The inaugural release from Film Masters – the new vintage film restoration and distribution company, launched by industry veteran and film historian Phil Hopkins – is a two-disc collection featuring cult favorite The Giant Gila Monster and The Killer Shrews; originally released as a drive-in double-feature in 1959. The classic era of drive-in schlock was near its end at the time, but there remained a dedicated audience for this pair of no-budget howlers from director Ray Kellogg and producer Gordon McLendon. Hopkins states:
“Preserving these films in an increasingly homogenized media world is more important than ever. As a consortium of historians and avid enthusiasts, Film Masters was launched to celebrate the preservation and restoration of vintage movies, many of them cult films, that otherwise might not be seen or experienced by a new generation of film lovers.”
When two teens disappear from a small Texas town in The Giant Gila Monster, the locals think they’ve eloped. But soon it becomes clear that something much more sinister is afoot. And if a giant Gila monster isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of cool cars and some ersatz rock ‘n’ roll sung by star Don Sullivan (The Monster of Piedras Blancas). The Killer Shrews stars James Best (The Dukes of Hazard) as a riverboat pilot stranded by a hurricane on a remote island where a population of shrews the size of German shepherds are voracious. The cast includes Ken Curtis (Gunsmoke) and Ingrid Goude (Miss Universe, 1956).
The Giant Gila Monster (newly restored 4k scan from 35mm archival elements) and The Killer Shrews (restored HD print) are offered in 16×9 theatrical aspect ratio, as well as in 4×3 ratio, on region-free discs with DTS-HD sound (Blu-ray) and Dolby AC3s sound (DVD), with bonus materials, including a full-color, inserted booklet with essays by Don Stradley and Jason A. Ney. Available to pre-order from filmmasters.com