Skip to main content

BETWEEN NIGHT AND DAWN - Blu-ray Review



George Romero's name may be synonymous with the living dead subgenre, but his filmography is far richer and more varied than his reputation as "the zombie guy" would suggest. Following the breakout success of his debut feature Night of the Living Dead, the director would embark upon a series of projects which demonstrate a master filmmaker with more than mere gut-munching on his mind.

In There's Always Vanilla, young drifter Chris and beautiful model Lynn embark upon a tumultuous relationship which seems doomed from the outset. Season of the Witch (released theatrically as Hungry Wives) follows the exploits of Joan Mitchell - a housewife who seeks to escape the confines of her humdrum suburban existence through a flirtation with witchcraft. Lastly, The Crazies sees Romero returning to firmer horror territory as a small rural town finds itself in the grip of an infection which send its hosts into a violent, homicidal frenzy.

Taken together, these three films, made in the period between Romero's celebrated living dead outings Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, serve to shine a light on the broader thematic concerns and auteurist leanings of a skilled craftsman too often pigeonholed within the genre.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD presentations
Original Mono Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays)
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Reversible sleeve for each film featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
Limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Kat Ellinger, Kier-La Janisse and Heather Drain

THERE'S ALWAYS VANILLA (1971)

There's Always Vanilla follows the life of Chris Bradley (Raymond Laine) a former U.S. Army soldier who has become a drifter and makes money by various means, from pimping to guitar playing. Chris returns to his home city of Pittsburgh and visits his father who owns and operates a baby food factory. After an evening out with his father of drinking at a local bar, and visiting an old girlfriend named Terri Terrific (Johanna Lawrence), Mr. Bradley wants Chris to abandon his bohemian lifestyle and do what was agreed upon when he separated from the military; return to the family business, but Chris refuses.

Considered by Romero to be his "worst" film, THERE'S ALWAYS VANILLA is undeniably bad but never the less interesting. Even when Romero misses he was swinging for the fences.


-SPECIAL FEATURES

Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford
Affair of the Heart: The Making of There's Always Vanilla - brand new documentary featuring interviews with producers John Russo and Russell Streiner, stars Judith Streiner and Richard Ricci, and sound recordist Gary Streiner
Digging Up the Dead - The Lost Films of George A. Romero - archive interview with Romero discussing his early films There's Always Vanilla and Season of the Witch
Location Gallery with audio commentary by Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz
Memorabilia Gallery
Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

SEASON OF THE WITCH (1972)

Joan Mitchell (Jan White) is the 39-year-old wife of a businessman, Jack Mitchell (Bill Thunhurst). They live in suburban Pittsburgh with their 19-year-old daughter Nikki (Joedda McClain), a student. Joan is unhappy and bored with her housewife role. Jack is busy, domineering, and sometimes violent, embarking on long business trips every week. Joan has been seeing a psychotherapist because of her recurring dreams about her husband controlling her. He makes repeated references to needing to "kick some ass"—a colleague's, his own child's, his wife's. Eventually, he strikes Joan in the face.

The film is about a housewife (Jan White) who discovers with her friends that a local woman, Marion (Virginia Greenwald), practices witchcraft. The friends visit Marion and White finds herself interested enough in witchcraft to experiment with it for herself.



-Special Features

Brand new 4K restoration of the original theatrical version from the camera negative [90 mins]
Alternate extended version [104 mins]
Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford
When Romero Met Del Toro - filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro in conversation with George Romero
The Secret Life of Jack's Wife - archive interview with actress Jan White
Alternate Opening Titles
Location Gallery with audio commentary by Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz
Memorabilia Gallery
Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

THE CRAZIES (1973)

Set in the small town of Evans City, Pennsylvania, the central characters are firefighter David (Will McMillan), his girlfriend, nurse Judy (Lane Carroll), and firefighter Clank (Harold Wayne Jones). David was a Green Beret and Clank an infantryman, both having served in Vietnam. The town has seen a number of violent events, including arson at a local farm by a demented farmer. Judy and David are very concerned, since Judy is pregnant.

