Tuesday, March 1, 2016

And we're back!

All right, so it's been nearly four years since the last post. Sorry about that. Life getting in the way and all that you know.

Nevertheless, I made a random discovery today which warrants an update to the blog.

I'm not sure when it was posted on IMDB, but at some point, someone logged an entry under soundtrack for Kill And Kill Again, titled "Dossier" by Brian Bennett and Alan Hawkshaw.

Some quick research led to a recording of the track and it was immediately recognizable as the music for the opening title sequence of the film.

"Dossier" can be found in the KPM 1000 series on a collection titled Hot Wax (KPM 1177).

Unfortunately it is not currently available among the KPM Library albums on iTunes, but you may find a copy of the track for listening in a number of places online.

While I cannot post a digital file copy of the track for download, I will reference a recording uploaded to YouTube by someone other than myself.

Click here to enjoy "Dossier" by Brian Bennett and Alan Hawkshaw
(source: YouTube channel of Ross Bates)

Just a further indication of how much Igo Kantor relied on KPM library music to build the film score.

Incidentally, Alan Hawkshaw composed a couple of other tracks appearing in the KPM 1000 series which may be recognizable to readers. Though possibly used in other contexts, "Studio 69" may best be known as the opening theme song for the '70s-era variety television show Dave Allen at Large. "Best Endeavors" may also be recognized from both the theme music for BBC Channel 4 News and the theatrical trailer for the 1985 Clint Eastwood western film Pale Rider.  

At this point, I believe less than a handful of musical cues from Kill And Kill Again remain unidentified (on this blog, anyway). Hopefully, it won't be another four years before the next item of interest presents itself.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Marduk's "Marine One"

Considering the supposed vast wealth of our favorite bearded megalomaniac, it's a bit comical that his choice of regal transportation for getting around the New Babylonian compound is a cheap, two-seat helicopter kit.

The Marduk-icopter is actually a Scorpion 133 two-seat homebuilt helicopter. The specifications for the 133 are:

Passengers: 2

Length: 22'
Height: 7.5'
Width (cab): 4'

Rotor diameter: 24'

Empty gross weight: 1,330 lbs.
Payload: 640 lbs.
Disc loading: 2.49 lbs. per square foot

Engine type: RW133 or similar water-cooled 4-cycle
Horsepower: 135

Range: 150 miles
Maximum speed: 100 mph
Cruising speed: 75 mph
Service ceiling: 10,000'
Rate of climb: 1,000 feet per minute

Resistance to friendly fire from your private security force: NONE

Interested in making a replica or building your own? You can purchase plans from Vortech, Inc.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Smackdown in the crapper

Immediately following the gas station scene, we see Gypsy Billy moving in to pounce on an unsuspecting guard to relieve him of his uniform.

Circling the port-a-john to come in behind the guard and quickly shove him in, Gyp then engages in a little CQB:

The musical selection heard during this very tongue-in-cheek sequence is "Rhythmic Explosion" by Johnny Pearson, available on the Underscore Vol. 2 album from the KPM library.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Music at the pump

Another program track has been identified. The music heard while the gas station attendant (actor Deon Stewardson) fumbles with the pump nozzle is a short piece by composer Johnny Pearson titled, "Riot."

Although not currently found in the online KPM library (or on iTunes or Amazon), the track was apparently used in the incidental music for a late-70s/early-80s Australian television drama about a fictional women's prison titled, Prisoner and known in the U.K. and the United States as, Prisoner: Cell Block H. (Source: The Wentworth Channel)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

30th Anniversary Special Edition Review

August 21, 2012 marked the re-release of Kill And Kill Again on DVD, this time in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen format and including some special bonus features not available on previous releases.

Special Edition DVD Contents:

Main Feature:
Brand new 16x9 anamorphic (1.78:1) widescreen HD master from the original InterPositive

Bonus Features:
Isolated music track from the original 3-track Mag sound
Audio interview with star James Ryan
On camera interview with writer John Crowther
Original trailer

Main Feature

The movie itself is what it is. You're either a fan or you're not. Other than the new screen format, there is not much in the way of improved quality in the look of the film. In fact, at first viewing, I wondered why everyone appeared to be suffering from mild sunburn.

The overall color balance of the image appears weighted toward red. Here is shown the original DVD release in 4:3 beside the new 16:9 print:

To demonstrate the level of red present in the newly re-mastered print, here is the same image with the red channel fully desaturated:

You can see by this how nearly the entire image is graded in red. Admittedly, the original 4:3 DVD print is probably likewise graded a little too much toward blue, but still preferable to a lobster-skinned film cast.

At first, I thought perhaps it was just a case of shoddy grading. After all, a couple of quick tweaks to the still image in Photoshop yields much better results:

Surely any professional grading software could easily color correct the new print better than what we see on the new DVD release.

But then a little research on the term "InterPositive" could explain the reddish grading:

An interpositiveintermediate positiveIP or master positive is an orange-based motion picture film with a positive image made from the edited camera negative. The orange base provides special color characteristics that allow for more accurate color reproduction than if the IP had a clear base, as in print films.
From a traditional photographic perspective, an interpositive is essentially a negative processed in a positive process. An original negative is exposed to film in-where the film is processed creating a like image, 'a negative', in a positive process, an interpositive.
Photographers that create photographic art by 'contact printing'; i.e. Platinum, AZO, need to create interpositives to create large negatives. The final art work is the size of the contact negative produced. Interpositives are also the best means of archiving or copying old image libraries. Reversal B&W processing can also be achieved by various kits and published recipes.
The interpositive is made after the answer print has been approved. All lights and opticals from the answer print are repeated when striking the interpositive, and once the IP exists, the original negative can be vaulted.
The interpositive is printed with a "wet gate", contact print that has been done in "liquid", and historically has had only one purpose, namely, to be the element that is used to make the internegative.
It is sometimes referred to as a Protection IP, which is a good term since the only time the IP is touched is on the occasion of making the first or a replacement internegative. Since interpositives are used so rarely, they are usually the film element that is in the best condition of all the film elements.
Interpositives are usually element of choice for film-to-tape transfers for several reasons:
  1. They are usually in better physical condition than the other film elements. The original camera negative is often checkerboarded on several rolls, or may be chemically unstable if stored improperly.
  2. They are very low-contrast and therefore help to preserve shadow detail.
  3. Scratches or dirt on the IP appear as black defects on the transfer, which are generally less objectionable than white defects, which would be the case if the camera negative or internegative were used.

