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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Martial Arts > Spies > Japan > Horror > Mystery > Mary Mary Bloody Mary (1975) + Blood Feast (1972/Cardona/***both VCI Blu-ray/**all MVD)/Special Ops: Lioness Season One (2023/MTV/Paramount Blu-ray Set)

Black Tight Killers (1966*/**)/The Childe (2023/Well Go Blu-ray)/Deadgirl (2008/Unearthed Blu-ray**)/Goodbye & Amen (1977/*both Radiance Blu-rays**)/Journey Into The Beyond (1977**/***)/Mary Mary Bloody Mary (1975) + Blood Feast (1972/Cardona/***both VCI Blu-ray/**all MVD)/Special Ops: Lioness Season One (2023/MTV/Paramount Blu-ray Set)

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

Here's a wild group of genre and exploitation releases covering a wide stretch of time and subject matter...

Yasuharu Hasebe's Black Tight Killers (1966) is a wacky, funny, wild, pop culture, action, quasi-sci-fi martial arts romp from a close associate of Tokyo Drifter and Branded To Kill director Seijun Suzuki, but will also remind you of the Swinging Sixties in the gang of killer women who use 45rpm record singles like martial arts stars and more wildness in a very amusing film that plays now like a more violent and graphic Austin Powers film.

Yoriko (Akira Kobayashi) tries taking a pretty young stewardess (Chieko Matsubara, who also happens to be in Tokyo Drifter) out to eat, but the woman kidnapped by a street gang, but they all all women and they seem to be better fighters (especially in the onset of women's lib) than he expects and gets smashed as a result, yet he spends the rest of the time pursuing them and trying to find out what just happened. A stash of WWII-era gold turns out to be one of the motivating factors, but more madness follow as the storyline combines international pop culture with the spy craze, having fun with it, sending it up a bit and more.

The result is some suspense, but a few chuckles and more than a few surreal surprises, though it does not dive off into some surreal psychedelic zone. It is less serious than Suzuki's famous set of film classics, though those who like the Toho giant monster films, sci-fi films and early full color Ultraman TV show will also get a kick (no pun intended) out of this film.

Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik!, the Matt Helm, Derek Flynt and 1967 Casino Royale go even further in the wild action spy style department, but this is still a worth addition to that satirical cannon and especially if you like such foreign-produced films (Japanese, Italian or otherwise), you'll want to give this film a good look. Would also be interesting to watch after seeing the 1967 James Bond epic You Only Live Twice. That its original title was ''Don't Touch Me, I'm Dangerous'' gives you an idea of where this one is coming from.

Extras include a feature length audio commentary by Jasper Sharp, plus...

  • Archival interview with director Yasuharu Hasebe

  • Original Theatrical Trailer

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Time Tomorrow

  • Limited Edition booklet featuring new writing by Japanese cinema expert Chris D.

  • and Limited Edition of 3000 copies, presented in full-height Scanavo packaging with removable OBI strip leaving packaging free of certificates and markings.

And for more on Tokyo Drifter and Branded To Kill, try this link for Criterion's Branded To Kill 4K and it includes other versions of both films in more links...


Park Hoon-Jung's The Childe (2023) is another interesting, if not spectacular film from the director of I Saw The Devil, The Tiger and two Witch films you likely have not seen. This one has an amateur boxer (Kang Tae-Ju) whose mother is ill and father estranged. Going to Korea (where she is from) to the Philippines, he looks for his estranged father for help to pay medical expenses, but instead gets stalked by a martial arts psycho (Kang Seon-Ho) who he has never met and will not stop going after him.

Well, it is interesting in the beginning, but there are no surprising revelations and it just becomes an excuse for the old 'psycho killer that won't quit' storyline we have seen a good few times before and often done better. I like the actors, some directing, some editing and some style, but it needed more and just coasts on what it has. Too bad, because they started so well, but now you can see for yourself.

A trailer for this a a few other Well Go USA releases are the only extras.

