Halloween feature 50 days, 50 slays! Day 35 and Day 34 Director focus John Lee Thompson

There are few film directors that have such a range of genre out put as the late, great John Lee Thompson. As we creep ever more rapidly to the room of our next victim (I mean Halloween…),  we look at two of his best. First up is 10 TO MIDNIGHT, a Charles Bronson starrer, slasher fest about a serial killer with some deep personal issues and nudity fetish galore. Then comes HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, a slasher of the highest order indeed, with heavy weight stars (is that Glenn Ford!) that leaves more than the taste of kebab meat in the mouth. Well lets get skewering….

35 – 10 TO MIDNIGHT (88 Films)

WHATS IT ABOUT?

Warren Stacey (Gene Davis) is a repairman with a taste for murder. He kills young women after they push him back. Often this is due to him being a bit creepy. After he kills Betty (June Gilbert), a co-office worker and her boyfriend, the police being to close in. Police detective Leo Kessler (Charles Bronson) and his rookie partner Paul McAnn (Andrew Stevens) do everything in their power to catch him before he strikes next.

WHY SHOULD WE WATCH IT FOR HALLOWEEN?

As a starter for the work of Lee Thompson or as a well constructed comment on the state of the legal system, 10 TO MIDNIGHT is almost unchallengeable. A clever series of twist and turns, leaves you rooting for a bent cop and cheering on him administering a brutal come uppance. However, it is also very effective as a slasher film. With some excellent use of camera POV to build, sometimes unbearable tension.

WHAT SHOULD WE LOOK OUT FOR?

Well the film is brilliant and the brandished penis pump interrogation scene is a very clever (and sardonic) highlight. But for me it is the extras, in particular the interview with actor Andrew Stevens, which is far to short but shows how Bronson was a great actor, hero and hardworking to the core of his boots.

Extras
Producing Bronson” interview with producer Lance Hool (12:41)
“Remember Bronson” interview with actor Robert F. Lyons (6:00)
“Knife and Death” interview with actress Jeana Tomasina (6:55)
“Charlie’s Partner” interview with actor Andrew Stevens (10:46)

BUY IT NOW

https://store.hmv.com/store/film-tv/blu-ray/ten-to-midnight

34 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (INDICATOR)

WHATS IT ABOUT?

Its my birthday and I will die if I want to. Virginia Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson) is a girl that life has dealt some tough blows. She survived a freak accident, but now suffers memory loss and the occasional traumatic blackout. As she attempts to resume her normal life, with the schoolfriends she loves, they seem to be being murdered one by one. The question is, when will it be her turn. With a birthday coming up, that is tough.

WHY SHOULD WE WATCH IT FOR HALLOWEEN?

Made two years before 10 TO MIDNIGHT, this is just as distinctive as its younger brother. Troupes are abandoned, Lee Thompson directs with an urgency that makes Virginia trauma compelling. It is also confused and fragmented enough to cast doubt on her and the reliable narrator corrupted, leaves us all on the back foot. In a good way.

WHAT SHOULD WE LOOK OUT FOR?

The standard edition is well worth hunting out for the Audio commentary by The Hysteria Continues. They take the film and send it up a little, respect it a little and defuse its qualities a lot. The script is one focus of theirs that I heartily agree with. I mean, if your friends are disappearing one by one, why aren’t the police called?

INDICATOR STANDARD EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES

  • HD restoration
  • Original mono audio
  • Alternative 5.1 surround sound track
  • Alternative score: experience the film with the controversial re-scored electronic music soundtrack, as used on the 2004 home video re-release
  • Audio commentary by The Hysteria Continues team: Justin Kerswell (author of Teenage Wasteland: The Slasher Movie Uncut) Joseph Henson, Erik Threlfall and Nathan Johnson
  • Image gallery: on-set and promotional material
  • Original trailer and TV spots
  • New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

 

BUY IT NOW

https://www.powerhousefilms.co.uk/collections/standard-editions/products/happy-birthday-to-me-bd

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