Of Hajji Baba
(1954/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Justice
League: Throne Of Atlantis
(2015/DC Comics/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Satanic
Rites Of Dracula
(1959/Paramount/both Warner Archive Blu-rays)/Unnamable
(1988/MVD Visual/Unearthed Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B/B+/B/B/B Sound: B-/B+/B/B-/B
Extras: C+/B/C-/C-/B Films: C+/B/B/C+/B
Adventures Of Hajji Baba
Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is
limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last,
Satanic Rites Of Dracula
Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.
a group of very interesting releases for both their genres and the
name characters involved...
start with a big production release by Fox in early Cinemascope
intended as an event film. The underrated Don Weis directed The
Adventures Of Hajji Baba
(1954) with John Derek (yes, the eventual husband of Ursula Andress
and Bo Derek) in the hero title role as a mere barber who is asked to
protect a Princess that he lands up falling in love with. Of course,
the casting of actors who are NOT the ethnicities of the persons they
are playing is rampant here, so it constantly shows its age, et al.
However, it is such an interesting romp, you have to see it once to
title song is sung by no less than Nat King Cole, arranged by Nelson
Riddle and composed by the composer of the film's entire music score,
Dimitri Tiomkin. It tries to be as 'exotic' and also comical at
times, dramatic at others. It is not bad and helps the film from
aging worse. Amanda Blake (soon Miss Kitty on the massive TV hit
almost steals the show as the villainess, so good she could step
right into a Marvel or DC Comics movie and fit right in. she gives
the films its best weight.
the great costumes and production design, the rest of the cast
includes Elaine Stewart, Thomas Gomez, Rosemarie Bowe, Donald
Randolph, Paul Picerini, an uncredited Claude Akins (Sheriff Lobo on
two later TV shows) and stuntman/actor Paul Baxley (also uncredited)
making for a real interesting cast. Derek just plays the
semi-innocent guy act and he's OK in the role, but it is all the
bells, whistles and unexpected quirks that makes this one worth a
look, flaws and all.
is those flaws that led Fox to license this one as a Twilight Time
Limited Edition Blu-ray, but you can see that they were putting some
money on the screen and had high expectations that this would be
above any B-movies that tired to be exotic cheapies. Nice they
succeeded as much as they did.
1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the
age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all
previous releases of the film which might have had a hard time
capturing the beautiful color here. This is in the older, wider
version of CinemaScope before adding optical (wavy lines or minibars)
soundtracking on the film print cut the wideness for good to 2.35 X
1, but Director
of Photography Harold Lipstein (Damn
Is For Heroes,
Of The Grizzly,
knew what to do with the frame and it is part of the fun of watching
was at the tail end of using
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version for 35mm release prints
during the middle of the wider CinemaScope era, switching to Color by
DeLuxe by the time this arrived in theaters, but it looks like they
were thinking Technicolor until that change.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix sounds like it has been
remastered off of the4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue
and sound effects soundmaster, though the audio can still show its
age. A DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix is also
included, but is not as good.
include a well-illustrated booklet on the film including informative
text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film
scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds an Isolated Music Score
with Sound Effects and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
Animation has begun upgrading some of their older DC animated
features to the 4K UHD format, one of which is Justice
League: Throne of Atlantis
timing is appropriate, as the new live action Aquaman
movie is about to hit theaters in a few weeks and the character is
center stage in many's minds. It's too bad that the live action
year wasn't a bigger success as this film shows some of the potential
with the characters and where they could potentially go with another
live action entry, but time will tell at this point. This new
edition looks slightly better on the 4K UHD format, and offers up two
new commentaries from DC heads that comic nerds (like myself) will
want to take in.
focused on Aquaman's character and Atlantis, this exciting animated
feature picks up after the events of Justice
Ocean Master, Aquaman's brother, leads an army of Atlantian troops
and faces off against his brother in a match so epic that the Justice
League have to intervene. With the fate of the throne and world
peace in swing, Aquaman, the Justice League, and Mera must face Ocean
Master and his army to make things right once again.
