sims

Jena Sims

What was the vibe like on set for the film? I am sure you can learn a lot from watching these guys work.

It was so much fun. We shot in July, so it was so hot outside! There was a pool at the house where we were filming and the first time you see me is in the pool while Jeremy and Robert are doing a walk and talk as part of their interview. I am swimming and I get out of the pool. It is really neat. I envisioned it as being a slo-mo walk out of the pool but no! [laughs] I just get out of the pool normally! [laughs] Jeremy was so kind. He was the person I met first when I showed up. I met him in the makeup trailer and he was so sweet. He sat down and talked to me about my character and fleshed it all out. He helped me figure out what was the moment before and why my character was here. All the things they teach you in acting class came to fruition! He gave me the best acting lesson I could imagine! It was really nice to watch him work. We had to shoot the cop scene over and over. We spent probably five hours on it. The energy he brought to the scene each time was like he was doing it for the first time every single take!

You have been a part of many high profile projects at this point in your career. What do you consider the biggest challenge of your career so far?

I would say the biggest challenge was my very first film, “Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader.” I was the lead and it was my first leading role. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into! [laughs] I had to play a 50 foot cheerleader, a giant! Obviously, that isn’t real life, so trying to make that believable was pretty challenging!

That seems like it was a great project. How did you land the role for the film?

I actually didn’t know who Roger Corman was when I got the audition from my agent in LA. They said, “You don’t understand! This is Roger Corman! He started so many legendary careers from Sandra Bullock to William Shatner to James Cameron!” I was like, “This sounds so silly! It’s a 50 foot cheerleader!” [laughs] I went on the last day of auditions and was one of the last people they auditioned for the role. They liked my read, so I met the director that day. I had some cheerleading experience, so I think I did a little cheer or something in the room. They pretty much hired me on the spot! It was a lot of fun!

Jena Sims

Jena Sims

What types of roles are you anxious to tackle in the future?

I want to do more comedy. I would love to do a big, Will Ferrell kind of comedy. I would love to work with Tina Fey. They are two of my idols, so doing something like that is definitely on my bucket list!

You are still fairly new to the industry but how have you evolved as an actress?

I am more fearless now! I used to be really intimidated by the audition process. I always believed in myself but it took booking these roles to really believe in myself and say, “I really can do this!” Once I proved to myself that I could, things have really picked up and it has been a cumulative effect. I definitely am more fearless in the audition room. I take on every audition now, even heavy drama. I used to pass on those but now I take on every single audition and go in there with confidence!

Obviously, you are focused on establishing yourself as an actor at the moment but do you desire to explore the world behind the camera?

Maybe down the road it will be something I will explore. The idea of writing a script is very intimidating to me. There are so many elements at play and it can be very, very tricky. I could definitely see myself possibly directing or producing somewhere down the road but it’s not on my current radar.

What is on your radar? Where should we look for you to pop up next?

I have two horror/thriller films coming up. One is called “Downed Angel” and the other is called “The Forest.” I am supposed to be shooting those toward the end of October and throughout November. I am also supposed to shoot a fun little zombie short film at the beginning of the new year.

That is terrific! Are you a fan of the horror genre?

I am! It is so much fun. I was just at Comic Con this past weekend and had a blast. I love the worlds of horror and graphic novels. Those genres are both so interesting to me and they have amazing fan bases!

Jena Sims and friends!

Jena Sims and friends!

Another big part of your life, as you mentioned, is charity work. What can you tell us about The Has Been Beauty Queens?

I have been doing my non-profit for 10 years. I started the Has Been Beauty Queens and we hold an event called the Pageant of Hope. It is a pageant for kids who face challenges, be it cancer, physical or mental disabilities, basically any kid who wouldn’t normally be able to compete in a pageant, soccer or a dance recital. We do their hair and makeup, we teach them a pageant walk and how to interview. At the end of the day, we crown every participant. It is about building self-esteem and self-confidence, which these kids need. I have been all over the world with it from Africa, Cuba and Australia. I just recently returned from Jamaica and we will be going back again in December! You can learn all about it and make donations at our website, www.pageantofhope.org.

