Rituals returns! and other cult DVD news

The demise of Code Red (or rather the company's decision to fold) left a number of announced projects in the air, but two of the label's classic Cancon titles are back on the release schedule of Navarre, to be released in Canada via E1's Vivendi.

Peter Carter's Rituals is on again, with a release daye of April 5, just in time for some spring hunting. Rue Morgue magazine did a cover story on the film (issue 96), packed with pictures and interviews, so maybe this time the special edition will actually hit the street.

One suspects fans will snap it up fast, just in case a vengeful orthodontist from Yorkville pops up from the woodwork and claims 'participating financier status,' and delays the release yet again. Alongside Dario Argento's Door Into Darkness TV series - announced by NoShame, then postponed when the label died, but finally released a few years later via new label Mia - Rituals may be the most delayed cult film on home video.

Plenty of publicty, plus a local screening of the film built up a lot of anticipation in 2009 (yeah, it's been that long), but if the p.r. sheets are reflective of finished product, Rituals will contain a new 16x9 transfer, and audio commentary + on camera interview from actor/producer Lawrence Dane. I guess Code Red's hope of getting Hal Holbrook to contribute an interview for the DVD never materialized, but we've got the Rue Morgue Q&A to fill in some gaps.

Also coming from Navarre, slated for April 12, is The Last Chase, a sort of post-apocalyptic, end of the oil reserves eco chase variant of Vanishing Point (it's all there) starring Lee Majors and Chris Makepeace, plus Burgess Meredith as another grumbly old man. The DVD will sport an audio commentary with director Martyn Burke, and marks one of the last feature film scores by jazz & electronic music whiz Gil Melle (The Organization [M]), whose other Cancon credit is that fantabulous stinker, Starship Invasions.

Also coming from Navarre (April 19) is Marcy, Joe Sarno's 1969 erotic film, and Julie Darling (due April 26), featuring a new HD transfer, and audio commentary and on camera interviews with stars Sybil Danning and Isabelle Mejias. I wonder if the latter release will yield Spasms, aka Death Bite, the other film produced by John Pozhke. Director William Fruet’s cult shocker (“You scream, you expand, you explode. A new source of evil is discovered and is out of control”) is in need of a proper DVD release after kicking around on international VHS tapes for decades.

Lastly, Shout! Factory continues mining the exploitation realm, starting April 5th with Roger Corman's Cult Clasics Triple Feature Action Packed Collection, featuring with Georgia Peaches, Smokey Bites the Dust, and The Great Texas Dynamite Chase, plus undisclosed extras.

On April 12, the label is releasing a double-bill of two out-of print titles: Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry and Race with the Devil. Extras are also undetailed, but the DVDs sport new anamorphic transfers.

Lastly, also from Shout! is The Ernie Kovacs Collection, a 6-disc set to be released April 19 with reportedly previously unreleased material among its 780 mins.

No details as to whether material from a prior 2-disc set released in 2000 by White Star is included, but here are the basic specs for Shout's set:


- Disc 1: The Early Years

- Disc 2: The NBC Morning Shows

- Disc 3: The NBC Evening Shows

- Disc 4: The Late 1950s

- Disc 5: The ABC Specials

- Disc 6: Classic Pieces


Spring is looking good already!

Mark R. Hasan, Editor


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