Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973): Special Edition [Blu-ray/DVD]

Known as “Hooker’s Revenge,” and as “They Call Her One Eye,” Bo Arne Vibernius’s “Thriller” is the quintessential grindhouse revenge pic that begat so many after it. When you want to visit what helped influence Tarantino, “Thriller” (Vinegar Syndrome will debuting their own release of the film on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a different transfer and extras this summer) is where the template was established. While it suffers from narrative flaws here and there, “Thriller” is pure visceral exploitation revenge cinema that still feels about as grimy and gritty as “I Spit On Your Grave” in spite of its restoration.

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Viva (2007)

Will screen on August 27th at the Los Feliz 3 theater in Los Angeles, California as part of the American Cinematheque’s new ETHERIA screening series. More information about the screening can be found on the American Cinematheque’s official website.

Your mileage with “Viva” may vary depending on how much you’re willing to play along with the film’s very subtle satire. About twenty minutes in to the movie is when I finally caught on to the gag, as “Viva” is as much a satire of sixties sexual dynamics as it is a tribute to the aesthetic of the sixties and seventies. “Viva” is a film in the tradition of Andy Warhol, and Russ Meyer, and exploitation gems like “Maid in Sweden” and “Score” where people open up (literally and figuratively) to sex and sexual exploration.

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Switchblade Sisters (1975): Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

Jack Hill is back and taking on one of the sleaziest and yet entertaining pictures of his career. “Switchblade Sisters” is a thrilling gang picture that can be taken alongside “The Warriors.” It’s a tale of fracture love triangle, a gang torn asunder, and a pretty excellent adaptation of a classic Shakespeare tale. “The Switchblade Sisters” is exploitation, but cut from prime material as Hill is able to derive a lot from such a minimal budget. He also grabs some excellent turns from the cast, including the now iconic Patch, played by Monica Gayle.

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Savage Streets (1984) [Blu-Ray]

After the excellent release of the limited edition 2018 print, Code Red delivers a wider and more broadly available upgrade for the highly deserving “Savage Streets.” The 1984 cult classic is still a marvelous gem of eighties exploitation. It channels the classic Youths Gone Wild films of the fifties, and is filled with gorgeous women, roughneck teenagers, and an insanely sexy Linda Blair wreaking pure vengeance against the men that victimized her sister. She does it all with a bitchin’ crossbow, to boot.

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I Spit on Your Grave (1978): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray] (3 Disc Set)

Meir Zarchi’s revenge rape thriller is a movie that continues to inspire immense bile from movie critics and movie buffs since its release in 1978. Much like its contemporary “Cannibal Holocaust,” Zarchi horror movie is deeply upsetting and requires the viewer to endure it in a certain state of mind. It’s a film you’ll either love or despise, and it gets a very good treatment from Roninflix who brings it home to fans like yours truly.

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Five Memorable, Horrific Movie Castrations

This year “I Spit on Your Grave” was given a deluxe box set on Blu-Ray and 4K allowing fans a new vision for what is easily one of the most upsetting, polarizing, and controversial films ever made. The Meir Zarchi film that popularized the volatile sub-genre rape-revenge films has spawned dozens of cinematic carbon copies (along with infamous bile from Roger Ebert), and features one of the most notorious castration scenes ever depicted. In commemoration of “I Spit in Your Grave” being released to fans yet again, I thought I’d sound off five of some of the more grotesque movie castrations ever filmed.

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The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield (1968) [Blu-Ray]

One of the most bizarre pieces of Mondo exploitation, “The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield” is archival footage of the model traveling the world that was intended to be cute for the sake of a weird travel documentary focusing on Manfield. Sadly though when Mansfield died she was further exploited by the trio of directors Charles W. Broun, Jr., Joel Holt, Arthur Knight all of whom used stand ins (the movie shifts awkwardly from black and white to a color shot of her stand in), old footage of her frolicking, and a voice over actress who came on board to narrate as Ms. Mansfield.

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In Search of William Beaudine

For too many years, filmmaker William Beaudine’s reputation was maligned with false stories of sloppy work and a “one-shot” approach to shooting. In reality, Beaudine was a talented and versatile creative artist who began his career with D.W. Griffith, directed such icons as Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow and W.C. Fields, and worked in the British film industry and for Walt Disney.
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