Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Lemora - A Child's Tale Of The Supernatural|
Actors: Maxine Ballantyne, Buck Buchanan, Jack Fisher, Lesley Gilb, Charla Hall
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
A notorious bank robber kills his wife and flees the police, only to be captured by a mysterious group of figures in an abandoned town. His beautiful daughter, Lila Lee (played by the late Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith), receiv... more »
OFFBEAT HORROR TALE....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 09/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I never saw this film until the DVD came out. What a surprise. If this ever made the drive-in rounds it was sadly overlooked. "Lemora" is a very unusual and intriguing story of a young girl Lila Lee (Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith), the innocent daughter of a notorious gangster, being lured to an isolated mansion by a mysterious woman, Lemora (Lesley Gilb), with supernatural powers. Her journey there is beset by monsters and weird happenings. Once there, she slowly discovers what her destiny is. Gothic atmosphere and vampirism is vividly depicted and the woods surrounding the estate are overrun with mutants and other victims of a strange curse or "disease" caused by Asteroth...the Lovecraftian name of the area. The film is low budget but this is deftly handled with beautiful photography and striking use of color. "Lemora" is quite unlike any horror film of the period (70's) and being set in the 30's, you wouldn't know it was from that era thanks to the wonderful sets and costumes. The film is dedicated to the late Smith (who apparently died in 2002) and she is quite beautiful and amazingly innocent looking...perfect for the role. There are good extras featured---including interviews with Gilb and others involved in the film. All in all, "Lemora" is highly recommended for collectors of strange horror films and others who like an interestingly spooky tale. Synapse has done a great job and are commended for bringing this truly offbeat film it's due."
A Haunting Vampiric Fable
Edward D. Terhune | Basking Ridge, NJ United States | 09/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In past reviews, I've mentioned my nostalgic reverence for the drive-in horror movies of generations past that had low budgets but plenty of imagination and ingenuity. Such a movie was, and still is, "Lemora." In my mind, it is probably the quintessential drive-in horror movie, the epitome of what could be achieved when talented, inspired people got together and created cinematic alchemy. Sort of a nightmarish blending of LeFanu and Stoker and Lovecraft with "Alice In Wonderland," I might have missed this movie totally, as it was sort of an innocuous blip on the late-night TV radar many years ago. Luckily, I did chance upon it, and it's haunted me ever since, even though the version I saw was heavily edited and loaded with commercials. Cheryl Smith was one of the great screen beauties of the 70's and my sincere hope is that with the release of this DVD, there will be a revival of interest in her career and she can achieve the illustrious status of such horror icons as Barbara Steele (with whom she co-starred in "Caged Heat") and Allison Hayes. There was an enigmatic and sad magic to her performances that Quentin Tarantino compared to that of Marilyn Monroe. Equally impressive is the performance of Lesley Gilb as "Lemora." She is alternately seductive and terrifying; playfully spiteful and maliciously brutal. It is a testament to the power and efficacy of her performance that she was able to accomplish this difficult feat despite the encumbrance of heavy wig, make-up and clothing. Like all great artistic works, the steadily increasing eerieness and occasionally non-linear quality of the storyline begins to function as a sort of funhouse mirror in which whatever pre-conceptions the viewer brings with him to the viewing experience are reflected back in subjectively distorted imagery. As Mr. Blackburn explains in the DVD commentary, there are those who see this as a Catholic film masquerading as a Protestant film, and those who see it as a Protestant film in the guise of a Catholic film. Then there are those agnostics like myself who will ignore the religious symbolism and experience it viscerally as the spooky, dark Fairytale for adults which it bills itself as. As previous reviewers have commented, the picture quality is superb and for the true fans of this cinematic gem, the commentary by Mr. Blackburn, Ms. Gilb, and Mr. Fern is priceless. Suffice it to say, this is one of my favorite vampire/horror movies of all time and the passage of 30 plus years has not lessened its effectiveness and emotional impact. This is one of those rare movies that will continue to haunt you long after you have seen it."
Lemora - resurrected at last!