Jena Sims

Jena Sims

You are a great person to look to for inspiration. What is the best lesson that can be learned from your life and times so far?

That is a good question. Definitely never give up and believe in yourself. I am a firm believer in you can achieve any goal if you believe in it. You have to be confident in yourself. I have seen so many people who aren’t and they never make it in the industry. They want to be an actor but they aren’t confident in themselves. I think that is the most important part, going into these audition rooms with your head held high and exuding confidence because that is what works! In addition, I definitely think charity work teaches the lesson of being thankful for what you have and that it is important to give back.

When you aren’t focused on acting or charity, how do you spend your free time?

I love to go to the beach! I have a cute little beach cruiser bike that I ride around! [laughs] I am pretty social and I like going out to places and watching sports with friends. I am so happy it is football season right now because I do Fantasy Football. I go to spin class and I have a graphic novel collection as well! I love comic books! That is how I spend my time!

Where are the best places to catch up with you online?

I am on Instagram and Twitter. My official website, www.jenasims.com, is the place you can find out everything about my charity, my acting and everything else!

Terrific! I appreciate your time today, Jena! I am sure we will be talking again soon!

Thank you, Jason!

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Pick of The Week: ‘Piranha 3D’ Takes A Bite Out Of Blu-ray & DVD!

Pick of The Week: ‘Piranha 3D’ Takes A Bite Out Of Blu-ray & DVD!

One of our favorite horror movies of 2010 is now available for you to relive again and again in the comfort of your own home!  What’s it about you ask? Jaws… lots and lots of jaws. That’s right ‘Piranha 3D’ is ready to take a bite out of Blu-ray and DVD!

The remake features an ensemble cast which includes Elisabeth Shue, Kelly Brook, Richard Dreyfuss, Jerry O’Connell, Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames, Dina Meyer, Ricardo Chavira, Paul Scheer, and Eli Roth. Check out the red band trailer for the flick below!

While your at it, check out our interviews with director Joe Dante, who directed the original cult hit ‘Piranha’, as well as adult film star Riley Steele who is one of the stars of the new film!

Synopsis: From acclaimed director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) comes the new action thriller PIRANHA 3D, in the latest eye-popping 3D technology. Every year the population of sleepy Lake Victoria explodes from 5,000 to 50,000 for Spring Break, a riot of sun and drunken fun. But this year, there’s something more to worry about than hangovers and complaints from local old timers; A new type of terror is about to be cut loose on Lake Victoria. After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area’s new razor-toothed residents. But our heroine (Elisabeth Shue) is seriously outnumbered, and with only one chance to save the lake and her family from totally being devoured, she must risk everything to destroy the aquatic carnivores herself.

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The Warrior and The Sorceress and Barbarian Queen Double Feature Headed To DVD In October

The Warrior and The Sorceress and Barbarian Queen Double Feature Headed To DVD In October

This October 19, 2010, get ready to embark on two Roger Corman epic action-adventures filled with sword-and-sorcery fantasy, explosive battles and exotic beauties as The Warrior And The Sorceress, starring the late David Carradine, and Barbarian Queen, starring the late B-movie goddess Lana Clarkson, debut as a special double-feature DVD from Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation.  Featuring all-new anamorphic widescreen transfers, this highly collectible double-feature DVD set is a must-have for movie collectors and fans of Roger Corman, David Carradine and Lana Clarkson. Fans can pre-order now to own The Warrior and The SorceressBarbarian Queen double-feature DVD set directly from Shout! Factory’s ShoutFactoryStore.com.

Welcome to a distant world of exciting battles, mystical secrets and evil wizards in The Warrior And The Sorceress. Kain (David Carradine) is the last survivor of a mighty warrior tribe. Once an exalted warrior-priest, Kain now wanders the planet Vra as a mercenary sword-for-hire. In the small village of Yam-A-Tar, he finds two vicious clans struggling for power and becomes embroiled in the treachery and battles, the mighty wizardry and rampant debauchery.

On the eve of her wedding, Amathea (Lana Clarkson) sees her world dissolve: her groom imprisoned, her village razed, and her friends attacked and slaughtered. Becoming the Barbarian Queen, she vows revenge and retribution. Along with her female warriors, she entices and then destroys her adversaries. Barbarian Queen also stars Katt Shea (Psycho III) and Dawn Dunlap (Forbidden World).

