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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Slasher > Clown > Killer > Murder > Action > Apocalypse > Supernatural > Vampire > Psychic > Crime > Te > All Hallow's Eve (2013/Image DVD)/Bounty Killer (2012/Arc Blu-ray)/Byzantium (2012/MPI/IFC Blu-ray)/The Eyes Of Charles Sand (1972 Telefilm)/The George Sanders Saint Movies Collection (1939 - 1941/RKO

All Hallow's Eve (2013/Image DVD)/Bounty Killer (2012/Arc Blu-ray)/Byzantium (2012/MPI/IFC Blu-ray)/The Eyes Of Charles Sand (1972 Telefilm)/The George Sanders Saint Movies Collection (1939 - 1941/RKO/Warner Archive DVDs)/The Snow Queen (2005/BBC DVD)



Picture: C/B-/B-/C+/C/C Sound: C+/B-/B-/C+/C/B- Extras: C-/C-/C/D/D/C Films: D/C-/C/C+/B-/C-



PLEASE NOTE: The Eyes Of Charles Sand and George Sanders Saint DVDs are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the links below.



Here's another group of genre releases for you to consider for Halloween 2013...



Damien Leone's All Hallow's Eve (2013) is yet another lame killer clown horror spree, or what happens in low budget bad horror when the makers cannot (or are too lazy) to be original and go the Savini/Nicotero route and go for cheap clown make-up. The script is worse and you land up rooting for the killer for a split second until you realize he deserves an early, gruesome death more than any mime could possibly be asking for.


To say this is repetitive is an understatement, but the cast of unknowns look bored, but not as bored as you will be when the young gal here plays a VHS tape (the fact the machine works and the tape still plays might mean they are haunted, but the writers never suggest anything so original) and the recording has a bunch of tales of murder that might be true. In the script, they are. In real life, their too stupid to work. Maybe they should retitle this dud All Hollowed Eve because it is as empty as a boring echo. Yawn!!!


A feature length audio commentary track where the makers try to explain what they did here and don't realize how bad this is is the only extras.



Almost as horrid is Henry Saine's Bounty Killer (2012) which starts with the concept of a collapsed world where the title characters (there are more than one) hunt down corporate criminals for big money. The problem is that the script is all lip service as the writing and production cop out early on this idea, throw in every cliched action genre idea we've seen hundreds of times and then use the language of the reactionary 1980s to be anti-corporate, guaranteeing total failure.


Using something interesting as the most sloppy use of a MacGuffin we've seen in years, this quickly becomes ultraviolent, bloody, graphic, dumb and pointless as well as more pro-corporate than they either don't know or worse, do. Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3) and Beverly D'Angelo are very badly wasted here and Gary Busey shows up playing up type as another wacked out goof.


Arc Entertainment is a small; new production company trying to build a catalog and make some name for themselves and this is the first time we have covered them. So far, their reputation for picture, sound and content has been consistently hideous and now I can see why. Are they just a set up for tax write-offs? After this, you might think. The cast was having fun in the bloopers, which is what happens when you get bored sometimes instead of making something worth watching.


A short featurette is the only extras that, combined with this mess, shows the makers may claim to be fans of the films they are ripping off, but they are virtually clueless in how to get around any of the genres they tackle. Clue: looking like the films is far from sufficient.



Neil Jordan returns to vampire territory as Francis Coppola recently did with Twixt (see the review elsewhere on this site) but Byzantium (2012) can only imitate some of the look of Interview With The Vampire and even rips off parts of Coppola's equally overrated Dracula (also reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) coming up with what is simply a lesbian answer to his previous fang outing.


Gemma Arterton heads the decent cast of mostly unknowns, but this is all quickly forgotten in the usual been-there-done-that way and is surprisingly uninspired and unoriginal down to the title which refers to two locales: an ancient one of the past and a sleazy hotel. We get plenty of blood and gore, but they have no real story to be part of. Another dud!


Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and interviews.



On January 1972, ABC shocked the TV and entertainment industry when they broadcast a horror telefilm called The Night Stalker (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and 75 million people tuned in. No one thought there was that biog a TV audience, let alone for the new TV movie format, but that is what happened so expectations for the Big Three networks was that it might happen again. Within weeks, ABC happened to have another supernatural telefilm in the wings, this time made with Warner Television and it was hoped it could serve as a pilot for a TV series. Reza Badiyi's The Eyes Of Charles Sand (1972) was from a story by Henry Farrell, whose cycle of creepy family psychosis thrillers began with Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) in addition to Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), How Awful About Allan (1970) and What's The Matter With Helen? (1971).


Collaborating with Stanford Whitmore (The Movie Murder, The Dark) on the teleplay, the tale involves a man (Peter Haskell, known lastly for the first three Child's Play films) who has inherited psychic powers when an older relative dies. Though never full explained, we get a big book about it. Them he starts to see bloody images that haunt him and coincided with murders and disappearances of people.


After consulting with his family and a medical friend (Adam West), he starts to investigate on his own when a distraught woman (Sharon Farrell of Larry Cohen's It's Alive (reviewed elsewhere on this site) among other horror appearances) comes to him and hands him a valuable piece of jewelry that gives him more visions. This leads to talking to her relatives (Barbara Rush, Bradford Dillman) that only brings more visions.


Running 74 minutes, it has its moments and can be creepy, plus has a decent look, but cannot decide if it is a supernatural tale or a crime thriller. Peter Haskell more than holds his own and many thought this could have led to a hit show. Five years later, his appearance as Payton Jones in the Biofeedback episode of The Bionic Woman with Lindsay Wagner was intended as another pilot for another series that never happened playing another man with extraordinary powers. Like The Norliss Tapes, it just never happened.


Director of Photography Ben Colman (The Norliss Tapes, the Dan Curtis-produced The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Camelot, the Cher film Chastity) creates a consistent look that works and it adds to the effectiveness of what works here. The director actually created the credits sequences and had a big career making the same for classic TV shows. Joan Bennett and Don Barry also star.


There are sadly no extras.



Leslie Charteris' Simon Templar had big success on TV with Roger Moore (and some say enough with Ian Ogilvy to matter) and on radio, especially with Vincent Price, but big screen feature film success has always eluded the character, though RKO Pictures tried a series of films from 1938 to 1953. Three actors would play Templar and in five of them, it was george Sanders. The George Sanders Saint Movies Collection (1939 – 1941) collects all five of his films and they are not bad, if not consistent. They include:


The Saint Strikes Back (1939) goes to San Francisco and barely saves the daughter of a disgraced police officer, then finds more twisted things going on. This is a good entry with the first use of The Saint whistle theme and the cast includes Wendy Barrie looking good and a pre-Batman Neil Hamilton.


The Saint In London (1939) has Simon dealing with a card shark, but soon involved a counterfeiting plot intended to do major damage to the U.K. in a decent entry that has some good energy and a good supporting cast putting the character back on his home turf where it was actually filmed.


The Saint's Double Trouble (1940) is one of the weak entries as Simon happens to be a twin of a sadistic gangster (both played with mixed results by Sanders) in a tale about robbing ancient Egyptian treasure. This never adapts well to film, but it does have Bela Lugosi, so that helps save it a bit but he is not on screen enough.


The Saint Takes Over (1940) a gang of 5 criminals frame Inspector Fernack (Jonathan Hale) or a crime he did not commit, so Simon has to solve the crime to free him. Wendy barrie shows up as a different, glamourous woman and future Dick Tracy Morgan Conway also shows up.


and The Saint In Palm Springs (1941) has Inspector Fernack have Simon keep an eye on a friend transporting $200,000 in rare stamps, but the man is killed and everyone wants those three stamps. Sounds like the plot to Stanley Donen's Charade (1963, reviewed on Blu-ray, et al, elsewhere on this site) and may not be as good, but this is still a decent entry, but the series never hit the commercial heights of the Charlie Chan films and Sanders soon parted. Still, they tried and it far outdoes the horrid Jonathan Demme Charade remake.


