Love, Death & Robots Vol.2

ldr2bThe first season (or ‘volume’ as Netflix would have it) of Love, Death & Robots, an animated anthology show apparently curated by David Fincher, remains one of the highlights of everything I’ve ever seen on Netflix. Its eighteen shorts were so varied in subject matter and animation style that, while there were some duds amongst the average and the great, there always seemed something worthwhile in each instalment. 

One never knows how popular a show is on streaming services, or how decisions are made regards greenlighting more seasons, especially with something as intrinsically weird as Love, Death & Robots, but the news a second season (ok, ‘volume’) was getting made filled me with joy. So news of this second volume getting dropped this month was pretty exciting, although that was tempered by disappointment at there being just eight episodes this time around. I guess this is due to production issues from the Covid pandemic and quite understandable, and news of a volume three coming presumably means that the original second volume has been split into two to facilitate dropping episodes now before a fickle public forget all about the original.

As was the case with the first volume, there are hits and duds even amongst just eight instalments, but again at the very least each is visually arresting. There is still a suspicion that the show is more of a tech demo from animation wizards let loose than a properly scripted anthology like The Twilight Zone– the series it most closely resembles- indeed it reminds me a great deal of the Japanese anime Genius Party films. Even the best episodes feel like the scripts need more polish, but as in the first volume, their advantage is their brevity; I think the longest is just 17 minutes and some run just about 10. Ironically, that’s possibly also a disadvantage, as the brevity means a lack of context and character is a weakness common to all. Once the ‘wow’ factor of the visuals drops, one realises there is often little else.

But what visuals. This show is constantly gorgeous, endless eye-candy. Some of the photo-realistic animation hints at where genre film and television may eventually go, with impossible vistas and pretty convincing… what do you call them, synthetic thespians? I guess its mostly motion-captured performances anyway but goodness, the tech has moved on since that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie amazed me years ago. What I tend to enjoy most though are those incredible vistas, the impossible places, the sense that I’m watching what could easily have been branded ‘Metal Hurlant / Heavy Metal’ and it would have just fit perfectly (albeit the branding meaning nothing to most Netflix punters). I loved that magazine back in its 1970s heyday, and this just looks like the mag transformed into this new medium (that mags weakness, artwork over narrative, is carried over too).

And hey, we even get a Christmas episode this time around, a cautionary morality tale reminding kids to be good or Santa’s presents might not be what they’re expecting/hoping for. That ones quite fun and typically gorgeous. 

Columbia Noir: City of Fear (1959)

cn3cCity of Fear proves less of a revelation than director Irving Lerner’s earlier Murder By Contract, which featured in Indicator’s previous Columbia Noir set. That film blew me away and I’m sure will be one of my favourites of this year. While City of Fear proves more melodramatic and ‘ordinary’ than the extraordinarily ‘cool’ and hip Murder By Contract, it does benefit from some unfortunate timing- its tale of a city under threat of an unseen, insidious and deadly menace resonates strongly with our contemporary experience of living in the time of a pandemic. Indeed, what we are living through now can only intensify the experience of this film and leaves one with a question- is this film really very good or is it just proving a mirror for our current fears and tensions?

Vince Edwards again proves himself a very good performer, albeit a bad guy more routine than the cold enigmatic assassin he played in the earlier film. He does a lot with very little, frankly, but then again that’s true for most everyone in the film. Shot with a very low budget and over the space of, allegedly seven days, this is b-movie film-making that clearly struggles to even make do, desperately padding the already slim running time of 75 minutes with repeated shots of cars in traffic, city exteriors and characters repeatedly scrutinising charts and maps; the film could easily lose fifteen-twenty minutes and you wouldn’t miss it. This is something of a shame as, on the strength of Murder By Contract alone, the creative talent deserved and would have benefited from more time and money. There are moments when it seems they have gone with the first take and moved on, with little evidence of any rehearsal.

That said, the film does have, of all things considering its meagre budget etc, a score by none other than Jerry Goldsmith (his second film score after working in radio and television during the 1950s, which is evidently how they got him). Its a nice, jazzy score that serves the film well, albeit obviously not even hinting at Goldsmith’s later epic soundtracks.

