Monday, 28 August 2017

New DVD announcement! The Greek Fantastique!

Dimitris Panayiotatos is the only Greek film maker to have specialised in film noir, fantasy and sci-fi. He has produced and directed documentaries, TV series and feature films and has created a consistent and compelling body of work over more than thirty years.

This DVD brings together his 1990 feature film Lovers Beyond Time, as well as an episode of the “Twilight Zone” style TV series Tales of Love and Terror. The disc also includes his 2009 feature length documentary on the history of Greek genre cinema and an interview with the director where he discusses his own career and the difficulties of working in genre cinema in Greece, a country where such productions have always been marginalized.

The disc includes:

LOVERS BEYOND TIME – 1990; Feature film, 80 minutes
Sylvia and Angelos have an intense relationship. Too intense for Sylvia, who breaks it off. Three years later, with Angelos dead, Sylvia lives with a doctor and works for a record company. Her new life is suddenly invaded by a succession of bizarre events: strange deaths occur around her and she experiences a series of involuntary orgasms, as though a man she can feel but not see is making love to her - in the street, at work, in her car. All of this seems connected in some way with a mysterious musician she is trying to track down, a man who constantly evades her; until one night her phone rings.... With influences ranging from early Cronenberg to Italian erotic thrillers of the 1970s, the film is a journey into the dangerous world of the irrational, where time contracts and expands and where people are at the mercy of natural laws that change suddenly, violently and without warning.

STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND – 2009; documentary, 90 minutes
This ground-breaking and important documentary reveals the hitherto untold story of Greek genre cinema over the last 50 years, dealing with Film Noir, Thrillers, Fantasy films and Sci-Fi. It includes a wealth of interviews with directors, writers and critics and clips from more than 50 films. Very little of the information included here has been available before outside Greece and it will be essential viewing to anyone interested in the wider world of genre cinema.

THE EROTIC, THE FANTASTIC – 2017; interview, 25 minutes
An interview with director Dimitris Panayiotatos where he talks about his own career, studying film in Paris in the 1970s, writing and publishing books and magazines on sci-fi and fantasy cinema and the difficulties of working in the fantastic genres in a country where comedy is king.

THE LAST MEAL – 1988 – TV episode, 25 minutes
An episode from a Greek Twilight Zone style TV series called Tales of Love and Terror.

Coming this winter to DVD only! (Sorry, no blu for this one.)

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Daniela Giordano on INQUISTION and working with Paul Naschy

Daniela Giordano recently submitted this lovely written reminiscence about working with Paul Naschy on his directorial debut INQUISITION. We didn't receive it in time to include in the booklet for our forthcoming limited edition Blu-ray of the film so thought we'd share it here. Enjoy! 

I am very proud of this film. And I'm glad that it’s not been forgotten. I was the star and I played the role of a simple country girl who becomes a witch in order to destroy an inquisitor who has killed her boyfriend. The character of the witch was drawn from historical records, based on a woman called Catherine Brindeau, and Paul sought an actress who physically resembled her, as seen in an engraving in an old book he showed me. When he met me the first time he was surprised because, among other similarities, I also had the same speck in one eye which was mentioned in stories about that girl. In those times this was seen as the sign of the devil. Paul strived for authenticity in the film. All the instruments of torture were authentic. Even the famous Malleus Maleficarum shown in the film. This book, along with many of the other props, were from a famous Madrid museum and Paul had managed to get permission to use them in the film.

Paul Naschy directed me as a real director should. He was almost never angry on set. Being an actor he knows very well how to talk to other actors. The crew loved him. This is very important for things to work well. He was serious, but at the right moment he was able to make fun of something or tell a joke to break the tension.

I really preferred my character in the second part of the film, after Catherine has become a witch. Indeed, it was difficult to play the first part. I remember that Paul told me many times: “Please, try to be more sweet; you are a simple country girl and you respect your father…” It was hard for me to look submissive - considering that at this time in the movie business in Italy I was called “the wild girl” because of my personality (I was and I still am very independent).

