The Green Slime on Blu-ray, No. 1: Because we owe it to the Future

You don’t have to take Commander Rankin’s concerned face for it – the outlook for our future is grim. Disregarding the interstellar threats of astral collision, gamma ray bursts and the Sun’s imminent demise a few billion years from now, there’s still plenty on terra firma to worry about. Rising debt, global warming, international tension and on and on and on – the only certainty in such uncertain times is that it’s the future generations of leaders and rabble-rousers that will likely have to sort it all out, and isn’t that a cheerful thought.

And so, with all the problems we’ll be handing down to our children, do you really want be responsible for leaving them a world in which The Green Slime is not available on Blu-ray?

I know I don’t, and if you feel the same way then please sign our petition. It’s completely unofficial and there’s every chance it’ll lead nowhere at all, but if enough people sign the Warner Archive Collection just might listen. Bringing The Green Slime to Blu-ray is change I think we can all believe in, and isn’t that what democracy is all about?

Music Monday: Don’t take my man, man.

Yeah, I know. It’s technically Tuesday, but I figured I needed to get back in the swing of this weekly mini-column (and regular posting in general). By my count my last music bit was way back in September, when MOSS alum Permission To Kill was kind enough to publish my dubious top-five soundtrack piece as part of their excellent Liner Notes series.

Anyway, onward and upward. The track today is actually new (gasp!), hailing from ZZ Ward’s tremendous debut album Til the Casket Drops from October 16th. Amazon has the mp3 edition set at just $5, but better yet, the song featured here - Put the Gun Down - is at present free to download as part of their Artists on the Rise deals. The official video is below. Watch, listen, and obey!

(CLOSED) Halloween Giveaway: Night of the Living Dead ’90, on Blu-ray from Twilight Time

That’s it, folks. The drawing has been held, and the winner notified. Our Halloween Giveaway is officially closed!

Twilight Time’s limited edition Blu-ray of Night of the Living Dead (1990, dir. Tom Savini) was sold out before its street date even arrived, but that doesn’t mean that all hope of owning a mint, unopened copy has passed you by. Thanks to the good folks running the label I’ve been granted ONE copy of just that to pass on to a lucky Wtf-Film reader, just in time for Halloween.

How do you enter to win, you ask? First, have an address or PO Box in the United States. Second, send your name and preferred email address to …. That’s it! Only one entry per person please – multiple entries will be ignored.

The winner will be determined by random drawing at 12:00 PM CST on the 17th of October, just one week from today, and notified immediately thereafter via email. Upon confirmation of the winner’s address the DVD will be shipped USPS First Class Mail with delivery confirmation (at our expense, of course). All other entries will be deleted upon confirmation of the winner, and none of the information collected will be used for anything beyond the completion of this contest. Easy peasy.

And that’s it. Good luck, one and all, and we’ll see you back here on the 17th!

(CLOSED) DVD Giveaway: Godzilla vs. Megalon

As of noon CST this contest is closed, and the winner has been notified. My HUGE thanks to all those who sent in entries – I only wish I could have afforded discs for all of you.

Somehow I’ve wound up with more copies of Media Blasters’ recent official DVD of Godzilla vs. Megalon than I know what to do with, but the losses of my overzealous purchasing practices are your gain!

In a first for Wtf-Film, I’ll be giving away one FREE copy of this title to one lucky guest. How do you enter to win, you ask? First, have an address or PO Box in the United States (sincerest apologies to the rest of you, but I really don’t want to tangle with international shipping). Second, send your name and email address to ……………….. That’s it!

The winner will be determined by random drawing at 12:00 PM CST on the 24th of September and notified via email. Upon confirmation of the winner’s address the DVD will be shipped USPS First Class Mail with delivery confirmation (at our expense, of course). All other entries will be deleted upon confirmation of a winner, and none of the information collected will be used for anything beyond the completion of this contest. Easy peasy.