Like Murder By Contract, City of Fear is clearly a late-period noir on the cusp of the 1960s, and unsurprisingly, perhaps, feels very ‘modern’ and seperate from conventional ‘classic’ noir of the 1940s and early-1950s. It also has a curious television feel, in how its shot, how it ‘looks’- to me its more serviceable, obviously constrained by budget and schedule in just the same way as television shows were, lacking the time for the visual sophistication typical of superior noir with its visual styling. Maybe this actually works to the films benefit, with a distinctly hand-held, gritty, you-are-there feel to its location shooting. This latter element is possibly what I found most engaging- its like a glimpse of a lost world, the film almost an historical document with its late-1950s Californian streets, traffic and décor, images from a 1950s-set Philip K Dick novel like Voices From the Street or In Milton Lumky Territory.

The 2021 List: May

Well, there goes May rushing off into the rainy sunset. Just as well the month was saved by some good, albeit not Great, movies, ‘cos the weather here in Blighty was diabolical – even as far as UK summers go, this one’s looking to be going the way of the Star Trek franchise. And in Television-land, Line of Duty proved that Game of Thrones isn’t the only long-running series that should have called it quits while the going was good. But hey, I had my second jab last week…

Television

50) Line of Duty Season Six

59) Love, Death & Robots Vol.2

Films

49) King of New York (1990)

51) Promising Young Woman (2021)

52) Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020)

53) Unthinkable (2018)

54) Honest Thief (2020)

55) Johnny O’Clock (1947)

56) The Dark Past (1948)

57) City of Fear (1959)

58) The Sniper (1952)

60) Army of the Dead (2021)

Columbia Noir: The Sniper (1952)

cn3dI was surprised to discover just how much of a precursor Edward Dmytryk’s serial-killer-with-a-rifle flick is to Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry, the latter film’s Scorpio killer even terrorising the same city (poor San Francisco) with both films featuring sequences of the rooftops as a place of danger and ‘death from above’. Most surprising of all, in some ways, is how The Sniper is intellectually perhaps more sophisticated than the 1971 film- the villain of the 1952 noir is handsome, all-American guy Eddie Miller (Arthur Franz) who knows he’s mentally disturbed and keeps trying to stop what he’s doing, actually trying get caught and returned to hospital. Andrew Robinson’s Scorpio killer looks shady, acts crazy and is just plain evil, enjoying what he’s doing- a frankly one-dimensional villain, fitting the Siegel film’s simplistic black and white narrative. Film noir of course, for all it being actually filmed in black and white, is thankfully often more nuanced than might be expected, and The Sniper is indeed more complex than the later exploitation flick. 

Its impossible to over-estimate the impact this film likely had back in 1952, considering its subject matter and quite graphic murders. Its rather progressive social commentary, calling for better mental health services and understanding of those who are a possible danger to society, curiously echoes sentiments delivered in The Dark Past, another film in this Indicator set. What likely made The Sniper so radical at the time is how it gets us ‘into’ the mind of the conflicted Eddie, marking him a victim himself – not excusing his actions but possibly explaining them. The way the film portrays him repeatedly as an ‘outsider’, as someone who doesn’t fit in or really understands how to be accepted in society, also reminded me greatly of Taxi Driver. No-one has any compassion for Eddie, not even children in the street who turn upon him when he attempts to join in their ball game, and even a customer who is friendly towards him casts him away as soon as her boyfriend turns up (this rejection actually triggering him to enact his first murder).

The one thing in this film that didn’t ring true -and actually annoyed the hell out of me- was Gerald Mohr as detective Joe Ferri, younger sidekick of elder-statesman/case leader Lt. Frank Kraft (Adolphe Menjou). Mohr seems to think he’s in some boys-own adventure film or that he’s somehow the actual lead hero- he grins like an idiot throughout and poses all the time (he holds his gun like its a toy). I suppose he reckoned he was a matinee heartthrob, and can imagine him asking his agent “do I look good?” in every scene and its a horrible performance that grates throughout, he’s just terrible and watching him run, gun in hand, towards Eddie’s building near the films climax was cringe-inducing (“hey, look ma, its me!” kind of thing). One of those cases where an acting performance is clearly NOT trying to serve the movie, I’ve discovered that Mohr features in the noir classic Gilda that I bought on disc a few weeks back that I shall be watching for the first time soon. A cautionary discovery!

