Hollywood Gothique
LA Cinema Gothique

Midnight Movies Rise From the Grave

There was some concern earlier this year when MGM-UA was purchased by Sony Pictures Entertainment (the company that already owns Columbia-TriStar studios). MGM-UA had been releasing a series of classic horror and/or cult titles on DVD, in a series they dubbed “Midnight Movies,” and the fear was that this niche-audience product was such a small-potatoes item that Sony would discontinue it. Those fears seemed to be justified when the promised release of restored version of WITCHFINDER GENERAL in August failed to materialize. But now, with Halloween approach, MGM-UA has announced a flood of horror movie releases on DVD, including a pair of Midnight Movie double bills.

September 20 will see the release of a double disc Midnight Movie set of TALES OF TERROR and TWICE TOLD TALES. The former is a classic anthology, with three episodes based on Poe stories, with performances from Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Basil Rathbone. The later is a bit of a rip-off, an attempt to work wth same formula using stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Price is back starring in three vignettes, but director Sidney Salkow cannot match Roger Corman’s work in the earlier film.

The same say offers another Midnight Movie double disc set, this time featuring two film adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft: DIE MONSTER DIE (based on “The Colour Out of Space”) and THE DUNWICH HORROR. Neither one really does justice to the source material. The former may be of interest to fans of Boris Karloff and/or Nick Addams. The latter has some atmosphere — just enough to make you wish they had been more faithful to Lovecraft’s novella, instead of turning it into a typical Hollywood horror movie.

Other titles available on September 20th include a four-disc collectors box set of the SPECIES films, including numerous featurettes and other extras. Also available will be DOLLS (directed by Stuart Gordon, from a script by Ed Naha), the fine ghost story THE LADY IN WHITE, FROM A WHIPSER TO A SCREAM (pretty dreadful, despite the presence of Vincent Price), and THE NIGHT VISITOR.

Looking a little farther ahead, October 4 offers a remastered special edition DVD of John Carpenter’s THE FOG, plus a DVD of the 2005 version of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, featuring eight deleted scenes, a featurette, audio commentary, multi-angle on-set peeks behind the scenes, a photo gallery, and more.