Movie of the Day : Kino Lorber’s great release of THE PSYCHOPATH

The Psychopath (1966)

Freddie Francis, 1966, U.S., U.K.

Based on the standard poster art (not the Blu-ray cover art, which I show below, and which I think is great) and the title, I did not expect much of this film. From the first frame I have to say I am pleasantly surprised.

Freddie Francis directs a primary color, technicolor drenched British thriller, that very much reverberates with Giallo brilliance that will illicit favorable comparisons to Mario Bava, as well as in its own right… having an influence on Italy’s Giallo’s to come, among them Dario Argento’s best film, 1975’s DEEP RED.

THE PSYCHOPATH is sharp, enjoyably written and performed, and filled with great tangents and potential suspects… that keep viewers guessing till the fun and over the top end. But high on this film’s strengths is its beautiful cinematography and shot selection, and the aforementioned primary color drenched palette.

I really enjoy, this messy potboiler of a film, and am very happy it is now in my collection.  And to think before the recent Blu-Ray release by Kino Lorber this film was largely a forgotten film, as Troy Howarth in the commentary details, this film was never given a vhs, dvd, or other release. So huge thanks to Kino Lorber for rescuing this film from obscurity and giving us this well heeled physical media release. Grade: B+.

Journey into Mystery and other Mystery boxes and other things Comic Book Youtubers get Wrong!

Journey into Mystery and other Mystery boxes aka things Comic Book Youtubers get Wrong!

Okay this is a rant post.

If just looking for my fluffy reviews skip this, and come back next time for my non-ranting reviews. :).

 

Ok… onto the rant.

First full disclosure I watch and enjoy youtube videos, including comic book videos, and I enjoy watching these mystery box unboxings, and I have no affiliation with any mystery box producer. However, I do love the occassional grab bag box.

What’s the difference?

I will explain to you as we go on.

Okay quick backstory on what spurred this post.

A  Youtube video last night clued me into this $777 Comic Book Mystery box being sold by an Instagram poster called JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. Yes I said $777.

The Youtube video was taking issue with unboxings of these JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY boxes, and not defending the boxes, agreeing the contents of the boxes were disappointing— but taking issue with the reviewers/buyers assertion that a Mystery Box should give you “more than your value”.

And having watched a few of these videos I have to agree there is a lot of low dollar fodder, included with one or two substantial books. So Buyers have a right to be disappointed, however some of them, go beyond that into making irrational stances on what they are “owed” when they purchase a Mystery Box.

Namely this completely irrational and entitled stance that to paraphase “I want to pay for a product (in this case a mystery bundle of comic books), and I want to be guaranteed that the product I pay for, I can resell and at lease get my money back, and ideally sell it for more than I paid.”

Are you an effing communist? Or a moron?! 🙂 .

While it would be nice for the things we buy to maintain value, very few things really do. If they do or don’t is not the responsibility of the person who sold you the product, unless they specifically guarantee you that you can in a certain time-frame resell the item for a profit, and no one who isn’t an idiot or insane or a scammer is trying to do that.What people sell when they sell you an item is the item, not any future guarantee of flipping or reselling said item.

“Hello car dealership  I bought a car from you, I want to be guaranteed I can resell that car today for as much as I paid for it.”  No you drive it off the lot, there is immediately this thing called depreciation.

Whether you buy a wedding ring or clothes or toys or movies, no where in the world is there an expectation, that the seller owes you the ability to resell what they sold you and recoup your cost or make money.

Listen to what the eff you are saying.

Or “Hello fancy restaurant” I paid $200 for dinner with me and my family, I would like to now poop that dinner out and get $200 for it.

No where in the world except in the mind of poorly thinking comicbook youtubers, who spend ridiculous amounts for mystery boxes,  exist this notion that the seller owes you the ability to resell what they sold you.

I hate this moronic expectation of entitlement some people have, like they should be paid to breathe. You don’t like the product that is fine, but unless you are guaranteed to resell a product for a certain dollar amount, the seller does not owe you future sales.