Arthur Franz is thankfully very good as the conflicted Eddie. He’s quite sympathetic in a role that could usually be a one-note crazy bastard (again, see Andrew Robinson’s Scorpio killer) and he succeeds in earning our empathy even after killing women in cold blood. I thought it was clever, possibly even daring, casting a handsome actor who looks like your typical Hollywood ‘wholesome good-guy’ as such a dangerous unhinged individual. It certainly gets our attention and curiosity regards what makes him tick and the source of his mad rages- not the usual consideration when watching a Hollywood villain.

Columbia Noir: The Dark Past (1948)

cn3bI can’t very well ridicule contemporary films for excessive plot contrivances and let something like The Dark Past get away with it. This noir is so laden with leaden coincidence after coincidence that it largely collapses under their weight: prison escapee Al Walker (an astonishingly young and handsome William Holden who is clearly better suited to playing good guys than bad) on the run with his gang of accomplices that includes his girlfriend Betty (Nina Foch) holes up in the lakeside weekend retreat of -get this- University Criminal psychology professor Andrew Collins (Lee J.Cobb) who endeavours to analyse Walker and break the pattern of Walker’s violence while being held hostage. Based on a play and centred largely within one location, the film tries to intensify the tension of Collins and Walker’s sparring and attempts to suggest that criminal behaviour can be ‘cured’ and criminals rehabilitated through psychoanalysis. This may have been a progressive and revelatory idea at the time, but in practice it feels rather over-simplistic.

Both William Holden and Lee J. Cobb are in fine form but the material they have to work with isn’t strong enough, so they over-compensate in their heated arguments leaving the performances feeling a little ‘off’. Nina Foch benefits from a stronger role than she got in Johnny O’Clock, certainly- indeed she may be the films finest asset and I haven’t seen her as good as this up to now. This Indicator release includes a very interesting video interview with film historian Pamela Hutchinson about Foch’s life and career which is an excellent supplement to her roles in various entries of  this noir series, and proves a compelling reason to re-examine, for instance, what I considered a lesser film, Escape in the Fog, in light of her subsequent roles and career (which is to say, what a great special feature and further example of what’s great about these physical releases). 

So most likely one of this set’s lesser entries, but as usual with noir from this period, there is something quite seductive about this films milieu- the setting and décor, particularly of the lakeside retreat that looks utterly gorgeous and so of its time. And the film even features a (presumably early) role for Lois Maxwell, familiar to us now for her role as Miss Moneypenny in the early James Bond films. I wonder what twist of fate and career brought her to this supporting role (she plays Collin’s wife) in a Columbia noir? I guess that’s another story, and unfortunately one not revealed in the extras, unless its revealed in the commentary track which I haven’t listened to yet.

Best Picture

I still haven’t watched my 4K disc of The Sting yet. The knowledge that it won the Best Picture Oscar in 1973 has set me thinking about other Best Picture winners that I have yet to see (then again, its even worse when I consider all the best Picture nominees from each year that I’ve also not seen). Mind, the credential of a film winning Best Picture means very little in my eyes. ‘Best Picture Oscar’ is almost a oxymoron: I’ve been curious about it since back in 1978 when Star Wars didn’t win the award. In hindsight I realise its almost a wonder that Star Wars even got nominated (no science fiction film has ever won, I believe) but when one considers the impact the film had on Hollywood and pop culture, how popular the film was… I know, the Best Picture isn’t a judgement of popularity (at least outside of Academy voters) but back then when my twelve-year old self tutted in disgust when something called Annie Hall won…. thus began my long disgust with that Oscar statue.

Okay, maybe Annie Hall was (and is) the better movie by some criteria. But is Annie Hall talked about today as much as Star Wars still is? Did later generations watch Annie Hall as much as Star Wars? Does such perspective even matter?

Looking back on some of the Best Picture nominees and winners is awfully interesting though. Oliver! (yep, never seen it) won in 1968, and 2001: A Space Odyssey wasn’t even a nominee (Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Rachel, Rachel and Romeo and Juliet were). Its probably a bad example as its raising my genre leanings but all the same, 2001 was one of the most important and ground-breaking films ever made and never even registered a nomination? Its like the Academy favours ridicule. But that’s me judging that year’s awards through the lens of my personal leanings and the benefit of fifty years of hindsight (fast-forward to 1989 and Driving Miss Daisy winning Best Picture, or 1998 when Shakespeare in Love won over both Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line for more examples of Academy nonsense- don’t they know movies?).

