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Nomination prize winners drawn!

Saturday, 28 October 2017 00:01

Voting has just closed in the nominations phase of this year’s Cult TV Awards, in what is now our 24th year of presenting our appreciation of the best in fictional television, to the talent behind the shows that we make time for more than others. The voting stage, featuring the top five in each Awards category, will be starting shortly - look out for the announcement, and more big prizes up for grabs, just for taking part.

Prizes for nominating in the Cult TV Awards 2017

You can find out more about making your nominations BY CLICKING HERE. You will also find a link to the nominations form at THIS LINK. As an incentive to make your votes, four lucky nominators have secured one of a quartet of DVD prizes from Fabulous Films.  These were The Peter Sellers Collection (won by Sue Wellings of Rushden), The Steve Martin Collection (won by Philippa Chapman of Glastonbury), The ‘Killer B’ Movie Collection (won by Colin Copper of March) and The Richard Pryor Collection (won by Matthew John Restaino of Walton - who was fourth out of the hat, but his first choice had already been taken).  Here we give you full details of what they won, simply for them elling us their favourites for 2017…

The Peter Sellers Collection

The Peter Sellers Collection

An all-new original Peter Sellers 4-DVD gift set. It includes his 1975 comedy “The Great McGonagall” set in Victorian times and starring Spike Milligan - a story of the world’s greatest poet. The 1969 classic comedy “The Magic Christian” starring Ringo Starr, Richard Attenborough, Christopher Lee and Spike Milligan – and features original music by Paul McCartney.  The 1973 comedy that Sellers did his utmost to prevent being released, ”Ghost in the Noonday Sun”, starring Peter Boyle and Spike Milligan. And finally the 1979 adventure comedy “The Prisoner of Zenda”, also starring Lionel Jeffries and Elke Sommer.

“The Peter Sellers Collection” is out now from Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises. It has a ‘15’ certificate, a running time of 370 minutes approx, and a RRP of £29.99, or get it for the best price at www.culttvstore.com  

 

THE GREAT McGONAGALL (Sellers Collection)

That matchless British farceur Spike Milligan stars in this 1975 movie, and Milligan's one time Goon Show cohort Sellers steals the show in drag as a sexually voracious Queen Victoria – who played the role entirely on his knees wearing roller skates.

William Topaz McGonagall was a real poet, widely considered writer of the worst poetry in the English language. McGonagall saw poetry as his vocation, believing that God had spoken to him and said ”Write! Write!”. His audiences saw differently, throwing rotten fish at him, but he was short on self-awareness so it didn’t seem to bother him. McGonagall died a pauper in 1902, although a folio of 35 signed McGonagall poems fetched £6,600 at auction in 2008. Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers are said to have read his poems to one another frequently.

Made in a couple of weeks at Wilton's Music Hall in London, the film was produced by David Grant, best known for producing "Snow White and the Seven Perverts" (1973), "Girls Come First" (1975) and "The Office Party" (1976).

The story concerns McGonagall aspiring to become Poet Laureate of Great Britain. The plot is abandoned somewhere in the middle of the film in favour of a series of virtually-unrelated comic episodes.

Julia Foster, John Bluthal ann Victor Spinetti lend their support, while extras include an audio Commentary by director Joe McGrath and comedy historian Robert Ross, plus cast and crew biographies.

 

THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN (Sellers Collection)

This zany 1969 British comedy finds a homeless hobo (Ringo Starr) being adopted by the world’s richest man, Sir Guy Grand (Peter Sellers). Setting sail on luxury liner The Magic Christian, Sir Guy sets out to test the limit of human avarice.

The film is loosely adapted from the 1959 comic novel of the same name by American author Terry Southern (Southern says he wrote the script to "Easy Rider", Dennis Hopper disputes this considerably). Ringo Starr’s character Youngman Grand doesn’t exist in the novel and was written especially for him.

Yul Brynner plays a chanteuse transvestite, along with notable star appearances from John Cleese as the director of Sotheby’s, Raquel Welch, Roman Polanski, Richard Attenborough, Spike Milligan, Graham Chapman and Christopher Lee.

Paul McCartney wrote and produced “Come and Get It” for the film, performed by Welsh rock band Badfinger, who released it in the UK as a single in December 1969 on The Beatles’ Apple label. It wasn’t officially released as a Beatles song until 1996 on the "Anthology 3" compilation.

When the book "The Magic Christian" came out in England, Peter Sellers loved it so much he bought 100 copies to give to his friends for Christmas and Birthdays.

Southern wrote the screenplay with Joe McGrath but wasn’t happy when Sellers who “was always ultra-hyper and antsy about everything, (got) Spike Milligan and a couple of his Goon Show cronies to rewrite a few scenes - without ever having read the book.”

After watching rushes from the first day of filming, Peter Sellers jumped to his feet and said "Thank God we caught it in time!" He felt his performance was so bad that the film should be cancelled. He was eventually persuaded to continue.

The documentary “Will The Real Mr Sellers Please Stand Up” was made to promote "The Magic Christian", which included appearances from Ringo, Paul and John Lennon with narration by Spike Milligan. It was never repeated by the BBC as Sellers thought he came across as depressed.

As to the plot, eccentric billionaire Guy Grand adopts a homeless boy and sets out to prove to him that anyone and anything can be bought with money. Starting with minor spoofs such as bribing a Shakespearean actor to do a striptease during a performance of Hamlet, their stunts gradually become more and more elaborate. When they buy tickets for a luxury liner called "The Magic Christian" they involve a whole new social strata. As things aboard the liner appear to be getting out of control the guests get a shock when they try to abandon ship...