And that’s it. We’ll see you all back here on the 24th – good luck!

Music Monday: Return of the Deadly Spawn Edition

We’re expecting Ted Bohus / Elite Entertainment’s new Blu-ray of the indelible man-eating monster classic The Deadly Spawn pretty much any time here in Wtf-Film-land, and given that the original pressing was such an unmitigated disaster I really can’t wait to see what improvements have been made. I’m not getting my hopes up too much until I’ve actually seen the new disc, but things sound positive so far. And let me just say that, whatever the results, kudos to Ted for taking fan complaints to heart and at least trying to make things right, and for keeping the community posted on his efforts besides. There are too few out there who are even willing to make the effort, and if for that alone Bohus is deserving of credit. Consider any and all given credit revoked. The new disc is ass as well.

Anyway, with the film so much on my mind this Music Monday selection seems almost pre-ordained. It’s the opening title music for The Deadly Spawn as heard on the Synapse DVD edition of the film. Enjoy, and check back soon for the low-down on the new Blu-ray.

Music Monday: Baron Punch Edition

No rambling today (you’re welcome), as there’s just no time – I’ve got 16 hours of vintage Japanese giant robot madness to catch up on. Presented here are the opening and closing credits to Nippon Television’s epic tokusatsu saga Super Robot Red Baron from 1973-74. All 39 episodes of the series are, bless us, available on domestic DVD, though the more recent Mill Creek edition has subtitle timing issues that will irk some (a more expensive OOP edition from the defunct BCI/Eclipse is also available). I don’t really care which you choose. Buy it, watch it, and show those Iron Alliance bastards who’s boss.

(Edit to add: The music featured here was arranged by Bob Sakuma and composed by Tadao Inoue and Koichi Hiro. And yeah, it rules.)

Banned Japan: From Tsuburaya Productions With Love

Given the very nature of the sort of cinema I gravitate towards its an unavoidable fact that every now and again I stumble onto something that’s banned somewhere, but this may be the first time I’ve ever crossed paths with a banned episode of a television series. The now-infamous episode 12 of Tusburaya Productions’ excellent Ultra-sequel Ultra Seven ran afoul of the same cultural sensitivities that would land Toho’s Prophecies of Nostradamus: Catastrophe 1999 in the hot seat just a few years hence, the result being that it has not been seen (officially) in its native Japan in decades. Those of us elsewhere have proven luckier. While Tsuburaya Productions have pulled the episode domestically and now (according to the interwebs) refuse to so much as acknowledge its existence, Yusei yori Ai o Komete (From Another Planet With Love) was marketed in foreign territories none-the-less. Those fond of Cinar’s mid-80s English adaptation of the series may remember it as the modestly spelling-challenged Crystalized (sic) Corpuscles.

The fuss in this case is all to do with Cristalized Corpuscles‘ requisite villains, a race of chortling backroom baddies from the nuke-ravaged planet Spellia who are out to fill their irradiated veins with delicious Earth blood (“This planet gives good blood!”). For a television show produced in a nation in which A-bomb survivor lobbyists are still counterbalanced against lingering stigma and discrimination the concept of bomb-happy galaxy-trotting vampires gleefully bleeding Earth-men dry is already treading on very thin ice. While likely more than enough on its own to incite an uproar among victims’ rights groups, Crystalized Corpuscles takes the issue one step further in its physical depiction of the Spell Aliens in their native form:

In retrospect it’s easy to see why the appearance of the Spell Alien – a gargantuan pallid figure with a sinister, expressionless face, covered in glowing keloid scars (lingered upon in close-up, no less) and raving about his desire for the blood of children – proved offensive. Even with my Western sensibilities firmly intact I find the presentation a bit tasteless, though it’s done nothing to lessen my innate personal revulsion to censorship, self-inflicted or otherwise. To that end I’m not entirely positive that the word “banned” is even appropriate to this case. Tsuburaya Productions have certainly pulled the episode from domestic circulation, but that appears to have been of their own volition – an effort made, no doubt, to avoid or mitigate a possible scandal. Crystalized Corpuscles was still made available to foreign markets, and well after the domestic moratorium went into effect. And moratorium be damned, even the original Japanese version is but a few clicks away anymore.