So anyway, it set me thinking. I’m not going to go rush out and watch each years nominees and see if I agree with the winner, because I know already that most of the time I wouldn’t. The Oscar for Best Picture is an hoary old chestnut that surfaces every year, and looking at some of each years lists, even the lists of nominees (limited to five in the past, although that’s since been relaxed for some odd reason) is rather dubious, as 1968 teaches us. But some years were bloody daft. 1979: Kramer vs Kramer (won), All That Jazz, Breaking Away, Norma Rae and… Apocalypse Now (okay, that’s just insane, Coppola was clearly robbed).

Some years were just incredible mind, especially during the 1970s. 1974: The Godfather Part II won, can’t really begrudge it that, but its competition included nominations for Chinatown, The Conversation, Lenny and the bizarre wildcard that was The Towering Inferno. What a year. 1975:  One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest won, but other nominees included Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon, Jaws and Robert Altman’s Nashville. What a bloody year THAT was. The following year was just the same; 1976: Rocky won, its competition was All the Presidents Men, Bound For Glory, Network and Taxi Driver. I think that year puts 1977’s failure to award it to Star Wars in some perspective, because with awarding it to Rocky clearly set a precedent for popular films winning Best Picture over better and more important pictures. See, my twelve-year old self clearly knew something was wrong.

Army of the Dead (2021)

army1Zack Snyder’s return to the zombie genre is as loud and dumb as anyone could have hoped for or feared (some people love this stuff, like some guilty pleasure) – I just wish it could have been more tense. Its the one thing that’s quite unforgivable about this film – the utter lack of any tension. There really isn’t any. In a zombie movie. Its violent and gory but it isn’t in the slightest bit scary, there simply isn’t much of any sense of threat- possibly because the core set of characters are so by-the-numbers and familiar that we don’t really care about any of them. I swear the woman who doubles as Aliens‘ Vasquez, from wardrobe to final death, it is so obvious its a wonder James Cameron isn’t knocking on Snyder’s door for a credit, but we’re past the point now that genre fanboys feel more clever about spotting these ‘homages’ than they do feeling pissed off at yet another bloody call-back to a better movie. They’ve even got a ‘Company man’ who pulls a double-cross and a rooftop escape that is thwarted by the transport having fled early… (oh no we’re screwed, its not here its gone no wait no its not, here it is we’re saved) yeah they even pull THAT Aliens gag, I’m almost surprised they didn’t use James Horner’s music cue.

Once the action starts and the deaths start to mount up, we’re watching almost passively, utterly uninvolved. Its like everyone involved got obsessed with the technical stuff- the visual effects, the stunts etc- that they (and I guess when I write ‘they’ I’m really referring to Snyder) forgot the script. And the characters. And yet this thing is about 150 minutes long. 

Its style over substance. Nothing new there, its Snyder after all. Its competently shot and generally looks pretty great, with some quite arresting moments, but its so dumb and predictable. Its such a shame. Technically, Snyder is some kind of genius, he has this eye for this kind of stuff that can’t be denied, and he’s marshalled a team of excellent production designers and make-up artists and visual effects teams, and the premise of a zombie-infested Las Vegas as the setting for a violent heist caper is some kind of genius, especially when you can throw in a certain few Elvis Presley songs. But where’s the tension, where’s the scares, where’s the surprises? Why all the familiar genre tropes and nods to earlier movies?

Not a crushing disappointment but nowhere near as good as it might or should have been. Snyder desperately needs someone standing at his shoulder whispering “hey, hang on, lets think about this for a minute…” but at this point in his career that’s apparently long gone now. Studios get a lot of beef for interfering with creative visions but with Netflix its surprisingly routine for projects to suffer from the creative teams having too much freedom, and such is the case here. But hey, its a popcorn movie.

Columbia Noir: Johnny O’Clock (1947)

cn3aOne of the pleasures of this series of Columbia film noir being released in these Indicator boxsets is the recurring talent in front and behind the screen, thanks to the studio system prevalent at the time (the talent tied to studio contracts). Hence here again we get Nina Foch of Escape in the Fog and The Undercover Man, and Lee J.Cobb of The Garment Jungle, both of whom will also appear in the next film in this third Columbia Noir set, The Dark Past. And we get another George Dunning score (5 Against The House, Tight Spot, The Mob, The Undercover Man etc) too. There’s all these connections between the films.

Anyway, Johnny O’Clock was great, a really good noir. I think it was the cast that made it so special; this film is another example of just good Lee J Cobb was; a fantastic character actor, he’s great here as Detective Inspector Koch, who floats around Johnny O’Clock (Dick Powell) convinced Johnny is the likeliest culprit for a murder that just seems to get murkier. In the event, Johnny is quite innocent, but suffers from association: his business partner is a crook under pressure from a bent cop who wants a part of the business. Meanwhile Johnny finds himself ‘suffering’ the attentions of three beautiful women which, as this is a noir, can only mean trouble. While some of us men can only dream of that kind of ‘trouble’ it does prove to be Johnny’s undoing.

Nina Foch actually has only a minor role in the film, as Harriet Hobson, although its her death that sets the domino’s falling in on Johnny. Eveleyn Keyes, as Nina’s sister Nancy, set’s Johnny’s pulse racing as she arrives in town questioning what happened to her sister. Keyes is pretty fine indeed, but the femme fatale of the piece is actually Johnny’s ex, Nelle (Ellen Drew) who still holds a torch for Johnny while now being married to Johnny’s business partner/mobster Guido Marchettis (Thomas Gomez). Its quite a tangled web, especially when the crooked cop trying to muscle Johnny out of Marchettis’ casino business is found dead too.

Ellen Drew stole the show for me as temptress Nelle, usually drunk but draping herself sensuously around lounge furniture and men, teasing and laughing. I’m not certain why exactly, but there was just something irresistible about Drew; she quite fascinated me, and absolutely convinced as a beauty that consumes Marchittis with jealous rage and insecurity, while her drunken state is perhaps triggered by feelings that her move upwards from Johnny to Guido was a mistake. Is it just me, or is part of the appeal of these movies of this period that women look like women, are dressed and wearing make-up that heightens their sexuality in what I dare say could be described as traditional/old-fashioned (or possibly sexist)? I continue to be horrified, mind, by just how frequently the women persist in lighting-up and smoking: another indication of the times and social practices of the day of course.

Its quite possible that the least interesting character in the film is Johnny O’Clock; Dick Powell is fine but he isn’t helped by a character that, by his nature, has to remain aloof and confident, its unfortunate that it leaves him a less emphatic ‘doomed’ character than some noir protagonists. Likewise he suffers by comparison to Cobb, who quietly steals every scene he is in, in just that way Cobb did in his every role. His performance is a masterclass in using props and the set around him, he was really such a gifted actor, so charismatic: one of the greats. 

There is a subtle charge/suggestion of homosexuality between Johnny and his personal assistant/man-friend Charlie (John Kellogg): its naturally unspoken as you’d expect in a film of the time but Charlie spends an awful long time in Johnny’s apartment, waking Johnny in his bedroom and preparing his breakfast, and I wondered if the reason why he suddenly turns on Johnny is because he doesn’t approve of Johnny’s interest in Nancy. I’m actually surprised by how much homoerotic subtext filters in so many of these noir, but its an element, deliberate or not, that proves a further example of just how subversive and complex this genre can be. 

Another dream palace gone

showc2Recent news that the Showcase Cinema where I’d watched films throughout the 1990s (starting with Batman, The Abyss etc in 1989) has closed forever has had me getting nostalgic. At the time it opened in 1989 the multiplex was a revelation, with state of the art seating and projection and sound a far cry cry from what excused for film presentation in our then-current haunts of the old ABC and Odeon Cinemas in town. Once I saw Batman at the Showcase I never went back to the old ABC and that cinema itself closed not long after. The Showcase too would eventually fall behind the times, superseded by newer, better cinemas and its been decade or more since I ever went there, but yeah, its awfully sad. I have some great memories from going there:

A late-Saturday night preview showing of Total Recall that remains the craziest, wildest cinema screening of my life. When the film began, with that incredible Jerry Goldsmith title music blasted out loud, the palpable energy of that testosterone-fuelled audience was something I don’t think I’ve experienced since, it was almost like some kind of rock concert. 

Watching The Abyss and then coming out to the carpark in a wild storm, rain hammering down sideways in a gale just like the storm portrayed in the film, one of those strange moments that felt like a film bleeding out into reality. Those moments are the best: I remember coming out of a screening of Cocoon, of all things, and seeing a sliver of crescent moon hanging in the sky just the same as in that film’s poster. Its like the film has come out with you.

