Monday, June 19, 2006

Mostly Indie Films, Cheap and Plentiful

I can understand how someone could log onto this blog and wonder why I am talking up companies selling collections of films on DVD. This blog is, by its own definition, about indie films and the people who make them.

Films don't stand on their own. Long gone are the days of Herschell Gordon Lewis and filmmakers promoting their own films at local drive-ins. These days, it doesn't matter if you have the greatest thing since the discovery of Lycra -- no distributor, no one is gonna see your films. Part of the whole is the distributor. The people at Mill Creek Entertainment are dredging up mostly indie films that, in some cases, time has forgotten. Of course, opinions may lean in the direction that some of these films should be forgotten, but the point is they are compiling collections for those who enjoy the old stuff and/or for those who want to do their homework before tackling the new stuff.

Four new releases should be hitting your entertainment stores around June 27:

"Tales Of Terror"

This is a 50 film collection that covers a lot of ground as far as film history. Throughout the 12 discs, you will find classics with Bela Lugosi ("The Bat," "Bowery At Midnight," and "The Ape Man") as well as oddities from the 70s ("Curse Of The Headless Horseman," "The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave," and "Werewolf Of Washington"). They took the time to track down some of the Skid Row horror films aimed at black audiences in the 30s and 40s ("The Devil's Daughter" and "Midnight Shadow"). You can have your own Todd Slaughter film festival with four of his films. If you tire of that, check out the various Italian horror films ("Terror Creatures From The Grave," "The She-Beast," and "The Long Hair Of Death"). This collection lists at $29.98, but you should be able to find it for considerably less, around $19.99 or so. At almost 62 hours of material, you'll stay busy.

"Strange Tales"

A 20 movie set that leans towards the science fiction film. Some of the more notable selections are: "Idaho Transfer" -- directed by Peter Fonda, a tale of time travel and ecological disaster; "The Doomsday Machine" -- an early 70s oddity with Casey Kasem (Shaggy from the original "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" series on Saturday mornings from the same era); "Warriors Of The Wasteland" -- one of the dozens of cheap Italian sci-fi action films we were assaulted (and insulted) with in the 80s. The set lists at $14.98, but don't be surprised to see it for 10 or 11 bucks. Expect almost 29 hours to cheap thrills.

"Cult Classics"

Another 20 movie set, this time featuring some lovely grindhouse nightmares that dwell in mostly realistic subject matter even if the presentation is absurd. Drug-crazed people run the streets, corrupting all they touch in such heartwarming fare as "Cocaine Fiends," "Reefer Madness," and "The Marijuana Menace." Learn how to avoid moral decay by absorbing the lessons presented in "Delinquent Daughters," "Slaves In Bondage," "Escort Girl," and "The Wild And The Wicked," sometimes known as "The Flesh Merchant". Then you have films that defy rationale, such as "Child Bride," "Terror In Tiny Town," and "Chained For Life," which starred real Siamese twins. Lists for $14.98, but you are likely to do better price-wise. Almost 24 hours of some of the most insane films collected. Show it at your next frat party.

"Vampires And More"

A 20 film set that brings together the various vampire films from most of the other collections Mill Creek has out. A great way to sample the range of films the company has to offer as well as being a easy way for those who like their wine red and their meat rare to have a collection of bloodsuckers and flesheaters to entertain them until the dawn. "Devil Bat," "Atomic Age Vampire," "Last Man On Earth," "Nosferatu," "Revolt Of The Zombies," and "Voodoo Black Exorcist" (a personal favorite) are just a taste of the titles in the collection. Listing at $14.98, but -- well, you know the drill by now. Expect nearly 28 hours of bloodletting, bloodsucking and gut-munching fun.

Do your history lessons, folks. Check out the origins of your current favorite horror and exploitation genres. You might just find a few hidden gems.

We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the permission to use their cover art. To visit Mill Creek Entertainment's website for more information, go to

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