Deadgirl (2008) gets a 15th Anniversary edition on Blu-ray thanks to the good people at Unearthed Films. The grotesque thriller shows how unsupervised hormonal teenage boys can go when they discover a comatose imprisoned woman in an abandoned building who (despite several vile efforts) cannot be killed in the traditional sense. How she got there and who put her there is a complete mystery.

The high school boys become consumed by self empowerment and start doing terrible things to her both physically and sexually. Of course it doesn't take long for the word to spread to other boys in the school that there's a naked woman chained to a bed in an abandoned building. Other high school guys fall victim to her (lack of) charm as well so to speak. Then the Deadgirl starts to get violent and bite back in a rabid zombie-like state. Once that happens some very strange things occur to the men who wronged her. The last act makes you think it's going to go one way then goes another. While the film implies some pretty nasty things just off camera, it still does a good job of being pretty repulsive and sure to make most normal people shake their heads in either disgust or confusion. As for practically or realism, the film doesn't go to great lengths to be very realistic, as many things don't quite add up... but it is only a movie after all.

Deadgirl stars Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead remake), Noah Segan (Glass Onion), Michael Bowen (Breaking Bad) and Candice Accola (The Vampire Diaries).

Special Features:

Interview with Co-Director Gadi Harel

Interview with Writer Trent Haaga

Interview with Actor Noah Segan

Interview with Actor Shiloh Fernandez

Interview with Special Makeup Effects Artist & Designer Jim Ojala

Behind The Scenes Gallery

Extended Makeup FX Gallery

Audio Commentary with Cast & Crew

Audio Commentary by actor Jenny Spain

Exquisite Corpse: The Making of Deadgirl

Jenny Spain's Audition

Deleted Scenes

Promotional Stills Gallery and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Deadgirl is sure to shock some, but could have been even more extreme if it wanted to. I'm not sure about the ending as it leaves a lot of questions, but perhaps that was the point of the filmmakers. The film is well made for being on the lower budget spectrum and the special effects are performances are pretty convincing.

Damiano Damiani's Goodbye & Amen (1977) is a wild action suspense drama with Tony Mustane (Bird With The Crystal Plumage, The Grissom Gang, The Incident, TV's Toma) as a CIA agent leading an attempt to overthrow an African nation when all madness breaks loose and a hitman does a kidnapping in secret, an American ambassador (John Forsythe) gets thrown off by it all and Claudia Cardinale plays the woman in the middle of it all.

At first, I was not sure were this would go and it has an interesting, if not great start, then it gets more twisted and wild until it is like little you have seen before. Damiani has directed films that like to mix it up before, like A Bullet For Sandoval, Blood Feud, How To Kill A Judge, The Sicilian Connection, Confessions Of A Police Captain, The Warning, Amityville II, The Witch (1966) and The Case Is Closed, Forget It among others. You may have even seen one of his films and not known it if crime and horror are favorite films of yours. Though his work is not always consistent or problem free, he is more hit than miss and one of the best journeyman filmmakers of his time.

He knows what he wants and that is why this film surprised me. If I saw it before, it was in a low-def, edited version, but some of it will stick with you if you like suspense and catch it. It is at least smart, mature, competent and the actors are good here, with their work melding well. Cheers to Radiance (someone there has some really good movie taste) to getting this film restored and issued in such a top grade version and with some fine extras.

Extras include a feature length audio commentary by Eurocrime experts Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth (2023)

  • Interview with editor Antonio Siciliano

  • Archival interview with Wolfango Soldati (2013)

  • New and improved English subtitles for Italian audio and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for English audio

  • Reversible sleeve featuring designs based on original posters

  • Limited Edition booklet featuring new writing by Italian crime cinema expert Lucia Rinaldi

  • and Limited Edition of 3000 copies, presented in full-height Scanavo packaging with removable OBI strip leaving packaging free of certificates and markings.

Rolf Olsen's Journey Into The Beyond (1977) is part of a cycle of usually bad and (for a good reason) little-discussed pseudo-documentaries that say they are 'proving' that the supernatural exists or showing something 'special' and 'important' that is either unknown or maybe being censored. Some of this comes from the series of gross 'Mondo' films that were made for spare change and were big hits in cheap theaters and then, on home video, especially in the VHS and Beta days.