 

GHOST IN THE NOONDAY SUN (Sellers Collection)

Following in the slapstick tradition of Monty Python and Benny Hill, "Ghost in the Noonday Sun" was filmed in 1973. It was only released, semi-completed on VHS, in the USA several years after filming was wrapped and after Sellers' death (1980). The film never received a full cinematic release.

Sellers stars as the bumbling Captain Dick Scratcher - a high seas pirate. Peter Boyle, Spike Milligan and Antony Franciosa lend their talents in their search for buried treasure. Dreaming of untold riches and a harem of curvaceous woman, Scratcher and his roguish buccaneer band set sail for Treasure Island. But Captain Scratcher's quest for riches run into a little snag - Ras Mohammed's ghost. A chest of loot worth a King's ransom lies buried beneath the ex-pirates remains! He fiercely protects his precious stash; and he doesn't take kindly to conniving grave robbers...

It appears the film was doomed from the start. The Greek captain delivering the pirate ship in to the harbour for filming in Cyprus was so drunk that he crashed in to the quay.

When Sellers arrived on set, his already mercurial temper was not improved by his recent split from Liza Minnelli. Said to be in the “deepest catatonic depression” Sellers lost confidence in the film shortly after filming began, and tried to get director Peter Medak taken off the production. Unsuccessful, he did everything to prevent the film being finished.

Although rough seas caused the cast and crew to get seasick, even on days when Sellers wasn’t sick he would often pretend to be, only to be later spotted water-skiing. He faked a heart attack so he could fly back to London to have tea with Princess Margaret. And he took time away from filming to shoot a cigarette commercial only then to refuse to hold the cigarette packet as he claimed he was the President of the Anti-Smoking League.

Unsurprisingly the film fell behind schedule and Sellers un-cooperative behaviour derailed the $2 million production.

“I was blamed for it, and I blamed myself for it for 43 years. It turned out to be the biggest disaster of my life”, said director Medak. His career recovered and he went on to direct "The Changeling", "The Krays" and "Let Him Have It", as well as numerous TV series and movies. Finally facing his demons, Medak is bringing out a feature-length documentary about the filming of "Ghost in the Noonday Sun" called "The Ghost of Peter Sellers". Currently in post-production, the documentary is being edited by BAFTA winner Joby Gee ("For No Good Reason", "Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach").

“It was an absolute living nightmare”, said Antony Rufus Isaacs, the producer.

“It’s the only film I can ever remember where the producers got sacked after the first week by the star” said Robin Dalton the literary agent.

 

THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (Sellers Collection)

Anthony Hopeʼs classic novel gets a remake where Sellers plays three roles in this 1979 film - London taxi-driver Sydney Frewin, King Rudolph IV, and King Rudolph V (The Prisoner of Zenda). After the King of Ruritania dies in a hot air balloon accident, his eldest son is kidnapped by the evil Prince Michael, his younger brother, who hopes to snatch the throne. To foil these dastardly plans, a stand-in is needed for the impending coronation. But will the London cabbie lookalike they've chosen be up to the task?

Based on an adventure novel published in 1894, it has been adapted numerous times for film as well as stage, musical, operetta, radio and television.

It was the first in a three picture deal Sellers signed with producer Walter Mirisch. Sellers caused his usual trouble on set; directors were fired, the film went over-budget and over-schedule. Prior to release, Sellers advised people not to go and see the film in an on-the-record conversation with journalist Roderick Mann. Mirisch was outraged, cancelling the two remaining films in Sellers' contract and stating that he wanted nothing to do with the star ever again.

Lynne Frederick, who played Princess Flavia, was married to Peter Sellers at the time. She became the fourth Mrs Sellers in 1977 at the age of 22, almost 30 years younger than her husband. Frederick filed for divorce shortly after "The Prisoner of Zenda", although they were re-united before Sellers death in 1980.

The score is by one of the greatest composers in the history of film - Henry Mancini ("The Pink Panther", "Moon River", "Breakfast at Tiffany’s").

Also in the cast are Lionel Jeffries, Elke Sommer, Gregory Sierra, Jeremy Kemp, and Catherine Schell.

 

The Richard Pryor CollectionThe Richard Pryor Collection

An all new Richard Pryor 4-DVD gift set which includes his 1976 comedy musical "Car Wash" also starring The Pointer Sisters; the 1978 fantasy musical adventure "The Wiz" - a film based on the classic "The Wizard of Oz", also starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross; the 1978 farcical comedy "Which Way is Up?" which sees Pryor acting in three roles, which Eddie Murphy has so famously now made a career of; and finally one of Pryor’s greatest commercial successes, the 1985 smash hit comedy "Brewster’s Millions" also starring John Candy.

“The Richard Pryor Collection” is out now from Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises. It has a ‘15’ certificate, a running time of 413 minutes approx, and a RRP of £29.99, or get it for the best price at www.culttvstore.com  

 

CAR WASH (Pryor Collection)

Possibly the world's first 'disco' movie and Norman Whitfield's almost non-stop musical score has become a top selling album - yielding three Billboard R&B Top Ten singles: "Car Wash", "I Wanna Get Next to You", and "I'm Going Down". The movie's title song was a #1 chart-topping hit for Rose Royce and was one of the biggest-selling singles of the 1970s disco music era.

