CineSavant Column

Saturday September 28, 2019


CineSavant jumps into a higher gear to cover more of the season’s desirable discs… let’s see if I can keep up the pace.

I’ve been loitering around Mark Throop’s Movies ala Mark page again … and liked the tone of this short review for a favorite late-night turnip, Ray Kellogg’s The Killer Shrews. Mark’s droll point of view is always entertaining. His perspective on older pictures is much like my own, and heck, what egotistical reviewer wants to consider contrary opinions?  To squelch the rumors, let me just say that despite the presence of theatrical luminary Baruch Lumet in the cast, this is not a sequel to the famous Shakespeare play. (neither is the picture above ↑ of Mr. Lumet)

I DVR Killer Shrews from Turner Classic Movies every couple of years or so, just in case some incredible transfer shows up. It’s a smartly- conceived provincial Z-picture, and it would be a fine candidate for a Blu-ray revival. To see it restored, I’d even sit through its co-feature The Giant Gila Monster again. I know what you’re thinking, that’s dedication.

A few of the weird, notorious and more arcane corners of Classic Eurohorror are finally seeing the light of midnight on Blu-ray. Announced from Severin Films in October is something promising — the original Italo-German horror picture Werewolf in a a Girl’s Dormitory, which we readers of Famous Monsters early on learned was originally given the even better title Lycanthropus. I reviewed a mushy Retromedia DVD back in the day, and the dank image and bad dubbing of the U.S. version couldn’t disguise the film’s potential, or remove the appeal of leading lady Barbara Lass. So I’m hoping for the best. It has to be at least as good as Atom Age Vampire or The Vampire and the Ballerina. It shares a writer with the second film, Ernesto Gastaldi.

Severin has a product reel, with several promising Lycanthropus images viewable, about 35 seconds in: Severin Films October Trailer. Writer Gastaldi appears in a video interview, and a photo comic is said to part of the package. Correspondent John Black told me that the goofball song “The Ghoul in School” might be on the alternate American title sequence, but a Severin spokesperson has posted that it could not be included. Extras from the old DVD will be present, including an audio commentary with David Del Valle hosting actor Curt Lowens.

Lastly, some talented folk have concocted a full colorization, audio dub (including dialogue) and remix job on Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, ‘borrowing’ the latest transfers with snippets from the rescued Argentinian footage. The re-visualization goes much farther than Giorgio Moroder ever dreamed of going — although I have to say that I kept waiting for a disco cue to pop up.

For a fan cut this is unusually elaborate, besting most colorized samples I’ve seen — the color design is really impressive. Just the same, with the odd voices, it takes some getting used to: MetropolisRemix. I didn’t catch any names on the YouTube post, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was surreptitiously produced at a colorization facility!

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson