CineSavant Column

Saturday June 13, 2020


Powerhouse Indicator has announced its titles for August, a trio of Region B releases. Two of the titles haven’t yet been made available here in Region A: Joseph Losey’s much-discussed, seldom seen Eve ↑ , and the low-reputation high-interest Chris Lee / Peter Cushing picture I, Monster. The 1961 picture Eve has a sterling critical reputation, but I don’t know whether to expect a riveting masterpiece, or one of Losey’s tepid, artsy dramas.

The horror picture was filmed in a goofy kind of non- 3-D process that only worked on one axis, or was really only 2½-D or something. Gary has told us about it once or twice but the explanation didn’t stick. According to unreliable but entertaining sources on the web, the proposed 3-D process was more of an optical illusion, called The Pulfrich Effect. The description given sounds exactly how my eyes behave before I’m properly awake in the morning, when reality barely looks 1-D.

I knew it was happening: Scorpion Releasing’s Night Visitor disc is completed and its extras have been announced, although no formal release date has as of yet been announced. The 1989 horror feature with Allen Garfield, Elliott Gould, Richard Roundtree and Shannon Tweed was too good an experience for me to turn down talking about it, which I did last December … you know, before the world was semi-permanently placed on Pause.

We’ll have to see just how much my memories do or don’t clash with those of the screenwriter and director. I’m just the guy who assembled their work, on a long- extinct Convergence linear video editing machine — No, NOT steam-powered.  I love that when MGM/UA needed a publicity image, they had to re-rent that off-the-shelf devil mask — the film’s main advertising item is just a photo of the mask sitting there, as if for a prop shop catalog.

Once again Gary Teetzel has been scouring old Hollywood trade publications — this time he has corralled some old clippings illustrating the way Universal’s Dracula was marketed to exhibitors and ballyhooed on the local level back in 1931. The following articles can be made readable by opening them in a new window (that’s the right-click instruction on a Mac).

The first item on the left simply touts the film’s box office performance, and if you consider that admission to ‘nabe’ theaters in the Depression years might have only been a dime or a quarter, pulling in $20,000 in one week must have been good business. The other trade news items constitute a grassroots round-up of the creative ways that Universal’s horror shocker was promoted in individual theaters. There seems to have been a going trade in teens willing to dress up in silly costumes and put on little performances as a publicity gimmick, whether in front of the theater or on-stage. As you can see, local movie showmen took these charades pretty seriously, even if their pantomimes aren’t quite William Castle quality. Remember:

“His Kiss is like the Icy Breath of Death, yet no Woman can Resist — Dracula!”

Thanks Gary ! — Glenn Erickson