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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Crisis > Mass Murder > Drama > Relationships > Trailers > Serial Killer > > Gore > Between Night & Dawn: The Films Of George A. Romero (1971 - 1973/Arrow Blu-rays)/Drive-In Delirium: The New Batch (2018/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/My Friend Dahmer (2017/MVD/Filmrise Blu-ray

Between Night & Dawn: The Films Of George A. Romero (1971 - 1973/Arrow Blu-rays)/Drive-In Delirium: The New Batch (2018/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/My Friend Dahmer (2017/MVD/Filmrise Blu-ray)/Two Thousand Maniacs! (1963)/Moonshine Mountain (1964/Arrow Blu-rays)



Picture: B B+ B+/B/B/B- Sound: B B B+/B/B/B- Extras: B/C+/C/B Main Programs: B- B B/B/B/C+ & C



Next up is a big dose of horror from the past, including a new take on a real life horror and departures from the genre by one of its masters...



Between Night & Dawn: The Films Of George A. Romero (1971 - 1973)


This review encompasses three new releases from Arrow Video, available together in the box set Between Night and Dawn: The Films of George A. Romero and just now being available on Blu-ray separately. Each film drastically different from one another, fans can now embrace some of the master filmmaker's lesser known works in these fantastic new presentations.


There's Always Vanilla (1971)


Previously unavailable and a nice little time capsule peace, There's Always Vanilla was made shortly after Night of the Living Dead in 1968. Vanilla is a product of the production company Latent Image which included George A. Romero and producers Russell Streiner and John A. Russo and makes it unique on that merit alone. Wanting to prove that they could make films that weren't strictly horror, There's Always Vanilla is an interesting romantic comedy experiment with some laughs and a nice look back on 1970s Pittsburgh. This is one of the few Romero films that he didn't write and one that he wasn't necessarily too fond of either.... despite it really not being that bad!


The film stars Judith Striener, Raymond Laine, Johanna Lawrence, Judith Ridley, Richard Ricci, and Roger McGovern.


A drifter (Laine) moves back to Pittsburgh from L.A. and finds his ex-girlfriend has surprised him with a kid whom she claims to his. Unsure how he feels about the situation or if he believes her, he soon bumps into a commercial model (Streiner) and the two fall for one another. Exploring the rise and fall of their relationship, the two couldn't be any more different however are oddly attracted to one another. When a pregnancy pops up, things get heated and serious real quick and final decisions must be made to determine their future together...


Originally shot on 16mm film, the film looks surprisingly good in this new HD presentation. Featuring a full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and an English LPCM Mono track. Some of the skin tones are a bit white and a little too red, however it looks pretty good considering the age of the print. There's a few hairs in the image and grain, but all in all the film looks pretty good here.


Special Features...


Audio Commentary with Travis Crawford


Digging Up the Dead: The Lost Films of George A. Romero


Image Galleries


Trailers


Reversible Cover Art



Season of the Witch (1972)


Another tough to find Romero film until this new release, Season of the Witch (also known as Hungry Wives), has found newly restored life on disc courtesy of Arrow. An interesting and surreal use of sound design and visuals, the film taps into the mental state of a Pittsburgh housewife Joan Mitchell (Jan White) that embraces the religion and supernatural abilities of witchcraft. Described by Romero as a 'feminist' film, this interesting horror drama is one that fans should most definitely check out. (And yes they play the song 'Season of the Witch' by Donovan in the film, though Romero apparently was not for it.)


Joan Mitchell is tormented by terrible dreams spawned by new neighbors who move into her quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood. Unsatisfied by her boring housewife life, Janet becomes intrigued when the new neighbors mention their religion of witchcraft. Soon becoming obsessed with learning their witchy ways, Janet dedicates herself to the cause and ends up biting off a bit more than she can chew as her life dramatically changes.


Season of the Witch is presented on Blu-ray disc in 1080p high definition and a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio complete with an original uncompressed PCM Mono Audio track and a new 4K restoration from the original camera negative. This theatrical version of the film is crystal clear and quite impressive considering the age and low budget of the film. The soundtrack is a bit ahead of its time and unnerving with weird sounds and motifs that attempt to capture Joan's mental state. Overall, a nice job done by Arrow here.


Special Features...


Alternate Extended version of the film


Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford


When Romero Met Del Toro - filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro in conversation with George Romero


The Secret Life of Jack's Wife - archive interview with actress Jan White


Alternate Opening Titles


Location Gallery with audio commentary by Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz


Memorabilia Gallery


Trailers


Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx



The Crazies (1973)


Romero’s non-zombie movie, The Crazies (1973), is one of his more well known films and was of course remade in 2010. Socially relevant even today, The Crazies is a horrifying portrayal of a world torn apart by violence and disease and the soul crushing repercussions that follow. Dawn of the Dead fans will notice quite a few familiar faces here as it was also filmed near Pittsburgh around the same time. While a little dated, Romero's The Crazies is a nice companion piece to his Living Dead series and a must watch for any cinephile.


The Crazies stars Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lloyd Hollar, Lynn Lowry, and Richard Liberty.


When an experimental government germ weapon spreads through the small community of Evans City, PA the results become less than ideal. Anyone who breaths in his germ ends up becoming rabidly violent and very dangerous to those around them. White suited bio-hazard military soldiers come through the town killing off the infected.. and even those who appear not to be in a desperate attempt to contain the virus before it spreads.


