Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Genius Of Roger Corman On Display In The FIlm Masters' Jan. 16 Blu-ray Double Feature Of The Devil's Partner And Creature From The Haunted Sea

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, @dvdblurayreport
Film Masters does it again!!

It was just about a month ago that Film Masters announced the Roger Corman double feature of The Terror and Little Shop of Horrors, which will be available as either Blu-ray or DVD product offerings on Dec. 12.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Film Masters continued with some additional Corman treasures?   That was probably fanciful thinking.   Just musing.   Wishing.

News arrived this past week that they are indeed doing “more Corman!”  Yes!  Yes!!  YES!!!

In the New Year — Jan. 16 to be exact —Film Masters will have their first double feature Blu-ray presentation to kick off 2024 (also available on DVD) and it is a Roger Corman special. 

The first film is director Charles R. Rondeau’s 1960 (1961 domestic) film release of The Devil’s Partner.   Stop the presses, how is that a Roger Corman film?

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, @dvdblurayreport
Rondeau shot the film sometime in 1958, it finally got a theatrical release in England in early 1960 and Corman’s distribution company — when he wasn’t doing AIP films — The Filmgroup (in partners with his brother, Gene Corman), picked it up for domestic distribution.   

Here Ed Nelson (Attack of the Crab Monsters, Invasion of the Saucer Men Night of the Blood Beast, etc.) plays the parts of both the elderly Pete Jensen, who is something of a hermit living in a shack, and his “nephew,” Nick Richards, who arrives in town after Jensen is reported dead.    

A series of mysterious deaths follow — all caused one way or another by animals — until the local mechanic, David Simpson (Richard Crane — The Alligator People, House of the Damned), puts two and two together and realizes that Jensen has somehow transformed into the younger Nick.   It doesn’t end well for Nick.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, @dvdblurayreport
So Roger Corman has the distribution rights to The Devil’s Partner and comes up with the brilliant idea of taking his “left-over” film (his words — “How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime”), Creature from the Haunted Sea, which he filmed in a matter of days in Puerto Rico after finishing both The Last Woman on Earth and Battle of Blood Island in record time.   

Corman was having such a good time that they threw together Creature from the Haunted Sea, which turned out to be a pretty funny comedy, even though it is billed as a horror film.
You can see the wheels turning.   Acquired film, little risk, double featured with an ultra-low budget “left over” film … this pair would be released theatrically as a double-bill and the rest is history!   Success.   Here they are, reunited.'

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, @dvdblurayreport
Both are new 4K scans from the original 35mm film elements.   Plus, there’s a bonus.   Corman needed additional footage for Creature from the Haunted Sea for television syndication (shot by Monte Hellman) and that extended version is also included here.

As to bonus features, Larry Strothe, James Gonis, Shawn Sheridan and Matt Weinhold of the Monstery Party Podcast provide commentary on The Devil’s Partner and Tom Weaver does the commentary for Creature from the Haunted Sea.

Additional bonus goodies include the Ballyhoo Motion Pictures presentation of “Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story” and a video session with Roger Corman discussing the formation of The Filmgroup. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, @dvdblurayreport

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