THE WARRIOR AND THE SORCERESS (1984)

New World Pictures

Starring David Carradine, Luke Askew, Maria Socas, Anthony DeLongis, Harry Townes

Directed by John Broderick

Screenplay by John Broderick

Story by John Broderick and William Stout

Produced by Frank K. Isaac, Jr.

DVD Special Features:

  • New Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.78:1)
  • Theatrical Trailers

BARBARIAN QUEEN (1985)

New Concorde Pictures

Starring Lana Clark Clarkson, Katt Shea, Frank Zagarino, Dawn Dunlap

Directed by Hector Olivera

Produced by Frank Isaac, Alex Sessa

Screenplay by Howard R. Cohen

Music by Chris Young, James Horner

DVD Special Features:

  • New Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (1.78:1)
  • Theatrical Trailers

Shout! Factory will continue to present ROGER CORMAN’S CULT CLASSICS home entertainment releases on a monthly basis. Upcoming highlights include The Evil/Twice DeadThe Slumber Party MassacreNot of This EarthTerror Within,StreetsAngel in RedLady in RedCrazy MamaBig Bad Mama, among others.

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Danny Trejo and Erin Cummings Team Up For ‘Tarantula’

Danny Trejo and Erin Cummings Team Up For ‘Tarantula’

“Machete” star Danny Trejo and Erin Cummings are in negotiations to star in the indie biker thriller “Tarantula,” reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Oley Sassone, who directed the Roger Corman-produced version of “The Fantastic Four” and whose credits also include “She Spies,” “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journey,” will direct the film.

The story centers on a woman (Cummings) who breaks away from a tight-knit biker gang to start a new life but finds that escape is not so easy. Trejo plays the self-styled leader of the gang looking for the woman as well as revenge for his brother’s death. John Kersey wrote the script and is producing with his wife Jennifer through their Two of a Kind Productions.

Danny Trejo, with almost 200 acting credits to his name, is currently on screen in his first starring role with “Machete.” He is repped by Amsel, Eisenstadt & Frazier. Erin Cummings is currently in Detroit shooting ABC’s “Detroit 1-8-7.” She was a regular on Starz’s “Spartacus” and starred in “Bitch Slap.”

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Retro Review: Joe Dante’s 1978 Cult Classic ‘Piranha’

Retro Review: Joe Dante’s 1978 Cult Classic ‘Piranha’

Fresh off the success of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster ‘Jaws,’ many producers rushed low budget rip-offs to theaters in order to capitalize off the now famous ocean horror story.  It was this atmosphere that created some of film’s less than finer moments.  Audiences were pounded over the head with such fine cinema as ‘Mako: The Jaws of Death’ and, how can any of us forget, ‘Orca,’ the tale of a killer whale hell bent on revenging its deceased mate and unborn offspring.  It wasn’t until 1978 that audiences were given a film about killer fish that would carve its own niche and prove to have staying power.