One day, my scene included a number of everyday activities in the kitchen. Paul hands me a live chicken and says: "Now take this chicken, sit in that chair, wring its neck and then pluck it. Remember you're a simple country girl, in your kitchen, and you know how to prepare a chicken." Well, at that time in my life I’d never seen a chicken so close up! Except cooked and on my plate. You don’t  meet chickens on the street, at the beach or in a nightclub. And in the countryside you only see them on farms as you drive past. So I said: “No, I’m not going to kill this poor chicken. I can’t do it.” I saw Paul’s face darken. Then he went off with one of the crew and together they disappeared into the corner. Eventually he came back, handed me the chicken, now dead but still warm, and said harshly: “Now sit there and pluck it.” I managed it somehow but with tears streaming down my face. In the end, Paul cut most of the scene and left only a few seconds.

A particularly dangerous sequence came at the end, when I was burnt at the stake. Unfortunately, at that very moment the wind rose and blew the flames in my direction. I was tied to the wooden stake and really afraid when I felt the intense heat on my face. I expected Paul to halt the scene, but nothing happened. So my screams in the film are real. I was genuinely scared. And, I must say, so were the crew. It takes just a few seconds to damage an actress for life. The only safety measure was someone standing near the flames with a blanket in case I caught fire !!

At the time, so my agent told me later, the film had grossed more in Spanish-speaking countries than Jaws but it was not sold in Italy because distributors didn’t believe that my name alone would bring in audiences and also because there wasn’t enough sex. It was a big disappointment for me because I had hoped that the success of this film would start to raise the quality of the scripts that were being offered to me. Fortunately, over the years, Inquisition has made its own way around the world, first on video-tape and then on DVD. I am very happy that Mondo Macabro has now been able to restore the film and distribute it on Blu Ray for the first time anywhere in the world.

The limited edition blu-ray featuring a reversible cover with exclusive art on both sides and a booklet with brand new writing on the film by Pete Tombs will be available to purchase on Wednesday, April 12th at 7am P.S.T. 
Pre-order here

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

PRINT IS NOT DEAD! The Return of Diabolique Magazine!

If Mondo Macabro were a magazine, we might well be Diabolique.

During its original print run, this glossy zine was a challenging antidote to the far more conventional rags that otherwise filled in the shelves at bookstores across the country, like Fangoria, Rue Morgue, etc.

That is, when there actually were bookstores with shelves that displayed new issues of periodicals about horror films.

There aren't too many of those around anymore. Which is why Diabolique lamentably had to quit its print edition last year.

Well, for those of you who still cherish physical media of all sorts we have some good news for you! Diabolique is coming back into print!

Come next March this extraordinary mag will line shelves (where they still exist) once again, with a brand new issue devoted exclusively to Asian horror!

So if you are a fan of what we do, then we're sure definitely want to pick this up!

For more info, here's the press release as well as a trailer!

Diabolique Magazine is back in print with an entire issue dedicated to celebrating Japanese and Korean cult cinema at its most sublime, otherworldly, erotic and visceral. In our cover story we explore the darker elements of Japanese folklore; tracking the evolution of the ghost story from genre defining classics Onibaba, Kwaidan, and Kuroneko, right through to the J-horror boom of the nineties in Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge; before joining J-horror pioneer Hideo Nakata to discuss his career in genre film. This is followed with features on the blood soaked tradition of Japanese theater in relation to the work of Akira Kurosawa and Jacobean revenge, the shocking horrors of Korean war portrayed in genre film and a tribute to the work of the late great David Bowie. Add to that some sizzling sensuality and lesbian love, as we unwrap Chan-wook Park’s provocative The Handmaiden, and last, but certainly not least, a homage to the mythical beast Godzilla, and we promise you this is one of our boldest and most potent issues yet!

