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Dailies – Indie Horror (Severin Films & Intervision Releases)

September 27, 2017 - 12:38 pm   |   by

When it comes to the depths of obscurity, few companies manage to put out consistently under the radar material like Severin Films, as well as Intervision Pictures. While the former deals primarily in everything from cult horror oddities to lost exploitation classics, the latter tackles many shot-on-video features from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Although both companies also occasionally do contemporary titles, little known and underappreciated cinema is their bread and butter. Some of each company’s most notable releases include Bloody Moon, Hardware, BMX Bandits, Santa Sangre, The Other Hell, Cathy’s Curse, Things, Murderlust, Phobe, and Sledgehammer, just to name a few.

Today, I’m going to cover some of their more recent releases, but I’ll start off with one we haven’t managed to include on The Bits before. [Read on here...]

Axe & Kidnapped Coed: The Films of Frederick R. Friedel (Blu-ray Disc)

Axe & Kidnapped Coed: The Films of Frederick R. Friedel

Severin’s Blu-ray double feature of Axe & Kidnapped Coed: The Films of Frederick R. Friedel is an eye-opening look at no budget regional filmmaking during the 1970s. One of the original titles on the Video Nasties list, Axe tells the story of a young woman named Lisa who looks after her helpless grandfather. One day three criminals on the run stop at their house in the country to hide out from the police. Making themselves right at home, they soon discover that Lisa isn’t as innocent as she looks, and they’ll have to die to find that out. Kidnapped Coed tells of a man who takes a young rich girl hostage for ransom. Hiding out until the money can be delivered, they run into a number of colorful characters while developing an odd and sudden affection for one another.

The Blu-ray release features audio in English 2.0 DTS-HD and German 2.0 Dolby Digital; an audio commentary on both films by writer/director Frederick R. Friedel, production manager Philip Smoot, and make-up artist Worth Keeter; Bloody Brothers, a newly-edited together version of both films (as well as additional footage not seen in either version) with an introduction by Frederick R. Friedel and optional audio commentary by Stephen Thrower; “At Last... Total Terror!”: The Amazing True Story of the Making of Axe & Kidnapped Coed; Moose Magic: The George Newman Shaw & John Willhelm Story; Stephen Thrower on Axe & Kidnapped Coed; theatrical trailers for Axe, Lisa, Lisa, Virgin Slaughter, and The Kidnap Lover; a TV spot for Axe; 2 TV spots for Kidnapped Coed; 2 radio spots for Lisa, Lisa; 2 radio spots for Axe; a radio spot for California Axe Massacre, Hollywood Hillside Strangler, and Mausoleum; and a bonus CD featuring the soundtracks for both films.


The Otherworld (Blu-ray Disc)

L’autre Monde (The Otherworld)

L’autre Monde (The Otherworld) is Richard Stanley’s 2013 documentary about his experiences in a place called “The Zone”, an area of France hidden away from the rest of the world. Speaking to a variety of people with Stanley at the center of things, we learn about this mysterious and magical place that he has been obsessed with for many years. The film makes no attempt to prove or disprove what actually occurs there, leaving it up the viewer instead to make up their own mind. With gorgeous on location cinematography, it’s a bizarre but beautiful trip into a truly fantastical realm.

Severin’s Blu-ray edition of the film comes equipped with English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD audio tracks; captions and subtitles in both English & French; 2 deleted scenes; The Other Side of the Mirror, a 34-minute behind the scenes featurette; the film’s trailer, and for the first 2,500 copies, a bonus DVD containing three additional Richard Stanley documentaries, including Voice of the Moon, The Secret Glory, and The White Darkness, all with new introductions and audio commentaries by Stanley himself.


Suffer, Little Children (DVD)

Suffer, Little Children

Suffer, Little Children from Intervision is a wild and unruly piece of shot-on-video madness. Labeled erroneously as “Britain’s most controversial horror film”, it was refused a rating in its uncut form. The premise involves a mute child with demonic supernatural powers who shows up at an orphanage, causing mayhem and murder almost immediately after arriving. Sold as a film about true events that were never reported nor publicized, this odd little amateur effort contains enough carnage, as well as a completely gonzo ending, to make even the most hardened horror fanatic sit up and take notice.

The DVD features audio in English 2.0 Dolby Digital with English subtitles, as well as a couple of extras: School of Shock, an interview with director Alan Briggs; Seducing the Gullible, an interview with Legend of UK “Nasty” Era Fanzine Critique John Martin; and a modern release trailer.


Dark Harvest/Escapes (DVD)

Dark Harvest / Escapes

Intervision’s Dark Harvest and Escapes double feature DVD features two previously unreleased films on the format. Dark Harvest is a horror tale about a group of college students stranded in the middle of nowhere while being stalked and slaughtered by a murderous scarecrow. Escapes is a horror anthology featuring Vincent Price as the host, but the version of the film presented here is actually an extended cut, which contains an additional story, making 6 total (despite Vincent Price saying that the wraparound is the 6th story at the end).

There’s the Hall of Faces wraparound, Hobgoblin Bridge, A Little Fishy, Coffee Break, Who’s There, Jonah’s Dream, and Think Twice. Audio for both films is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital with English captions. There’s also a couple of extras, including Remembering Dark Harvest with Actress Patti Negri; Dan Weiss Remembers Dark Harvest Via Video Skype; and Tom Naygrow on David Steensland.


Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties (Blu-ray Disc)

Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties

Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties comes from an era before the internet made underground exploitation films almost unnecessary. Directed by Jess Franco and released in different versions throughout Europe and Spain, it contains a number of different elements, including kidnapping, gunplay, rape (both male and female), sexual torture, slavery, and hypnotism – all of it rolled into a plot about female abduction and those who try to keep it from taking place. It’s a trashy and wildly uneven romp with not much more on its mind than what you see on the screen, which in Jess Franco terms, is about par for the course.

Severin’s Blu-ray package also offers up two audio tracks for the film in English and French 2.0 mono LPCM, as well as Two Cats in the Canaries; a 10-minute interview with director Jess Franco; a 12-minute interview from 1993 with composer Daniel White by filmmaker Donald Farmer; Stephen Thrower on Two Female Spies, a 30-minute interview; a set of outtakes and a theatrical trailer, both from VHS sources; and for the first 3,000 copies, a bonus DVD containing the alternate Spanish version of the film entitled Opala de Fuego.

While you’re at it, if you see something you’re interested in, please purchase it through the Amazon links that we’ve provided. A portion of anything that you order from Amazon after clicking through to them goes to help support our work here at The Bits, and we appreciate your support.

- Tim Salmons