‘Piranha’ began its journey to the big screen in the minds of Richard Robinson and John Sayle, but was ultimately brought to life by the legendary Roger Corman and then up and coming director Joe Dante.  That’s right, the guy who directed ‘The Howling’ and ‘Gremlins’ brought life to those pesky little piranhas that lead to so much onscreen carnage.  ‘Piranha’ represents the pinnacle of what exploitation and B cinema was all about in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.  The movie is violent and gory at times, but also maintains a campy atmosphere and never takes itself too seriously.
The film begins with a clear homage to ‘Jaws,’ as two swimmers meet their untimely fates at the biting teeth of the titular killer fish.  Of course, this doesn’t take place in the ocean, that would be a blatant rip off.  These kids die in what seems to be a harmless pool inside a mountainside military installation.
We are then introduced to the characters of Maggie, who is searching for the missing kids, and Paul, the local town alcoholic.  Maggie ends up acquiring the reluctant help of Paul and the two eventually make their way to the upstream military installation.  Our two heroes find evidence that the missing teenagers had been there and Maggie ends up draining the pool in order to discover any remains.  Mid-way through the draining, Maggie and Paul are attacked by a crazy scientist.  The scientist, portrayed brilliantly by Kevin McCarthy, is dead set on stopping the draining of the pool and not “letting them out.”  Now you can probably guess what was let out and what is to ensue downstream, especially at a summer camp where Paul’s daughter is unfortunately located and at the grand opening of a water park.  In case you couldn’t guess, people die and they die viciously.
Thanks to the brilliant minds over at Shout! Factory, fans and newcomers to the world of ‘Piranha’ are treated to the best possible transfer of the film to date.  The image throughout the film is relatively crisp and every bit of gore and bloody goodness pops off the screen due to spectacular color.  It is important to note that this is a review of the DVD version and that the film is also available on Blu-Ray.  There is no doubt that the transfer of the film on Blu-Ray is phenomenal.  The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), which is a huge improvement over the previous releases that were all full frame.  The audio specs are nowhere to be found on the packaging of the film and online, but the film sounds good considering the source material.
The special features and packaging of the disc are something special and Shout! Factory should be given credit for putting so much effort into a film that is relatively unknown to most modern audiences.  If we could only get special features like these on some of the newer films Hollywood is spitting out nowadays …  The packaging alone is worth the price.  It features a reversible cover, with two different versions of the old movie posters for the film.  There is also a small booklet inside with a note from Roger Corman.  The disc features a commentary track with director Joe Dante and producer Jon Davison.  It’s unfortunate that Corman isn’t featured on the track, but Joe Dante is entertaining and gives the viewer plenty of inside knowledge about the film.
Next up on the extras front is 10 minutes of behind the scenes footage, which consists of handheld video captured when cameras were not rolling on set.  The pot of gold at the end of ‘Piranha’s’ special features rainbow is a new “Making of Piranha” featurette, featuring mostly interviews with members of the cast and their memories of being a part of the film.  The viewer is treated to interviews with Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski, as well as others.  Rounding out the special features are a blooper reel, the original trailer for the film that features commentary by producer Jon Davison, stills galleries, additional scenes from the TV version, and radio/television spots.
This presentation of ‘Piranha’ is as good as you are going to get.  Shout! Factory has really outdone themselves this time.  If you are a fan of B-Movies and blood, this is your film.  While it may not be in 3D, ultra gory, or have loads of half naked female co-eds, it is definitely worth picking up.  Shout! Factory’s reissue of Joe Dante’s ‘Piranha’ earns a 7 out of 10.
Score: 7 out of 10

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Collector’s Editions of ‘Deathsport’ and ‘BattleTruck’ To Be Unleashed on August 3rd by Shout! Factory

Collector’s Editions of ‘Deathsport’ and ‘BattleTruck’ To Be Unleashed on August 3rd by Shout! Factory

Brace yourself for twice the fun, twice the adrenaline rush, and twice the traction, as Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation, set to release a dynamic duo of Roger Corman classics on one double-feature collector’s edition DVD. August 3, 2010 will see the release of Deathsport/BattleTruck Collector’s Edition, which marks the first time Deathsportbeing presented in a widescreen format, as well as the first-ever DVD release of BattleTruck (released theatrically as Warlords of the 21st Century). This double-barreled dose of high-octane excitement decisively marks the latest summer installment from fan favorite Roger Corman’s Cult Classics home entertainment series.

Deathsport/ BattleTruck Collector’s Edition boasts a stellar selection of new bonus content including all-new cast and crew interviews, commentaries, vintage trailers and more. A must-have for Roger Corman fans and collectors, own two of Roger Corman’s popular cult hits at an attractive price of $19.93 SRP.

The worldwide success of Death Race 2000 fueled Corman’s desire to make Deathsport, which also stars Emmy Award® and four-time Golden Globe® nominee David Carradine (Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2, TV’s Kung Fu). It was not a direct sequel but certainly a thematic follow-up.

Set 1,000 years in the future, following the Great Neutron Wars, the world is divided into desert wastes and isolated city-states. Lord Zirpola (David McLean, Kingdom of the Spiders) captures the notorious “Desert Ranger” Kaz Oshay (Carradine) and forces him to fight to the death in his game, Deathsport. Now Kaz must face his past and fight to save himself, his city and the future from the war that Lord Zirpola is about to wage.