Since all these films were made, stamp prices collapsed in the 1980s, but the stamps here would still be desirable. Wendy Barrie shows up again, but as a third different glamours woman!


There are no extras, but you can read mmuch more about the character on film at these manu links:


High Sinclair Saint RKO double feature

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/14976/Bones:+The+Flesh+&+Bones+Collection+(aka+Co


Roger Moore Early Years Black & White Set One

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/1927/The+Saint+-+The+Early+Years+(1962)+-+Set+One


Set Two

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/2583/The+Saint+-+The+Early+Years+(1963)+-+Set+Two


Moore Color Episodes MegaSet

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/372/Saint+MegaSet+(Full-color+shows/A&E+DVD+Set)


NOTE: The above U.S. A&E DVD sets are out of print, included here for reference and available in out of print copies and in-print overseas copies if you have a multi-region player (as we wait fior complete seasons on Blu-ray)


Return Of The Saint Ian Ogilvy Complete Series Australian PAL DVD import set

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/6250/Return+Of+The+Saint+%E2%80%93+25th+Anniver


Simon Dutton 1989 Saint telefilm revival Australian PAL DVD import set

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/7217/The+Saint+%E2%80%93+Simon+Dutton+Telefilm


and retro-ACTION! 3 Blu-ray import (Region B) with Return Of The Saint episode

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10900/retro-ACTION!+3:+The+Cool+Age+Of+TV+In+Hig



Finally we have The Snow Queen (2005), based on Hans Christian Andersen's story of a mother and daughter who take in a poor girl from the streets, only for her to take herself and the daughter to another world. Julian Gibbs' adaption only runs under an hour and for the few Andersen works we have seen adapted, this is the first time we've seen this one. However, he shoots it in a way to loose fame and jitter the image to make everything look like it is a stop-motion animation TV special and instead, makes this look lek a defective DVD.


I as not impressed with the approach, execution, acting and the digital work is too much and too phony. To say this is an acquired taste is being kind and fans of the books are likely to have very mixed reactions, be beware this is not a normal adaptation. I would just pass unless you are a huge fan or very, very curious.


Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by the director trying to explain this one, a Making Of featurette and Blue Peter episode on Andersen.




The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Eve and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Snow should be the best two DVD performers here, but the former is a very rough sloppy shoot, while the latter is soft on top of its obnoxious cinematography explained above, so the worn, soft 1.33 X 1 black and white transfer on all five Saint films look no better or worse. That means the 1.33 X 1 color image on Eyes is the second-place winner, shot on 35mm film with a slight softness intentionally to equate the naturalistic look of cinematography at the time.


Though sadly not that much better, the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Hunter and 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Byzantium are the visual champs by default, HD shoots with flaws, limited and style choices throughout that help neither look great. They both also sport DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless sound mixes, but they both have location audio limits, uneven soundfields and remarkably, the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on Snow is actually its equal and the default highlight (only highlight) of that release. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Eve is not as well recorded or engaging, barely making its ratings grade.


That leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Eyes not sounding bad for its age (this includes recycling select tracks from the classic score by Henry Mancini of Wait Until Dark (1967, he sued and won) and Ron Grainier's The Omega Man (1971, based on I Am Legend) in odd ways) and the five Saint films, which are audible for their age, but have more noise, background hiss and a lower volume than they should. With two episodes of the original Roger Moore TV show (one black and white, the other color) and one of Return of The Saint with Ian Ogilvy already out in HD on a U.K. Blu-ray sampler series (see Retro-action elsewhere on this site), Warner is going to need to go back and upgrade all 9 RKO Saint films for HD because they are too important not to.



To order The Eyes Of Charles Sand and the George Sanders Saint on Warner Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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