Gentle readers, I am more than well aware that not all of you enjoy some older releases nearly as much as I do. As I've mentioned many, many, many times in this space, I grew up on these films. While they're most definitely imperfect, they still do represent an era when Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horrors releases were kinder, gentler prospects; and the level of ingenuity to rendering some of these visuals if nothing else might make for a great laugh more than it does a good story. Plus, there's the nostalgia factor for me, and at my advanced age I just can't help myself.
That's why I'm thrilled to share that this September, 2023 promises to be one for the ages as Film Masters is bringing an incredible double-bill of schlock to life: The Giant Gila Monster (1959) and The Killer Shrews (1959) are receiving a much-needed makeover for a Special Edition release on home video.
Could there -- quite possibly -- be a better time to be a fan of cult flicks? Would you have ever imagined that we'd live to see a day when not one but both of these productions were given the kind of loving attention they deserve? Gosh. I'm giddy with excitement.
Don't even think about hating on me today, peeps. Don't. Even. Think.
Should I be lucky enough to snag a copy, then I'll definitely be reviewing these for the sake of my own posterity as well as SciFiHistory.Net's enduring legacy.
You've been warned.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!
Schlock, Cult Favorite The Giant Gila Monster
With New 4K Restoration + Bonus Film The Killer Shrews
1959 Double Bill Feature on Blu-ray + DVD Sept. 26th
ROCKPORT, Mass. — Sept. 2023 — For Immediate Release — The premiere release from Film Masters—the new vintage film restoration and distribution company, launched in June by industry veteran and film historian Phil Hopkins--is a two-disc collection featuring cult favorite The Giant Gila Monster with bonus film The Killer Shrews, which were originally released as a double-feature, drive-in bill in 1959.
The classic era of drive-in schlock was near its end at the time, but there remained a dedicated audience for this pair of no-budget howlers from director Ray Kellogg and producer Gordon McLendon.
The Giant Gila Monster (from a new 4k scan of 35mm, original film elements): When two teens disappear from a small Texas town, the locals think they’ve eloped. But soon it becomes clear that something much more sinister is afoot. And if a giant Gila monster isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of cool cars and some ersatz rock 'n' roll sung by star Don Sullivan (The Monster of Piedras Blancas).
The Killer Shrews (new HD-restored version): Starring James Best (The Dukes of Hazard), Ken Curtis (Gunsmoke) and Ingrid Goude (Miss Universe 1957), a riverboat pilot and a small group of passengers find themselves stranded by a hurricane on a remote island where a population of shrews the size of German shepherds are voracious.
The Giant Gila Monster and The Killer Shrews are offered in theatrical aspect ratio of 16x9, as well as in 4x3 ratio, on region-free discs with DTS-HD sound (Blu-ray) and Dolby AC3s sound (DVD).
BONUS MATERIALS: Ray Kellogg: An Unsung Master, a Ballyhoo Motion Pictures documentary written by C. Courtney Joyner and narrated by Larry Blamire; an archival interview with star, Don Sullivan, conducted by author Bryan Senn in 2009; full commentary of The Giant Gila Monster by Larry Strothe, James Gonis, Shawn Sheridan and Matt Weinhold from The Monster Party podcast; full commentary of The Killer Shrews by professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney; original, vintage radio, marketing spots for both features, provided by Gary L. Prange; and a full-color, inserted booklet with essays by Don Stradley and Jason A. Ney.
About Film Masters:
Film Masters is a consortium of historians and enthusiasts who seek to celebrate the preservation and restoration of films. We are archivists, committed to storing film elements for future generations and reviving films that have been sitting dormant for decades. By scanning in 2K and 4K, we give these lesser-known films the red-carpet treatment they deserve. Leveraging modern means of distribution to release forgotten films back into the world, we also produce original bonus materials—including feature-length documentaries, audio commentaries and historic articles—to contextualize and celebrate these works of art as they were meant to be. Visit us online at: www.FilmMasters.com
The Giant Gila Monster (2-Disc Collection)
Original Release: 1959 (B+W)
Format: Blu-ray + DVD
Running Time: Approx. 74 Minutes (Plus Special Features)
Suggested Retail Price: $29.95 (Blu-ray) / $19.95 (DVD)
Pre-Order Date: August 22, 2023
Street Date: Sept. 26, 2023
Catalog #: FMB001 (Blu-ray) / FMD001 (DVD)
UPC Code: #760137129837 (Blu-ray) / #760137129844 (DVD)