And I heard grown people, who should under stand better how capitalism works, how business works, come out of their mouth with this nonsense, of I want to be guaranteed to immediately make money on this item i just bought.

The seller owes you the books he guaranteed.

And if no specific books were guaranteed, he doesn’t owe you jack shite in terms of specific books.

That would be the mystery part, of mystery boxes.

So that thinking, that is what is wrong with America and the world— drives me insane.

All that said, the buyers I saw, speaking of this specific case, I would agree got underwhelming and disappointing boxes from the seller.

Had I paid $777 for a Mystery Box, I would be pretty disappointed in this one. Though first of all, I would not be paying $777 for a Mystery Box. If I had $777 to spend on comics, I would go out and carefully select $777 worth of comics to get.

If you are paying for a third party’s curated $777 mystery box, you are getting just that… a mystery. So unless you have done your homework and confirmed the seller guarantees a certain value per book  or certain number of books, certain type or age of books, then you are generally setting yourself up for disappointment.

The odds that a stranger is going to provide books that either all of them you need, or you want, or you find value in,… are very bad odds. Odds that in the best of mystery boxes… is an unlikely possibility.

What you are paying for, in a mystery box, unless promised otherwise, is just that a mystery. Is the experience of a secret shopper, shopping for you. Now I know some mystery box producers, promote their box by claiming to offer high value books, ie prizes,  in a random subset of boxes, Technically a lottery and technically illegal.

if you are playing this game of buying a mystery box in search of a random prize, both the producer of the mystery box and the purchaser of mystery boxes are involved in using the us mail for gambling, and that is technically illegal.

This is why I don’t buy or sell mystery boxes, where you are chasing a prize. What is legal is grab bag boxes. No prize or hunt involved, Just a certain amount of random books for a certain dollar amount. These I have done as both buyer and seller and find them fun. But that is because I do my home work, and support grab bags of specific genres or time periods I am interested in.

But if you are doing a ‘Mystery Box’ with the expectation of potentially getting a prize, and utilizing the US Mail, you are technically breaking the law. You as the producer of the box, and you as the purchaser of the box, both equally at fault.

But let us leave the legality of Mystery Boxes out of it for now. Let us just talk about morality and common sense and culpability in this specific case of the $777 Journey into Mystery Boxes.

This is an outsider’s perspective. I have no skin in the game, with the exception I hate people doing stupid things, and I hate people saying stupid things. I hate unexamined viewpoints on both sides, because stupidity is a disease that spreads, and if we are not careful… will infect us all. I have touched on what I think is the irrational thinking of entitled buyers.

Let us now talk about the seller.

 

On the production side. If you are asking someone to purchase a $777 Mystery box  from you, there should be some realization on your end that people are expecting value for that money, quality. So it behooves you to provide a product that people will think is worth that value. Not simply dollar amount, because I get it, it is a business, the $777 I pay goes into product, into packing, into shipping, into time. It is a business, I get that, So out of that $777 maybe $500 or $600 goes into the actual cost of the books. I get it, no one goes into a business to lose money.

But then your job as a Mystery Box Producer or Grab Bag box producer, is to shop really, really well and make that $500 you have to spend, feel like $777 of value.

Your job Is to provide an experience that when the seller gets the box the books they get are in great comparative condition or graded or compelling or signed or coa’d or have prints, or have some care put into them that shows. Though, I understand, it is a hard thing to please everyone,  when what people value is so diverse. Me I could give less than an eff for a so called hot modern variant comic or hot spec book or an inanely named Virgin comic book.

“Oooh this book is hot because so and so will be in a movie”. So as a producer of a grab bag or mystery box, I personally find it behooves you to narrow your scope; do bronze age books, or modern books, or westerns, or all virgin covers, or all signed comics,  narrow the focus of your Mystery Box a little and you can manage expectations a bit better. At least you know the books are in the wheelhouse of the purchaser.