Executive produced by Roger Corman, Deathsport is directed by Henry Suso and Allan Arkush. Co-starring in the film are beautiful B-movie starlet and 1970 Playboy Playmate of the Year Claudia Jennings, Jesse Vint (Forbidden World) and perennially popular big-screen bad guy Richard Lynch (Invasion USA, Bad Dreams, The Sword and the Sorcerer).

Inspired by the success of The Road Warrior, Corman acquired the award-winning New Zealand-made action blowout BattleTruck for distribution, rechristened it Warlords of the 21st Century and released it to screens in 1982. The film earned an enthusiastic cult audience and has not been available on home video for more than 20 years until now.

After the Oil Wars have ravaged the Earth’s landscape, gasoline has become a precious commodity. On his marauding search to commandeer all of the oil in existence to fuel his massive, heavily-armored battle truck, Col. Straker (James Wainwright, The Survivors) ravages a peaceful commune. Riding to their rescue is a mysterious man on a motorcycle (Michael Beck, The Warriors, Megaforce), who becomes their only hope when he decides to bring the fight to Straker, aided and abetted by Straker’s runaway daughter, Corlie (Annie McEnroe, Beetlejuice, Wall Street). It’s a mechanized, motorized version of the story of David and Goliath, and only one can survive.

The action-packed Battletruck also stars Bruno Lawrence (Smash Palace, The Quiet Earth) and two-time Emmy® nominee Bruno Lawrence(Up, Toy Story 1, 2 and 3, TV’s Cheers). Cinematographer Chris Menges would go on to win Academy Awards® for The Killing Fields andThe Mission and become an acclaimed director in his own right.

For her performance as Corlie, McEnroe won the Clavell de Plata Award as Best Actress from the Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival.

DEATHSPORT/ BATTLETRUCK DOUBLE-FEATURECOLLECTOR’S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: DEATHSPORT SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New anamorphic widescreen presentation (1.78:1)
  • Audio commentary with co-director Allan Arkush and editor Larry Bock
  • Interviews with actor Jesse Vint
  • Original theatrical trailers
  • Still gallery
  • ?Trailer and TV spots

BATTLETRUCK SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio commentary with director Harley Cokliss
  • Trailers

Shout! Factory will continue to present Roger Corman’s Cult Classics home entertainment releases on a monthly basis. Upcoming highlights include Starcrash,  Slumber Party Massacre: The CollectionThe EvilTwice DeadNot of This EarthTime WalkerDead Space, among others. Independent filmmaker-producer Roger Corman’s storied career ranks as one of Hollywood’s most amazing success stories. Having produced more than 350 films and directed 50 others, his influence on American film goes far beyond his own energetic, creative low-budget movies. He is arguably one of Hollywood’s most gifted and masterful filmmakers. In 2009 he was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award for his contribution to the medium of film. Noted for his keen ability to spot young talent, Corman’s most lasting legacy will undoubtedly be the legion of producers, directors, writers and actors he has fostered, among them: Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Peter Fonda, Jonathan Demme, Gale Anne Hurd, Diane Ladd, Tommy Lee Jones, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Talia Shire, Charles Bronson, Joe Dante, Carl Franklin, Bill Paxton, Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich and Sally Kirkland. Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Fooshave spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The company’s audio catalogue boasts GRAMMY®-nominated boxed sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. With its fingers on the pulse of pop culture, Shout! Factory continues to impact the entertainment media landscape through acquisition of top quality programming for home entertainment releases. Shout! Factory is based inSanta Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit www.shoutfactory.com Academy Award® and Oscar® are a registered trademark and service mark of the Academy ofMotion Picture Arts and Sciences. Golden Globe® is a registered trademark of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Emmy® is a registered trademark of ATAS/NATAS.

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Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: ‘Piranha’ and ‘Humanoids from the Deep’ Invade August 3rd!

Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: ‘Piranha’ and ‘Humanoids from the Deep’ Invade August 3rd!

