An American Hippie In Israel (1972/aka Hitchhiker/Grindhouse
Blu-ray w/DVDs)/Body Double (1984/De
Palma/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/CAT.8 (2013/Gaiam Vivendi Blu-ray)/The House Of Seven Corpses (1974/Severin Blu-ray w/DVD)/Wither (2012/Artsploitation DVD)
B- & C/B-/B-/C+ & C/C†††† Sound:
B- & C+/B-/B-/C+/C+†††† Extras: B-/C+/C-/C+/C†††† Main Programs: C+/C+/C-/C+/C
NOTE:† The Body Double
Blu-ray is SOLD OUT and was limited to 3,000 copies, but if any new copies
resurface, they could be available at the Screen Archives website which
exclusively handles Twilight Time titles and can be reached at the link at the
end of this review.
some genre films, including some of unusual noteÖ
Seferís An American Hippie In Israel
(1972/aka Hitchhiker) is one of a
cycle of counterculture films that are often forgotten, even with wacky titles
like this one has, but it is what the titles say at first.† The protagonist (Asher Tzarfati as Mike)
manages to thumb down a woman driver and before you know it, they are having
sex.† This leads to a relationship,
communes, no talk of any Israeli/Palestinian conflicts (guess the peace
movement has that one figured out in advance) and then leads to many surreal
scenes in which the narrative collapses and the film become s a crazy trip.
Grindhouse releasing has issued this in two versions and they handle the issues
dealt with very differently.† Nudity is
handled differently in each cut, with more shown more naturally in the Israeli
version, which also has Vietnam
footage in the beginning somehow missing from the U.S.
cut and key animation missing form the end of the U.S. cut that is in the Israeli
cut.† Even the New Beverly audience can
tell something is missing, even if they do not know what it is.
result, I feel the Israeli cut (entitled Hitchhiker),
as scratched up as the print sadly is and only here on DVD, is the true version
of the film in its counterculture form.†
version that has the word Television in the beginning credits for the company
issuing it, has been censored for political and possibly personal reasons.† I am glad both versions are here as even if
the film is not great, most of the counterculture films were not, but captured
the time and open feel that was going on.†
Itís taken a long time for many of these orphan films to hit home video,
but they are historical (and some would say hysterical) works and now more than
ever, deserve to be revisited.
include a nicely illustrated foldout in the Blu-ray case with notes and
illustrations, while the discs adds six controversial scenes deleted form the
film, a 5.1 track on the shorter, later version recorded with the New Beverly
Cinema audience, Stills, Original Theatrical Trailers, new interview featurettes
and the Israeli cut of the film as noted above.
Palma had made his share of counterculture film before becoming known for
thrillers, but by the time he made Body
Double in 1984, he had abandoned much experimentation in his work.† Following the then-disappointing box office
of his 1983 Scarface remake, but
critics really despised this one, yet it has its following as our coverage of
the DVD edition will show:
big a fan of the Columbia Pictures release, Twilight Time has issued it in a
Limited Edition Blu-ray that sold out upon release, only reinforcing its
following.† For me, it seemed that De
Palma was sick of his films bombing and decided to make it a joke.† Though you would not know this from the
supplements, De Palma allegedly made the original X-rated cut of the film so
bloody and gross that he was trying to get back at members of the ratings board
for their fights with him in the past, especially on Scarface.
past, his takes on Hitchcock were done with new points and nuances, but the
combination here of Rear Window, Vertigo and anything else he could
throw in has him sadly repeating his past work and despite some interesting
casting from Craig Wasson to a then-unknown Melanie Griffith, the film is just
too comical and obvious to ever work.†
Some may really enjoy it, but I can see why it was not critic proof and De
Palma never totally returned to the cutting-edge thriller form he made his name
Henry and Denis Franz also star.
include the same four featurettes from the DVD, but we again get no trailer,
but this version adds the Isolated Music Score by Pino Donaggio and an
illustrated† booklet on the film
including another Julie Kirgo essay.
dud here is actually the Canadian Disaster mini-series CAT.8 (2013) which is somehow phonier and less coherent than An American Hippie In Israel by simply
being noisy, restrictive and repetitive.†
Matthew Modine is the only reasons to watch this mess about a solar
storm destroying the earth (this is part of Gaiam Vivendiís annoying Doomsday
Series) but a secret government project might be making things worse and only
Modine can save us?!?
very long 175 minutes in two parts, it is really bad, the unknown actors look
lost and the visual effects are so dated on arrival, the analog effects in An American Hippie In Israel look like
LucasFilm work by comparison.† This is
not even good enough to be a time killer, but I give credit to Modine for
trying to make this work.† Yawn!
this great slipcase packaging include Cast/Crew interviews and a look at the
next disaster (figuratively and otherwise) release, Delete.