With words like “infamous” and “banned” weighing so heavily upon it, it’s easy to neglect the episode itself, which is second to none as an example of the heady ambition and audacious absurdity that mark the best of classic tokusatsu television. The premise is as ludicrous as they come, concerning a nefarious alien scheme to harvest the blood of women and children with wrist watches, but director Akio Jissoji (Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis) delivers not just a rollicking pulp actioner, but an oddball satire of romantic cinematic convention as well! Even the compulsory episode-ending Ultra-fight is handled with unexpected artistry, the battle cast in rich sunset color and depicted in a bizarre freeze-frame style complete with audible shutter clicks. It’s as surprising a 24 minutes as has ever been produced for Japanese genre television, and with an intriguing cultural significance as well. One only wishes it were more officially available…

 

Music Monday – Zog Edition

The thematically-sound odd man out among Kevin Connor and John Dark’s spate of mid-70s Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptations may not actually be a Burroughs adaptation at all, but that doesn’t keep it from being the best of the bunch just the same. 1978′s Warlords of Atlantis takes Burroughs’ popular motifs and runs with them, crafting a suitably original tale of turn-of-the-century men forced to muster both brain and brawn against a slew of outlandish threats on the sunken continent. The scripting for this long-time favorite is pure pulp, and all the better for it, and Doug McClure is again tapped to play the quintessentially Burroughsian leading man, but it’s Roger Dicken’s stable of memorable creatures, many of which look to be ripped right from the edges of old maps, that really steal the show.

As with the previous year’s At the Earth’s Core, versatile composer Mike Vickers was tasked with providing the score for Warlords of Atlantis, and much of the picture’s success is owed to his moody themes and exciting incidental cues – none of which, of course, have ever been released officially. As such the cut today is presented as it is in the film, with dialogue and sound effects intact. And in case you’re one of those without a clue as to what a Zog is, do yourself a favor and pick up the film. It’s terrific old-school action and adventure, and comes highly recommended from this fan.

Music Monday – Space-o-Saurus Edition

Either you love or hate 1977′s Planet of Dinosaurs, and those in the latter camp likely hold more against the picture than just its amateur production values and dubious performances. Kelly Lammers and John O’Verlin’s ultra-low-budget synth score has earned plenty of ire in its own right, and seems almost to have been calculated to etch itself indelibly upon impressionable minds. Indeed, in the now decades since I first saw the picture I’ve never forgotten a note of it.

Whether the electronic tinkerings of Lammers and O’Verlin evoke fond remembrance or send you crawling up the wall, this Music Monday is for you. Needless to say Planet of Dinosaurs has never had an official soundtrack release, so the track today is sourced straight from the long-OOP Goodtimes DVD – the sample is of the traveling march composed for the film, a track that was the next best thing to nails on chalkboard to my poor mother. Enjoy it, loathe it, torment your friends… and be sure to check out the film here.

Music Monday – Spacey Edition

Another week, another sample from the unreleased score for an old Amicus production. In this case it’s the main title to famed cinematographer and sometimes director Freddie Francis’ hip ’60s sci-fi They Came From Beyond Space, a film that has the unfortunate distinction of being considered public domain here in the states. The music itself is composed by James Stevens (Sparrows Can’t Sing) and conducted by regular Hammer music supervisor Philip Martell.

Not only is the groovy score to They Came From Beyond Space at present unavailable, but all the domestic copies of the film are crap as well. Those interested in a quality presentation of it (and really, you should be) should check out StudioCanal’s new proper widescreen PAL-format DVD, available now through Amazon.co.uk.