The film stars a gallery of well-known actors, most of whom were relatively unknown to movie goers at the time, and spotlights an array of guest stars in vivid cameo roles, including Antonio Fargas (Huggy Bear) and George Carlin ("Bill & Ted") with Pryor as Daddy Rich, a flamboyant reverend who preaches the goodness of the dollar.

The film won the Best Music Award and the Technical Grand Prize at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival - plus a nomination for Golden Palm. In the same year it was nominated for a Golden Globe, plus it won a Grammy for Best Album of Original Score written for a Motion Picture or Television Special.

After retirement Whitfield lived comfortably off his royalties from his many hits ("I Heard It Through The Grapevine", "Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone", "Just My Imagination", "War") but fell foul of the IRS after failing to declare over $2m (£1.2m) of income in the second half of the 1990s. In 2005, he was sentenced to six months' house arrest, and had to pay a $25,000 fine. He was given leniency because he suffered from diabetes and pleaded guilty when the matter came to court.

Although Richard Pryor has been frequently top-billed in promotional materials for the movie, his appearance in the ensemble of performances is only a cameo. Pryor has said that he felt that the public were misled into believing that he had had a bigger part.

Extras on the DVD include an all-new Audio Commentary from Director Michael Schultz

 

THE WIZ (Pryor Collection)

Featuring an entirely African-American cast "The Wiz" has become a cult classic since its release in 1978.  Pryor plays "The Wiz" while a 33 year-old Diana Ross plays a 24 year-old Dorothy, and Michael Jackson stars as the Scarecrow.

"The Wiz" was produced by Rob Cohen ("XXX", "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story", "Dragonheart", "The Mummy:Tomb of the Dragon Emperor", and creator of "The Fast and the Furious" franchise), directed by Sidney Lumet ("12 Angry Men", "Dog Day Afternoon", "Network", "The Verdict") and the screenplay was reworked from the 1974 Broadway musical of the same name by Joel Schumacher ("St Elmo’s Fire", "The Lost Boys", "Flatliners").

Motown Productions, the film/TV division of Motown Records, bought the rights to the stage show with the intent of having Stephanie Mills who starred in the Broadway musical reprise the role of Dorothy. However Diana Ross wanted the role and wasn’t going to let anything stop her, even though everyone (including Motown head and former lover Berry Gordy) believed she was too old for the part.

"The Wiz" was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Original Music Score and Best Cinematography. Costing  $22 million, it did not perform well at the box office making a net loss of $10.4 million. Despite this, "The Wiz" became a cult classic, especially because it features Michael Jackson's only starring theatrical film role (if you exclude "Moonwalker"). At the time, it was the most expensive film musical ever made.

Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones (who was musical supervisor and music producer on the film) first met on set. Jones went on to produce three hit albums for Jackson: "Off the Wall", "Thriller", and "Bad". Jones recalled working with Jackson as one of his favourite experiences from "The Wiz", and spoke of Jackson's dedication to his role.

The plot sees schoolteacher Dorothy magically transported to the Land of Oz, (an alternative fantasy version of New York City). Befriended by a Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), a Tin Man (Nipsey Russell), and a Cowardly Lion (Ted Ross), she travels through the city to seek an audience with the mysterious Wiz (Richard Pryor), who they say is the only one powerful enough to send her home.

 

WHICH WAY IS UP? (Pryor Collection)

Playing three roles, Richard Pryor has a case of too many women and too little time. Directed by Michael Schultz ("Car Wash") in 1977, the film was adapted  by Carl Gottlieb ("Jaws"), being a remake of the 1972 Italian comedy film "The Seduction of Mimi" starring Giancarlo Giannini and directed by Lina Wertmüller.

“It does no favours for women, and has a leading man that is so unlikeable and potty-mouthed that when his comeuppance does finally arrive at the end of the film…. you don’t feel in the slightest bit sorry for him” said Den of Geek

It was one of many misfires for Pryor. In 1977 The Richard Pryor Show premiered on NBC, it was cancelled after only four episodes as it was considered too racy for television. In 1983 Pryor was paid $4 million to play Gus Gorman in "Superman III", $1 million more than Christopher Reeve as Superman. Despite being unhappy with the script, Pryor accepted the role for purely financial reasons.

In "WHich Way is Up?", Pryor plays a beleaguered, sex-starved farm worker named Leroy Jones; the farm worker’s randy old father Rufus; and the hypocritical town preacher Rev Lenox Thomas – the lives and love lives of these men cross and criss-cross as Leroy tries to get his life back on track. The fun kicks into high-gear when Leroy moves from labour to management. He tries to juggle his wife and his girlfriend, but the only peace he can find is in the arms of the Reverend’s wife!

The film co-stars Lonette McKee, Margaret Avery, and Morgan Woodward.

 

BREWSTER’S MILLIONS (Pryor Collection)

A 1985 comedy film starring Pryor and John Candy and based on the 1902 novel of the same name by George Barr McCutcheon. It was directed by Walter Hill. ("48 Hours", "The Getaway", the "Alie"n films). The film revolves around Montgomery Brewster, a lower-league baseball player who is left a challenge in a will - either take $1 million upfront, or spend $30 million within 30 days to inherit $300 million. But you can’t tell anyone what you are doing…

It had a budget of $20m, and grossed $45m. It didn’t quite make back the $30m that Brewster spent during filming. Princess Anne visited the set as part of her US tour. Ironically she stands to inherit much more than Brewster.