Just when you thought it was safe to take a dip in the water again…they’re baaaack! This summer, rediscover two enduring Roger Corman underwater thrillers filled with unstoppable action and edge-of-your-seat suspense as Joe Dante’s Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep, directed by Barbara Peters, debut August 3, 2010 for the first time on Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD from Shout! Factory, in association with New Horizons Picture Corporation. These two definitive Special Edition home entertainment releases from Roger Corman’s Cult Classics are sure to cause a feeding frenzy among thrill seekers and loyal fans of Roger Corman and Joe Dante.  Piranha Special Edition offers 2 highly collectible covers: the Blu-ray and DVD both feature the iconic vintage cover art from the film’s original 1978 movie poster and the spectacular art from the original international poster for the reverse cover; and the Special Edition DVD is further sparkled with a visually stunning 3-D lenticular exterior packaging. Humanoids from the Deep Special Edition also boasts a reversible cover featuring vintage art from the U.S. and international movie posters.

Both Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD releases of Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep feature anamorphic widescreen presentation of the movie and a spectacular array of special bonus content, including all-new in-depth interviews and commentaries with cast and crew, rare behind-the-scenes footage, reversible cover and more. Each Blu-ray and DVD is sold separately. Blu-ray is priced to own at $26.97 and $19.93 for the DVD.  Dare you to take the plunge with the original Piranha andHumanoids at home before you put on those 3-D shades for the remake of Piranha in 3-D coming to theaters nationwide late August.  See where the phenomenon began!

Lost River Lake was a thriving resort until they discovered … Piranha!

In 1978, audiences discovered Piranha, widely considered one of the very best films “inspired” by the success of Jaws, and for more than 30 years Piranha has been one of the true cult gems in the Roger Corman canon.

For the first time in anamorphic widescreen, Piranha is being seen the way it was meant to be seen: Bigger, badder, bloodier and more BITING than ever! This summer at Lost River Resort, the fish are most certainly biting!

While searching for missing teenagers, rookie skip-tracer Maggie McKeon (Heather Menzies) and booze-soaked river rat Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) stumble upon a top-secret military laboratory conduction genetic research on piranha fish for the purpose of developing the most lethal form of biological warfare imaginable.

When the deadly eating machines are accidentally released from the compound, they’re soon headed downstream, consuming everything — and anyone — in their path. With Paul and Maggie in hot pursuit, the piranha’s next stop is the children’s summer camp, where Paul’s young daughter is vacationing, and then the newly-opened, multi-million-dollar water resort. Time is running out, and the piranha are hungry!

Piranha marked the solo directorial debut of Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch), after a long apprenticeship under Roger Corman’s tutelage at New World Pictures, and also marked the first produced screenplay of future indie-film icon and two-time Academy Award® nominee John Sayles (Lone Star, Passion Fish, Eight Men Out). Sharp-eyed viewers will also spot cameo appearances by both Dante and Sayles in this film!

The film also featured one of the most star-studded casts ever assembled for a Corman production: Daytime Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Bradford Dillman (The Way We Were, Compulsion, Escape from the Planet of the Apes), Heather Menzies (TV’s Captain America and Logan’s Run), Academy Award® nominee and Golden Globe® winner Kevin McCarthy (Death of a Salesman, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and Emmy® nominee Keenan Wynn (Dr. Strangelove, Robert Altman’s Nashville), as well as Emmy® winner Barbara Steele (The Pit and the Pendulum, Caged Heat, Mario Bava’s Black Sunday), Dick Miller (A Bucket of Blood, The Terminator, Martin Scorsese’s After Hours), Paul Bartel (Death Race 2000, The Usual Suspects), Belinda Balaski (The Howling, Small Soldiers, Explorers), Richard Deacon (TV’s The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mothers-in-Law) and, in his final screen appearance, Barry Brown (Bad Company, Daisy Miller, The Ultimate Thrill).

Not only was Piranha a box-office hit – becoming one of New World Pictures’ biggest worldwide hits – but it also earned rave reviews from critics, who appreciated its fast pacing, energetic cast, clever conspiracy satire, inventive special effects and, of course, the scares. Many critics considered it second-best only to Jaws but far superior to the “official” Jaws sequels — including Jaws 2, which opened the same year. Piranha won the Saturn Award for Best Editing (shared by Dante and Mark Goldblatt) and was nominated as Best Horror Film.