Sometimes, back in the dark days when I was unemployed between jobs I’d go alone to watch cheap afternoon screenings to escape my lot (Fantasia, Always, for example), one of which was my worst cinema-going experience ever, the execrable Naked Lunch– the one film I very nearly walked out on.  

I remember going on a blind date there, with my cousin and his girlfriend and a girl she knew -where we watched, of all things, Jacobs Ladder, which confused the shit out of the three of them (“it was something to do with Vietnam, wasn’t it?” I was asked) while I came out buzzing, confident I’d seen something extraordinary and spent an hour in the pub afterwards trying to explain the damn movie to them (I never went out on a second date with that girl).

Going there every week with my future-wife during our courting days, when we’d go and end up watching whatever was on that took our fancy, some good, some bad (one of the baddest, The Flintstones).

A midnight Saturday preview of Alien 3, when we came out in the early hours of a Sunday morning wondering what we’d just seen (I actually liked it, because it was more like Alien than Aliens, which I really disliked with a passion, but my cousin was a fan of Aliens so anyway, our discussion was like a microcosm of the next few decades of Alien 3 discourse). Christ, I haven’t seen/spoken to that cousin in twenty years or more (and no, that’s not because of Alien 3).

So anyway, waxing so nostalgic about those Showcase Memories had me thinking about those other cinemas too, like the ABC in town where I saw Blade Runner and many others (my folks took me to watch John Carpenter’s Elvis there, and I saw loads of films in the 1980s there, like Superman II, Someone to Watch Over Me, Outland, Howard the Duck, Life Force, Legend, Batman…), and the Odeon cinema across town where I saw Star Wars, Close Encounters and Empire Strikes Back etc. I remember the threadbare seats with holes, stuffing coming out of them, in the Screen 3 in the ABC where I saw Howard the Duck. Indeed its funny what you remember: I recall a tramp in there sheltering from the rain (considering how bad Howard was, he probably regretted not staying out in the rain). Or the time me and Andy saw a double-bill of Outland and Blade Runner, and after watching Outland one of the other patrons walked out just as Blade Runner started, and Andy and I just sat, gobsmacked at this blatant and unforgivable affront to the Greatest Film Ever Made- I mean, here I am almost 40 years later and I still vividly recall the guy just getting up and walking out to our dismay. Much fancier a cinema was the luxurious Gaumont in Birmingham which must have been really something in its heyday, where we queued for hours to watch Return of the Jedi back in 1983, and I remember the film looked amazing on its huge screen (one of our group, a friend of my brothers, sat down in the front row and surely couldn’t have seen half what was going on, the screen was so wide most of it was out of his line of sight) but even that cinema closed just a year or so later.

That Showcase Cinema getting demolished feels all kinds of wrong; when a cinema which opened in 1989 (and you still feel like its ‘new’ because 1989 isn’t all that long ago, really, is it? Is it?) is getting torn down, you know you’re getting old. The place where I visited other planets and visited the bottom of the ocean etc is going to be a giant second-hand car retail outlet or something by the end of the year. I recently texted my mate Andy paraphrasing Roy Batty’s speech: “The films I’ve seen, in cinemas you wouldn’t believe…!” 

Corruption, anyone?

corrHmm, latest announcements from Indicator include this 1968 horror/thriller starring Peter Cushing that I’ve never heard of. Well, they had me sold at Peter Cushing. Is it wrong of me to be more excited about a special feature (“The Guardian Lecture with Peter Cushing (1986): audio recording of an interview with the legendary actor recorded at the National Film Theatre, London”) than I am the film itself? I’m such a film geek sometimes I embarrass myself.

I have no idea what the film is like (if you have, feel free to educate me in the comments), but the fact its one of Indicator’s slipcase editions with an 80-page book of essays etc would suggest its worth watching. But really, they had me at Peter Cushing, anything with that gentleman in is worth watching in my book. Well, it comes out in August so I’ll have to get my pre-order in over the next week or so when my wallet allows (I haven’t yet pre-ordered the sixth Hammer box that Indicator keep teasing me with). Damn it, every time I try to put a hold on disc buying… (“Just when I thought I was out,  they pull me back in!” as Al Pacino once said).