With Richard Donner’s Superman still a few years off from transforming comic cinema into a legit and lucrative genre, letting the audience in on the gag and addressing its protagonist’s more antiquated elements would have been a wise move. But outside of pausing every so often to superimpose a gleam across Ron Ely’s peepers or randomly announce a new, heretofore unknown talent of Doc’s, Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze does little to deconstruct its parent property or its contemporaries in the world of crime-fighting fiction. Producer George Pal took a chance on a big-screen throwback.
One cannot discuss 1976’s most controversial theatrical release without first discussing the mythology of the ‘snuff’ film itself. You see, a snuff film is a filmed sequence that depicts the actual murder of another human being for distribution and financial exploitation. Morbid, yes?
Then came along Snuff: “The film that could only be made in South America…where life is cheap!”
The history behind Snuff however, is far more interesting than the film itself.
“Are the killings in this film real? You be the judge!”
Originally released in 1971, A Bay of Blood was later refused certification from the BBFC in 1972, ensuring that the film could not be shown at any cinema within the United Kingdom. Fast forward to 1984, and the unmonitored home video market was beginning to find traction with consumers. Bava’s A Bay of Blood would finally find a UK audience upon it’s simultaneous release on VHS and Betamax (from Hokushin under the title Blood Bath) that same year.
“Diabolical! Fiendish! Savage… You may not walk away from this one!”
During the videotape format war of the late 1970s and early 1980s, JVC’s VHS would compete for market share against Sony’s Betamax. Betamax was, in theory, the superior recording format but VHS would ultimately emerge as the preeminent home video format in 1986. Consumers could not justify the extra cost of a Betamax VCR, which was often more expensive that the VHS equivalent due to the higher quality construction of Betamax recorders.
“Decadence is their fate.”
In the United Kingdom, Liverpool Small Cinema presents an iconic Japanese horror double bill: Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998) and Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu (1977).
“To try and narrow down a selection of Japanese horror films, which cover all things psychological, supernatural, explicit and mythological, is no easy task however, so we felt that the programme would need to reflect the full scale of myths, folk and ghost tales that have dominated Japanese culture for centuries.”
Japanese anime has become a global worldwide culture for many reasons. Becoming popular in Japan after the second world war, anime provided an alternative format for storytelling. The common misconception in the west is that animation is primarily aimed towards the children, but this is not the case in Japan.
“For most Japanese consumers of anime, their culture is no longer a purely Japanese one (and indeed it probably hasn’t been for over a century and a half). At least in terms of entertainment, they are as equally interested by Western cultural influences as they are by specifically Japanese ones.”
The Lo Wei Motion Picture Company, particularly Lo Wei himself, was frustrated that their previous attempts to market Jackie Chan as the next Bruce Lee were not proving to be fruitful for the production house. As a result Lo Wei gave Jackie Chan a degree of creative control over 1978’s Half a Loaf of Kung Fu; a decision Lo Wei would initially regret.
“It’s my kung fu. It’s no good for anything, except laughs.” PRESS PLAY ►
Even as children, most of us have a perverse interest in the gruesome. This is not something new to modern culture, no matter how shocked we might be regarding the explicit nature of current video games and movies. Classic myths and fairy tales were tapping into human nature’s odd fascination with the macabre and grotesque since stories began. No contemporary writer has been more attuned to this strange proclivity than Stephen King, and the popularity of his work is a testament to his insight.
“You were warned never to push Carrie to the limits. Now you must face the evil consequences.”
Chances are you won’t have a problem finding most of your favourite holiday films this year. Classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas are shown around the clock. While they’re all perfectly great movies, sometimes you just want something different. These are a few of the best holiday-themed horror movies that will probably make you scared of Santa.
“Better watch out… Better not cry… Or you may DIE!” PRESS PLAY ►
In 1971 JVC put together a team to develop a consumer-based VTR, but by early 1972 the video recording industry in Japan began to struggle financially. JVC was forced to restructure their video division, effectively shelving the VCR project. However, JVC engineers Yuma Shiraishi and Shizuo Takano continued to work on the project in secret. By 1973 the two engineers had produced a functional prototype.
“It feels nothing… it fears nothing… there is no escape.”
This is a movie that went on to become known as one of the greatest martial arts movies in history and maintains its cult status today. Sadly, the movie marked Bruce Lee’s final film appearance before his death. However, the movie and the actor himself continue to influence the world today in many different ways…
“The first American produced martial arts spectacular!” PRESS PLAY ►
Written and directed by Rene Cardona Jr., Tintorera! is a Mexican-British horror film released in 1977, shortly after the success of Jaws (1975). You would expect Tintorera! to be nothing more than a clone of the cultural phenomenon Steven Spielberg spearheaded. Instead Tintorera! blends the ‘killer shark’ sub-genre with softcore erotica!
“There’s a monstrous killer churning up the sea… Tintorera …Tiger Shark” PRESS PLAY ►