Richard Prior’s life was a crazy one. At 16, he was expelled from Central High School for punching his science teacher. He was then expelled from a Catholic grammar school in Peoria, Illinois, when the nuns found out his grandmother owned a string of brothels. A fire that nearly killed him while free-basing cocaine in the early 1980s was in fact a suicide attempt. His management created the "accident" lie for the press in hopes of protecting him. He remarried two of his ex-wives and suffered from multiple sclerosis from 1986 until his death in 2005. He was chosen as #1 in Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time and awarded The First Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize.

This was the 7th of 10 versions of the film made so far – the earliest being 1914.

It was Frank Price’s first commission at Universal. As the head of Universal TV in the 1970s, he developed The Six Million Dollar Man (1974), The Bionic Woman (1976), The Incredible Hulk (1978), Battlestar Galactica (1978), The Rockford Files (1974) and many others. In 1978, Price left the presidency of Universal TV to become President of Columbia Pictures where he was involved with "Kramer vs Kramer" (1979), "Tootsie" (1982) and "Gandhi" (1982) and top-grossers "Ghostbusters" (1984) and "The Karate Kid" (1984). In 1983, after conflict with parent company Coca-Cola over his autonomy, Price swung back to Universal as chairman where he developed "Back to the Future" (1985), "Fletch" (1985), "Out of Africa" (1985) and "The Breakfast Club" (1985).

 

The Steve Martin CollectionThe Steve Martin Movie Collection

This gift set includes Steve Martin's 1982 black and white comedy crime mystery "Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid", the 1989 Ron Howard directed smash hit "Parenthood", the 1996 film version of the classic Phil Silver’s series "Sgt Bilko", also starring Dan Aykroyd, and the wonderful 1999 Frank Oz directed comedy about a low budget film director "Bowfinger", also starring Eddie Murphy.

“The Steve Martin Collection” is a 4-DVD set out now from Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises. It has a ‘15’ certificate, a running time of 386 minutes approx, and a RRP of £29.99.  A Blu-ray version (running time 403 mins approx) has a RRP of £39.99. Get either for the best price at www.culttvstore.com  

                   

DEAD MEN DON’T WEAR PLAID (Martin Collection)

As the private eye of private eyes, Steve Martin is Rigby Reardon. He’s tough, rough and ready to take on anything. This is an exciting, action-packed film the way films used to be…literally!

This 1982 comedy-mystery incorporates clips from 19 films from the Classic Hollywood era, creating a spoof/parody/homage to the early 30s and 40s Film Noir detective movies.

Among the actors who pop up are Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner, Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster, Vincent Price and Lana Turner.

Whilst writing the film, Carl Reiner and George Gipe spent countless hours looking through classic films for specific shots and "listening for a line that was ambiguous enough but had enough meat in it to contribute a line". For example Humphrey Bogart appears as a lowly assistant to Reardon using scenes from "In a Lonely Place", "Dark Passage", and "The Big Sleep". Eighty-five sets were constructed for the movie, much larger than the average film due to the need to edit in and merge the old film footage.

In the 1960s Reiner was best known as the creator, producer, writer, and actor on The Dick Van Dyke Show. But he was best known for co-writing and directing some of Steve Martin's most successful films, including 1979's "The Jerk". He has won twelve Emmy Awards and one Grammy Award. His writing partner George Gipe died at the age of 53 as the result of an allergic reaction to a bee sting

In this movie, private eye Rigby Reaardon is brought a case by Juliet Forrest (Rachel Ward): her father, a noted scientist, philanthropist and cheese-maker has died mysteriously. Reardon immediately smells a rat and follows a complex maze of clues that lead to the 'Carlotta Lists'. With a little help from his 'friends' Burt Lancaster, Humphrey Bogart etc, Reardon gets his man.

 

PARENTHOOD (Martin Collection)

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard (Happy Days) teams up with Steve Martin to create a hilarious, touching and unforgettable portrait of life’s most rewarding occupation: Parenthood. Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen ("Back To The Future 3"), Rick Moranis ("Ghostbusters"), double Oscar winner Jason Robards ("All The President’s Men"), double Oscar winner Dianne Wiest ("Bullets Over Broadway"), Martha Plimpton (the older sister in "The Goonies"), Joaquin Phoenix ("Walk The Line") and Keanu Reeves (Ted Theodore Logan) are part of the ensemble cast that add vibrant performances to this heart-warming comedy.

The film is based on the parental experiences of Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer and screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel - they have 17 children between the four of them. On a trip to Argentina for the filming of "Gung Ho", the four men, along with their wives, devised lists of 20 experiences or feelings about their kids, and the story went from there. According to Ron Howard, the scene where Helen discovers the nude pictures of her daughter and the daughter's boyfriend, was actually an incident that happened to producer Brian Grazer.

The film opened at #1 in its opening weekend, earning $10 million. It eventually grossed over $100 million domestically and $126 million worldwide. It was nominated for two Academy Awards: Dianne Wiest for Best Supporting Actress and Randy Newman for Best Song for "I Love to See You Smile". It has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

Produced by Imagine Entertainment, set up by Howard and Grazer in 1986, it went public, initially selling 1.7 million shares at eight dollars each. By the end of it’s first day on the market, the price jumped to $18.25. They have produced films such as "Apollo 13", "A Beautiful Mind", "Frost/Nixon", "The Da Vinci Code" and TV programmes 24, Arrested Development and Friday Night Lights among others.

"Parenthood" was made into two different television series: Parenthood (1990), which starred a young Leonardo Di Caprio and was cancelled after only 12 episodes; and Parenthood (2010) which ran until 2015.

