For film buffs the names of “Jungle” Sam Katzman, Ed Wood and Jerry Warren are synonymous with films produced on a shoestring that have risen to cult status over the years.
Katzman once boasted that if you gave him 20 minutes worth of stock jungle footage (monkeys, lions, elephants, crocodiles, etc.) he could quickly spin it into a feature length hit … and there were quite a few, including The Ape Man (with Bela Lugosi), Jungle Raiders (Kane Richmond, with Carol Hughes as Zara, the High Priestess), Jungle Jim (starring both Johnny Weissmuller and George Reeves), etc.
Ed Wood, well, what can you say! He has been acclaimed as the worst filmmaker ever … and yet Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen or Glenda and Bride of the Monster endure. No collector’s film library would be complete without one or more of these gems!
With that in mind, news arrived this week that VCI Entertainment has selected Dec. 10 as the DVD street date for its first tribute to the third caballero in this group of “illustrous” filmmakers, Jerry Warren.
On that date look for the three-film collection being launched under the “Jerry Warren Collection” promotional banner (rumor has it that a second selection of three films will be heading home during Q1 of 2014). Included in the DVD release of Jerry Warren Collection, Volume One are Man Beast, Curse of the Stone Hand and the late Katherine Victor’s 1966 film masterpiece, The Wild World of Batwoman.
Man Beast was Warren’s first film. Released in 1956 and making extensive use of mismatched stock footage (much has been made of the “missing” mountaineer over the years), this action/horror thriller stars Asa Maynor in her film debut as the leader of a Himalayan (actually filmed near Bishop, California) expedition that was put together to go in search of her missing brother, but they run smack dab into a clan of Yetis (aka: Abominable Snowmen) instead.
Both Curse of the Stone Hand and The Wild World of Batwoman showcase the talents of the aforementioned Katherine Victor. In Curse of the Stone Hand (1964), her “co-star” was horror icon John Carradine (whose footage must have been in shot in one afternoon) — the film itself is actually a cut and paste job by Warren from three different post-war Chilean imports, with footage of Katherine Victor and John Carradine inserted to connect the plot elements (but without making sense of the storyline … a rare feat!).
The crème-de-la-crème in this collection is, of course, The Wild World of Batwoman (although, and let’s be honest here, a case can be made for all three as being the crème-de-la-crème of this collection). Filmed at the height of the Batman television craze (starring Adam West and Burt Ward), Warren came up with this “salute” (rip off) to the series — and through an incredible bit of luck — he was able to cast the film with a bevy of incredibly attractive Batgirls (rumor is that they were strippers suddenly thrown out of work when the strip club they were working at was raided and closed down).
Come for the Batgirls and don’t worry about the plot! Well-known faces Steve Conte (who actually landed on the TV series the following year) and Steve Brodie (The Steel Helmet, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Out of the Past, etc.) round out the cast.
To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report