impressive voice cast includes Matt Lanter (Timeless)
as Aquaman, Sam Witwer (Star
as Orm, Jason O'Mara (The
Man in the High Castle)
as Batman, Christopher Gorham (Covert
as Flash, Nathan Fillion (Castle)
as Green Lantern, Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T.,
as Cyborg, Rosario
as Wonder Woman, Jerry O'Connell (The
Death of Superman)
as Superman, Sean Astin (The
Lord of the Rings Trilogy)
as Shazam, Sumalee Montano (Critical
as Mera, Sirena Irwin (Superman:
as Queen Atlanna, and Harry Lennix (Man
animated film is presented in 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD
Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image and a widescreen aspect
ratio of 1.78:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, both of which are
of the standard for the format. The animation is on par with
previous animated films from DC and looks a bit sharper and a little
cleaner here. It isn't necessarily a HUGE jump from the (also
included) 1080p Blu-ray edition, but enough to be noticeable.
digital copy is also included.
Features (as the press release notes) include...
The New King
(NEW featurette) - An immersive look at Arthur Curry's evolution from
guardian of the ocean to the King of Atlantis and key member of the
Commentary (NEW) - Renowned former DC Editor and current Creative
Director of Animation Mike Carlin, Creative Director of Animation,
and Throne of Atlantis screenwriter Heath Corson share their insights
into the legend of Aquaman.
Atlantis: The Sound of the Deep
(Featurette) - Every great film needs a great musical score. Filled
with emotion, music takes us on a dynamic journey as we adventure
with the hero. Throne of Atlantis takes us on that quest through the
eyes of Arthur Curry.
Bonus Sequence - Producer James Tucker provides video commentary for
this exciting bonus sequence where Robin and Nightwing join forces.
2014 New York Comic Con Panel
- The entire, lively one-hour panel discussion between actor Matt
Lanter, producer James Tucker, screenwriter Heath Corson, character
designer Phil Bourassa and dialogue director Andrea Romano.
of the Deep
(Featurette) - From Ocean Master to Black Manta to King Shark, each
villain operates from his own deep sense of conviction, presenting an
incredible challenge for the hero in Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman. This
documentary goes into the biographical details of the villains.
Sneak Peek at The
Death of Superman
- The Death of Superman is widely considered one of the most popular
stories in the Superman canon and the DCU. This sneak peek at the
exciting new film discusses the story and its place in pop culture.
Sneak Peek at Reign
of the Supermen
- An exciting look at the new film which brings the epic and
emotional story of a world without the Man of Steel to life.
Bonus cartoons from the DC Comics Vault:
The Brave and the Bold,
The Brave and the Bold,
Under the Sea!"
of The Black Manta"
Archive brings us another welcome update to the Christopher Lee/Peter
Cushing/Hammer library in this much better looking edition of The
Satanic Rites of Dracula
(1973) than ever seen on disc before. This film, since it was at
point in the public domain (for home video at least), had several
unimpressive releases over the years (namely on DVD). So even upon
seeing the first few frames of this new Blu-ray from Warner Archive,
I knew I was in for a treat.
also recently reviewed the Dracula:
Blu-ray, which is also available on disc from Warner Archive here...
most daring of the series in terms of sexual content and violence,
The Satanic Rites of Dracula also takes place in present day 1970s
where Dracula is once again resurrected and brought out of his
traditional period setting. Brought back by Satanic magic with a
plan to unleash a fatal virus onto the world, it's up to Van
Helsing's descendant (Cushing) to stop this plan before it becomes
in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and
a nice sounding DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix, this
is by far the best that this film has looked or sounded that I have
been on video on any format. The colors are much more balanced and
there's more detail on titles, backgrounds, and characters.
Feature: HD Trailer.
a shame there wasn't more in the bonus features department like
interviews with surviving cast members or some insight by a historian
on this iconic series of films, but I'll take a better presentation
for now. Another Dracula Hammer title from Warner Archive is due
soon, so be on the lookout for it and our coverage.