Harrisonís The House Of Seven Corpses
(1974) is a not-bad B-movie thriller about an old home where a motion picture
is being shot, but has a course on it from seven gruesome murders (as shown in
detail in the opening credits) that may have tainted the shoot in ways no one
realizes save a local man (John Carradine) who knows more about its history
than the others, but maybe not enough for any of them, including himself.
Ireland is the director trying to get his supernatural horror film shot in the
old mansion and as they are all about to find out, doom Is not far away.† It has been years since I have seen the film,
but it has aged in interesting ways and is not bad.† Most interesting is that the way the 35mm
camera is being shown, the film visually suggests throughout that maybe the
film being made with unintentionally capture the evil and that will somehow
make it possible for the people there to capture and stop it.
not a perfect film, it has atmosphere, is creepy enough, plays things seriously
and Faith Domergue is among the effective supporting cast.† All serious Horror fans will want to catch
this minor gem including those who love filmmaking.† New filmmakers could learn much from it too,
so they should consider it mandatory viewing.
a vintage analog videotaped interview with Carradine that is rough, a feature
length audio commentary track with Associate Producer Gary Kent (Alamo
Drafthouseís Lars Nilsen hosts) and the Original Theatrical Trailer.
Laguna and Tommy Wiklund co-directed the zombie film Wither (2012) and at first, it has some actual suspense and
character development, but that eventually falls apart and what is an alleged
homage to Sam Raimiís original Evil Dead
lands up repeating the Romero zombie films to the point that it all falls
apart.† Too bad, because they were on the
right track early on.
again, if teens go to an isolated place in the middle of =nowhere (read
country), they must die.† Here, they are
Swedish and that also makes it a little more watchable (they donít act like
formulaic American movie teens), but this runs only 96 minutes and runs out of
ideas too quickly for its own good.† At
least the makers tried, though I wonder if once again having two directors ruined
this one.† For fans only, it disappoints.
include Artsploitationís usual high quality paper booklet on the film including
informative text and illustrations, while the DVD adds a Deleted Scene, Behind
The Scenes featurette and a set of Artsploitation Trailers.
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Hippie, CAT.8 and House have their issues, but despite
the fact that Hippie and House have prints that show the age of
their independent productions, the HD-shot CAT.8
actually looks worse with bad digital work, detail issues, depth issues and
other anomalies (including some styling on purpose) that just make it look
bad.† The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High
Definition image on Double may be a
more professional shoot (lensed by Director of Photography Stephen H. Burum,
A.S.C.) but it was processed in MetroColor and tends to be a bit grainy
throughout despite some good sh0ots and good color in spots.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 and especially scratchy 1.33 X 1 image on the
two cuts of Hippie on DVD, as well
as the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 House
DVD and over-stylized, anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Wither are
especially soft, detail-challenged and poor performers throughout.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on CAT.8 should be the sonic champ here by default, but it has a
tendency to be shrill and limited, with sound too much towards the front
speakers, so the same DTS type on Double
and even surprisingly clear DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on Hippie can more than compete as a
result, though Double is using the 5.1 master from its DVD version, it sounds
better here and the Isolated Music Track even outdoes it at times.
be noted that Double was originally
an analog Dolby A-type theatrical sound release and some of the aspects of the
sound are limited.†
regular DTS 1.0 Mono on thee Hippie
and House DVDs, as well as the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on the House Blu-ray and lossy Dolby Digital Swedish 5.1 mix on Wither tie for second place as being
not as sonically competent, with all three independent production having their
own sonic issues (age in the older cases, mixing limits in the newer one).
above, Body Double can be ordered if
a new copy or copies some how surface along with other Twilight Time titles
while supplies last at:
-†† Nicholas Sheffo