In the plot, the Buckmans are a modern day family facing the age-old dilemma of trying to raise children the 'right' way. At the centre of the storm is Gil (Steve Martin), who manages to keep his unique sense of humour while attempting to maintain a successful career and be a loving husband and parent, all at the same time. As Gil and the rest of the Buckmans discover, being the 'perfect' parent often means just letting children be themselves.

 

SGT BILKO (Martin Collection)

The US Army is known for churning out lean mean fighting machines intent on blindly protecting their nation. But at Fort Baxter, there’s one unit that can’t even form a straight line… Steve Martin stars with Dan Aykroyd and Phil Hartman in this 1996 adaptation of the iconic 1950s television series The Phil Silvers Show. Indeed, Phil Silvers’ daughter Cathy Silvers plays 1st Lt Monday in the film. Watch out for Chris Rock in the mix, too.

The role of Sgt Bilko was offered to Michael Keaton, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal before Steve Martin stepped in to Phil Silvers’ boots.

Phil Hartman is perhaps best known as the voice of Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure in The Simpsons. He was murdered by his wife in 1998. He was said to be one of the most well liked actors in Hollywood. This is the only film Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd have starred in together, Aykroyd said the chance of working alongside Martin was the main reason he wanted to be in the film.

Screenwriter Andy Breckman credits Steve Martin with launching his career. Martin expressed an interest in one of Breckman’s scripts in the mid 80s. "The film was never made, but just having Steve Martin say, 'Hey, that's a funny script' is all you need to get established in the movie business".

Bilko is the leader of a ragtag group of the sorriest soldiers ever to enlist in the armed forces. Instead of training his troops for battle, he passes on his legacy of gambling and shunning responsibility. Times get tough however, when the base is threatened with a shutdown, and a by-the-book adversary, Major Thorn (Hartman), is intent on taking Bilko’s reputation down with it. Now, all bets are on Bilko to drum up his biggest scheme yet to save Fort Baxter, and clear his name!

 

BOWFINGER (Martin Collection)

Written by Steve Martin, "Bowfinger" is based on a real incident in 1927. A Russian filmmaker covertly shot footage of Mary Pickford - the Canadian-American actress and co-founder of the film studio United Artists. He fashioned an entire film around the footage, creating the illusion that Pickford was actually starring in his Russian film.

Directed by Frank Oz, this was the fourth film on which he and Steve Martin had worked together. His career began as a puppeteer, where he performed the Muppet characters of Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear in The Muppet Show, and Cookie Monster, Bert, and Grover in Sesame Street. He is also known for being the puppeteer and voice of Yoda in the "Star Wars" films. His other work as a director includes "Little Shop of Horrors" (1986) and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (1988),

Eddie Murphy’s role as Kit Ramsey was originally written for Keanu Reeves but was ultimately changed and given to Murphy. In the film, Kit Ramsey's house is the same residence depicted as "Stately Wayne Manor" in the Batman (1966) television series. Different Strokes star Gary Coleman worked on set as a security guard. Watch out also for Terence Stamp and Robert Downey Jr.

The plot divulges how Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin), Hollywood’s least successful director, gets Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy), Hollywood’s biggest star, in his ultra low-budget film? With an ingenious scheme and the help of Kit’s eager and nerdy brother Jiff, an ambitious and sexy wannabe (Heather Graham) and an over-the-hill diva (Christine Baranski), Bowfinger sets out to trick Kit Ramsey into the performance of a lifetime.

“Bowfinger is one of those comedies where everything works” - Roger Ebert

DVD extras include "Spotlight on Location", a Feature Commentary with Director Frank Oz, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, and a Theatrical Trailer.

 

The 'Killer B' Movie CollectionThe ‘Killer B’ Movie Collection

In “The ‘Killer B’ Movie Collection”, an all-new collection of some of the best SF 'B' movies ever made. From Steve McQueen’s gooey film debut in the “The Blob”, to the monster movies "The Deadly Mantis", "The Creature Walks Among Us", "The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes" and "Reptilicus" to the Science Fiction adventures of "The Man From Planet X", "The Time Travelers", "The Angry Red Planet" and "Doctor Cyclops". This 9-DVD set will transport you back to a different time in film-making, where big ideas did not need big budgets.

“The ‘Killer B’ Movie Collection” is out now from Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises. It has a certificate ‘15’, a running time of 713 mins approx, and a RRP £59.99 or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

THE BLOB (‘Killer B’ Collection)

A cult classic of gooey greatness, directed by Irvin S Yeaworth ("Dinosaurus!"). "The Blob" helped launch the careers of Steve McQueen (his first major feature role) and composer Burt Bacharach. Superb performances and striking special effects help the film transcend the schlock SF and youth delinquency genres from which it originates.

Every July cult film fans flock to Phoenixville for "Blobfest", a three-day horror film extravaganza where they re-enact the scene where the audience flee the newly restored Colonial Theatre.

The title song "The Blob" was co-written by Burt Bacharach and is on his album "Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection".

In a discussion with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, astrophysicist Neil deGasse Tyson stated that among all Hollywood aliens (which were usually disappointing from a scientific perspective) "The Blob" was his favourite and the most plausible alien character depicted in Science Fiction.

The film was released as the bottom half of a double feature with "I Married a Monster from Outer Space", but early marketing and initial bookings proved "The Blob" more popular, so it became the main feature with more money being spent on its promotion.

The movie follows the havoc wreaked on a small town by an alien creature with neither soul nor vertebrae, with McQueen playing the young rebel teenager who tries to warn the town folk about the jelly-like invader.

