Eureka’s new two-disk Blu-ray release Karloff at Columbia is a real treat for fans of the iconic actor. Although it begins with Roy William Neill’s atmospheric period Gothic The Black Room (1935), the bulk of the set is devoted to what became known as the Mad Doctor Cycle, five extremely low-budget sci-fi tinged horrors in which Karloff plays scientists dabbling in research which the establishment frowns on; the authorities’ resistance tends to push him over into madness and murder and mayhem ensue. Long held in low esteem, these cheap movies are all entertaining and Karloff delivers sincere performances no matter how silly the trappings occasionally become.
MVD Entertainment Group’s Blu-ray release of Ryan Schifrin’s ’80s horror homage Abominable (2005/2018) offers an exemplary treatment of a niche title, with excellent technical treatment and stacked with extras which honour the filmmaker’s respect for the genre.
Winnipeg filmmaker and author Caelum Vatnsdal spent several years researching the life of everyone’s favourite ubiquitous supporting actor Dick Miller and the resulting biography is every bit as entertaining as the roles Miller has played through six decades in the movie business.
Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls (1962) restores the richness of the striking imagery which gives this low-budget classic its mysteriously haunting power.
Nazis and vampires have been popular subjects for exploitation for decades in a range of genres from the Gothic to epic SF and paranoid b-movie thriller.
Sony’s Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman DVD set presents an entertaining selection of low-budget genre movies from the mid-’50s. While they’d never be mistaken for art, they’re undeniably entertaining.
Since the end of the studio system, the term B-movie has come to refer more to content than budget; recent viewing covers a wide range of styles within this nebulous category.