Pre-order the issue directly here.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Big Plans for 2017!

2016 may have seemed like the downfall of civilization for many, but it was a pretty good year for Mondo Macabro!

We had five Blu-ray releases - LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN, SYMPTOMS, PRIVATE VICES PUBLIC VIRTUES, SUDDENLY IN THE DARK, and NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND DESIRES - and one DVD-only release, MEDOUSA, making this our busiest year in almost a decade!

And we are just getting started!

We already have several amazing titles announced for 2017, including the unlimited retail release of SUDDENLY IN THE DARK in February, our BD upagrade of Franco's COUNTESS PERVERSE, the Spanish giallo THE FOX WITH A VELVET TAIL and two Paul Naschy masterpieces, EL CAMINANTE and INQUISITION, all on Blu! But we've saved the best and biggest titles for our final announcement of the year!

Coming to BD for the first time in the US: two total classics of 70s Spanish horror - WHO CAN KILL A CHILD and THE BLOOD-SPATTERED BRIDE!

We're currently working with the licensor in Spain to make sure we get the best possible HD elements to ensure these will be the definitive editions of these films for years to come.

Hopefully we'll have these ready by summertime! More info TBD/TBA!

Beyond that, we are still looking into a lot of new, exciting projects for the rest of 2017, including more Asian films on Blu-ray, another entry in our Greek Collection, and our first forays into the wild and unruly world of regional US exploito-horror! Start saving your pennies now!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Coming this Halloween! K-horror classic SUDDENLY IN THE DARK on Blu-ray!

Coming October 31st: The world exclusive Blu-ray debut of the Korean horror classic SUDDENLY IN THE DARK!

Limited Halloween Release! 500 copies! Numbered red case edition with an exclusive booklet! *

Pre-order starts Monday October 10th only at the Mondo Macabro webstore!Featuring reduced shipping: $3 US, $5 CAN, $9 ROTW

A woman’s idyllic middle-class life is disrupted when her husband brings home a beautiful young orphan to be their maid. At first she welcomes the pretty girl, in fact seems oddly fixated on her, but soon comes to suspect the girl of having an affair with her husband. At the same time odd, unexplained incidents - most involving the maid’s mysterious wooden doll - began to make her question her own sanity. Soon it all spirals out of control as the film climaxes in a fever pitch of sexual jealousy, murder, and supernatural vengeance, all set to a pounding synth score.

Almost completely unknown outside of its home country, SUDDENLY IN THE DARK is one of the best examples of pre-millennial K-horror. It was made at a time when censorship law were being liberalized, igniting a boom in both horror and erotic films. Elements of both are present here, directed with bizarre flair by Go Yeong-nam in a style often compared to the wilder Italian films of the 70s and 80s.

Mondo Macabro is proud to present this classic of Korean horror on Blu-ray for the first time anywhere in the world. Our presentation has been restored from the best available elements from the Korean Film Archive, and features brand new extras produced exclusively for this release.

Special Features

Interview with producer Suh Byung-gi
Interview with critic Kim Bong-seok on the history of Korean horror films
K-Horror VHS Cover Art Gallery
Teaser Trailer
Mondo Macabro Promo Reel
Brand New Cover Illustration by Naomi Butterfield
Limited edition booklet with brand new essays on the film by Grady Hendrix and Christopher Koenig

*A retail release in a standard case without the booklet will be available sometime Spring 2017. If the LE sells out quickly it's possible that we will do another limited red case run, but no more another 500, and probably un-numbered.

SUDDENLY IN THE DARK - Coming soon to Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

New Blu-ray Title Announcement Round-up!

We've made three brand new title announcements over at our Facebook page this week, but in case you missed it:

We couldn’t be more excited about this first new Blu-ray announcement, the 1981 psycho-sexual South Korean horror film SUDDENLY IN THE DARK!