Extras on this DVD include an Original Set Prop Gallery, an Original trailer, a Black and White Gallery a Lobby Card Gallery, and a Behind-The-Scenes Gallery

 

THE DEADLY MANTIS (‘Killer B’ Collection)

Back in the 1950s, giant bug movies were all the rage. Scorpions, spiders, wasps and ants were a constant menace at the movies. But this 1957 classic was the first to threaten Washington DC. When a giant carnivorous praying mantis is released from its million-year slumber in the frozen Arctic, a determined commander (Craig Stevens), a paleontologist (William Hopper) and a photojournalist (Alix Talton) work together to stop its terrible path of deadly destruction towards the Capital.

The film was directed by Nathan Juran, who won an Oscar in 1941 for "How Green Was My Valley", and was nominated again for "The Razor’s Edge" in 1946. In 1999 he was awarded the Life Career Award at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. WWII interrupted his film career, and he spent his war years in military intelligence. Returning to Hollywood, he was most famous for directing "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" and "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad".

"The Deadly Mantis" was written by William Alland. He moved to New York in the 1930s where he met Orson Welles. Alland got in on the ground floor, acting in the notorious Halloween 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast, before appearing in "Citizen Kan"e (1941). During WWII, Alland was a combat pilot, flying 50 missions over the South Pacific. In the postwar years he turned to making SF movies.

William Hopper starred as the paleontologist. He had been nominated for an Emmy as Private Investigator Paul Drake in Perry Mason and played the father of Natalie Wood in the James Dean classic "Rebel Without a Cause". Hopper became an actor because his mother expected it of him. She was gossip columnist Hedda Hopper who had over 30 million readers. "When I worked at Warner Brothers, I was so scared I stuttered all the time”. But he had nerves of steel in WWII – serving in the Navy as a member of the newly created Underwater Demolition Team. He received a Bronze Star and several other medals during operations in the Pacific.

Lead actor Craig Stevens played the Commander. Ironically out of all the cast and crew, he had the least military experience. During WWII, he served in the US Army First Motion Picture Unit based in California, acting in propaganda and training films. The unit came to be known as "The Culver City Commandos".

 

THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (‘Killer B’ Collection)

Following on from the cult monster movie classic "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", this is the final film in the ultimate B-movie monster trilogy. Steven Spielberg has confessed to seeing the Creature films several times during his youth and stated that they were a prime influence on his career. In all three films, the Gill Man in the underwater scenes was played by Ricou Browning, who directed underwater scenes in “Thunderball” and “Never Say Never Again”.

The physical appearance of the Creature is apparently based on 17th Century woodcuts of two creatures called the Sea Monk and the Sea Bishop as well as the Academy Awards Oscar statuette.

Forrest J Ackerman, a horror and science fiction writer for Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, bought the mask and claws of the Creature's costume from a young man who had once used them as a Halloween costume. The costume pieces were discarded by Universal after production had finished on the three films and were later recovered from the studio's dumpster by a janitor, who thought the ensemble would make a good Halloween costume for his son.

The Creature, using the name 'Uncle Gilbert', appeared in an episode of the TV series The Munsters  (1964) titled "Love Comes to Mockingbird Heights".

The film follows a group of scientists, led by Dr Barton (Jeff Morrow), taking a trip into the Florida Everglades to find the sinister Gill Man, capturing him for further medical experiments – in order to utilise his ability to breathe underwater to further space travel. But the rampaging Gill Man pays the team an unexpected visit and is accidentally set on fire. In saving his life, the deranged Dr Barton discovers that the creature has lung tissue and can be transformed to become more human than fish. Put on display as a freak, the modified creature finds little acceptance in an intolerant world and embarks on a trail of revenge and destruction!

Extras on the DVD include an Original Trailer, a Stills Gallery, a Lobby Card Gallery, and a Poster Gallery.

 

THE BEAST WITH 1,000,000 EYES (‘Killer B’ Collection)

Extra-terrestrial terror is keeping an eye out for human flesh in this horrifying tale of invasion from 1955. Co-produced by Roger Corman ("Little Shop of Horrors", "Death Race 2000") and Samuel Z Arkoff (innovator of the television laugh track), "The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes" was the fourth of a four-picture deal Corman had with the American Releasing Company (later to become American International Pictures). Having overspent on "Five Guns West" (1955) only $29,000 remained to make the film, so Arkoff signed off on shooting the picture non-union in Palm Springs. After one day's filming, the union threatened to shut down the film unless everyone signed with the Guild.

When Corman was unsatisfied with the way the film was progressing, he took over from director David Kramarsky, without credit. He replaced the cinematographer with Floyd Crosby ("High Noon"), and proceeded to shoot 48 pages of interiors in two days at a studio in La Ciegna.

Studio publicist James H Nicholson pre-sold the film with an alluring poster. Then they made the movie. When the distributors viewed the finished film, they were disappointed because the adverts were so much more interesting. Arkoff was unhappy that the film did not even feature a beast, implicit in the title. Paul Blaisdell was responsible for the special effects, and created a space ship and alien for $200. The result is a monster made from a kettle with a lot of holes (for eyes), and steam to obscure the shape.

Surprisingly the Art Director was Albert S Ruddy (winner of Best Picture Academy Awards for "The Godfather" (1972) and "Million Dollar Baby" (2004))

The plot follows events after a strange craft crash lands near a ranch home in the California desert. The rancher’s family believe the danger has passed. When they are attacked by animals driven into a rage by the alien force, they realise that something did survive the crash...and it’s hoping to take in its first meal on Earth...ranch-style!