Still, whether intentional or an unavoidable part of the process, the red/orange hue is distracting:

In particular, the reddish grading clashes horribly with Marloe Scott-Wilson's neon pink coiffure:

However, the grading issue is not a deal-breaker. The fact that the title was chosen for re-mastering and re-release at all is a testament to the cult following the film has built over the last 30+ years. These days, no media company does anything unless it promises profit. Although there's currently not a widespread fan-base presence on the web, the sales records must speak for themselves.

So, fellow fans...enjoy our beloved KKA in all its new widescreen HD glory!

Bonus Features:

Isolated music track from the original 3-track Mag sound

This proved an interesting feature I have never encountered on a DVD release before. Upon first discovering the release and reading the content description, "isolated music track" led me to believe a single musical selection from the soundtrack would be made available--possibly with an identifying title.

Actually, "isolated music track from the original 3-track Mag sound" means the entire music/sfx track played in sequence and timing of the film (I believe "3-track Mag sound" refers to a 3-track magnetic sound recording, similar technology to what eventually became known to consumers as 8-tracks).

Choosing this bonus feature means you will be watching the movie with no sound except that of the music and some sound effects.

A little disappointing to me that the music remains unidentified and so the blog is no closer to fully cataloging the stock music used in the film, but perhaps the isolated track will assist in identifying additional cues and tracks as I continue combing through the KPM music library.

Audio interview with star James Ryan

Who couldn't like James Ryan? The guy is so genuine and sincere. If you can look past the fact that the audio quality is just a half-step above two soup cans connected by a string, this little commentary by Ryan is a gem.

Hearing him talk about everything from his affection for the cast to production of the film to his own experience in acting and martial arts adds a new dimension to the Kill franchise.

Like with the isolated music track, you will be watching the film as James Ryan gives his interview (oddly, a one-sided interview as you can't hear the interviewer--presumably producer Walter Olsen--but you can hear Ryan responding directly to questions).

Just a heads up, the interview ends about the time the team arrives at the Wildwood Saloon, but the film will continue to play normally to the end if you wish to ride it out.

On camera interview with writer John Crowther

Simply stated...WTF?!

Either the camera settings were completely out of whack or the interview team decided to rely entirely on natural daylight to shoot the segment and clouds kept passing in front of the sun that afternoon.

The 24-minute interview might be a bit more enjoyable without the distraction of the image continually changing from light to dark:

Nevertheless, writer John Crowther shares some truly interesting anecdotes about the creation of the the film and reveals a curious, albeit slight, relationship between KKA and The Magnificent Seven.

Original trailer

Nothing really notable about this particular feature other than it starts right off the bat with the now famous "bullet time" sequence. Groundbreaking in its day, it was clearly a proud accomplishment for the production team.

The trailer is nice to have as part of the overall collection for posterity. And it's always enjoyable (for me, anyway) to compare the movie trailers of yesterday with how they're produced today.


Overall, this is a nice DVD for fans of KKA to have in their possession. The playback of the new format should work well with today's widescreen HD televisions. And possibly, the orange-ish nature of the InterPositive print could be corrected by adjusting your television's color settings a bit to compensate.

Compared to the first DVD release which had no bonus features, and not even a menu screen, the 30th Anniversary Special Edition is a jewel!

Could it have been better? Absolutely. Could it have not been produced at all? Absolutely.

Again, the fact that any media company decided to pick up the title and incur the production expenses of re-mastering and compiling additional content speaks to the number of us who know this film, love this film, and continually seek out more and more about this film.

If you don't already own a copy, scoop one up as soon as you can at the current price (about $15 on Amazon.com) before they become both scarce and expensive.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Back on DVD!

Amazingly, Kill And Kill Again is back in a new 30th Anniversary Special Edition release, remastered in 16x9 widescreen and with special features!

According to Amazon.com, the DVD release date was August 21, 2012 which actually makes it a little late for its 30th anniversary (having been released theatrically in 1981), but who cares?

Special features include an (audio) interview with James Ryan, an on-camera interview with John Crowther, and an "isolated music track from the original 3 track mag sound."

That last item is of particular interest to this blogger. Though a lot of the stock music used in the film has been identified from the KPM music library, there are a few tracks and bumpers still outstanding. Hopefully, this item will provide new information on the soundtrack.

A copy of the release has been ordered and should arrive within a few days. After viewing the widescreen presentation and additional features, a full review will be posted.

Available copies can be ordered here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Misprint identified!

Back in December 2009, a blog article was posted about an odd image--completely unrelated to KKA-- appearing on the back cover of the DVD case.

Today, during an episode from Season 10 of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a very familiar-looking scene presented itself:

This screenshot is taken from MST3K's screening of Final Justice, starring Joe Don Baker. The two women are actually dancers performing in a Maltese "gentlemen's club" called Smugglers' Tavern.

While this still offers no explanation for how the image was mistakenly printed on the packaging for KKA, sheer happenstance has solved a big part of this little mystery.

Special thanks to Tom, Mike, and Crow!