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Three Insane Classics Come to Blu-ray: Dementia 13, The Terror, and Poor Pretty Eddie

I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m officially a Blu-ray snob. It took a while to get there, but you know what? When you see first-hand how cool Blu-ray technology is, you’ll be sold, too. Three classics are coming our way in glorious 1080p, and we’ve got the scoop on them for ya!

From the Press Releases
DEMENTIA 13: Future film-making legend Francis Ford Coppola makes his big-screen directorial debut with this cult horror classic, available for the first time in spectacular High-Definition Blu-Ray. Following the abrupt death of her husband from a heart attack, the scheming Louise Haloran (Luanda Anders) travels to her in-laws’ estate in Ireland, only to find herself trapped in a creepy, decrepit castle with her ex-husband’s demented family. Upon arrival, she is introduced to a pair of maladjusted brothers (William Campbell, Bart Patton) and a distraught mother-in-law (Eithne Dunn), still grieving for the daughter she lost in a drowning accident many years earlier. When a mysterious axe-wielding psychopath enters the fray, leaving blood-spattered corpses in his wake, the family’s doctor (Patrick Magee) takes it upon himself to try to get to the bottom of things–before it’s too late! The making of Dementia 13, meanwhile, is a tale unto itself. An aspiring film-maker fresh out of UCLA, Coppola found work under the tutelage of B-movie legend Roger Corman, doing sound, editing and various other tasks. After finishing a film called The Young Racers under budget, Corman opted to use the leftover funds to finance a low-budget thriller to cash in on the success of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Coppola quickly delivered a script to Corman’s liking, promising plenty of nudity and gore. Corman gave him the green light. Despite the meager budget, Coppola made the most of his resources, re-purposing both sets and actors from The Young Racers, while employing the sort of creative lighting, camera angles, and storytelling that reveals an early glimpse at the great filmmaking that would follow with such titles as Apocalypse Now and The Godfather trilogy.

Street Date: April 26, 2011

THE TERROR: A cult classic from the master of the B-movie himself, director Roger Corman, available for the first time in thrilling High Definition Blu-Ray! In one of his first-ever roles, a young Jack Nicholson stars as Lt. Andre Duvalier, a soldier in Napoleon’s army in 19th century France, separated from his regiment. He awakens on a beach to the sight of a strange woman who leads him to the Gothic, towering castle that serves as home to eerie Baron Von Leppe (Boris Karloff). But, as Duvalier soon discovers, nothing is what it seems in this ghastly, haunted mansion of death! This underground favorite was made in classic Roger Corman fashion, making the most of his resources to bring yet another film to life on a minimal budget for his producers at American International Pictures. AIP was a small, independent studio that specialized in low-budget teensploitation films, and Corman was one of their main men. Here, he squeezed extra mileage out of not only previously-used sets, but also actors and crew from two of his other recently-completed films (The Raven, The Haunted Palace). Short on time himself (there were more movies to be made!), Corman left it to a few of the aspiring directors within his crew (among them, Jack Hill, a young Francis Coppola, and even Jack Nicholson taking a turn behind the camera for a few scenes) to help see the film to completion. The Terror would go on to become a drive-in favorite and late-night TV staple, also appearing under the titles The Terror, Lady of the Shadows and The Castle of Terror. Meanwhile, Roger Corman would go on to inspire an entire generation of film-makers, including many like Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese and John Sayles–who worked under him while honing their skills.

Street Date: April 26, 2011

POOR PRETTY EDDIE: Brace yourself for one of the 1970s greatest, creepiest, cult classics now available for the first time ever on High Definition Blu-Ray. It’s a surreal psycho-thriller that broke all the rules of political correctness and lowbrow film-making as it spun the sordid tale of a black singer from the big city, Liz Wetherly (Leslie Uggams), who finds herself stranded in a backwoods redneck nightmare that makes Deliverance look like a day at Disneyland in comparison. Poor Pretty Eddie spent years existing as one of those mythical, must-see… if you can find a copy… films. As copies began to make the rounds, and as more movie buffs were able to view it, reports of the movie’s content focused as much on the detailed, almost art-house, approach to many of the scenes as they did on the film’s obvious seediness and dark storyline. Intriguing, when you consider its directors had demonstrated no aspirations previously (or, indeed, since) to produce anything beyond good ol’ fashioned exploitation fare aimed at the drive-in movie crowd. Not that this movie would have disappointed anyone looking for a down and dirty grindcore film, either. When her car breaks down, Whetherly ends up stuck in a remote Southern town that’s been left for dead ever since they put in the interstate. She is forced to stay in a dilapidated inn that serves as the bizzaro kingdom of faded, overweight burlesque star Bertha (Shelly Winters), her much younger boy-toy and aspiring Elvis wannabe, Eddie (Michael Christian), and a cast of suitably strange townsfolk including Sheriff Orville (Slim Pickens), Keno (Ted Cassidy aka Lurch from The Addams Family and one of the great character actors of our time) and Floyd (Dub Taylor, another notable character actor). Over the years, the film also appeared on the drive-in circuit under the titles Black Vengeance and Heartbreak Motel. But whatever you want to call it, it’s not a movie you will soon forget!

Street Date: April 26, 2011

Three Insane Classics Come to Blu-ray: Dementia 13, The Terror, and Poor Pretty Eddie

Three Insane Classics Come to Blu-ray: Dementia 13, The Terror, and Poor Pretty Eddie

Three Insane Classics Come to Blu-ray: Dementia 13, The Terror, and Poor Pretty Eddie

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.