The cast includes Paul Birch ("Not of This Earth"), Lorna Thayer ("Five Easy Pieces" – the waitress in the “chicken salad scene”), Dona Cole, Dick Sargent (Darrin Stephens version two in Bewitched), Leonard Tarver, Bruce Whitmore, and Chester Conklin.

 

REPTILICUS (‘Killer B’ Collection)

Long before Lego, another Danish giant sought to take over the world! Copper miners in the tundras of Lapland discover a frozen piece of reptilian tail belonging to an unknown prehistoric creature. Taking the specimen to an aquarium in Copenhagen, Professor Martens (Asbjorn Andersen, star of "Bag de røde porte" and "Barken Margrethe af Danmark") gets more than he bargained for when the tail regenerates into a giant acid-spitting monster which terrorises the country. It can fly, swim, walk, and has impenetrable scales, which makes it very difficult to kill. The Danish military, led by a Unioted Nations-appointed American general Mark Grayson (Carl Ottosen, star of "Soldaterkammerater på efterårsmanøvre" and "Guld til præriens skrappe drenge") attempts to hunt down the monster and destroy it - only to realise that blowing the thing up will create hundreds of little creatures. What a dilemma, or, as the Danish say… ‘dilemmå’.

"Reptilicus" is a Danish-American co-production, produced by American International Pictures and Saga Studio. Several versions were filmed. The original was shot in Danish and directed by Danish director Poul Bang. The second was filmed in English and directed by Sidney Pink. Pink was a 3D pioneer in the 1950s and was credited with giving Dustin Hoffman his first proper role.

As Denmark's first and only giant monster film, this film has a cult following in its home country. Sidney Pink tried to produce a sequel/remake made back in 2001, due to the box office success of "Godzilla" in 1998, but died in 2002 before making it happen.

Footage from this movie was used in a 1997 episode of South Park.

Each version of the film featured the same actors, with the exception of Bodil Miller who was replaced by actress Marlies Behrens, since the Danish actress could not speak English.

When the finished film was turned over to American International Pictures, Pink was informed that the dialog would be re-looped. AIP head Samuel Z Arkoff felt that what he called the "sing-song Scandinavian accents" would have American audiences laughing (as opposed to the plotline). Deemed virtually unreleasable, the film was extensively reworked by the film's Danish-American screenwriter, Ib Melchior. Pink strongly objected to the editing and re-dubbing, but dropped a lawsuit against AIP when he had other industry professionals view his version of the film. "Reptilicus" was finally released in America in 1962.

 

THE MAN FROM PLANET X (‘Killer B’ Collection)

A new planet shows up in our solar system, and  strange invaders are soon rocketing to earth… it’s enough to send humans into a panic… and it does! In this very early 1950s space invasion flick, starring SF stalwarts Robert Clarke and William Schallert, aliens from outer space strike terror into the hearts of mankind.

In 1950, producer/writer team Jack Pollexfen and Aubrey Wisberg sensed that alien invasions were going to be all the rage in 1951. With "The Day The Earth Stood Still" in pre-production and "The Thing From Another World" ready to start filming, when the much needed snow started falling, they decided to throw together a production company and quickly write a script. Cult director Edgar G Ulmer was hired and "The Man From Planet X" was shot in 6 days. Released in late April 1951, it came out a month before "The Thing from Another World" and nearly half a year before "The Day the Earth Stood Still".

Pat Goldin was the uncredited actor who played the role of the 'Man from Planet X'. Schallert remembered him only as “a very small guy, kind of middle aged. He mostly just looked interesting; I don’t know that he was much of an actor”. The alien can only communicate using modulated musical sounds, a concept used three decades later in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

In 1979, Schallert (who later in life made guest appearances on Desperate Housewives and True Blood) was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. Unlike previous presidents who did little but conduct meetings and issue statements, Schallert took an active role, leading the union as it staged a 13-week strike in 1980 over such issues as actors' pay for films made for the new cable television industry.

"... Planet X" was shot on the set for the 1948 Ingrid Bergman big budget film "Joan of Arc". Robert Clarke said: “The set was filled with that simulated fog all day long. The crew's eyes would be watery and bloodshot, their throats were sore”. Screen Actors Guild minimum wage at that time was $175 per week. As the film was shot in 6 days, Clarke's pay was $175 for the entire film ($210 with overtime). According to Jack Pollexfen, Edgar G Ulmer did rewrites, designed the moon, spaceship and glass paintings to expedite the production and cut down on expenses.

The film beins on the coast of Scotland, where there is enough fog to hide an alien landing. An astronomer discovers that one has actually occurred from a previously unknown planet which is now hurtling towards Earth. When communication with the “Man From Planet X” fails, it becomes clear that the extraterrestrial scout has definite plans – not for friendship, but for domination, unleashing havoc on the villagers!

The cast also includes Margaret Field, Raymond Bond, Roy Engel, Charles Davis, Gilbert Fallman, David Ormont, June Jeffery, and Franklyn Farnum.

 

THE TIME TRAVELERS (‘Killer B’ Collection)

This classic SF B-movie from 1964 was directed by Ib Melchior ("The Angry Red Planet", "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"). Melchior, the son of a famed Danish opera singer called Lauritz Melchior, served in counter-intelligence for the Americans during World War II. He liked to take literary classics and reset them in outer space for Film and TV. Unsuccessful proposals included "Gulliver's Space Travels" and "Treasure Asteroid".

