(2019/Well Go Blu-ray)/The
Wild Wild World Of Jayne Mansfield
(1968/*both Severin Blu-rays)
B-/B-/A-/B- Sound: B-/B-/C+/B- Extras: C+/D/D/B- Films:
for genre releases that are mostly exploitation...
series of films that used the name 'Mondo' in their title promised a
look inside strange worlds and behaviors (in rough, even sloppy
culminations) and were excuses for racism and explicit footage trying
to hide behind the faint guise of a documentary, none of which they
really are. Mondo
(1964) runs 87 minutes and has the rare distinction of a major name
as narrator: Boris Karloff. Instead of just being a series of
blood-letting segments, though we get some of that, Karloff does his
best Marlin Perkins throughout.
is still lame, but his talking is actually more interesting and
compelling than most of what we see, some of which always (like all
these films) looks a bit staged. This one is supposed to be about
how people of all kinds fall in love and the severe differences, but
that is not by any means of what we always see. Ultimately, even
Karloff cannot stop this from itself and is a curio worth maybe one
look at best.
only extra is another such exploitation film, called The
(1960) from Italy and is just as exploitive and rough.
a psychological suspense thriller that is very different than that
other film that's also called The
Unlike that film, though, this one I'd recommend viewing.
on horror streaming service Shudder and now on home video, The
Room stars the gorgeous and underrated Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion,
Quantum of Solace, The Carrier) and her and her spouse
(Kevin Janssens) who move into a new house and discover a strange
hidden room. When in this room anything that you wish for becomes
materialized. As the couple go wild and become rich beyond
imagination, they can't help but want the one thing they can't have -
a child. Years pass and the boy grows older and tensions begin to
form between the couple and some bizarre things start to happen that
culminates into an ending you won't see coming.
film also stars Francis Chapman, Marianne Bourg, and Joshua Wilson
with direction by Caristian Volckman (Renaissance).
Room is one of the better films I've seen under the Shudder
label, even though its formula has been played out in various other
incarnations. The film centers mainly around three characters, all
of which sell convincing performances that are engrossing. Sure, the
'genie in a magic lamp' is a room here, however the third act gets a
bit too wacky for its own good. Still, The Room leaves you
with a weird feeling after watching it and if it achieves that much,
I tend to be impressed. It reminds me a bit of Pet Semetery
mixed with Splice mixed with an overall ominous supernatural
definitely enjoyed this film and would recommend it to horror fans.
feudal Japan 1855, the last days of the samurai, a local lord orders
a test of his samurai to run a marathon and who ever wins the race
will have his wish granted. However, the race becomes far more
dangerous when a young ninja and a runaway princess gets involved and
they discover there are assassins plotting to kill the samurai during
the race and overthrow their lord in Bernard Rose's Samurai
Japan is about invaded by Westerners, a local Lord orders his lazy
samurai to run a marathon to get them back in shape with a boon of
lifetime, whoever gets first place gets his wish granted. However,
that doesn't stop some from trying to cheat in the race, but then, a
young ninja mistakes the marathon as a sudden uprising and sends word
to the Shogun and he learn the Shogun sends his assassins to kill his
lord and all his samurai friends. Meanwhile, the Lord's daughter who
wishes to be free to choose her own life decides to secretly join the
race dressed as a man for the prize to be free. But when assassins
threaten to kill everyone, everyone must set aside the race and work
together to save their home.
on the annual historical marathon held in Japan, Samurai Marathon
is a visual feast of samurai and Japanese culture, it starts out as
fun and funny race made up of young and old samurai warriors, but
then add ninjas and a runaway princess it turns into an adventure
when suddenly the entire village is at stake. Extras include
four directors are credited, The
Wild Wild World Of Jayne Mansfield
(1968) is an exploitation piece made after her untimely, shocking,
controversial death, supposedly narrated by her (it is in actuality,
an odd soundalike), showing the glamour of her life and world, in and
out of Hollywood and across the world. Some of the footage is
definitely her and it is worth seeing, but some is faked and some is
just pain bad, including some bad editing. Some of this is good, but
some is not and you have to sit through the bad to see the good.
the worst part (SPOILER!!!!) is she suddenly dies in the car crash
(the fake narrators' job over) and we get to see the fallout from her
death, rumors about her and Satanism and other problems that are
knowingly bad taste. This runs 90 minutes and is meant to titillate
in all kinds of ways, but does not always succeed and the producers
knew that too. See it for the good parts.
include a low def copy of the film on the same disc, on camera
interview with Anton LaVey biographer Blanche Barton (LaVey was
Mansfield's Satanic friend and the head of some Church of Satan of
the time) and yet another bonus exploitation film: Wild,
Weird, Wonderful Italians
1080p 1.33 X 1 (mostly full color) High Definition image transfer on
Mondo can show the age of the materials used and is from a new
4K scan, but this is an unofficial series that always thrived on
rough footage to indicate 'realism' or 'truth' or the like, so that
is par for the course and the PCM 2.0 Mono is also a little rough,
but Karloff's voice (recorded as voiceover in a studio) holds up as
the best element.
Room is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition
with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossy 5.1 Dolby
Digital audio mix. The film is impressively shot and very cinematic
with strong cinematography. Compression issues are evident in the
format but as far as standard definition goes, this is top notch.
The film is also available on Blu-ray from RLJE Entertainment, which
is naturally the better way to view the film in terms of
presentation, but this review is just covering the DVD.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Samurai
is the best performer here with another top rate Chinese HD shoot and
would likely benefit from a 4K edition, but the Chinese DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is not always top notch and we
wonder if this was a mixdown from a 12-track master. Otherwise, the
presentation is fine.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Jayne is also
usually in color, but some color has faded from the only surviving
known copy of the film (processed at the time by Pittsburgh's WRS
Labs), so it can be a little off at times. However, it is watchable
and the PCM 2.0 Mono is fine for its age, though her 'voiceover' can
be odd at times.
Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Samurai)