Meanwhile, heavily armed U.S. troops in NBC suits and gas masks, arrive in town, led by Major Ryder (Harry Spillman), who takes over the doctor's office where Judy works. Days earlier, an Army plane carrying an untested bioweapon crash-landed in the hills near the town, infecting the water supply with a virus code-named "Trixie," causing victims to either die or become homicidal. "Trixie" is highly contagious, with anyone drinking from the Evans City reservoir becoming affected. In Washington D.C., government officials order Colonel Peckem (Lloyd Hollar) to go to Evans City to help contain the virus, while scientist Dr. Watts (Richard France), arrives to develop a cure before the virus spreads beyond the small town.

This is the most well known and highly regarded film in the set and for good reason. THE CRAZIES is a film about how paranoia can overrule reason, a film that plays as well today as it did 40 years ago.



-Special Features

Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative
Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford
Romero Was Here: Locating The Crazies - Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz takes us on a guided tour of Evans City, PA and the locations used in The Crazies
Crazy for Lynn Lowry - cult star Lynn Lowry discusses her early career including her role in The Crazies
Q&A with Lynn Lowry filmed at the 2016 Abertoir Film Festival
Audio interview with producer Lee Hessel
Behind-the-scenes footage with optional commentary by Lawrence DeVincentz
Alternate Opening Titles
Image Galleries
Trailers & TV Spots
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

You can order your copy of BETWEEN NIGHT AND DAWN form MVD here
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Internet Trolls and Critics in the Age of Rotten Tomatoes - A Look at the Critical Response to GOTTI

Hate, intolerance, and cruelty are the most valued currencies in the digital age. Online publications deal in the same eye-catching tabloid headlines that were once exclusive to rags like WEEKLY WORLD NEWS and the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. The monetization of clicks is ruining many forms of journalism and film criticism is just one of them. When organizations can see what headlines are generating revenue its only natural that sensationalism would start to rise. There is no consorted hivemind like conspiracy to destroy certain films but rather internet activity that has boosted a certain type of writer. From the outside, online film critics share quite a bit with their Twitter troll counterparts.

The critical response to John Travolta's passion project Gotti has been less than favorable, in fact, it has been downright abysmal. A project over ten years in the making, Travolta has poured his heart and soul into this venture. And many writers seem to take pleasure in the film's failure.

I…

Richard Armitage interview on SLEEPWALKER

SLEEPWALKER is the latest film from director Elliott Lester. Troubled by bouts of sleepwalking and disturbing nightmares, graduate student Sarah Foster goes to her university's sleep research center for help. When she wakes up after her first night of being monitored, the world she lives in seems to have changed in subtle, Twilight-Zone-esque ways. In fact, every time she goes to sleep now, she wakes up in a slightly different version of her world. With the help of sleep researcher Dr. Scott White, she tries to work her way back to the reality she started in. But when they finally succeed, it’s revealed that Sarah’s world is not what she thought at all.

Today my guest is one of the stars SLEEPWALKER, Richard Armitage. Tonight we talk about his work on that film as well as his work as Thorin Oakenshiled in The Hobbit Films, as John Proctor in The Crucible, and his upcoming films Ocens 8 and the Julie Delpy directed film My Zoe.

Sleepwalker is Now Available on Digital HD and On Dem…

NO ALTERNATIVE review

Depression is often marked by sadness, despair, and hopelessness. The sense that things will not get better is something most of us pass through at different points in our lives. But depression is something more than that. It’s not just a temporary feeling, it’s a debilitating emotional state that you can’t simply pull yourself out of. The angry outbursts, irritability, and frustration that come along with depression can isolate individuals suffering from this condition and push them deeper into their own thoughts. Everyone needs to be heard and sometimes those who can’t express themselves in traditional forms find their voice in art.
Edvard Munch wrestled with agoraphobia and frequently had hallucinations, one of which inspired THE SCREAM, a painting so iconic that even the most casual art enthusiast is familiar with the piece.  Sylvia Plath took a more direct approach with THE BELL JAR and laid out the details of her depression with brutal honesty. Briana Dickerson a white suburba…