Even before that, they were showing up along with various 'new age' programs, the UFO craze of the 1970s and other highly speculative releases (including the embarrassing series of hits from the Sunn Schick Classics line of In Search Of movies totally unrelated to the Leonard Nimoy TV show) with this one narrated by horror genre and B-movie legend John Carradine. He started in B-movies and older horror films including a few hits at Universal, then did respectable films like The Grapes Of Wrath, Johnny Guitar and Stagecoach, then a ton of TV and telefilms like The Night Strangler with Darren McGavin, a part of his second cycle of horror work after Rosemary's Baby and Night of The Living Dead caused a renaissance. Satan's Cheerleaders and Mary Mary Bloody Mary (reviewed below) were also among them.

Here, he is just being himself, telling tall tales in a tall tale voice and at this point, excellent at exaggeration and a good choice for this exploitation project. Does he even believe what he is saying? Likely not, but without him here throughout, we would likely not be talking about this film or discussing it as much. Thus, it is a curio for him as much as it is for its gross and dumb content, but it should be in print so people can see how cheap and cheesy it is. See it at your own risk.

Extras include two Bonus Deleted Clips that could have been in the film, but it was more than long enough and not necessarily meant for it.

Dubbed the 'Bloody 70's Horror Double Feature' on a single Blu-ray disc by VCI, Juan Lopez Moctezuma's Mary Mary Bloody Mary (1975) and Rene Cardona Jr.'s Blood Feast (1972 aka Night Of 1,000 Cats, in the shorter U.S. version here) make for a good, cheap, creepy set of films like we used to see all the time when you had thousands of drive-in theaters and more than a few indoor indie movie screens, plus no home video and nothing like cable, satellite, streaming, internet or home video.

Mary stars Cristina Ferrare as an artist from the U.S. who now lives in Mexico, and happens to be a vampire! Unfortunately, the locals do not know this and when bodies drained of blood keep turning up all the time, the local authorities are baffled and step up their investigation. The body count starts increasing as she become hungrier and more excited to get away with all the murders she would apparently not get away with up north, but her father comes to town and the story takes several weird twists.

Not a great film, but has some ideas and creepy moments along with John Carradine showing up for extra creepiness and helping the film a bit, while the atmosphere, locations, editing and look are also a plus. Too bad the screenplay is not as strong as some of the ideas or situation, plus some moments are so dumb or dated, the film cannot escape them. The supporting cast also includes David Young (Nightbreed, Hellraiser III, Double Exposure, S.O.B., Kill The Golden Goose,) Helena Rojo (Aguirre, The Wrath Of God, Queen Doll, Fin de Fiesta,) and Roger Cudney (The Bees, Remo Williams, the Bond film Licence To Kill, Cattle Annie and Little Britches).

Feast may be here in a shorter version with the longer version, likely featuring more cats, but its story is a bit crazier and not quite as believable. A wealthy man who loves cats (he owns thousands of them?) and owns a bunch of them (Hugo Stiglitz) has been solving his cat food budget by kidnapping younger ladies, killing them and making them cat feed. Assisted by his henchman Dorgo (one-time wrestler Gerardo Zepeda) to stop the ladies from leaving as our rich guy keeps them coming, Cathy (Anjanette Comer of Guns Of San Sebastian, The Underneath, The Firechasers, Neitherworld) is about to shake up their arrangement, though she does not know this at first.

Still creepy with its cheap atmospherics, it still has some gross moments and I had not seen this one in eons. I definitely would like to see the longer version at some point, but it is still amusing and bizarre for what we get. It is as ambitious as the other film here and they rightly earn their R-ratings. No matter how cheap or dated, they tend to be more effective than most of the B-movie horror releases we have been getting in the last decade or so, so fans of the genre will want to check them out. They are on the ambitious side, considering their budgets, so I won't say anything else about their plots.