This amazing, almost unknown film is full of uncomfortable sexuality, cheap visual effects, creepy dolls, shamanism, butterflies, and murder – all set to a searing, original synth score!

Contrary to some popular belief, Korean horror didn’t start in the late 90s, it had been a staple genre in that country for many decades prior, with the early 1980s being a particularly rich period. Unfortunately, these films remain almost completely unknown outside of the ROK. Just the sort of challenge we love! SUDDENLY IN THE DARK is one of the very best pre-millennial K-Horrors: genuinely frightening and utterly bizarre.

This will be our next blu release after PRIVATE VICES, we hope to have it out by early October. We are currently hard at work cleaning up the HD master given to us by the Korean Film Archive, so it will look miles better than any of the versions have have been floating around the internet. We're really digging back into our "worldweird" roots with this one, and we hope you'll follow us down! More details to be revealed in the coming weeks, including a brand new cover illustration by artist Naomi Butterfield!

Never seen the movie? Check out the trailer!

Next up: Need more Franco in your life? Of course you do! 

We are extremely proud to present the North American home video premiere of Jess Franco’s underrated 80s supernatural-sex opus MIL SEXOS TIENE LA NOCHE!

A quasi-remake of his own earlier film NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT, this unusual thriller finds Franco at the height of his stylistic delirium:

 “The dreamlike atmosphere is everything here and the director gradually develops a layered nightmare. Humid tints, tilted set ups in cramped interiors, painterly compositions and the most beautiful seven note phrase ever written by Daniel White do the rest of the job.” – Robert Monell, I’m in a Jess Franco State of Mind 

We think this is one of best films of Franco’s fruitful partnership with Golden Films in Spain, perhaps the last extended period of greatness for the ever-prolific exploitation director, and couldn’t be more excited about bringing to an English speaking audience for the first time.

We hope to have this one out later this year, or perhaps early next. We haven’t yet seen the HD master and so don’t know what work still needs to be done, if any. More details to come in the following weeks, including brand new cover art by Justin Coffee!

And finally ...

Coming late 2016/early 2017: THE FOX WITH A VELVET TAIL!

Variously known as In the Eye of the Hurricane, Lusty Lovers, El Ojo del huracán, La volpe dalla coda di velluto and Suspicion this 1971 Italian/Spanish giallo is a hugely enjoyable and very stylish addition to the "Murder on the Med" strand of movies originally popularized by Umberto Lenzi and US star Carroll Baker.

Here, Spanish director José María Forqué - who later made the controversial It's Nothing, Mother, it's Only a Game (released in the US as Beyond Erotica) - brings together a talented and good looking cast, great Côte d'Azur locations, one of the best Spanish cinematographers of the day (Alejandro Ulloa) and a fantastic, lounge style score from Maestro Piccioni to create a twisty, if not twisted, tale of deception and revenge. The director's long career at the more prestigious end of Spanish cinema and the presence of award winning scripter Rafael Azcona - who worked with many top European film makers including Marco Ferreri and Luis García Berlanga - give the film an edge of sophistication alongside its enjoyably devious narrative.

From its very first seconds, the film has a unique and hard to define atmosphere, almost dreamlike. Everything seems a little out of kilter. It's apt that the French release title of the film was Suspicion, not only for its Hitchcockian wrong echoes but also for the way it suggest that nothing here is to be taken at face value. There are constant doubts about minor details, about characters who seem to emerge, without warning, from the past. We feel, while watching it, as though under the influence of a benign narcotic. Only gradually do we realise what's going on and, as we do, the film builds to a tense and gripping final act, with Rosanna Yanni rising to the occasion as a gold digging harpy. Her obvious pleasure in tormenting poor Analía Gadé is genuinely upsetting to watch.

The film is like the smooth blue waters of the Mediterranean where it's set. It looks inviting and seductive, the sun glistening off the gentle waves; but just beneath the surface, sharks are swimming, and they're hungry for prey...

