CineSavant Column

Saturday August 26, 2023


Hello!  Some interesting last-minute disc news to slip in here.

Viavision [Imprint] has announced their November lineup, which has some attractive items . . . starting with an Essential Film Noir Collection Five set, with Island of Doomed Men, The Red Menace, The Burglar, and 13 West Street.

A Tales of Adventure Collection 2 comes next.  Angel on the Amazon, Daughter of the Jungle and Fair Wind to Java are rare releases from Republic; Safari has Victor Mature and Janet Leigh directed by Terence Young, and Elephant Walk is the well-known Liz Taylor show from Paramount, sort of  ‘The Naked Jungle’ only with pachyderms taking the place of formicidae.

The stand-alone discs are Assignment K with Stephen Boyd and Camilla Sparv, the pre- Major Dundee Charlton Heston/Jerry Bresler potboiler  Diamond Head, James Coburn in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, and . . .

. . .  and a movie we Americans haven’t had a look at in ages, Paramount’s 1944 horror item The Man in Half Moon Street, with Nils Asther and Helen Walker. It’s the original version of Hammer’s The Man Who Could Cheat Death, about a madman who has discovered a way to live forever. We saw Half-Moon street back at UCLA in a perfect nitrate print, but I barely remember it.


Announced just yesterday, we also have some impressive tidings from Arrow Video

— they’ve just broken silence about a boxed set featuring the notorious Brazilian horror icon Coffin Joe, aka José Mojica Marins. The 6-disc, 11-movie colossus  Inside the Mind of Coffin Joe appears to include most of the slimy sadist’s filmography, from his ‘greatest hits’  At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul  and  This Night I’ll Posess Your Corpse  to films as new as 2008.  

Coffin Joe was one of the exotic discoveries we first discovered in the Hardy Horror Encyclopedia and one of the few out-there corners of horror on which Video Watchdog never seemed to get a firm grip. I’ll be very interested in learning about this guy — what possessed him to grind through such obsessively negative territory?

I’ve been only to three fantasy conventions — Greg Jein took me to one at the Bonaventure around 1978, Gary Teetzel talked me into attending one at the Roosevelt Hotel in 2000, and back in 1990, James Ursini took me to one to get a look at Barbara Steele. I think that’s where I took in the sight of Coffin Joe, sitting behind a stack of photos and VHS tapes. He looked small and insignificant. I don’t remember him having 5-inch fingernails, but I can’t be sure. I would have said hello, but he didn’t look welcoming, and he appeared to only speak Portuguese!

Backing up that will be a 4K Ultra HD disc of the De Laurentis / Roger Vadim / Jane Fonda space opera  Barbarella.     I know it will be welcomed in some quarters, especially if attractive extras are involved — the shoot for that movie sounds like the biggest party in film history. The street date for both  Barbarella and  Inside the Mind of Coffin Joe is November 28, the week after Thanksgiving.



And leave it to David J. Schow to once again leave terrific CineSavant-compatible links out where we can find them — someone has dressed up the Paul Frees ‘satanic preamble’ to Burn, Witch, Burn! (Night of the Eagle) with some expressive graphics . . . and a political smack at the end (apologies, not).

Put together 11 years ago by Jeffrey Sargent, it’s A Horror Reintroduced. Yes, I too wish there were incantations to protect one from evil forces afoot in the world.

With the good-faith logic of Quid Pro Grab ‘n’ Go, here’s David J. Show’s prodigious Amazon Sales page.


Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson