Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Kino Lorber - BOBBIE JO & THE OUTLAW + QUEEN OF BLOOD on Blu-ray + THE MASK on 3D Blu-ray ""

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kino Lorber - BOBBIE JO & THE OUTLAW + QUEEN OF BLOOD on Blu-ray + THE MASK on 3D Blu-ray

BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW (1976; Mark L. Lester)
Early on in this flick "Outlaw" Lyle (Marjoe Gortner) shows he's a sensitive hooligan when he runs a pursuing highway patrolman off the road, but then pulls over to check and see if the guy is okay after the crash. He's a kind of gentleman hoodlum and his gaze draws the attention of drive-in waitress Bobbie Jo (Lynda Carter). Bobbie Jo idolizes Linda Ronstadt. Lyle has made Billy the Kid his role model. When Bobbie Jo grows weary of her home life, she hops in Lyle's stolen car and off they go on an adventure. Sure it's a straight up Bonnie and Clyde type thing, but it's memorable for its place in Lynda Carter's career if nothing else. The first episode of  the WONDER WOMAN TV Show (Carter's most famous role) aired on November 7th, 1975. BOBBIE JO (an American International Picture) came out circa March of 1976. It's a cult film of sorts now and my guess is that has a lot to do with the fact there Lynda Carter did some nudity in it. It doesn't hurt that it was also directed Mark L. Lester. Lester is a cult movie auteur in some ways. He did TRUCK STOP WOMEN, ROLLER BOOGIE, CLASS OF 1984(& '99), COMMANDO, SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO among others so his output is pretty iconic in some circles. This one is definitely an American International production though. It has lots of AIP staples including violence, a few car chases and even a drug trip scene. It may have given slight inspiration to the FAST AMD FURIOUS series in that it features a bit where folks are pulling a safe behind a moving car. If nothing else, it reenforces the idea that just about ANY scene with gambling in an AIP movie is only there to facilitate later conflict. Inevitably if the main character wins, there will be trouble from the loser and his chronies. It should have been obvious to me by now, but this movie cemented that. 
In watching it, I was also reminded of how odd-looking a dude Marjoe Gortner is for a 1970s leading man. He wasn't given a ton of roles where he was a headliner like this and that is a shame, because his presence in the lead of a film gives a whole different feeling than we are used to nowadays. I guess the 70s had its share of actors like him and I kinda love that. Lynda Carter is uber-cute in this movie too and on top of that she even sings a song in it. I know she did a lot of television in her career, but I wish she had done more movies as she has a remarkably on screen presence that just glows. Also recommended for Carter fans is her 1982 thriller TV-movie HOTLINE. Watch for Belinda Balaski and Gerrit Graham in BOBBIE JO as well, both are excellent.

Special Features:
-An enlightening audio commentary from director Mark  L. Lester.
-On-Camera Interviews with stars Belinda Balaski, Merrie Lynn Ross and Mark L. Lester.
BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW can be purchased on Blu-ray here:
http://amzn.to/1XBaBwj

QUEEN OF BLOOD (1966; Curtis Harrington)
Dennis Hopper is well-remembered for his roles in things like EASY RIDER and APOCALYPSE NOW as well as many others, but the earlier work he did with director Curtis Harrington sometimes falls by the wayside. In 1961, Hopper made a creepy, quasi-mermaid tale called NIGHT TIDE (which Kino also put out on Blu-ray) which Harrington wrote and directed. It's an ambiguous, incredibly atmospheric movie and one that more folks should check out. Then in 1966, Hopper re-teamed with Harrington and John Saxon to make the sci-fi favorite QUEEN OF BLOOD.
Set in the "distant" future of 1990, QUEEN OF BLOOD's world is one where space stations have been set up on the moon for years and people can come and go as they like (authorized personnel only). The question that remains puzzling though is the one about life on other planets. The International Institute of Space Technology is working on plans to explore the planets Venus and Mars. IIST receives a message from space (really just weird, windy ambient sounds) and Dr. Farraday (Basil Rathbone) announces that the message is something of an invitation to visit Mars and astronauts are dispatched on a mission there. Once on the planet, they find a female and she turns out to be very creepy and very bad news. 
QUEEN OF BLOOD has some interesting lower-budget period effects. Space-age Miniatures and mattes give that classic science fiction drive-in movie feeling. It feels like a combination of the vehicle launch sequences from THE THUNDERBIRDS and a low-rent FORBIDDEN PLANET vibe. What's kind of neat about QUEEN OF BLOOD is that the FX sequences are all taken from a Russian science fiction film that Roger Corman purchased for U.S. Distribution. The movie was pillage for several productions, but Harrington made by the most elaborate and interesting use of the other film's scenes. The story that was crafted around the footage is one of the more interesting genre efforts of the period.

Special Features:
-Interviews with Producer Roger Corman and Film Historian Robert Skotak - both are good, especially the Corman.
QUEEN OF BLOOD can be purchased on Blu-ray here:
http://amzn.to/1lZOG6k



THE MASK (1961; Julian Roffman)

From Kino's site: "After the shocking death of a disturbed patient, psychiatrist Dr. Allan Barnes (Paul Stevens) comes into possession of the ancient tribal mask that supposedly drove the young man to his doom. When Barnes puts on the mask, he is assailed with nightmarish visions of monsters, occultists, and ritual torture. Believing that the mask has opened a portal to the deepest recesses of his mind, the doctor continues to explore this terrifying new psychic world -- even as the mask reveals a latent violence in Barnes' nature that threatens those closest to him."
I absolutely cannot get enough of these classic 3D films coming out on 3D Blu-ray. Kino's previous release of THE BUBBLE was a true oddball delight for me and THE MASK is a similar treat. While THE BUBBLE was entirely in 3D, THE MASK differs in that it offers a good portion of the movie in 2D with several special 3D sequences interwoven throughout. Apparently it was originally put out on the cheap with anaglyph 3D (the blue/red glasses) done up as a gimmick that each viewer was provided a special cardboard mask for when they saw the movie. At specific spots in THE MASK, the audience was asked to "Put the mask on now!" so they could view the trippy 3D bits in the film. 
It's a nice little gimmick and I'd love to have seen it back then in that way with a crowd. This disc features nice-looking stereoscopic 3D for those sequences though and that is pretty fantastic I must say. As far as films one might compare it to, the sense of dread and paranoia it attempts to conjure is in line with things like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS ('56) and perhaps Herk Harvey's CARNIVAL OF SOULS.  THE MASK plays more like a film noir than probably any other movie in the initial 3D craze of this period (although, MAN IN THE DARK gets pretty close to noir-town as well).


Apparently, THE MASK has a significant place in film history in that it was the first Canadian feature to be distributed by a major studio in the U.S. (Warner Bros).

Special Features:
This Disc includes some nice supplements:
-An Audio Commentary from film historian Jason Pichonsky.
-"Julian Roffman: The Man Behind THE MASK" - a 20 minute doc on the film's director.
-Four Trailers and TV Spots.
-3D Sequences in anaglyph as well (no glasses included).
-The Films of Slavko Vorkapich: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 9413, A HOLLYWOOD EXTRA (1928), plus Montage Sequences (1928-1937) and ABSTRACT EXPERIMNT IN KODACHROME (1940).

Joe Dante just recently put out a great Trailers from Hell on this movie and I highly recommend it. Dante is one of my favorite people and he always manages to pack an amazing amount of information into each of his trailer commentaries:


THE MASK can be purchased on 3D Blu-ray here:

http://amzn.to/1MmxDSl

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