Like so many Roger Corman productions, Piranha served as a career springboard for many of its participants, including director Dante, screenwriter Sayles, and producer Jon Davison (Airplane!, Robocop and RoboCop 2). Future Academy Award® winner Rob Bottin (Total Recall, The Thing, Se7en) provided special makeup effects in what marked his first screen credit, and the visual effects team boasted not one, but two, future Oscar® winners: Phil Tippett (Jurassic Park, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back) and Chris Walas (The Fly, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Gremlins).

Perhaps the greatest tribute to Piranha’s sustained popularity is that this summer will see the release of Piranha 3-D to the nation’s movie screens. While the big-budget remake will undoubtedly put the bite on moviegoers, true fans know where it all began … with the original, classic Piranha.

PIRANHA SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • New anamorphic widescreen presentation (1.78:1)
  • Audio commentary with director Joe Dante and producer Jon Davison
  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • “The Making of Piranha” featurette with new interviews from Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski and many More
  • Bloopers and outtakes
  • Piranha trailer with commentary by producer Jon Davison – Courtesy of Trailers From Hell (www.trailersfromhell.com)
  • Stills gallery with photos and posters from around the world
  • Behind-the-scenes stills gallery featuring photos from Phil Tippett’s personal collection
  • Additional scenes from the network television version
  • Radio and TV spots
  • New World trailers

One good bite deserves another!

Two years after the success of Piranha, Corman and New World Pictures went back to the water and came up with a winner. Humanoids from the Deep was yet another box-office bonanza.

In the sleepy fishing village of Noyo, the fish aren’t biting — and that’s the problem. The town’s faltering economy, dependent entirely on the fishing industry, has exacerbated ongoing, racially-charged tensions between the local fishermen, who want a cannery to be constructed in the town, and the Native American population, who most definitely don’t.

But something else is biting — and worse. A genetic experiment on salmon has produced a species of aquatic monstrosities that are half-man and half-fish … and constantly on the rampage! The body count is rising. Men are being mauled to death, but the female victims suffer a far worse fate: The monsters are mating with them, trying to propagate their horrific species.

Local fisherman Jim Drake (Doug McClure) and scientist Susan Drake (Ann Turkel) join forces to investigate the cause of this insidious invasion, but time is running out. Noyo’s annual Salmon Festival is about to take place on the town’s boardwalk, and some uninvited guests are planning to crash the party in bloodthirsty fashion, culminating in a bloodbath that pits man against monster.

Amid the film’s non-stop action and carnage, however, are also subtle messages about corporate corruption, preservation of the underwater ecology (years before Greenpeace hit the headlines!), and the importance of community. If the residents of Noyo are to survive, they will have to put aside their cultural and political differences and band together. If not, Noyo is doomed.

Humanoids from the Deep proved to be expectedly commercial, but also proved unexpectedly controversial. Credited director Barbara Peters (billed as Barbara Peeters) contended that many of the film’s gorier scenes had been added to the film after principal photography. That may be true, but some of these scenes are the ones most fondly — and fearfully — remembered by the film’s legion of followers. Then the MPAA (Motion Picture of America) threatened to slap the film with an X rating unless some of its more shocking moments were edited down or eliminated altogether. Nevertheless, these controversies didn’t count where it mattered the most — at the box-office, asHumanoids from the Deep became one of New World Pictures’ most popular releases up to that point.

Even more surprising is that the film received good reviews. Although he called it “fast, occasionally hilarious gutter trash,” esteemed film critic Leonard Maltin also awarded it three out of four stars!

This release of Humanoids from the Deep will truly be something spectacular. This version has never been seen before in the United States, as it was taken from the inter-positive from the uncut international version in high definition.

The cast of Humanoids from the Deep is headed by genre favorite Doug McClure (Warlords of Atlantis, The Land That Time Forgot and The People That Time Forgot), Golden Globe® nominee Ann Turkel (The Cassandra Crossing, 99 and 44/100% Dead) and Emmy Award® nominee Vic Morrow (Blackboard Jungle, The Bad News Bears, 1990: The Bronx Warriors).

