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April 27, 2010

A Tribute to MGM's Midnite Movies on DVD!

(Hey peeps, I retired from a week-long mini-vacation from work today (read as: got off my fat ass for once!), so I'm not feeling too much serious writing in my system. However, I wanted to give y'all something simple to admire in the meantime. Happy viewings!)

Once upon a time, when I decided to start up this meager blog of justice, I was inspired by many films I'd loved throughout the years. However, there is one group of films that inspired me directly toward this site's purpose - the "Midnite Movies" collection of films (like the above Mars Needs Women, complete with the strategically placed rocket on the cover) released on VHS/DVD by MGM (and, later, Fox). The collection, which consists mostly of films made or released by the great American International Pictures label, has offered me plenty of great viewing experiences and plenty of titles I love to ponder.

What will follow here is a collection of some of the releases in this collection, and my comments on each. These comments will not necessarily be related to each movie's quality - as there are many I've yet to see - but to the idea that these movies exist and come in these extra cool packages. With no further ado, I dive in....
First up we have Count Yorga, Vampire and its sequel, The Return of Count Yorga. I've seen most of the original Yorga, which is an oddly interesting, if not snail-paced, vampire tale - but mostly I wanted to list them here simply for the name "Yorga". It's fun. Say it with me now..."YOR-ga! YOR-ga! YOR-ga!" It's better than Rudy.
Next, we have the dual force of War Gods of the Deep and At The Earth's Core (with the tagline: "They're in it DEEP now!"). Like many of the films in this collection one stars Vincent Price, and the other stars Peter Cushing. Plus, my favorite dreamboat to randomly namedrop, Tab Hunter (i.e. - You think that guy's hot? He's not exactly Tab Hunter!), stars in War Gods of the Deep. That's cool.
If they told you that two heads are better than one, they had the duo of The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant and The Thing With Two Heads in mind. If you can't read the latter's tagline, it's "They share the same body...but hate each other's guts!" That's a winner.
Looking for a psychotropic time with Jack Nicholson or Peter Fonda or Dennis Hopper that's not all motorcycles? Then the double dip of Psych-Out and The Trip, each starring mega-babe Susan Strasberg, might be what you need.
Having trouble choosing a femalien destructor? Do some research with Invasion of the Star Creatures and Invasion of the Bee Girls! THEY'LL LOVE YOU TO DEATH! is definitely a tagline that stings! (And what's with the eyes falling out of the dude staring at the Star Creatures? Yikes.)
Only time for one movie? How about the Copenhagen based Reptilicus? It's a TAIL of terror! Get it? (Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that there are multiple Reptilici in this movie...but I hope I'm wrong.)
Ah! Not only two movies I've seen, but two movies I LOVE! Panic in Year Zero, an apocalyptic tale from star/director/Oscar-Winner Ray Milland, and The Last Man on Earth, which is Vincent Price in an adaptation of Richard Matheson's amazing I AM LEGEND! This set was in most Wal-Mart $5 bins for a long, long time, and I hope for your sake you grabbed it up. Not only is it two fine films, it's the best Last Man on Earth has ever looked on DVD, after a slew of poor transfers via bargain companies. Seriously, seek it out!
Ok, I have to mention the Morons from Outer Space/Alien from L.A. two-pack for a couple of reasons. 1) Morons from Outer Space, which I've yet to see, comes from the director of Flash Gordon. (So it must rule.) 2) Alien from L.A. might be THE worst movie I've ever seen. Kathy Ireland might have been the most attractive person of all-time in my mind when I was 12, but this It's a freaking travesty. Oh well, can't win 'em all.
I haven't seen Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow, so I'm done talking about it despite the cool title. Here's the thing - The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini is a movie that I 1000%, with no hint of sarcasm, LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. I know it's the tail end of the "monster beach movie" cycle, but to me it is to that genre what Touch of Evil is to Film Noir. Seriously, one of the most fun movies I've ever seen. (If you're wondering, yes, the bikini is invisible, but that doesn't mean the chick's boobs are visible. So it's not because of that.) But for reals, I love you The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini!
Hey, more Bikinis! (But again, no nudity. You know you're troubled when you own multiple movies with "bikini" in the title that DON'T have nudity in them.) Anyway, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine stars Vincent Price, and if you look closely at the cover he appears to a) be dressed as the Wizard of Oz; and b) be wielding a lightsaber. So that's nice. Fun movie, and Mario Bava directed its sequel.
I have to mention Wild in the Streets and Gas-s-s-s -Or- It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It, due to the latter. I know some who applaud it as an all-time great sci-fi film, but I didn't like it one bit. However, it's notable for once holding the record for using the letter "s" consecutively in a title, up until 1973's Sssssss, starring The A-Team's Dirk Benedict, came along. True story.
Last but not least, I offer The Monster that Challenged the World and It! The Terror From Beyond Space. I'm terribly fond of the former, or at least my idea of what the former is - a film in which a monster, shunned by the world, cuts a mean promo challenging the world to a steel cage match.

"You know somethin', World dude! I thought we could work together, I thought you could change your ways, I thought you were someone I could learn to trust! But when you brought that steel chair crashing down on my head...when you broke the trust of all my crossed the line, brother! But now, two weeks from today, at Earthamania, it's just gonna be you and me, World dude! And when they close that door, and the unforgiving steel surrounds us...whatcha gonna do, World dude...when the 24 foot tentacles and all the power of Monstermania runs wild on YOU!!!!"

(Oh, and allegedly It! was ripped off by no less than ALIEN. Yeah, they said it, not!)


Unknown said...

The Midnight Movie releases are awesome, I was happy as hell when Killer Klowns From Outer Space was added as one a few years back.

Angie said...

I LOOOOVE this DVD series! I'm always excited when I find a new one!

Welcome to the LAMB! :)

Rick - Killer Klowns is awesome!!

B-Sol said...

These are amazing. I have the one with Theater of Blood, which is how I originally discovered that movie. It's now among my all-time favorites, of any genre.

I Like Horror Movies said...

One of the first DVDs I ever bought was Killer Klowns from the Midnite collection! They have done excellent work these last ten years, where else might we find Motel Hell and Deranged???

The Mike said...

Thanks for commenting guys! Killer Klowns was also my first from the collection, and is actually one of my oldest surviving DVDs.

B-Sol - Great call on Theatre of Blood. I left out most of the Price stuff here, because I'm sure I'll be covering most of them, like that one, sooner or later.

Angie - Welcome to the site, and thanks for the LAMB welcome!

Anonymous said...