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Over 20 Horror Films Available on DVD for the First Time From Sony Pictures Choice Collection

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Over 20 Horror Films Available on DVD for the First Time From Sony Pictures Choice CollectionA couple years back, Warner Bros. revolutionized the home video game by launching a ‘burn-on-demand’ program, making available many of the films in their archive for the very first time on DVD.

Rather than printing up mass quantities of the movies, like they normally would, the burn-on-demand system gets the movies into the hands of those that really want them, without the expense of wide releases. How it works is that when someone orders one of the movies, the company burns a copy specifically for that person, which is then printed, packaged and shipped out.

It’s a pretty cool new way of getting movies out there, and we’re happy to report that Sony is now getting in on the fun. With their manufacture-on-demand program, they’re making available never-before-released titles from over 75 years of the Columbia Pictures film library, under the banner Sony Pictures Choice Collection.

We’re even happier to report that a slew of horror films have either already been released or soon will be, through the program. Check out the full list of titles below!

The Werewolf (1956)

A stranger (Steven Ritch, Plunder Road) shows up in town, not knowing who he is or where he came from. When a local tough guy threatens him, the stranger’s anger comes out, and he turns into one of the most terrifying creatures of legend — the werewolf — killing the hooligan. As locals try to understand the unusual murder, we learn the origin of the werewolf, created by two diabolical doctors who gave the stranger an unusual serum. Meanwhile, the part-man, part-beast hides in the woods, trying not to let his curse hurt others.

13 Frightened Girls

“From legendary horror director William Castle (House on Haunted Hill)comes a story about young girls mixed up in the world of international espionage. The girls of a Swiss boarding school have one thing in common — they are all daughters of diplomats. One in particular, Candace (Kathy Dunn, TV’s “Days Of Our Lives”), finds out that she has a knack for espionage, and starts snooping around amongst the adults when the girls are on vacation in London. When Candace finds a Russian diplomat murdered, she gets herself into a web of intrigue and danger, and she must use her girlish wiles to escape from dangerous Chinese spies.

Homicidal

From legendary horror director William Castle (House on Haunted Hill) comes his most unusual horror film yet! A vicious murder of a justice of the peace leads the police to Solvang, California, where the murderer, Emily (Jean Arless, Shampoo), lives. As we delve into Emily’s life, we see her erratic relationships with her family and friends, and we learn about an inheritance worth millions. A movie considered to be so scary that it had a “Fright Break,” allowing the audience to leave the theater before the terrifying and shocking ending, HOMICIDAL is a scary thrill ride.

Vampire Bats

A deadly species of vampire bats is responsible for a series of bizarre murders, including a student found dead with his body completely depleted of blood. It is up to Dr. Maddy Rierdon (Lucy Lawless, TV’s “Xena: Warrior Princess”) and Dan Dryer (Dylan Neal, TV’s “Dawson’s Creek”) to figure out a way to stop these bats before they take control of their town. Also starring Timothy Bottoms (The Last Picture Show) and Craig Ferguson (TV’s “The Late Late Show”), with a special appearance by Brett Butler (TV’s “Grace Under Fire”), VAMPIRE BATS is scary, campy fun!

Scream of Fear

Penny (Susan Strasberg, Picnic) is a wheelchair-bound girl set to visit her father in France for the first time in ten years. When she arrives, she learns that he is away on business. She is left with her stepmother, Jane (Ann Todd, The Paradine Case), and Dr. Gerrard (Christopher Lee, The Lord of the Rings series), a friend of Penny’s father who has come to visit. But when Penny continues to see her father’s corpse around the house, she enlists the help of the family chauffeur, Robert (Ronald Lewis, Mr. Sardonicus), to help solve the mystery.

