• Love After Death/The Good, The Bad, And The Beautiful (AGFA/Something Weird Video) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: AGFA/Something Weird Video
    Released on: May 25th, 2021.
    Director: Guaco Del Mar & Robert Canton
    Cast: Guillermo De Córdova, Jennifer Welles, Janis Young
    Year: 1968
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    Love After Death – Movie Review:

    AGFA and Something Weird offer up a double feature of macabre-tinged sex films both produced by New York based exploitation film distributor Charles Abrams (the same man who bankrolled Cargo Of Love and Commuter Game), both appearing here in high definition for the first time.

    Love After Death:

    The first film, which uses a title card calling the film Unsatisfied Love, was directed by ‘Guaco Del Mar’ “somewhere in South America” and then imported and dubbed by Abrams’ company for your enjoyment.

    The movie begins in a funeral home where a man named Montel (Guillermo De Córdova) lies inside a coffin looking up at those who showed up at his funeral to say their last goodbyes. What they may or may not know is that Montel isn’t dead, he’s suffered a cataleptic fit and appears deceased, but he is not. His doctor is there in attendance and should know this, as should his wife, Sofia (Carmin O'Neal), but they aren’t saying anything. A short time later and Montel is plotted six feet under. He somehow makes it out of his coffin and up through the soil, back from the ‘dead’ and understandably quite upset.

    Of course, the doctor and the wife are having an affair. Sofia tells the doctor that she was never able to consummate her marriage with Montel as he had some pretty serious performance issues, but she’s only too happy to get down with the doc, lose her supposed virginity and do the unskinny bop. Montel, meanwhile, changes into a fancy suit and attempts to rape a blonde in her apartment, failing miserably at the planned assault. While this goes on, an aged female dwarf watches and shakes her head – it’s pretty wild.

    Eventually Montel meets a girl that does it for him – will he finally get laid? Will he succeed in killing his wife and her lover? Will he run around in what appears to be a shiny gold suit? Will a transvestite show up? How much recycled library music will you be able to take? Do you like squirrels? How about lesbians? Ever heard of the Steve Rios Band?

    A super entertaining mix of B-grade horror and goofy sexploitation tropes, Love Beyond Death is some seriously wacky shit, and we say that in the most complementary way possible. Granted, the film doesn’t make sense from the very start (Martel can be seen weeping in his coffin – someone should have noticed that – and how the Hell did he get out of a coffin while buried underground?) but once you accept that, or even embrace that, if you dig on sixties sleaze, you’re bound to have a blast with it. The dubbing is, at times, surreal and adds a welcome extra layer of weirdness to the whole thing, while the cinematographer’s penchant for showcasing minutia like stairways and random bits of furniture is… kind of charming in the same way that it is when you see it in Doris Wishman’s films.

    The cast are interesting. Guillermo De Córdova looks Paul Rueben-esque from certain angles, and there are times where he appears like he might be nodding off. The female cast members are all interesting, mostly attractive, and always dressed in great sixties attire. Overall, it’s a wonky but seriously great mix of horror and sexploitation well worth checking out.

    The Good, The Bad, And The Beautiful:

    A year later, Abrams released our second feature, The Good, The Bad And The Beautiful! The story, this time around, revolves around a man named Bruce Harrington (Harold Herbsman), a middle-aged politician who never took a wife until recently when he met and fell for the beautiful Helen (Janis Young). This marriage happens just in time for Harrington’s election campaign, to be officially announced at an upcoming high society soirée!

    Bruce’s right hand man and political advisor, Michael Hammit (Robert Heinz), figures that some of Harrington’s competitors in the race may have sent over some spies to peep in on just what his hot new campaign is up to, and on top of that, he’s bound and determined to keep the press as far away from all of this as possible. Why? Because Michael suspects that his boss’ beautiful new blushing bride might not be playing with a full deck since it wasn’t that long ago that she was interred at a mental hospital after a nervous breakdown broke her fragile psyche.

    Making Harrington’s political aspirations even more complicated is the presence of the sexy – and perpetually horny – maid, Elizabeth (Jennifer Welles), and a chauffeur named Moreno (Allen Garfield) who truly believes that the fine and fairly foxy female hired help should belong only to him! When a man named Ralph (Osgood Scott) shows up at the Harrington home with blackmail material, it turns out that Bruce and Michael are away on business – but that isn’t going to stop Ralph from using what he has to get not only a nice chunk of change, but also a nice piece of ass…

    Shot entirely on location in and around New York City, The Good, The Bad And The Beautiful isn’t quite as ludicrous as Love After Death but it’s still a bit of an underappreciated gem from the vintage black and white sexploitation period. It’s got plenty of exploitative elements all working in its favor, from the presence of a future porn star (the wonderfully voluptuous Jennifer Welles) to some kinky sex to some drug use and to some wonky murder set pieces! It moves at a good pace, features some great camerawork and some nice New York City locations and uses a weirdly effective score to help create a delightfully seedy atmosphere that suits the tone of the picture perfectly.

    Love After Death – Blu-ray Review:

    Both films are presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed at 1.33.1, which would seem to be the proper aspect ratio for both films. Love After Death is taken from a new ‘2K preservation from the only known 35mm print in existence’ taking up 17GBs of space, while The Good, The Bad, And The Beautiful is taken from a ‘2K preservation from the only known 16mm print in existence’ and it uses 19GBs of space. The first film shows some noticeable print damage throughout but also offers nice detail, good contrast and a fair amount of depth. Close up shots look great and the image is always film-like. The second film is in slightly worse condition, expect more print damage, softer detail and occasional moments of blown out contrast, but it is still very watchable.

    Both films are presented in 16-bit DTS-HD Mono in their original English language options. Removable English SDH subtitles are provided for both features. There’s a bit of hiss here and there and the occasional pop but overall the tracks are listenable enough considering the age and obscurity of the film as well as the available elements.

    As far as the extras go, we get two commercial short films that tout the merits of cemeteries and funeral home services that run combined twenty-five-minutes in length combined. These are definitely products of their time and amusing to see. Also look out for a seven-minute short from 1973 co-directed by Peter Moelley and Michael Serino called The Greening Of Willie Gobblee wherein Willie's lady-friend surprises him with a planet for their anniversary. She's disappointed that his response to said plant isn't more excited, and through the magic of movie flashbacks we learn how this leads to the two of them going to marriage counselling!

    Not enough? We get some amazing promos for some spookshow exhibitions with titles like The Crawling Thing From Planet 13 (featuring Satan's daughter!) all from Kara-Kum of Hollywood! On top of that, the disc also has trailers for The Game People Play, Housewives And Bartenders and Infidelity American Style.

    Menus and chapter selection are provided on the disc, which comes packaged with some nice reversible cover artwork featuring AGFA’s design on the front and the awesome original poster art on the reverse.

    Love After Death - The Final Word:

    AGFA and Something Weird Video’s Blu-ray release of Love After Death and The Good, The Bad And The Beautiful is a good one, offering both films in solid high definition presentations and with a few fun extra features as well. Both movies are a real kick, enjoyable trashy oddities from a time long gone that are as oddly fascinating as they are entertaining.

    Click on the images below for full sized Love After Death Blu-ray screen caps!