Wizard Video was a motion picture distribution company created by B movie veteran Charles Band, who would later go on to found the famous "Full Moon" movie company. The company was best known for the VHS-releases of "Zombie 2", "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and the ultimate video nasty "I Spit on Your Grave" (A remake (sigh!!!) of this movie will hit the cinema's this fall). The company was also well known for its very detailed, and often lurid, box art, especially after the switch to the "big box" format. Here are some other famous video box covers! And like everything from years gone by the Wizard Video movie boxes are at the moment very high in demand and collectors all over the world are quickely snatching them up to complete their collections often at very steep prices around 75 USD or more on Ebay per title. The demand is so high that even Charles Band is re-issueing them again never letting a deal go sour!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
"Revenge in the House of Usher" is a 1982 gothic movie directed by Spanish cult directeur Jess Franco as a very loose adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The House of Usher." As it opens, Dr. Alan Harker (Antonio Mayans) receives a distressed letter from his former university professor-cum-mentor, Dr. Eric Usher (Howard Vernon), that prompts him to travel to Usher's castle. Once there, Dr. Harker discovers, to his utter horror, that Usher is trapped in the jaws of madness, obsessively attempting to resurrect his comatose daughter Melissa with the blood of abducted young girls. So far, so good but is this a movie with Marisa Mell? No, nope, nada! So why is this movie then subject for an entry on her blog then? Well, glad you asked. It isn't so much the movie that is interesting but the cover of this movie on the video box as pictured above. More specifically the women on the ground being menaced by a black gloved hand holding a drilling machine. (A scene that to my knowledge is not part of the movie.) That iconic image has been lifted right out a very famous Marisa Mell movie! The movie in question is a giallo called "Sette orchidee macchiate di rosse" from 1972 directed by also cult director Umberto Lenzi, famous for his cannibal movies "Mangati Vivi" and "Cannibal Ferox" or his other excellent giallo "Spasmo". You can see clearly that the artist responsable for making the cover of the video box for video distribution company "Wizard Video" in 1985 has lifted this scene from the Lenzi movie to spice up his cover and make the movie probably more interesting than it really is. In other words, as so often happened in the straight to video market of yesteryear, connecting a movie to another movie that was a success around that time. Strangely enough the movie that he is referring to is not "Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso" as one might suspect but another famous video nasty of the era. The slasher movie "Driller Killer" from 1979 directed by and starring in the lead role of Reno Miller gore maestro Abel Ferrara. And this movie was also part of the Wizard Video portfolio.
Reno Miller is an artist slowly losing his mind as he and his two female friends scrape to pay the bills. The punk band downstairs increasingly agitates him, his art dealer is demanding that he complete his big canvas painting as promised, and he gets into fights with his girlfriends. When the dealer laughs at his canvas he snaps, and begins taking it out on the people responsible for his pain and starts his revenge by killing while drilling.