The cast includes top Spanish diva Analía Gadé, giallo staple Jean Sorel, Kommissar X star Tony Kendall and the lustrous Rosanna Yanni in one of her most memorable roles.

Expect a brand new 4k scan from the negative and a sparkling blu ray presentation with original art work from illustrator Justin Coffee.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Miklós Jancsó's PRIVATE VICES PUBLIC VIRTUES on Blu-ray! Spec and Pre-order info

Pre-order starts 8 AM PST/11AM EST this Friday, July 29th exclusively at our webstore!
We estimate shipping to start around the week of August 22-26

Limited, numbered edition!
Exclusive slipcover! 
Booklet with a brand new essay by Max Weinstein and Joe Yanick!
Reduced shipping rates! $3 US, $5 Canada, $10 ROTW!

Disc Content

World exclusive region-free Blu ray
Brand new HD transfer from negative
English and Italian language tracks with optional English subtitles
Interview with Michael Brooke on director Miklós Jancsó
Interview with actress Pamela Villoresi
Interview with screenwriter and assistant director Giovanna Gagliardo

A retail version of this disc without the slipcover or booklet will be available in October with an SRP of $29.99

Miklós Jancsó (1921-2014) was one of the giants of European art cinema. He had been making films in his native Hungary since 1958, but in 1966 he exploded onto the world scene at Cannes with THE ROUND UP. The international critics had never seen anything like it. Combining cinematography with choreography, Jancso films crowds of soldiers on horseback, peasants, and partisans as they perform a ritualistic dance of love, life and death on the bleak Hungarian plains. Ostensibly a costume piece about the 1848 revolt against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the film was widely interpreted as a thinly veiled attack on the aborted 1956 Hungarian uprising against Soviet Russia.

Over his next five features he developed and refined a hypnotic and fluid technique via long, sweeping camera moves and crane shots. Filming in color, his productions became like dazzling "happenings", combining music, dance, naked bodies, horses, men in uniform and spontaneous bursts of singing into a seemingly eternal tracking shot. His films were widely screened at festivals and in art house cinemas. His was a name to drop, an influence to quote.

Then, in the early 1970s, Jancso moved to Italy and began working with new collaborators. Times were changing. It was a post-1968 world and a new explicitness was being seen onscreen, coupled with a certain sense of betrayal about the ideals that had seemed so achievable only a few years before. PRIVATE VICES PUBLIC VIRTUES, made in 1975, reflected both these factors.

The story is based on the famous Mayerling incident where Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria was found dead beside his 17 year old lover in an apparent joint suicide. However as with his earlier productions, the director only used history as a jumping off point. The film is pure Jancso. The long tracking shots are there, the horses are there, the naked bodies are there, as are the snatches of folk music and group singing.

The main difference between this film and his more acclaimed earlier works is that it features a host of increasingly bizarre sexual incidents. When it screened as an official entry in the 1976 Cannes Festival and viewers caught on to some of the shocking things that it contained ... well, let's just say that it caused a scandal and in some ways Jancso's reputation never recovered. Like Borowczyk before him, he was almost written off as a one time great film maker who had strayed too far into porn and lost his artistic mojo.

In fact PRIVATE VICES PUBLIC VIRTUES now plays like an overlooked masterpiece. There really is nothing like it in world cinema. The controversy long behind us, we can see that this is one of those rare erotic productions where the point of the film lies in its excess. There's nothing gratuitous about it. Known in Germany as THE BIG ORGY (Die Grosse Orgie), this amazing piece of subversive 70s cinema has never been well treated on home video - pirated, cut and generally not given the respect it deserves. This new release from Mondo Macabro, a world Blu-ray exclusive taken from the original negative, will bring this forgotten classic of world cinema back into the spotlight. It's a film that once seen cannot be forgotten, and it deserves a place in the home of all adventurous film lovers.

PRIVATE VICES, PUBLIC VIRTUES - uncensored trailer from Mondo Macabro on Vimeo.