And damn, someone is paying you $777, give them higher grade books where possible, but definitely do the intangibles that are also part of value, put the books in Mylar. Offer for them to return the books for a refund (minus a reasonable restocking fee). Take the time to not hand write notes on a sticky, but print out comments or notes or a receipt. Include add-ons like prints or trading cards. You have to make the experience of them opening that box, also part of the value, and part of what they are paying for.

And from the videos I saw, just my opinion, the boxes they got, had 1 or 2 items of value, and the rest quite honestly were books I would be hard pressed to say cost even $2 each to acquire. It feels like, again outsider opinion, no care was put into these boxes, and insufficient value, not resale value, like stated, seller has no obligation to ensure you can resell this book on Ebay, but purchase value.

I think the seller really shot himself in the foot, and allegedly kinda burned people, and is not returning people’s correspondence. That is what I am hearing, that could or could not be true, in the short term he seemingly made a crap load of money 77 boxes at $777 is almost $60000. And looking at the product he sent people, I would guess over half of that is pure profit. So if this was a popup shop cash grab, he is in the wind.  But if he meant to do this long term, he has pretty much burnt himself. In addition I’m sure a lot of people will be trying to get refunds or hitting up there cc companies to open disputes, which may or may not go their way, but yeah it is a nice learning moment hopefully for the Comic Book Youtube community.

 

Here endeth my 2 cents on this topic.

 

Now (shameless plug) if you want a cool comic book grab bag and you are not a moron who thinks it is the sellers responsibility to make sure you don’t actually spend any money and guarantee you a profit, then check out the grab bag boxes coming up in a future post. Like and subscribe to be notified when that post drops.

 

Be Well!

Currently Watching and listening to the Director’s Commentary of the immortal ROAD HOUSE

 

Revisiting this film, after a period of some years, on my old DVD loaded with special features, my memory is refreshed on just how surprisingly good and captivating this 33 year old film is.

Particularly when you put this in the context of when it was made, this… today seemingly kitsch little B movie, was actually (at a budget of over 15 million dollars and bringing in double that in domestic returns) a well financed “A” production for 1989, with the same budget as another 1989 perennial favorite… DEAD POETS SOCIETY.

So while not a blockbuster like 1989’s BATMAN or an award darling like 1989’s FIELD OF DREAMS, ROAD HOUSE fell squarely between the two; being both a crowd and critic pleaser, and one of the more profitable movies of the year.

This modern day reworking of the myth of the western, and mixing it with martial arts and slug-fests, and wonderful dialogue, great performances, and lush direction, was able to out of all these influences make its own unique and addictive and iconic voice, that decades of movies would follow.

The director’s commentary comes highly recommended as well. All in all, a must own film. Grade : A solid B+.

Movie of the Day : Universal’s THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD (1935)

Universal, Four years into their very successful Horror cycle/franchise (that began in earnest with 1931’s DRACULA)  released this (unknown to me until today) entry, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BYmVkNDk5NTktOThiOS00NTkxLWE2ZTItYzM2MjgxYjQ3MThlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTcyODY2NDQ@._V1_.jpg

I go into movies knowing as little as possible, beyond the star and general genre; this way (in my estimation) gives the movie a better chance to deliver unexpected moments to the viewer. so I picked up the THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD from DVD/Blu-Ray distributor KINO LORBER largely because it was a horror-melodrama starring Claude Rains of INVISIBLE MAN fame, and it sported an audio commentary.

Well having watched it I have to say… “they are real, and they are magnificent”.. sorry, old SEINFELD reference.. but yes, the movie is magnificent. Just over the top in every way you can appreciate about these quasi pre-code Horror movies (made after the formation of the code, but before its rigid enforcement, post 1936).

While it is hard to top Rains’ iconic INVISIBLE MAN portrayal, his role here, his performance, even almost a 100 years removed from when this film was made, still hit me as audacious, and brilliant, and jaw dropping.

I enjoyed this film immensely, from the story, to  all the performances, to the direction. This was Grand Guignol film-making defined. And done by a director that had only one other genre film of note, THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON.

 

A highly recommended watch and purchase, and sporting an informative and enlightening commentary— well delivered. Grade : B+/A-.

