BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Blood-A-Rama Triple Frightmare: Help Me . . . I'm Possessed (1976), Night of the Strangler (1972), Carnival of Blood (1970)

Blood-A-Rama Triple Frightmare

“Doctor!  Doctor!  She’s . . . dead.”

A horror triple feature from the vaults of the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA)?  Yes, please!  Call it the return of the Drive-In schlock.  Hell, call it whatever you want.  I call these films - Help Me . . . I’m Possessed, Carnival of Blood, and Night of the Strangler, solid gold CULT CLASSICS.  This is Badass Sinema at its worst!  I mean, BEST

"While the films have been restored in 2K, for preservation's sake solely, they look and sometimes act pretty terrible, embracing all of their z-grade attitudes"


What else would you call a z-grade flick which occurs within a sanitarium in the middle of the desert where an EVIL SCIENTIST watches over a Lover’s Lane while his psychopathic hunchback goes to town cutting up female flesh?  Sounds like a night out to me!

Off their rockers and featuring all sorts of cool synthesized sound, AGFA delivers a blood-soaked triple feature on blu-ray that will have you popping some popcorn and breaking out the booze in no time.  Full of scratches in the print and audio drops, the films on this collection are as poorly made as they are presented, yet it works to create an unforgettable night out at the drive-in as monsters come to life in sweaty paperback-styled horror dramas which star The Monkees' Micky Dolenz and Rocky's Burt Young.

Help Me . . . I’m Possessed, directed by Charles Nizet in 1974, clocks a quick one hour and 20 minutes, but what a trip it is as deputized hicks fumble over themselves to catch a killer   It’s a whirlwind of madness as complications rise severely when the wild hunchback servant, after whipping chained up women in the basement of an insane asylum, decides to hack them to pieces so they will fit in the boxes he dumps in the desert.  The film stars Bill Greer as Dr. Arthur Blackwood and Pierre Agonisto as The Hunchback and, yeah, you guessed it, is so much without a budget that it’s going to cost you to actually watch it.Blood-A-Rama Triple Frightmare

Next up is Night of the Strangler, directed by Joy N. Houck, Jr in 1972.  This sleazy z-grade romp of a whodunnit is pretty horrible.  I’m not even going to tell you that it isn’t.  Starring everyone’s second-favorite Monkee as a Vietnam Vet who tries to help his sister, this gooey slice of cheese starts with an interracial couple receiving all sorts of backlash in a small, Southern town and ends with a whole mess of venomous snakes raining down from the skies.  Co-starring James Ralston as Vance’s evil brother, the scenery-chewing police procedural is overly dramatic and laughably bad. 

The third and final feature is Carnival of Blood, an ominous, semi-cinéma vérité horror movie that was shot at Coney Island in NYC by Leonard Kirtman in 1970.  In this wild tale, a psychopathic killer uses the carousel ride at a carnival to pick his victims, whom he then murders and dismembers.  The DA is assigned to investigate and brings along his fiancee in order to celebrate their engagement . . . but, with a killer on the loose, is it a good idea?  DAMN THE CONSEQUENCES!  Starring Rocky’s Burt Young and featuring Earle Edgerton, Judith Resnick, and Martin Barolsky as DA Dan, Carnival of Blood makes for a grisly time capsule of New York in the 1970s, but - as it is shot at night and at a carnival - what you get is what you see: raw, raw, raw.

I’m not kidding you when I tell you that this collection from the stickier side of the aisle looks awful.  While the films have been restored in 2K, for preservation's sake solely, they look and sometimes act pretty terrible, embracing all of their z-grade attitudes.  The films are low, low, low in budget and it shows.  That being said, these preservations were made from the only known film elements in existence. Please approach the technical quality of the source materials with empathy.  The coolest feature of all with this disc is the fact that you can watch the full, interrupted program in “drive-in” mode!

Make no mistake about it, this trilogy of gore-soaked terror would make even a drunk H.G. Welles proud in some mirror dimension out there.  Your Blood-A-Rama Triple Frightmare has arrived!

5/5 beers

Blood-A-Rama Triple Frightmare

Blu-ray Details

Blood-A-Rama Triple Frighmare: Help Me . . . I'm Possessed (1976), Night of the Strangler (1972), Carnival of Blood (1970)

Home Video Distributor: AGFA
Available on Blu-ray
- December 28, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

BLOOD-A-RAMA TRIPLE FRIGHTMARE—a nightmarish triple feature of surrealist doom from deep within the AGFA vaults—is out now on Blu-ray! This stacked release includes 2K preservations of HELP ME . . . I’M POSSESSED, NIGHT OF THE STRANGLER, and CARNIVAL OF BLOOD from the only known 35mm prints in existence, blood-dripping trailers and drive-in snipes, a partial commentary track on CARNIVAL OF BLOOD from Bleeding Skull’s Annie Choi and AGFA and Bleeding Skull’s Joseph A. Ziemba, and an option to watch the full, uninterrupted program in “drive-in” mode.

Video:

Look, the films look horrible.  You have to dig deep to see the 2K restorations, but it is there.  The ripe 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode has its limitations, though, as these low budget films are obviously dated and worn through and through.  The remastering adds a little more detail to some of the clothing and the backgrounds.  Black levels are strong, making some of the night kill scenes an absolute triumph of shades and thick lines, even if the daylight scenes suffer a bit in texture and details.

Audio:

Keeping with the spirit of the Drive-In are relatively clean DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtracks for the flicks.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See below

Special Features:

Fans in Drive-In Terror will delight in this release!

  • Region Free Blu-ray
  • 2K preservations from the only known 35mm prints in existence
  • CARNIVAL OF BLOOD: Partial commentary with Bleeding Skull’s Annie Choi and AGFA + Bleeding Skull’s Joseph A. Ziemba 
  • Blood-dripping trailers and drive-in snipes from the AGFA vaults
  • Watch the full, uninterrupted program in “drive-in” mode
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars

 

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