Future Oscar® winner Rob Bottin again provided the film’s spectacular — and spectacularly gory — special effects, including a climactic birth scene that rivals the one in the original Alien! The film’s menacing and foreboding score was composed by James Horner (Titanic, Aliens, A Beautiful Mind), himself the future recipient of two Academy Awards®. Production assistant Gale Anne Hurd would go on to become one of the most successful female producers in Hollywood history, with such blockbusters as The Terminator, Aliens, Armageddon and Terminator 2: Judgment Day to her credit.

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY AND DVD FEATURES INCLUDE:

New high-definition transfer of the Uncut international version presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1)

  • Never-before-seen deleted scenes
  • Trailer, TV and radio spots
  • Leonard Maltin’s interviews with Roger Corman on the making of the film
  • “The Making of Humanoids From The Deep,” featuring new interviews with composer James Horner, second unit/assistant director James Sbardellati, editor Mark Goldblatt and more!
  • New World trailers

With the release of both Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep on Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD, this is sure to be a shocking summer. But remember: Stay out of the water!

Shout! Factory will continue to present Roger Corman’s Cult Classics home entertainment releases on a monthly basis. Upcoming highlights include StarcrashSlumber Party Massacre: The CollectionThe EvilTwice DeadNot of This EarthTime WalkerDead Space, among others.

Independent filmmaker-producer Roger Corman’s illustrious career ranks as one of Hollywood’s most amazing success stories. Having produced more than 350 films and directed 50 others, his influence on American film goes far beyond his own energetic, creative low-budget movies. He is arguably one of Hollywood’s most gifted and masterful filmmakers. In 2009 he was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award® for his contribution to the medium of film.

Noted for his keen ability to spot young talent, Corman’s most lasting legacy will undoubtedly be the legion of producers, directors, writers and actors he has fostered, among them: Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Peter Fonda, Jonathan Demme, Gale Anne Hurd, Diane Ladd, Tommy Lee Jones, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Talia Shire, Charles Bronson, Joe Dante, Peter Bogdanovich, Dennis Hopper, Bill Paxton, Carl Franklin and Sally Kirkland.

Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The company’s audio catalogue boasts GRAMMY®-nominated boxed sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. With its fingers on the pulse of pop culture, Shout! Factory continues to impact the entertainment media landscape through acquisition of top quality programming for home entertainment releases. Shout! Factory is based inSanta Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit www.shoutfactory.com

Academy Award® and Oscar® are a registered trademark and service mark of the Academy ofMotion Picture Arts and Sciences. Golden Globe® is a registered trademark of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Emmy® is a registered trademark of ATAS/NATAS.

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New Theatrical Poster For Alexandre Aja’s ‘Piranha 3D’ Surfaces

New Theatrical Poster For Alexandre Aja’s ‘Piranha 3D’ Surfaces

A new theatrical one sheet for Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D has surfaced! The highly anticipated remake features an ensemble cast which includes Elisabeth Shue, Kelly Brook, Richard Dreyfuss, Jerry O’Connell, Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames, Dina Meyer, Ricardo Chavira, Paul Scheer, and Eli Roth.

Piranha 3D is slated to hit theaters nationwide on August 27th.

Synopsis: Jaws… lots and lots of jaws. From acclaimed director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) comes the new action thriller PIRANHA 3D, in the latest eye-popping 3D technology. A new type of terror is about to be cut loose on beautiful Lake Victoria. After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area’s new razor-toothed residents. But our heroine (Elisabeth Shue) is seriously outnumbered, and with only one chance to save the lake and her family from totally being devoured, she must risk everything to destroy the aquatic carnivores herself.”

Be sure to check out Icon Vs. Icon‘s exclusive interview with adult film star and star of Piranha 3D, Riley Steele at this location >

Synopsis: Jaws… lots and lots of jaws. From acclaimed director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) comes the new action thriller PIRANHA 3D, in the latest eye-popping 3D technology. A new type of terror is about to be cut loose on beautiful Lake Victoria. After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area’s new razor-toothed residents. But our heroine (Elisabeth Shue) is seriously outnumbered, and with only one chance to save the lake and her family from totally being devoured, she must risk everything to destroy the aquatic carnivores herself.”

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