SIDNEY POITIER

I just heard that Sidney Poitier has passed.

Those of you of a certain age may barely know who he is. For me he was very much one of those small bastion of creatives who in the challenging years of the 50s thru the 70s, legitimately opened the doors regarding the roles actors of color could embody, the more diverse films that could be made, and the star power, and the respect they could have.

Poitier along with true game changers such as Ossie Davis, Harry Belafonte and Bill Cosby (whatever falling down you may attribute to him, his standing up opened doors not just for him, but generations after him. And whatever you think he owes others, must always be weighed against what generations owe him) and Gordon Parks, Renaissance men ALL; they very much made cinema better, and the fabric of America and much of the world, less bigoted and racist.

Now that America has devolved somewhat… from the hard earned new age that such men helped to craft; it just gives us a model, a legacy, to repair, and to build on, and to improve.

poitier thankfully left us with a large and brilliant filmography, not just seminal moments of great film, and seminal moments of great acting, but in the roles he chose, and the ones he refused, he showed us the qualities of being an artist of conscience, and using that art to change the world.

many rightly will hold up as poitier’s best, any number of his films, FRom poitier’s in the heat of the night or guess who’s coming to dinner or lilies of the field or the defiant ones or blackboard jungle or to sir with love. they are all deserving and they are all favorites of mine. but one that is in my thoughts often, is one that virtually no one has seen, and is unfortunately hard to come by on physical media (here’s hoping studios will correct that and do a boxset releasing many of poitier’s perhaps largely unavailable films); i am speaking of a film called BROTHER JOHN.

i think it is one of his only forays into the eerie, and is one of his most humanistic, and beautiful and understated films. i think it is a masterpiece that is unjustly too little seen and too little known.

now may be the time to correct that.

to sidney poitier, your labors are at an end good sir. rest in that place, beyond which, all you can take with you, is what you have shared.

grace to you sir, and my sincere hopes and well wishes, to those he leaves behind.

 

Collection Overview : 2022 Day 3- 01032022 – First KINO LORBER Blu-Ray purchase arrivals of 2022!!!

Collection Overview : 2022 Day 3- 01032022 – First KINO LORBER Blu-Ray purchase arrivals of 2022!!!

 

You can tell I just got these movies, because they are still in the unappealing and cheap looking blue blu-ray cases. :). Once I watch the films and decide they are keepers, I tansfer them to the more ‘living room/library’ appropriate— clear cases.

I will be breaking down the titles in posts to come.

 

Collection Overview : 2022 Day 2- 01022022- My Complete Warner Brothers Studio Non Media Book Blu-ray and 3D Collection!

So this is my Warner Brothers Studios Blu-ray collection here at the start of 2022. Everything except my WB Media Books and Steel books, about 2 dozen or so,that I have stored elsewhere.

All these titles I picked up in a little over 2 years from 2019 to 2021. A good bunch of these titles are 3D, Hands down Warner Brothers has been the best and most prolific company for 3D. Best in terms of supporting the medium of 3D, not necessarily qualitatively the best, though they do have many excellent steroscopic releases.

These titles were bought in a variety of ways, a bunch direct from Warner Brothers, when they still had the Warner Brothers online store, and regular sales. Many from third part resellers and sites.

I replaced, where possible, the tacky blue cases, the movies came in, with far more visually appealing clear cases. And for titles that had slipcases, I bought hard clear slipcover protectors. So on average the movies shown averaged $20 a film to acquire. Some, particularly the 3D titles, due to scarcity, are worth now— far more than I purchased them for.

 

And while 3D releases have slowed down, thankfully Warner Brothers is still making available 3D Blu-ray releases of their new films.

I look forward to picking up their WONDER WOMAN 84 and DUNE in 3D, this month, January 2022; and adding them to the collection you see.

And here is hoping for far more from Warner Brothers in 2022, and that they continue to be the most prolific 3D-supporting studio!

If you have any questions or comments about my WB collection,or yours, do not hesitate to drop a like, email or comments!

From our HT family to yours!