Extras include Original Theatrical Trailers and essay on each film by film scholar Dr. David Wilt that last just over 40 minutes each and hold up well for being older analog video productions.

Lastly we have a new cable TV series, Special Ops: Lioness Season One (2023) with the very likable, talented Zoe Saldana (the Star Trek revival, Avatar Films, Guardians Of The Galaxy films) as the head of a CIA anti-terror unit, leading the fight wherever it may take her and her team. Nicole Kidman and Michael Kelly play the team running the unit from afar and the question is, can they stop the next big attack? The next 9-11?

Well, that includes some big names and a fairly good supporting cast in a show that could have been good, but this kind of show has been done way too often, obviously with less-known names and despite a decent budget and the leads giving it their best, this seems a show a few years too late and with the events since October 7 in The Middle East, more dated. I like the idea of anything that brings Saldana and Kidman into the same situation, but this is just way too formulaic for its own good and despite being created by the maker of the big surprise hit Yellowstone, it does not work anywhere as well and is just not as good in this genre like that has been in the most-dead Western genre. It may only offer eight episodes, but they are little you have not seen before.

For fans and the most interested only.

Extras include Behind The Featurettes, Inside The Series shorts, featurettes Embedded with Special Ops Lioness and Battle Forged Calm: Tactics and Training.

Now for playback performance. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Killers has a little softness in parts, but part of that is likely the lenses used, with this being credited as shot in the Nikkatsuscope format. Color (either Kodak or maybe Fuji, we could not confirm at posting time) looks good, is often vibrant and is as consistent as it is accurate, while the PCM 2.0 Mono sound is as good as it is going to ever sound, form its original optical mono theatrical release and soundmasters. The combination is just fine for its age.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on The Childe is a decent, if soft more often than I would have liked HD shoot that has consistent, if sometimes purposely on the dark side. Some shots are decent, as is some of the editing of the action and fighting. The lossless, Korean/English/Tagalog DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 sound is as good as any release here with a few good moments, but nothing too memorable and not anything I would consider demo material.

Deadgirl is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) sound mix. The film doesn't have much production value so to speak and limited locations outside of a high school and the abandoned building where most of it takes place. The cinematography is dark and appropriate for the story though although a few scenes could have been trimmed up a bit dialogue-wise in the editing color. All in all, the Blu-ray presentation is fine for the content.

Goodbye & Amen is here in a new 2023 restoration of the film from its original 35mm camera negative presented with Italian and, for the first time on home video, English audio options. The PCM 2.0 Mono is here in Italian and English, both good soundtracks, but the English sound materials were in worse shape than they would have liked, so expect some issues here and there. Otherwise, this sounds and plays very well. The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer rarely shows the age of the materials used, with good color, detail and depth as intended. I like how the film looks.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Journey is supposed to show the age of the materials used to prove its 'authenticity' with worn film, film shot sloppily in parts and the gross, graphic shots that are filmed as badly as they look phony. Quality is as inconsistent as any mondo film of the time and the PCM 2.0 Mono sound is as rough and aged as intended and dictated buy its budget. John Carradine has the best sound be default because his work was all voiceovers, but it can sound boxy too.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Bloody Mary and 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Feast (shot on 35mm with real anamorphic, scope, Panavision lenses and Eastmancolor negative) are nice-enough upgrades from the also-included, anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image and anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image DVD versions that are a few years old by now. Color, depth and detail improve and look like prints of the time to their advantage, while the Blu-rays improve the old theatrical monophonic sound in PCM 2.0 Mono tracks that are a little better than the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono tracks on the old DVDs, but not by much. Any post-production dubbing notwithstanding, the low budgets show more sonically than anywhere else, but they are still fine for what they are and the PCM on the Blu-rays are about as good as these films will ever sound.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Lioness are a little darker, softer and detail-challenged than I would have liked, even if that is the style of the show, so the look is for fans only. Wonder if this would look any better in 4K. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless mixes are competent at best, but not very imaginative, memorable or exciting.

- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Deadgirl)



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