The Stranglers of Bombay

In nineteenth-century India, a murderous cult runs rampant, killing thousands of unwitting travelers and stealing their goods. The British East India Company decides to act, hiring the newly arrived Captain Connaught-Smith (Allan Cuthbertson, Performance) instead of Captain Lewis (Guy Rolfe, Taras Bulba), who knows the area and the people well. Frustrated with Connaught-Smith’s methods, Lewis decides to investigate on his own, leading to information that may take down the dastardly cult once and for all. Based on true, chilling events, THE STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY is a compelling and terrifying tale.

Great Crimes and Trials of the 20th Century – Volume 1: Gruesome California

This compelling documentary series explores some of the most nefarious crimes of the 20th century. Volume One, Gruesome California, takes a look at such notorious criminals as Charles Manson, The Reverend Jim Jones and Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez, as well as the Alcatraz prison rebellion, the Patty Hearst kidnapping and the San Francisco City Hall murders. Using documentary footage and facts ripped from the headlines, GREAT CRIMES AND TRIALS OF THE 20th CENTURY is informative and fascinating.

The Killer That Stalked New York

Sheila Bennet (Evelyn Keyes, Here Comes Mr. Jordan) returns to New York from Cuba with $40,000 in stolen diamonds, as well as something even worse — a deadly case of smallpox. Being trailed by both a treasury agent (Barry Kelley, The Asphalt Jungle) and a public health doctor (William Bishop, Top Gun, 1955), Sheila continues on the run, spreading the disease around an unknowing town. While Sheila is unaware of the severity of her illness, she is also fearful of her conniving husband, Matt (Charles Korvin, Berlin Express), who is looking to take the diamonds for himself.

The Boogieman Will Get You

Two cinematic legends – Boris Karloff (Frankenstein) and Peter Lorre (Casablanca) – join forces in a movie that combines spine-tingling thrills with slapstick comedy. Karloff stars as bumbling scientist Nathaniel Billings, whose experiments have led to the deaths of several traveling salesmen, leaving their bodies piling up in the cellar. When a young divorcée (Jeff Donnell, Sweet Smell of Success) buys the professor’s house to create a hotel, it’s only a matter of time before suspicions arise. The town’s sheriff/doctor/loan shark (Lorre) looks to stop Billings, but sees the financial gain and becomes his partner instead. Will the doctor’s experiments be stopped before more bodies get added to the cellar?

Experiment in Terror

From acclaimed director Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) comes this shocking tale of suspense. Kelly Sherwood (Academy Award® nominee Lee Remick, 1962, Best Actress, Days of Wine and Roses) works as a bank teller in 1960s San Francisco when she is threatened by a shadowy, asthmatic man (Ross Martin, TV’s “The Wild Wild West”), who demands that she steal $100,000 from her bank. When the man threatens the lives of Kelly and her sister, FBI Agent John Ripley (Glenn Ford, 3:10 to Yuma) is put on the case. The investigation sends Ripley on a wild goose chase through the streets of San Francisco, leading to a thrilling climax during a baseball game at Candlestick Park, featuring actual members of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

Sudden Terror: The Hijacking of School Bus #17

In a story ripped from the headlines, a crazed lunatic takes a school bus of special needs children hostage. The hijacker is armed with C4 explosives, and one mistake could cause him to snap and kill everyone. It is up to a plucky school bus driver (Maria Conchita Alonso, The Running Man) and a young SWAT officer (Marcy Walker, TV’s “All My Children”) to stop him.

Zotz

Legendary science fiction and horror director William Castle brings you a lighthearted comedy based in the mystical and unknown. Jonathan Jones (Tom Poston, TV’s “Newhart”), an acclaimed professor of ancient languages, comes across a supernatural coin that gives him three powers: the Power of Sudden Pain, the Power of Retarded Movement (slowing down time), and the Power of the Silent Death. When Russian spies find out about the coin, they will do anything to get it into their grasp. Also featuring Jim Backus (TV’s “Gilligan’s Island”), ZOTZ! combines adventure, comedy and a little bit of romance as well.

