Monday, June 17, 2024

SQUIRM/FOOD OF THE GODS Audio Commentaries Coming

Like Elvis, Lee Gambin may have left the building, but his work lives on. Kino Cult have just announced their upcoming Blu-ray releases of Jeff Lieberman's SQUIRM (1976) and Bert I. Gordon's FOOD OF THE GODS (1976), for which Lee and I recorded an audio commentary track just a week before he passed, and had a total blast doing them. Due in August.

SQUIRM (1976) KINO CULT #13
• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Critics/Authors Lee Gambin and John Harrison
Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Jeff Lieberman
• Digging In - The Making of Squirm: Documentary with Jeff Lieberman, Actor Don Scardino and Special Effects Artist Bill Milling (33:11)
• Eureka: A Tour of Locations with Jeff Lieberman
• TV and Radio Spots
• Theatrical Trailer
• Limited Edition Reversible Art and O-Card Slipcase
• Dual-Layered BD50 Disc
• Optional English Subtitles


THE FOOD OF THE GODS (1976) KINO CULT #10
• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Critics/Authors Lee Gambin and John Harrison, Author of WILDCAT!: The Films of Marjoe Gortner
• Audio Commentary by Writer/Producer/Director Bert I. Gordon
• Interview with Actress Belinda Balaski
• 3 Radio Spots and 2 TV Spots
• Theatrical Trailer
• Limited Edition Reversible Art and O-Card Slipcase
• Dual-Layered BD50 Disc
• Optional English Subtitles


LEE GAMBIN 1979 - 2024

Plenty of tears and sadness, but also lots of laughs and an abundance of love and warmth at Lee Gambin's farewell today. I'm glad his love of horror cinema was not neglected. He will be much missed, but he will also be well remembered, and will long remain a source of inspiration to so many.


UNSUNG HORRORS HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE!

Received my contributor's copy of the latest WE BELONG DEAD book project, UNSUNG HORRORS HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE. Another mammoth and beautifully produced volume, for which I contributed essays on Jeff Lieberman's BLUE SUNSHINE (1977), William Grefe's DEATH CURSE OF TARTU (1966), Brian De Palma's SISTERS (1972), and Rod Hardy's THIRST (1979). Fabulous work once again by editors Darrell Buxton and Eric McNaughton, cover artist Paul Garner, and everyone else. Available in both soft and hardcover editions. Order UNSUNG HORRORS HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE Here!



Sunday, February 25, 2024

CINEMA OF THE 70s No. 10

A little peek at my eight-page article in the latest issue (#10) of CINEMA OF THE ‘70s magazine, in which I take a look at rock and roll movies from that decade…from WOODSTOCK to GIMME SHELTER to KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK and SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND! 100 full color pages, available from Amazon in most regions. Always a great read that covers a wide range of cinema from that milestone period of filmmaking. Great work as usual by Dawn Dabell and Jonathon Dabell and the other contributors.




RANSOM BLU-RAY!

New work announcement! I was thrilled to contribute an essay on the great English actor Ian McShane for the collector's edition Blu-ray release of the 1974 hi-jack thriller RANSOM (aka THE TERRORISTS), starring Sean Connery. Coming in April from Umbrella.









TANK GIRL BLU-RAY COMING!

New work announcement! Thrilled to be contributing an essay on post-apocalypse genre cinema for the 48-page booklet that will accompany the special collector's edition of Umbrella's Blu-ray release of the cult classic, TANK GIRL (1995). My essay will cover films produced in the 50 years between the first atomic bomb detonation of 1945 and TANK GIRL's release. Amongst the films I'll be discussing will be FIVE (1950), ON THE BEACH (1959), PANIC IN THE YEAR ZERO (1962), PLANET OF THE APES (1968), THE OMEGA MAN (1971), ZARDOZ (1974), A BOY AND HIS DOG (1975), THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981), CAFE FLESH (1982) THE DAY AFTER (1983), THREADS (1984), CHERRY 2000 (1987) and many more, not to mention all the great Italian exploitation films which followed in the wake of THE ROAD WARRIOR and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981). Coming in April from Umbrella.



WES CRAVEN BLU-RAY SET COMING!

New work announcement! I provided the essay text to the 44-page booklet that accompanies this upcoming Wes Craven Blu-ray set from Via Vision Entertainment, which collects three of the horror master's mid-period films: DEADLY BLESSING (1981), THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW (1988), and THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (1991). Coming 13 March in a 3D lenticular hardcase box with bonus art cards!


HAMMER HORROR TRIPLE SHOCK: VOL. 2

The second of Umbrella Entertainment's Triple Shock Hammer Horror box sets is now out, and includes my 16-page illustrated booklet (which is included in the standard retail version as well as the website exclusive collector's edition). Films included in this set are SHADOW OF THE CAT (1961), PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962), and NIGHT CREATURES (1962, aka CAPTAIN CLEGG).




Sunday, December 17, 2023

MAUSOLEUM Blu-Ray

Thrilled to receive my comp copy of the stunning new Blu-ray release from Treasured Films in the UK, MAUSOLEUM (1983). For this deluxe release I contributed a 20-minute video essay on the film's enigmatic male star, Marjoe Gortner (who was the subject of my last book, WILDCAT!). This was my first video essay and while I am always a little uncomfortable being on camera (especially on a stinking hot day such as this one was filmed on), I still had fun and appreciated the opportunity, and very grateful to Jarret Gahan and Chris Chappell for their invaluable assistance. Haha, the end credits on the featurette even includes some outtakes of me whinging and complaining about the heat, and wishing Treasured had just asked me to do a standard booklet essay instead! But it is all a good learning experience, and I am happy to be doing more work for the company moving forward. Order MAUSOLEUM Here!





PARALLEL LINES

New work announcement! I was recently asked by the fabulous and very talented writer/filmmaker Staci Layne Wilson to contribute a short story to the latest edition of her great ROCK & ROLL NIGHTMARES series of books. While many of the editions are of a non-fiction nature, the latest one, PARALLEL LINES, is more along the lines of Marvel's WHAT IF? series of comic books and the animated series, looking at alternative and speculative rock & roll histories.
For my story, "KISS Face-Off", I went with the scenario of "What if KISS took off their make-up in 1978 at the height of their fame?" To make it a bit more fun, I wrote the story under a female pseudonym and did it in the style of a classic teen magazine report from the day (SWEET SIX-TEEN is the name of the faux magazine).
To help inspire the story and get me in the right frame of mind, I even designed a faux magazine cover. PARALLEL LINES is being published on January 8, 2024 (in honor of Elvis' birthday). It will be available as a paperback, kindle, and audiobook. The kindle is already up for pre-order on Amazon, paperback and audiobook options should be added shortly. Will post links once all editions are available.



Thursday, October 12, 2023

HAMMER HORROR TRIPLE SHOCK Vol. 2

New work announcement! I'll be providing the 16-page booklet to be included in this new triple-set of Hammer Horror coming from Umbrella in January 2024. Containing SHADOW OF THE CAT (1961), NIGHT CREATURES (1962, aka CAPTAIN CLEGG) and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962). Posters and art cards also included in the limited collector's edition set, which can be preordered from the link below.

HAMMER HORROR TRIPLE SHOCK Vol. 2 Pre-Order Link



FROZEN TEARS: SILENCE OF THE NIGHT – DELUXE TURBO EDITION

Set your turbo engines to full speed ahead! When Frozen Tears released their Brazen Whisper album in late-2021, the Melbourne-based melodic hard rock outfit found themselves winning rave reviews and conquering the hard rock radio charts all across the globe. Fans of bands like KISS, Whitesnake, Dokken and other classic rock acts lapped up the album’s spirit, power, and positive energy, something which was sorely needed in a world still dealing with a pandemic and lingering lockdowns.

In the wake of its success, and to appease those who have been eagerly awaiting the follow-up to Brazen Whisper, Frozen Tears have reissued their 1997 album Silence of the Night in a new special edition that is certain to not only please existing fans of the band, but lure in a whole new audience with its tasty serving of rock candy for the ears.

Long out of print and highly sought after by fans and collectors, Frozen Tears’ core duo of Thanis Akritidis (lead vocals) and Jon Powers (guitars, keyboard, bass) have gone the extra mile in ensuring their new edition of Silence in the Night not only retains the spirit of the original release, but significantly improves upon its sonics.

Six of the tracks have been newly remixed and remastered with Jon Powers adding more fuel with extra guitars and keyboards to the remixed tracks, while the remaining four have been remastered, with Arkansas producer/engineer Tÿ Sïms doing a superb job on all fronts. Sïms’ work really brings a new freshness to the album’s sound, bringing it more up to date and adding an extra degree of oomph to its overall power. The new mixes and mastering also provide a lot of clarity to the vocals and instrumentation, allowing them to breathe more.

Akritidis’ commanding and impassioned vocals, and Powers’ impressive multi-talents, combine well with a tight, steady backbeat to make the songs soar with an infectious exuberance. Drumming duties on the album are split between Bernie Goldstein, who performs on the six remixed numbers, and Steve Sisma. And while Andy Parson’s original production job has been given a more modern sheen, Silence in the Night is still an unabashed celebration of classic hard rock and AOR sounds from the 1970s and 80s. “Let Down” powers along with a terrifically sleazy riff that melds classic Ratt and Motley Crue, highlighted by a crisp and expressive guitar solo, before it breaks down into some more melodic touches and keyboard highlights, adding an additional pleasing layer to the song, which must surely rank up there as one of the band’s best.

Elsewhere, songs like the title track, "Silence of the Night", show a softer side of the band, with its power ballad aesthetics and emotional vocals, while “One More Time” builds slowly from a chugging acoustic guitar riff and pleading vocal delivery. Other standout tracks include the grand synth-infused rock of “Warriors”, and “Do You Love Me”, which is not a cover of the KISS classic but rather a rework of a song dating back to Akritidis’ early-eighties band, Knight. It’s another impressive, big balladic number which opens with spoken word dialogue and ends with some moody keyboards reminiscent of vintage Deep Purple.

Sharing the bulk of the songwriting credits, Akritidis and Powers exude a potent chemistry and prove to be a fine collaborative pair, melding both their individual and their shared musical influences to create a hybrid that pays clear tribute and respect to the music they love, while also melding to create its own sound, the distinctly Frozen Tears sound. As the band’s prime instrumentalist, Jon Powers deserves specific mention for the range of skills he displays across the album, his fluid playing exhibiting power, delicacy, and atmosphere, often combining all three in the one musical passage.

Topping off this Deluxe Turbo Edition of Silence of the Night is a brand-new track, the exhilarating “Feel the Fire”, which opens the album and is sure to become a new fan favourite and instant classic, with its compelling mix of Diver Down-era Van Halen and KISS circa Crazy Nights.

Accompanied by a stunning new piece of cover art, provided by Jon Powers himself, Frozen Tears once again seem bound for worldwide recognition within the melodic rock community, and Silence of the Night: Deluxe Turbo Edition will hopefully cast their net even further and a limited yellow vinyl pressing which record collectors will surely lap up.

Full track listing:

1: “Feel the Fire”
2: “Let Down”
3: “Silence of the Night”
4: “Will I Ever”
5: “Do You Love Me”
6: “One More Time”
7: “It’s Over”
8: “Love Can Be Real” (Piano Mix)
9: “Warriors”
10: “Wounded Man”
11: “Fire Still Burns for You” Check out Frozen Tears on Facebook HERE!



Friday, August 11, 2023

ENTER THE VIDEO STORE!

Received my contributor's copy of this stunning new box set from Arrow. ENTER THE VIDEO STORE: EMPIRE OF SCREAMS collects five films from Charles Band's Empire Pictures (DOLLS, ROBOT JOX, THE DUNGEONMASTER, CELLAR DWELLER, ARENA) and packages them in a wonderful box that recreates the video store experience of the past. Packed with extra features, postcards, a video store membership card, and a cool book with writings on the five films. I got to contribute the essay on ROBOT JOX for this release. Looking forward to checking this set out...might start with THE DUNGEONMASTER for a matinee movie.








New CINEMA OF THE '70s Article!

The latest issue of CINEMA OF THE '70s (#9) is now out and looks like another absolute beauty! I contributed a nine-page article on some of my fave movie magazines from that decade, but there are lots of other pieces in it that I am looking forward to reading, including coverage of CAPRICORN ONE, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, DUEL, Raquel Welch, GRAND THEFT AUTO, and much more! 100 full color pages, available from Amazon in most regions.






HOUSEBOAT HORROR Pulls Into Port!

I can finally bar up, now that my contributor's copy of HOUSEBOAT HORROR has arrived! This notorious 1989 Australian cheapie is a very divisive one amongst horror fans...either way, the stunning job which Umbrella have done with their new collector's edition of this infamous Banned-In-Queensland wonder cannot be denied. I got to contribute an essay on Melbourne's "Shot On Video" underground filmmaking scene of the 1980s and early-90s, which is included in the book that comes as part of this set (and Queenslander Andrew Leavold gets to contribute a look at the whole Banned-In-Queensland home video hysteria of that time). There's also a terrific essay by Emma Westwood, paying tribute to the brains behind the film, the late Ollie Martin. Thanks to Michael Helms and Mark Savage for their help with providing some important info for my essay, and special congrats to Ben Hellwig and Jarret Gahan for their incredible work on this set.