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The Evil (1977)    Twice Dead (1988)


(aka "Cry Demon" or "House of Evil")

 

directed by Gus Trikonis
USA 1977

 

Psychiatrist C.J. (Richard Crenna, JADE) obtains permission to transform an abandoned mansion - built over desert sulfur pits - into a drug treatment center. From the start, his physician wife Caroline (Joanna Pettet, WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH) sees strange things in the house. C.J. brings along some of his former students and friends to help renovate the house. Among them are former addict Felicia (Lynne Moody, SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM), practical joker Pete (George O’Hanlon Jr.), professor Ray (SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES himself Andrew Prine) and bubbly coed Laurie (Mary Louise Weller, BLOOD TIDE), electrician Dwight (George Viharo), Mary (Cassie Yates), and her dog Kaiser (which, of course, notices strange phenomena before everyone else). Sudden violent behavior from the dog leads to the discovery of a trap door in the cellar bolted down by a metal cross (the cross prop turned up in the later Carolco horror flick SUPERSTITION also produced by THE EVIL's Ed Carlin and writer Donald Thompson). C.J. removes the cross and tries to open the door but the sudden discovery by Mary and Felicia of the missing caretaker's charred corpse distracts him. The pit opens itself and causes all of the mansion's windows and doors to close themselves, trapping everyone inside. One by one, a supernatural force stalks and kills members of the group while Caroline follows apparitions of the mansion's builder Emilio Vargas (screenwriter Donald G. Thompson) who seems to be trying to help her conquer THE EVIL. A New World Pictures acquisition, THE EVIL is memorable little seventies horror pic, restrained in graphic violence and deriving its chills from atmosphere. The wonderful Las Vegas, New Mexico location of Montezuma Castle (now a college) is a striking sight. Cinematographer Mario DiLeo gets good mileage out of the location (and provides some nice retro in-camera effects, although the heightened clarity of the digital transfer reveals wires in one memorable scene) while a well-assembled cast (including 70's horror favorite Andrew Prine) is put through their paces (including some potentially dangerous bits with wire rigging while a lone stuntmen gets to go up in flames twice). The producer-imposed studio-bound ending is disappointing (the original ending featuring a demon - who is still credited in the cast crawl - was cut) after the great build-up but about 85% of the running time is one of the great underrated haunted house gems of the 1970's.

In TWICE DEAD, a family of four inherits a mansion that once belonged to stage actor Tyler Walker (Jonathan Chapin) who hanged himself (after stabbing a female mannequin). The teens of the family, Scott (Tom Bresnahan) and Robin (Jill Whitlow), run afoul of the neighborhood's leather-jacketed, eighties-bad-hair gang of delinquents who torment them at home and at school. They kill Robin's cat and try to rape her but are temporarily scared away. When the parents have to go out of town, Scott and Robin turn the tables against the gang when they invade their home using horrific stage illusions. When the gang gets the upper hand, however, Tyler Walker's ghost decides to have some gory fun of his own (Whitlow resembles the love who betrayed him and Chapin appears also as one of the gang members destined for possession). Produced by Roger Corman's Concorde/New Horizons (the company he formed in 1983 after selling New World Pictures), TWICE DEAD is the less-interesting entry in the set (THE EVIL might have been better paired with another New World Pictures entry). Charlie Spradling pops her top for the requisite eighties horror film nudity and Todd Bridges plays one of the neighborhood kids. There are some creative death scenes but the film isn't quite as mean spirited (or outrageously gory) as the contemporary and similarly-themed Fred Olen Ray-produced BLOODY MOVIE aka TERROR NIGHT (co-directed by veteran director Andre De Toth).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 5 May 1978 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Shout Factory (Roger Corman's Cult Classics Double Feat) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Shout Factory

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:28:33
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.33 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Shout Factory

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by director Gus Trikonis, cinematographer Mario DiLeo, and writer Donald Thompson, moderated by Walter Olsen
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:09)
• TV Spot (4:3; 0:30)
• Trailers for KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS, DEATH RACE 2000, THE TERROR WITHIN, and NOT OF THIS EARTH

DVD Release Date: October 5, 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Both films make their anamorphic widescreen debuts here (TWICE DEAD made it to fullscreen laserdisc) with clear Dolby Digital mono audio. THE EVIL looks perfectly framed (the cross on top of the mansion in the title shot is not clipped by the upper matte). It is brighter than the earlier cassette releases but the colors look about the same (the warm skin tones and some close-ups lit by the fireplace suggest the colors have not faded) but this has not undergone the sort of clean-up as Shout Factory's Corman Blu-Ray titles. Director Gus Trikonis, cinematographer Mario DiLeo, and writer Donald Thompson provide an audio commentary with only a couple long pauses. DiLeo speaks the most and is proud of what he achieved on the budget (and the limited amount of filmstock). An anamorphic theatrical trailer and fullscreen TV spot are also provided.

TWICE DEAD has its share of speckling early on but looks good (it is likely that the print source has not been out of the vault since the original video/laserdisc master was struck). Director Bert Dragin and star Tom Bresnahan provide an audio commentary (Bresnahan reveals that he and co-star Christopher Burgard wrote and performed the theme song and that Bresnahan had an off-screen relationship with his on-camera sister Whitlow). A cheerful Whitlow appears in a 12 minute interview. Trailers for some other upcoming Shout releases (including an amusing and campy trailer for the NOT OF THIS EARTH remake highlighting Traci Lords' participation). The films can be watched separately or with "The Roger Corman Experience" which plays both films with the four extra trailers and some drive-in bits (like that now overly-used "Our Feature Presentation" clip) including a "lets all go to the lobby" bit between the features has the Something Wierd Video "SWV" watermark.

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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directed by Bert L. Dragin
USA 1988

Theatrical Release: 18 November 1988 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Shout Factory (Roger Corman's Cult Classics Double Feat) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

Runtime 1:26:45
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.33 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Shout Factory

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with co-writer/director Bert Dragin and star Tom Bresnahan, moderated by Walter Olsen
• The Girl Next Door: Interview with Jill Whitlow (4:3; 12:27)

DVD Release Date: October 5, 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

 



DVD Menus
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Shout Factory

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 

 


 

 




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