Elvira’s Movie Macabre Double Features (Blue
Sunshine – Monstroid/Gamera, Super Monster – They Came From Beyond Space/Maneater Of Hydra – The House That Screamed)
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
The House That Screamed (1969/letterboxed 2.35 X 1
Franscope [70mm too]) C+
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
no extras and we do not consider the old Elvira parts extras because they are
sold with her as the host.
- Nicholas Sheffo