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The Bootleg Files: Bat Pussy

BOOTLEG FILES 613: “Bat Pussy” (early 1970s porn flick).

LAST SEEN: At this year’s Fantastic Fest.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS and DVD.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A rather inane violation of copyright protection.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Actually, there is a newly restored Blu-ray edition.

During the 1960s, DC Comics began to flex its litigation muscles when it discovered creative artists were borrowing its beloved Batman character without clearing permission. The company forced Andy Warhol to withdraw his “Batman Dracula” film, which was only being presented in art exhibitions and not theaters, while director/producer Jerry Warren fended off DC Comics’ lawyers after he put forth “The Wild World of Batwoman.” The threat of lawsuits also helped to keep several Philippines-based productions with their own unauthorized Batman characters from being imported across the Pacific, including the now-lost 1967 “Batman Fights Dracula.”

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The Philadelphia Story (1940): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

George Cukor’s “The Philadelphia Story” isn’t just a masterful romance comedy, but it’s also an important piece of filmmaking that marked important turning points in the lives of its stars. In particular there was Katharine Hepburn who, believe it or not, was considered “Box Office Poison” by critics after a series of cinematic flops. Once “The Philadelphia Story” proved her brilliance as an actress, her career only went up. “The Philadelphia Story” is one of the least cloying romance comedies I’ve ever seen, as it’s one wrapped up in genuine human emotion and spite that tends to be shockingly entertaining. The fact that the film is models itself after the hit play never hinders the production, allowing “The Philadelphia Story” to feel very lively and energetic.

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

How do you solve a problem like Thor?

Despite Thor, The God of Thunder being one of Marvel’s most iconic characters and virtual co-founder of The Avengers, making him a compelling action hero has been a tough task. Even with some great directors and sleek scripting, “Thor” hasn’t quite been as exciting as Iron Man or Captain America. He’s barely risen to the Hulk who, so far, has only had one movie and a hand full of appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With “Thor: Ragnarok,” Marvel has reached the point where audiences are familiar enough with the character that they can begin to change his identity a bit. In the end, he’s still Thor, the God of Thunder, but he also comes in touch with his god like abilities when he allows himself to embrace humility once and for all.

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TV on DVD: Watch Around the Clock: 24 Hours of TV (DVD/Digital), Watch Around the Clock in Color: 24 Hours of TV (DVD/Digital)

With so much television available at our finger tips, there is always a demand for the revisiting of the golden age of television where everything was more simple. Mill Creek Entertainment has taken everything they could find in their catalogue and have built two rather large television time capsules and experiences that are suitable for audiences that grew up during what they call the “golden age” of TV. The “Watch Around the Clock: 24 Hours of TV” pair of box sets even includes the original commercials and ads for various products from the era, and there’s even a small fold out guide that allow you to view what TV shows are available through the entirety of the twenty four hour block.

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Rock-a-Doodle (1991) [Blu-Ray]

The long out of print “Rock-a-Doodle” from animation master Don Bluth has finally stormed its way on to HD thanks to Olive Films, and it’s a blast to the past for me. I fondly remember seeing a lot of the ads for “Rock-a-Doodle” as well as coming across TV spots and ads in comic books. Sadly, the actual cinematic experience was a bust, even for an eight year old moi. It was a dull, awful movie then, and it’s a pretty dull and awful movie, now. I doubt even the best of nineties nostalgia geeks can find a gem in this mess of a movie. I spent a good number of years putting “Rock-a-Doodle” in the back burner of my memory, and I realize it was for good reason.

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The Three Stooges: Big Box of Nyuks Collection (DVD)

For the respective Three Stooges buff looking for a good holiday gift, or for someone just seeking some good old fashioned laughs and gaffs, Mill Creek offers up a forty hour compendium of some of the more interesting three stooges entertainment. While it’s branded the “Complete” collection, I doubt that we’ll ever have a complete collection considering rights issues, but “Big Box of Nyuks” is still a very impressive addition to anyone who adores these knuckleheads and their antics that have managed to garner a new fan base for every generation. It’s an exhaustive look behind the Stooges legacy and also celebrates their comedy when they were at their peak and at their unfortunate worst, but it’s a great collector’s item.

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Popcorn (1991): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

One of the highly anticipated releases of 2017, Synapse Films unleashed the new print of the rare horror comedy “Popcorn” for fans with a limited edition release. Months later, they allow fans another chance with a regular Blu-Ray and DVD editions of “Popcorn” with the same deluxe special features and treatment but none of the collector flavor. “Popcorn” is one of those horror comedies that deserve to be consumed by horror movie fans of all kinds, as it’s one of the cleverer meta-horror movies that satirized indie horror, while also delivering its own interesting slasher tale.

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Black Cats and Broomsticks (1955)

“Each year a hundred Americans die because they go to a wizard instead of a doctor.” Ah yes, the great Wizard epidemic of 1955, I read about that in the text books. Americans had wizards and sorcerers, where as today we have Goop. Oddly enough, this short subject PSA for Americans fearing witches and Satanism confuses pseudo-science and superstition with actual witchcraft. A lot of Americans were under the idea that sacrificing animals to Satan was just the same as crossing your fingers for a dose of good luck. Those wacky Americans!

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