(1959) is a full color British-produced film from the cycle that
starred Gordon Scott as a more pumped up (pre bodybuilding-era) and
less all (versus Johnny Weissmuller) has a bunch of British villains
trying to exploit Tarzan's jungle and besides boasting some location
work atypical of most of the many films with the legendary hero (from
MGM, RKO and going back to the silent era), this one has Sean Connery
as a supporting character just a few years shy of becoming James
Bond. That makes this the biggest curio of all the Scott entries.
give Scott credit for jumping into the role, as he's not bad, but the
makers had the rights to use Weissmuller's 'Tarzan Yell' which dates
back to early sound cinema and it is always a sad break from
suspending disbelief. The Yell (even after Carol Burnett hijacked it
forever) continued to be recycled until the 1980 MGM Tarzan
with Bo Derek (who was NOT Tarzan in that film) and that is the kind
of thing besides old film stock footage that kept these films in the
iconic Anthony Quayle and Niall MacGuinness also star, so this has a
little more name power than the usual installment, which is why
Warner Archive apparently picked this for Blu-ray release. Paramount
originally distributed this one, but it is among a number of releases
(like the old 1970s Filmation animated TV show, reviewed elsewhere on
this site from Warner) that the Edgar Rice Burroughs' estate got the
rights back to and now own. Warner released the latest Tarzan
feature film, so they are going with them for their back catalog,
while Warner owns the old MGM and RKO Tarzan's, making that a hugely
resulting film here is mixed, but worth look just to see what they
did and who showed up.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the
age of the materials used, especially when your adding old stock
footage, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases
of the film I've seen, especially in the Connery scenes that I
remembered best. Though it is a combo I usually see on old Columbia
Pictures, we actually have EastmanColor by Pathe as the format here
and as usual, it can look a bit off and inconsistent in spots.
However, at this point, color was very expensive and lower budget
films felt better to have some good color than black and white. It
was also a way to separate the new Tarzan's from the insanely
successful black and white Weissmuller era.
helping matters was having Director
of Photography (Edward) Ted Scaife, B.S.C., (Curse
Of The Demon,
(both also issued by Twilight Time, reviewed elsewhere on this site),
the later Tarzan
has the talent to make it look even better than most cameramen would
have been able to, so cheers to him for making this look better than
most such films of the time.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is a little better and
clearer than expected, from the original monophonic optical
theatrical sound, while Douglas Gamley's score is fitting. Gamley is
a bit underrated, scoring films like City
Of The Dead,
Time, Another Place,
Now The Screaming Starts,
Land That Time Forgot
and work on other big films. Diehard soundtrack music fans will find
this a curio and wish it had an isolated music score, if the music
exists like that. Again, this is above your usual B-movie.
only extra is an Original Theatrical Trailer, though some kind of
featurette would have been nice considering its special status.
Unearthed Video presents the classic H.P. Lovecraft film The
(1988) on Blu-ray for the first time ever! Featuring one hell of a
scary monster, The
is a must see for fans of Lovecraft literature. The film has been
remastered in 4K from the original camera negative and this edition
comes with a new color correction approved by the filmmakers. Since
this film has just been seen in inferior incarnations in the past,
this is a welcome upgrade!
film stars Mark Kinsey Stephenson, Charles Klausmeyer, and Eben Ham.
and campy, The
follows a group of college students from Miskatonic University who go
to a haunted 18th century mansion for a weekend getaway. What they
don't know is that the mansion is inhabited by an unnamable
creature... that looks to stalk her victims in the name of a family
film is presented here in 1080p high definition with a widescreen
aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a great sounding English DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 5.1 lossless mix along with mixes in LPCM 2.0 stereo,
depending on your home theater preference.
interview with actors, Charles Klausmeyer and Mark Kinsey Stephenson
interview with actor, Eben Ham
interview with actor, Laura Albert
interview with actor, Mark Parra
interviews with R. Christopher Biggs, special makeup effects artist
and makeup artist, Camille Calvet
commentary with Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Stephenson, Laura Albert,
Eben Ham, Camille Calvet and R. Christopher Biggs
Slipcase (First 2,000 Units Only)
is a bloody nice edition of this great cult classic that I highly
recommend to horror fans!
Adventures Of Hajji Baba
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links:
to order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, The
Satanic Rites Of Dracula
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases
Nicholas Sheffo (Baba,