Crazy Triple Features: Twilight Time’s STRANGE INVADERS, SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN & COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE

Twilight Time LogoThis week’s second CRAZY TRIPLE FEATURES article is devoted to the wonderfully limited releases from Twilight Time. Known for putting out very limited amounts of films (mostly 3,000 copies), Twilight Time has been kicking ass for quite some time now, putting out great Bluray releases like Chuck Russell’s remake of THE BLOB, the horror classic FRIGHT NIGHT, and even John Carpenter’s VAMPIRES. They set a date, release the titles, and for the most part, when they go, they’re gone for good. While thinking of a triple feature to watch last night, I looked for three films put out by the same company, but with the restriction of the films not having anything to do with each other. While this choices for this article aren’t as different as the previous CRAZY TRIPLE FEATURES article, they’re still three very unique films, playing in different genre sandboxes, so to speak.

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1.) STRANGE INVADERS (1983)

Quite an interesting film, STRANGE INVADERS takes the alien abduction/body snatcher-like stories from the ’50s and ’60s and brings them right into the 1980’s. Revolving around a university professor played by AMERICAN GRAFFITI star Paul Le Mat, whose ex wife (played by PSYCHO III‘s Diana Scarwid) drops off their daughter with him then suddenly disappears, without a trace. Le Mat’s character begins a journey to find her, leading to her hometown, a place that instantly shows its creepy vibe, blowing Le Mat’s car up and revealing themselves as aliens. Le Mat gets back to the city and enlists a reporter played by BLOW OUT/ROBOCOP/CARRIE star Nancy Allen, and begins to try to uncover what’s going on, leading to governments agencies and the aliens themselves coming after the duo.

It’s a fun film, one that gives off a real classic sci-fi vibe, being a really good homage to the films that played late at night on your local TV station, and STRANGE INVADERS does an excellent job of being an homage as opposed to a parody. It’s played straight for the most part, bypassing any winking at the audience. Featuring great performances from Le Mat, Allen, Scarwid and Louise Fletcher as a sinister agent whose motives are unclear but definitely shady, the film is a joy to watch and a fun one to discover if you haven’t been lucky enough to see it yet.

Limited to a run of 3,000 copies, Twilight Time’s Bluray release of the film looks great, includes an isolated score, a commentary with director Michael Laughlin and writer William Condon (AKA-Bill Condon, the director of CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH, GODS AND MONSTERS), as well as the original theatrical trailer. It’s a fun film full of some really fun and interesting scenery, an ending that’s out of this world and an overall good time all around.

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2.) SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN (1970)

One uniquely odd film, Gordon Hessler’s SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN may sound and look a gory horror film based on its title and cover, but in truth is a scientific sci-fi film, revolving around different story lines that strangely come together towards the film. A film following multiple people, including a man who falls down and passes out while jogging, just to wake up in a hospital bed with his legs missing; a detective investigating a series of murders and disappearances of various women, all of who are missing blood when found; A man who is mysteriously killed for reason we have no idea of.

That might sound like a lot to take in without any explanation, mostly because it IS a lot to digest, feeling like a film that is about to go off the rails at any point, just to be tied together towards the end, featuring Vincent Price as a doctor who just might be responsible for all of the happenings we’ve previously seen. Thrown in Christopher Lee as the head of a secret intelligence group and an almost blink and you’ll miss it appearance by Grand Moff Tarkin/Van Helsing himself, Peter Cushing, and you’ve got a film that sells the trio of legendary genre actors, but never quite delivers on the three having much to do with each other, instead going for a body experiment type of vibe.

Perhaps the weirdest part of the film (or obviously the weirdest sequence) is an extremely lengthy chase thrown into the middle of the film, one that feels like absolute padding to fill in any missing plot that is nowhere to be found until the very end of the film. If you don’t mind being confused and borderline frustrated with a movie, until it makes sense very late in the game, check this one out, but my recommendation is to just check out DR. TERROR’S HOUSE OF HORRORS instead, a film that makes good use of plot and a who’s who of legendary horror icons.

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3.) COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE (1970)

In a time full of vampire parodies and silly entries dealing with Dracula or any other bloodsucker, 1970’s COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE is a film that plays it straight 100% of the time and is a true horror classic. Robert Quarry plays the title character, a vampire who puts up the front of being a psychic medium holding seances to bring in victims and boy does he find some. When Quarry’s Count Yorga sets his sight on one of the attendees of the seance, he eventually has to have a battle of the wits with the woman’s boyfriend, who has partnered up Dr. Hayes (played by Roger Perry), a vampire hunter whose eyes are dead-set on bringing an end to Yorga.

A great ’70s exploitation film, COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE is a true standout for American International Pictures (AIP), and a film that every vampire/horror fan should check out. Its 1970’s vibe and outlook makes it so much fun to witness, and Quarry’s performance as Yorga is one for the bloodsucking books, rivaling any other vampire role played by others.

While it was followed by a 1971 sequel, THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA (which saw a recent Bluray release via Scream Factory), it’s this first outing of Quarry’s that really impressive the hell out of you and is given a great release courtesy of Twilight Time. Like most of their releases, COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE has a decent amount of supplemental material, included and isolated score track, an audio commentary from director Tim Sullivan and film historian David Del Valle, a reading of an interview with Quarry, performed by Sullivan and Del Valle, a Fangirl Radio tribute to the actor as well as a very impressive still gallery from Sullivans archives.

Like the previous two films mentioned in this article, COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE has been given a 3,000 copy run from Twilight Time, and is a film definitely worth checking out, with its great set designs, fun and memorable performances from Quarry, Perry and Michael Macready (who also produced the film). It’s a vampire-filled good time, one to definitely latch onto.

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