Melchior claimed that his proposed ideas for TV shows and films were stolen by those he pitched to and were turned into Star Trek and Lost in Space. He said that having consulted with lawyers “…they all advised me to let it go, I was still relatively new in Hollywood, and I was told that if I made waves I would never work in town. I would be blackballed”.

Melchior seems to have been plagued with ownership battles throughout his life. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, he unsuccessfully tried to regain ownership of a grand estate his father owned in Germany before World War II. The three-story manor and 340 acres of land were taken over by the Nazis in 1943 and then seized after the war by the East German government.

"The Time Travelers" had a small budget estimated at $250,000. Illusions were devised by a magician to serve as special effects. Although when sufficiently tall actors couldn't be found to play the mutant characters, they hired the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team.

The film also includes a cameo appearance by the science fiction guru Forrest J Ackerman, who coined the much-maligned genre nickname "sci-fi". The cast also includes Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, Steve Franken, John Hoyt, and Delores Wells.

In the film, you are asked to step through 'The Time Portal' beyond the crack in Space and Time where the fantastic world of the future will freeze your blood with its weird horrors! A scientist steps through the portal, travels 107 years into the future and finds a barren underground post-nuclear war world, where a handful of “normal humans” are being attacked by

 

THE ANGRY RED PLANET (‘Killer B’ Collection)

Again directed by Ib Melchior, author of "The Racer" which was adapted in to cult film favourite "Death Race 2000", Melchior was only given nine days and a budget of $200,000 to make this movie.

Sid Pink wrote the screenplay at home on his kitchen table, with his children acting as critics. It was initially called "The Planet Mars", with strange creatures and an entire Martian city, but budgetary restraints put an end to all that.

To help with the shortened production time, producers Norman Maurer and Sid Pink invented CineMagic, a low-cost process which cast a red glow over scenes depicting the surface of Mars, and made the actors look similar to cartoon drawings so they would fit in with the low-budget, less realistic sets and props. "The damn Cinemagic didn't work like it should", said Pink later. "It was supposed to be sort of a 3-D effect. What we came up with was great anyway!" (Maurer came to the opinion it was more suited to comedy, using the same technique in "The Three Stooges in Orbit").

The 40-foot alien monster was actually a marionette around 15 inches high. It was a combination of a rat, a bat, a spider, and a crab. It was featured on the cover of the 1982 album "Walk Among Us" by The Misfits.

The plot follows Rocketship MR-1 on its return to Earth from Mars, having been thought lost. None of the crew can be contacted, so the ground crew land the ship by remote control. Four people - Colonel Tom O’Banion (Gerald Mohr), Dr Iris Ryan (Nora Hayden), Professor Theodore Gettel (Les Tremayne), and Warrant Officer Sam Jacobs (Jack Kruschen - "Cape Fear" - he’d already been to Mars once with Abbot and Costello) - took off in the rocket but only two have returned. Traumatised, Dr Ryan tries to remember the circumstances of the trip, whilst trying to find a cure for O’Banion, who having been attacked by a giant amoeba has an infectious and deadly growth on his arm. When the mission scientists attempt to examine the expedition's data recorders, all they find is a recorded message for mankind from an alien.

The cast also includes Paul Hahn, J Edward McKinley, Tom Daly, Don Lamond, Edward Innes, Gordon Barnes, Jack Haddock, Brandy Bryan, Joan Fitzpatrick, Arline Hunter, and Alean Hamilton.

The only extra on the DVD is the Original Theatrical Trailer.

 

DOCTOR CYCLOPS (‘Killer B’ Collection)

Set in the Peruvian jungle, this is a 1940 landmark science-fiction adventure directed by pioneering filmmaker Ernest Schoedsack. The impressive use of special effects garnered the film an Oscar nomination, and helped make this Technicolor science fiction classic one of the most imaginative and memorable fantasy films of all time.

"Dr Cyclops" is based on a short story of the same name by Henry Kuttner. The story first appeared in the pulp magazine Thrilling Wonder Stories in June 1940. The film is the first American horror made in full three-strip Technicolor. Schoedsack, who also directed "King Kong" in 1933, is said to have taken special care to make certain that the colour effects were believable.

Dr Cyclops was played by Albert Dekker ("The Wild Bunch", "The Killers", "Kiss Me Deadly"). Dekker was blacklisted in Hollywood for several years for criticising ant-icommunist Senator Joe McCarthy. Dekker died in bizarre circumstances, having been found dead by his fiancé, fashion model and future creator of The Love Boat Jeraldine Saunders, in 1968. Discovered in the bathroom, Dekker was naked, bound hand and foot, with hypodermic needles sticking out of each arm and obscenities written all over his body. The official cause of death was ruled to be accidental asphyxiation, although Dekker’s fiancé and friends believed someone else had to be involved as money and camera equipment were also missing from the flat.

The movie follows four explorers searcingh for legendary physicist Dr Cyclops. When they discover their missing colleague, they find his brilliant mind has been warped by radiation and decide to return him to civilization for psychiatric help. But the half-blind, half-mad scientist will have none of that, and uses an experimental body-altering device to reduce his former friends to one-fifth of their normal size. Now, harmless items and small creatures suddenly become giant-sized instruments of death!

The film also stars Thomas Coley, Janice Logan, Charles Halton, Victor Kilian, and Frank Yaconelli.

 

Last modified on Saturday, 18 November 2017 10:25