The Old Dark House

From the master of the macabre, William Castle, comes a tale filled with suspense and comedy. Tom Penderel (Tom Poston, TV’s “Newhart”), an American car salesman living in London, is invited to spend the weekend at the Femm Estate. The Femms, trapped in the house due to an ancestor’s will, live in fear as they are taken out one at a time. Tom is left to figure out who the killer is before he becomes a victim himself! Also featuring Academy Award® nominee Robert Morley (1938, Best Supporting Actor, Marie Antoinette), The Old Dark House has as many laughs as thrills.

The Mad Magician

Legendary horror star Vincent Price is at his terrifying best as Gallico the Great, an inspired inventor of magic acts who longs to perform his creations himself. When he finally gets his chance, the production is closed by Gallico’s cruel manager, who wants a rival magician to perform Gallico’s greatest trick, The Lady and the Buzz Saw. An enraged Gallico turns into a homicidal maniac, taking out his victims with the same methods he used to create his illusions. Also starring Mary Murphy (The Wild One) and Eva Gabor (Gigi), THE MAD MAGICIAN is a thrill ride! Originally shown in theaters in 3D, the film is presented in widescreen 2D, with just as much horror, and suspense!!

Ghost Story aka Circle of Fear: The Complete First Season

Horror movie maestro William Castle (The Tingler) followed his role model Alfred Hitchcock into TV with this anthology series of suspense and shudders, though he ceded the hosting chores to Sebastian Cabot (TV’s “Family Affair”) as “Winston Essex” for the first part of the series. A mid- season name change (to “Circle of Fear”) and a no-host format were intended to boost ratings, but this quirky, chilling and fascinating series only lasted one season. All 23 hour-long episodes are included with outstanding guest stars like Jason Robards, Helen Hayes, Melvyn Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Jodie Foster, Angie Dickinson, Geraldine Page, Patricia Neal, Martin Sheen, Stella Stevens, Karen Black, Rip Torn, Carolyn Jones, Mariette Hartley, William Windom and many, many more, this is a must-have for lovers of thrillers and classic television alike!

Die Die My Darling

Directed by Silvio Narizzano (Georgy Girl, Loot) and produced by Hammer Films, the infamous British studio known for gothic horror classics, DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! stars the legendary Tallulah Bankhead (Lifeboat, TV’s “Batman”) in her final film performance. She plays the psychotic Mrs. Trefoile, a demented mother who terrorizes and imprisons her dead son’s fiancée, Pat (Stefanie Powers, TV’s “Hart to Hart”, Stagecoach), to avenge her son’s tragic death, with the help of her bumbling gardener (Donald Sutherland, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Klute, Don’t Look Now). A domineering religious fanatic, Mrs. Trefoile grows obsessed with the spirit of her late son, who died several years earlier in an auto wreck. When her son’s former lover pays an unexpected visit, Mrs. Trefoile kidnaps the beautiful young woman, holding her hostage in the basement to “cleanse” her soul so she can be reunited with her son in heaven. Trapped and tortured, Pat must fight for her life to escape. DIE! DIE! MY DARLING! is a campy, classic thriller fueled by Bankhead’s deliriously over-the-top turn as the ultimate Mother from Hell.

Island of Doomed Men

In another of his entertaining, disturbingly creepy roles, Peter Lorre (Casablanca, Mad Love) plays Stephen Danel, the owner of Dead Man’s Island, an off-the-radar colony which uses paroled convicts as slaves. Among Danel’s slaves are his beautiful wife, Lorraine (Rochelle Hudson, Les Misérables), a caged prisoner herself, and Siggy, his servant (George E. Stone, Guys and Dolls), trapped within a house and yard surrounded by an electric fence. Undercover agent Mark Sheldon (Robert Wilcox, The Unknown) gets sent to the island — as a paroled prisoner — and becomes trapped himself. Fascinated by the glamorous Lorraine, Sheldon now has multiple reasons to escape the island, but Danel’s sadistic guards maintain a tight circle around the house and grounds. This suspense-horror film is a B-picture at its best: efficient story-telling, familiar, beloved character actors, and strange plot points. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

