If you’re anything like me, your Blu-ray and DVD collecting has been a nice mixture of “I need this!” and “I’ve never heard of this…”
Enter Olive films, a newer company out of Chicago providing those first two categories as well as the ever popular “Oh Crap, I forgot about that!” catagory.
Lets take a look at some of their recent releases and some of the gold they’ve unearthed for the future…
Mad Dog Time
A weird mafia satire that, from what I recall, takes place in an alternate universe(!?) With Richard Dreyfuss as a mob boss fresh from a psychiatric hospital. HONORABLE MENTION: Jeff Goldblum. Always worth mentioning.
From the website’s description: written and directed by Larry Bishop (Hell Ride), features appearances by Gabriel Byrne, Burt Reynolds, Gregory Hines, Kyle MacLachlan, Henry Silva, Michael J. Pollard, Billy Idol, Paul Anka, Rob Reiner, Billy Drago, Joey Bishop and Richard Pryor.
From 1972 comes another tough black man taking down a white mobster in the hood! This time the Black man is Jim brown and the Mobster is Rip Torn!
From the website’s description: This Jim Brown blaxploitation vehicle directed by Jack Starrett (Cleopatra Jones) is the tale of an ex-Vietnam, ex-Green Beret captain known to his friends and enemies alike by one name … Slaughter. He’s out to avenge the murder of his parents by the psychotic Mafioso Dominic Hoffo (Rip Torn, Men In Black). Slaughter’s thirst for vengeance will not be sated, even after a sympathetic mobster’s girlfriend, Ann (Stella Stevens, The Poseidon Adventure) is presented to him as a peace offering.
From the Website’s description: Straight cop Benson (Ryan O’Neal, Love Story) and gay officer Kerwin (John Hurt, Alien) make an odd couple when teamed to solve a series of murders in the comedy-thriller Partners directed by James Burrows (TV’s Cheers). Thrown together by their boss, Chief Wilkins (Kenneth McMillan, Ragtime), ladies man Benson and the closeted records clerk Kerwin go undercover as a gay couple to hunt down the person responsible for a series of murders in L.A.’s gay community.
I may be wrong, and I hope I am, but I recall this being a staple of early HBO and Night Flight and full of the sort of homo-phobic jokes that were not only allowed but openly welcomed in the early 80’s. Again, perhaps I’m wrong and age has turned these jokes more towards “charming” than “Hurtful”…
Madhouse is so incredibly 90’s, from the animated titles that are only loosely connected to the plot to the oh, so terrible fashion choices– you half expect the entire situation to be resolved by dance off! But, there is no such thing as too much John Larroquette! And its always good too be reminded of how sexy Kirstie Alley was (IS!)
From the Websites description: The appropriately titled Madhouse stars Kirstie Alley (Look Who’s Talking) and John Larroquette (Blind Date) as Mark and Jessie Bannister, whose California home is turned upside down when visiting relatives, pesky neighbors and an assortment of unwanted guests take up residence.
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors
1.There is no Dr. Terror in this flick. 2. They’re all on a train, not in a house. But someone in corporate nixed the original title “Dr. Schreck’s Train of Tarot Readings”(Citation needed).
Don’t let that little change steer you away, though. They just don’t make horror anthologies like they used to.
From the websites description: Five men who board a train as strangers will soon find commonality when joined by a sixth passenger, the mysterious traveler known as Dr. Schreck (Peter Cushing). Watch as their destinies unfold in the chilling and “life”-altering horror-thrill ride, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors.
To while away the time, the good doctor offers to read each passenger’s Tarot cards. The innocent parlor game has an unexpected conclusion as each reading unfolds on screen as a terrifying vignette (a werewolf on the loose; a vengeful creeping vine; a tale of voodoo; a disembodied hand coming to life; and a vampire story) the results of which are unpredictable and shocking.
Messenger of Death
FACT: Charles Bronson starred in 7 films with the word “Death” in the title, and now he’s dead. Coincidence!?
From the Websites Description: The brutal murder of three Mormon women and their children is just the tip of the iceberg as an investigative reporter digs into the seamy side of religious fanaticism and political corruption in the compelling crime drama Messenger of Death.
Newspaper reporter Garret Smith (Charles Bronson,Death Wish) with the help of local editor Jastra Watson (Trish Van Devere, The Changeling) set out to solve the horrific murders which they believe may be linked to a fundamentalist sect whose excommunicated leader, Willis Beecham (Jeff Corey,True Grit) is considered a prophet.
More important than the magical mannequin angle (which was first used with greater effect in the 1980’s Canadian Children’s show, Today’s Special)is the “comic relief”, Hollywood. Played in over-the-top 80’s stereotypical perfection by Meshach Taylor, he’s clearly the only part most peeps remember from this movie– AND was the only character to return in the Sequel!
From the Websites Description This inspired comedy, a nod to such romantic fantasy films as One Touch of Venus, is directed and co-written by Michael Gottlieb (A Kid In King Arthur’s Court) with Edward Rugoff (Double Take). The filmco-stars James Spader (Pretty In Pink) as Switcher’s work rival; Meshach Taylor (TV’s Designing Women) as his outrageous and flamboyant co-worker; Estelle Getty (TV’s Golden Girls) as the owner of Prince & Company; and G.W. Bailey (Police Academy, TV’sMajor Crimes) as the store’s security chief.
True Story: My parents saw this movie the night I was born. After the movie, she went for Lemon ice-cream and went into labor. I have YET to see the entire film. Guess i’ll be seeing it on Blu Ray! Sunrise, sunset…
From the Websites description:Warren Maxwell (James Mason, North By Northwest) and his son Hammond (Perry King, The Day After Tomorrow) rule their plantation and its inhabitants with an iron fist. Warren needs to see Hammond wed a woman from a respectable family, sire a son, and acquire a Mandingo slave to breed a stronger slave colony. Hammond finds that “respectable woman” in his bride, Blanche (played at fever pitch by Susan George, Straw Dogs), but her questionable chastity soon has Hammond returning to his wandering ways. When he purchases the beautiful Ellen (Brenda Sykes, Cleopatra Jones) to be a “house slave” … and his mistress … Blanche is pushed to the edge.
When the vengeful Blanche forces Mede (Ken Norton, Drum), the newly acquired Mandingo slave, into her bed she is ill prepared for the dire consequences.
I cant watch this movie. There is a scene of ants crawling out of a perfectly round hole in a persons hand that has skeeved me out for three decades. But, you– you enjoy!
From the Websites description: This gripping film, part science fiction, part philosophical musing on man’s place in the universe, has gained cult status. Michael Murphy (Manhattan) stars as James Lesko with Nigel Davenport (A Man For All Seasons) as Dr. Ernest Hubbs, scientists in search of answers to an evolutionary shift in the ant population that’s adopted a hive mentality allowing the ants to team with others of their species to create a super colony. In an effort to better understand the intelligent and powerful new life form, Lesko and Hubbs are faced with the choice of either communicating with, or eradicating their antagonists. Lynne Frederick is cast as Kendra, an ant attack survivor who’ll play a pivotal role in deciphering the ants’ mysterious existence.
Phase IV is written for the screen by Mayo Simon (Futureworld), photographed by Dick Bush (Ken Russell’s Tommy and Mahler) and scored by Brian Gascoigne (The Emerald Forest) with contributions by Stomu Yamashta, David Vorhaus and Desmond Briscoe.
Hello Internet! My name is J'Mel
I'm a sexxy brown southern writer with an affinity for B- Horror flicks and Middle Aged redheads
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