Plot: What’s it about?
In The Ghastly Ones, a large inheritance is on the block, but in order to collect, the beneficiaries must endure a night inside an eerie mansion. The deceased had three daughters, all of whom have gathered to stake out their claim on father’s cash. The women have brought along their husbands also, which means six people have to spend the night inside the spooky old mansion. All the sisters need to do is spend the night and then the next day, their portion of daddy’s riches will be doled out. But if for some reason they are unable to last through the night, they forfeit their share of the fortune. The sole concern is how eerie the place is, which leads some to believe that perhaps some will be too scared to stay, but soon enough, everyone will be on edge. In Seeds of Sin, we watch as a family reunites for the holidays, only to find themselves in a bloodbath. Claris Manning is the mother of some oddball offspring, to say the least. Her daughter Carol invited all of her siblings to the Christmas bash, much to the dismay of their mother. Claris drowns her worries in booze, but even drunk she knows that her kids are a bunch of bad seeds. All family gatherings usually have an argument or two, but this one soon turns violent and sadistic. As bodies start to turn up and the tension mounts, will anyone survive this holiday season?
This is a release fans of schlock will be all over, as it holds two films from the notorious low rent auteur Andy Milligan. Of course, Milligan’s films should be well known to unusual cinema buffs, with such movies under his belt as Legacy of Horror, The Body Beneath, Guru the Mad Monk, The Naked Witch, and Bloodthirsty Butchers. Often made for next to nothing, with numerous friends on both sides of the camera, Milligan’s films were a genre unto themselves, a selection of cinema no lover of the odd should miss. This is a prime choice double feature too, which features the incredible The Ghastly Ones. The price is worth just this picture, as it is soaked in blood and features some hilarious moments. The gore is over the top and never seems to end, while the performances are almost as horrific. But come on, the laughable turns make this that much more fun to watch, as does Milligan’s usual oddball direction. At one point, you can even hear his voice as he barks out commands, if that clues you into his attention to detail. The second film here is Seeds of Sin, which takes place in the same house as The Ghastly Ones. Milligan’s original cut of the movie seems to be lost, but the print used here is still a decent rendition. I cannot recommend this release enough, as fans of off the wall cinema, blood and guts gore, and good old fashioned sleaze would be well served by this double feature. And of course, let’s hope to see more of Milligan’s masterpieces on DVD as soon as possible.
Video: How does it look?
The Ghastly Ones and Seeds of Sin are both presented in full frame treatments. These movies were shot on low end stock on a low end budget, so it comes as no surprise that the elements haven’t withstood time too well. The prints have frequent nicks and marks, though I have to admit, there isn’t as much grain as I expected. Seeds of Sin has a cleaner print, but the image jumps a lot and that counteracts the cleaner materials. The Ghastly Ones has colors that look a tad faded, but on the whole, the visuals come across well enough. Seeds of Sin was shot in black & white, so contrast is crucial and the black levels are well handled here. These movies will never look that great, but at least these transfers are passable.
Audio: How does it sound?
I found no real problems with the included mono tracks and though the audio might not be memorable, these presentations get the job done in the end. No distortion or hiss is present, which is always a good sign with any older, low budget tracks like these. The music sounds good and meshes well with the films, and like I mentioned above, no distortion can be found at all. The sound effects aren’t the type that explode or overpower the speakers, but they sound clear and distinct in these mixes. The dialogue is the main element in both films and it comes through well enough, no volume or clarity issues in the least.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The main extra here is an audio commentary track by actor Hal Borske, who shares his memories of The Ghastly Ones. Borske was a friend of Milligan and often starred in his films, so he has a lot of insight on the offbeat filmmaker. Borske’s session sometimes drifts into silence or narration, but there is enough solid information to warrant a listen. You can also view a rare workprint edition of Seeds of Sin, which has a number of alternate sequences and deleted scenes, which is a treat to watch. It is a shame that Milligan’s original version seems lost, but this rare workprint offers a look at what might have been. You can also view some Andy Milligan artwork, as well as theatrical trailers for both films.