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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Science Fiction > Comedy > Camp > Large Frame Format > Elvira’s Movie Macabre Double Features (Blue Sunshine – Monstroid/Gamera, Super Monster – They Came From Beyond Space/Maneater Of Hydra – The House That Screamed/Shout! Factory DVD)

Elvira’s Movie Macabre Double Features (Blue SunshineMonstroid/Gamera, Super MonsterThey Came From Beyond Space/Maneater Of HydraThe House That Screamed)



Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: D     Films:



Blue Sunshine (1976/letterboxed 1.85 X 1) B-


Monstroid (1979) D


Gamera, Super Monster (1980) D


They Came From Beyond Space (1967) C+


Maneater Of Hydra (1967/pan & scan from Techniscope) D


The House That Screamed (1969/letterboxed 2.35 X 1 Franscope [70mm too]) C+



Comic Horror icon Elvira (Cassandra Harris) hosted a TV show in 1981 that would have been only possible before VHS set in, hosting B-movie genre films with humorous comments and mixed vignettes in between commercial breaks.  Shout! Factory has decided to issue some of these on DVD and in some cases, they have even found secondary widescreen, letterboxed prints where applicable that they did not have then.


The new double DVD sets (not issued as singles like the earlier releases in this set were) pair a decent, underrated film with a real dud.  These are often orphan films, films that have seen their copyright run out or films issued to death because no one currently has a rights claim.  The choices are interesting.


Also available in a much better double DVD set with extras, stereo boosted sound, a bunch of extras and a better transfer from Synapse, Blue Sunshine (1976) is the sometimes funny, always watchable and often intriguing Science Fiction/Horror thriller about an exceptionally deadly batch of LSD that is not only making its former users ill after ten years after the fact, but turning them into psycho-killers.  Zalman King is the lead in this Jeff Lieberman-directed thriller and Lost In Space’s Mark Goddard also stars.


Monstroid is one of the silliest and cheesiest of Jaws rip-offs released a year after Jaws 2!  That it takes place in a village in Colombia suffers a creature’s wrath inadvertently created by an irresponsible chemical corporation.  They send a rep (Jim Mitchum) to kill it and cover up for the company, but it will not be that simple.  And no, there are no drug lords fighting it either.  A dull turkey with a few chuckles at best.


Gamera, Super Monster is easily the worst of all films in the franchise, recycling footage from all the other previous films in the series and a few outside of it as every monster and threat he ever faced returns.  Unfortunately, this is a cheap, would-be Star Wars cash in ands big “cheat” film that would never get made today.  Maybe if Gamera was having alien-induced flashbacks, but this is the nadir of the franchise and to be skipped.


They Came From Beyond Space is Freddie Francis’ underrated, sometimes campy, very British and often interesting alien invasion thriller.  Michael Gough is scientist taken over by the head alien and Robert Hutton leads the team to find out why odd things are happening after a shower of meteors hits a small British town.  The great cinematographer directed some interesting projects, but half of his intent is lost here in this really awful, color-poor print.  In real life, the color is great and other cheapie DVDs have had better prints.


Maneater Of Hydra is one of the dumbest attempts I have ever seen to rip-off the British Horror classic Day Of the Triffids, as a seeming innocent Baron von Weser (Cameron Mitchell) has a botanical garden of death with plants that eat people.  Even the black and white Avengers episode Man-Eater Of Surrey Green (with Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg) was far better than this mess.  Wonder if a good Techniscope print would make this more watchable?


The House That Screamed (aka La Residencia) focuses on a 19th Century girl’s boarding school with an evil headmistress (Lilli Palmer) and the “sadistic, demented” happenings thereof.  The girls are very pretty and her son more than takes notice.  The reaction to this film has always been mixed, but it is actually more effective and interesting than such a film usually is and worth seeing once.


A creepy, effective and disturbing film, it was shot in anamorphic Franscope and the issuing company did 70mm blow-up prints.  Unfortunately, this is a monophonic copy and like the other five films, is here only in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.  The dumber the film, the worse the print and the poorer the sound.  Gamera is the newest film, with its wacky dubbing and even it sounds a few generations down.  Picture quality is worse, especially on Hydra (you can tell the scope frame is chopped) and Monstroid, but you know that you are not going to get the best prints in camp releases like this.  However, these are the kinds of films that should be in print and if one is popular enough like Blue Sunshine, a better version will surface.


There are no extras and we do not consider the old Elvira parts extras because they are sold with her as the host.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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