Retro Shock-O-Rama (A branch of POPcinema) happens to have few notable gems in their (Currently) smalll DVD line and I'd say that this 2-Disc collection certainly qualifies. But keep in mind that this set isn't quite 100% perfect and that's mostly due to the co-feature in this "Grindhouse double feature", FIVE BLOODY GRAVES. It's marketed as something worthwhile (Especially with the misleading cover-art) but at it's best, it just resembles a late 50's B-Western in the spirit of Republic Pictures. It's only given a fresh approach thanks to the clever narration of Death himself (Which are far and few between) and a high bodycount. But overall, it's a been-there-and-done-that outcome (With minor bonus points of head honcho, Al Adamson, playing a savage indian) But boy, aside from that, everything else is gold! First, it's got the "Grindhouse/Drive-In" option complete with vintage animated shorts of both the "Welcome" and "Intermission" variety along with those lovable grindhouse trailers in between. Quick note though, all the trailers are for Al Adamson films: FIVE BLOODY GRAVES, CINDERELLA 2000, NURSE SHERRI.
Nurse Sherri opens the 2nd part of the double-feature and you can read my reviews/reactions to that one for more info.
Rounding out Disc 1 is a deleted scene for FIVE BLOODY GRAVES. The lone scene which features nudity in the the entire movie, by the way. Interestingly, this scene is presented in 2:35.1 widescreen where as the entire film itself is 1:33.1! Which isn't much of a surprise because it's obvious that the scope for FBG was bigger than what was presented here, but oh well. And lastly we got a pair of audio commentaries headed by producer Sam Sherman. FBG's commentary features a telephoned appearance by actor Robert Dix while Sherman shares a lot of information on his buddy, Al Adamson. The commentary seems to conclude around the 40-minute mark (I told you there wasn't much to talk about for this one!) So onto Sherman's commentary for NURSE SHERRI and an abundance of trivia gets unveiled for this one. Starting with the fact that some last-minute changes were required to the movie before it's premier deadline! Come to find out, Sam Sherman wasn't impressed with the results of the original cut of the film and demanded for the movie to have a different approach. Sherman came to the conclusion that the movie should be more horror-oriented and he managed to have Adamson shoot new scenes (In 35mm, no less. Even though the previous footage was all in 16mm!) And the result is what nearly everyone in the world knows NURSE SHERRI by. But thanks to the invention of DVD and for Sam Sherman for having a change of heart, we get to witness something special in Disc 2!
Although it's just simply labeled as "Bonus Features" in my description, let it be known that Disc 2 is worth the entire price tag alone. As I was saying before, producer Sam Sherman appeared to have been satisfied with this "New" version. But God Bless the guy for not ever thinking of ever destroying the original cut of NURSE SHERRI. So here it is, in it's full rough-cut glory! And what are the differences you ask? Well, don't forget that it was a "Nurse" picture first, so...Sex! Sex! Sex! Basically the entire subplot of the "Reanhauer ghost" tormenting Stevens is no nowhere to be seen in this cut (Thankfully) and we get to focus more on Sherri's love life involving her boyfriend doctor (Geoffrey Land) plus Sherri even shares a bonus lesbian encounter! If that wasn't enough, we get to see Nurse Tara (Marilyn Joi) getting busy with with our blind football player! And, IMO, the remaining horror footage/storyline seems to blend just fine with all this additional sexy stuff. In my mind, this alternate cut ends up as a brilliant mix of corny sex and cheesey horror...All in the great Grindhouse tradition! Aside from this excellent bonus feature, here's the rest of Disc 2:
DRIVE-IN promos: "Private Mountain" (Concession stand toon) | "Drizzle Guard" (How do you deal with the rain at a Drive-In? Get a DRIZZLE GUARD! Entertaining ad) | (Coming Attractions) Trailers: NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES | BLAZING STEWARDESSES | MEAN MOTHER | THE MURDER GANG
Disc 2 concludes with an interesting interview with one of my favorite B-movie queens, Marilyn Joi. Running at 13 minutes, it's no suprise that the interview mostly covers her reactions and memories of working with the late Al Adamson. It would've been extra cool to hear what she had to say about working on other exploitation essentials, but you'll have to ravage through SHOCK CINEMA back issues for that. Nevertheless, this is still a friendly companion piece of getting to know Marilyn Joi (And finding out the origins of her name and aliases!)
With the good ol' Grindhouse/Drive-In experience being re-created with this set and one awesome alternate version of a movie destined for greatness, this is one set worth tracking down.
Reviewed by Laydback 2/13/08