Before I Hang

Sentenced to die for his role in a mercy killing, Dr. John Garth (Boris Karloff, Frankenstein) spends his final days continuing his experiments from death row. On the eve of his execution,Garth injects himself with a serum made from the blood of a homicidal maniac. Only after learning that his own death sentence has been commuted, he discovers his experiment has a dangerous – and deadly – side effect. Director Nick Grinde brings this gritty sci-fi/horror to life. Also featuring Evelyn Keyes (The Prowler, Here Comes Mr. Jordan) and Bruce Bennett (Mildred Pierce, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre).

The Night Holds Terror

Based on actual events, this story of armed bandits holding a young family hostage in their ownhome is as terrifying today as it was when it hit theaters. The brutal characterizations by actorsJohn Cassavetes (Rosemary’s Baby, The Killers) as the tightly-wound mastermind and Vince Edwards (City of Fear, Murder by Contract) as a psychotic ladies’ man, and the finely drawn tension elevate this documentary-style, low-budget thriller to a first-rate noir. Also features incredible cinematography of real Southern California locations. Directed by Andrew Stone (Julie, Cry Terror!) and featuring Jack Kelly and Hildy Parks.

Berserk

Joan Crawford (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?) stars as Monica Rivers, the owner of a traveling circus plagued by a series of mysterious deaths. When a high-wire performer becomes the first victim, he is replaced by Frank Hawkins (Ty Hardin, Battle of the Bulge), an even more daring aerialist. But Frank’s attentions to Monica make her business manager, Dorando (Michael Gough, Batman), jealous. After Dorando becomes the brutal killer’s next victim, Police Superintendent Brooks (Robert Hardy) arrives at the scene, but the mystery is not so easy to unravel with a cast of suspects with motives including jealousy and revenge. This campy horror flick with a surprising climax also features Judy Geeson (To Sir, With Love) and Diana Dors (There’s a Girl In My Soup).

Black Moon

After dabbling in voodoo on the island of Saint Christopher as a child, Juanita Lane (Dorothy Burgess, Hold Your Man) now finds herself powerless to resist its spell as an adult. With her daughter and her husband Stephen’s (Jack Holt, Dirigible) secretary Gail (Fay Wray, King Kong), Juanita returns to the island to try to exorcise the hold that voodoo has taken upon her life. However, once on the island, Juanita falls ever deeper under the spell of the voodoo drums. Concerned for the safety of Juanita’s small child, Gail contacts Stephen and requests that he come to the island immediately. Once there, Stephen finds that his wife has become the high priestess for a native rebellion, and he is forced to make a choice that will have dire consequences for everyone concerned.

Creatures The World Forgot

This singular film from Hammer Studios, set in the Stone Age, has almost no dialogue — the people speak in grunts — but it is strangely effective. Focused on a tribe of cavemen, and specifically a pair of twin brothers who become rivals for the leadership of the tribe following the impact of a devastating earthquake, the human struggles are portrayed fairly realistically (no dinosaurs roaming the earth). Directed by Don Chaffey (Jason and the Argonauts, One Million Years B.C.), whose ability to craft an engaging, human story with mythical characters and beasts was well-proven by the time he undertook this feature. Written by veteran Hammer producer and writer Michael Carreras (The Snorkel, Maniac, One Million Years B.C.), and starring beautiful Julie Ege (The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula), Brian O’Shaughnessey (The Gods Must Be Crazy), and Tony Bonner (Quigley Down Under); another lesser-known film that deserves its cult status.

These titles are available through select on-line partners like Amazon and Warner Archive, and you should expect a few weeks for delivery of any given title.

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John Squires

I have a beard. And two cats.