Presented and remastered in 4K from the original camera negative, the 1080p presentation of the classic film has a 1.66:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a restored LPCM Mono track, both of which are of very high quality. The film has been released on Blu-ray before, but certainly hasn't looked or sounded as good as it does here. So even if you own the previous Blue Underground version, you'll definitely want to upgrade, but keep the original for a key extra not included here.


Special Features here include...


Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford


Romero Was Here: Locating The Crazies - Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz takes us on a guided tour of Evans City, PA and the locations used in The Crazies.


Crazy for Lynn Lowry - cult star Lynn Lowry discusses her early career including her role in The

Crazies.


Q&A with Lynn Lowry filmed at the 2016 Abertoir Film Festival


Audio interview with producer Lee Hessel


Behind-the-scenes footage with optional commentary by Lawrence DeVincentz


Alternate Opening Titles


Image Galleries


Trailers & TV Spots


Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx



Check out our past reviews of The Crazies previous Blu-ray here...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/10194/The+Crazies+(1973/Blue+Underground+Blu-ray



Umbrella is one of the few companies that, like myself, truly care about the art of movie trailers. This being the third entry in their library of trailer compiles that are all cleverly titled Drive-In Delirium (and reviewed several places on this site). This entry, Drive-In Delirium: The New Batch (2018 compilation) is focused on trailers from a wide range of genre films from the '60s, '70s, '80s that were graced over in previous entries.


This edition features 175 trailers divided into two sections named The Quickening and The Spawning. A few of the trailers on the disc include Death Wish 3, Caligula, Amazon Women on the Moon, The Burning, The Green Slime, An American Werewolf in London, and way more!


The trailers have been remastered in 1080p high definition with various widescreen aspect ratios depending on the film and a nice 2.0 English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Mono lossless mix. Some of the trailers look better than others due to their age and condition but for the most part everything here looks pretty good.


Special Features...


VHS Delirious - a bonus 95 minute SD Trailer reel


You can't go wrong with a good trailer compile and Umbrella delivers the goods here. This is great for discovering titles that you may have missed or for hours of binge worthy trailer watching entertainment.



My Friend Dahmer (2017) takes a new look at some of the younger years of the infamous serial killer. While most focus films about the murders that made him famous, this film rather focuses on his high school years as he transitions from weird kid into a dangerous and sketchy character. The film has great directing, interesting performances, and is sure to make you feel a bit uneasy while watching it... because the lot of it really happened.


Marc Meyer's My Friend Dahmer stars Ross Lynch, Alex Wolff, Vincent Kartheiser, Adam Kroloff, Anne Heche, and Dallas Roberts.


Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a decent sounding, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Shot on a modest budget, the film has a muted look that makes it feel more like the '70s. The sound mix isn't bad and the presentation is up to par with other films of the like but nothing groundbreaking.


Special Features...


Interview with Ross Lynch


Behind the Scenes Slideshow


Trailer



If you have an interest in serial killer films, this is an interesting 'prequel' if you will and an interesting character study.



Finally, Arrow continues to release H.G. Lewis films after the recent Blu-ray editions of The Gruesome Twosome and Blood Feast (reviewed elsewhere on this site). This hillbilly murder double feature is silly and over the top but not without Lewis' trademark gore.


Two Thousand Maniacs! (1963) is a gorefest a decade before The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and follows a group of unsuspecting Northerners who come across a small Southern town that surprisingly puts these travels front and center as 'guests of honor' in the midst of a festival-like celebration. While everything seems innocent at first... it becomes quickly clear that these Townspeople have other... sinister plans for these tourists!


Two Thousand Maniacs is pretty fun and could actually be remade interestingly if under the right direction. Some of the acting is a bit lackluster, but the gore scenes really stick out as Lewis choses to not cutaway and instead show more than most filmmakers dared for the time.


Arrow also includes another H.G. Lewis flick made after Maniacs! in this Blu-ray edition, Moonshine Mountain (1964), which is a similar Hillbilly Exploitation romp that is fun in its own right. Chuck Scott plays a country western singer who goes back home to Carolina and soon finds himself in the midst of a feud between some the moonshiners and 'the Revenoores'.


Presented in 1080p high definition and remastered with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2.0 PCM uncompressed Mono track. The films are in mostly good shape, however there are moments here where you can tell the original source was compromised and replaced with lower quality source. For the most part, the transfers are clean and without too much noise.


Extras include...


Introductions to the films by H.G. Lewis


Archive audio commentary on Two Thousand Maniacs! by H.G. Lewis


Two Thousand Maniacs Can't be Wrong - filmmaker Tim Sullivan on H.G. Lewis' gore classic


Hickspoitation: Confidential - visual essay on the depiction of the American South in exploitation cinema


David Friedman: The Gentlemen's Smut Peddler - a tribute to legendary producer David F. Friedman featuring interviews with H.G. Lewis, filmmakers Fred Olen Ray and Tim Sullivan and editor Bob Murawski


Herschell's Art of Advertising - H.G. Lewis shares his expert opinion on the art of selling movies


Two Thousand Maniacs! Outtakes


Trailers


Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil



Definitely some classic material to check out, Horror fans in particular should seek all of these out.



- James Lockhart

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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