Bob Paluch | Chicago, IL United States | 09/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lemora has always been my favorite movie of all time, bar none. So I wanted, no
I NEEDED this DVD to be done perfectly! Don May Jr., President of Synapse Films,
assured me that it was indeed top quality. And yet, I had a twinge of fear when
first putting the DVD into the player. For over a year, I had followed the
development of this release, and my expectations (based on discussions with Don)
were very high indeed. And we all know what happens when your expectations are
set too high. In this case, they weren't set high enough! I was prepared for
this release to be excellent, but I never could have dreamed how great the
experience would actually turn out to be!
First, let me review the video quality. What Synapse did with the video transfer
of Lemora can only be described as miraculous. I don't feel this is an
exaggeration. They literally resurrected this film. Up until this DVD release, a
great many background details were obscured by darkness and murkiness to the
point where entire scenes were incomprehensible. The best VHS release still
looked like a murky 4th generation dub taped off a tv with bad reception. I
can't in all honesty even say that the DVD blows away all other versions,
because that would imply that there is a comparison to be made between them. The
Synapse DVD is so far above the rest that comparing it to others would be an
Scenes that were once literally blacked out and unviewable are now absolutely
clean and totally visible. Background details that were once lost in the
darkness are now crystal clear, sharply defined, and beautifully saturated in
deep, vibrant color. I can't name another film that's had a transfer done this
spectacularly. Lemora is pretty much reference quality, and then some.
The audio is in its original 2.0 mono, but even that has been cleaned up and is
utterly free of hiss or noise even at higher levels. I heard sounds that were
once muffled beyond recognition and are now crystal clear.
The animated main menu is the best I've ever seen, and all the various menus
look fantastic. The full length commentary track with Leslie Gilb (who played
Lemora), director Richard Blackburn, and producer Robert Fern is fun and
informative, with virtually no dead space at all. I consider commentaries to be
the most important extra a DVD can have, and this one was very well done and
worth listening to more than once.
The still gallery has some fantastic, rare continuity photos. These are to be
treasured, since obscure films such as this often have little to no extra
The original shooting script is a valuable extra, and it shows how different the
final release was from the original script. The original script ends quite
differently and leaves no room for interpretation, whereas the movie release
leaves room for several interpretations of the film (did it actually happen, or
was it a fantasy/daydream?).
The movie itself is incredible, and my favorite of all time. Despite its low
budget, it pulls off what most modern movies fail utterly to do...it draws you
into the film. Its creepy, atmospheric quality has the effect of making you feel
as if you're viewing a child's nightmare, with all its surreal horror and fear.
Southern fried spook story
Matthew King | Toronto, Canada | 11/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Lemora" is a 1973 cult film that had its share of rabid fans but was practically impossible to find on VHS. Thanks to Synapse films, we can now enjoy on DVD this lost film that at the time caused quite a stir, due to hints of pedophilia, lesbianism and witchcraft.
"Lemora" takes place during the depression-era 1920's in the deep south. Lila Lee, a 13 year old girl, is revered around town as a singing angel, an object of virginal purity who is an upstanding member of the church singing choir. Her father, a ruthless gangster who abandoned Lila and suddenly disappears from town, sends Lila a letter informing her he has been seriously injured and needs her help. Lila thus packs her bags and heads deep into the swamps and bayous in search for her dad and ends up at a witch's coven. The coven is headed by "Lemora", a vampire priestess who has kidnapped several children and wishes to make little Lila a piece in her collection...
The storyline is nothing spectacular rather it's the atmosphere created by director Richard Blackburn that makes this film a winner. The pitch-black sets and the several scenes of little girl lost Lila running and hiding in the woods surrounding the witch coven lend the film a very surreal feel. Cheryl Smith is perfect in the role of Lila, with her innocent and naïve face, blond curls and white dress. Her performance reminded me of Jennifer Connelly's in Phenomena; she's not called to say much but that actually helps to lend the film its dream-like feel.
It's easy to see how the film was seen as perverse especiallly for its time. While on her journey to the witch's coven, everyone little Lila comes across be it the priest or the ticket agent or the bus driver salivates over the possibilities of having intercourse with her and this is a girl that looks no older than 13. And then there are the scenes of lesbianism with middle-aged Lemora who salivates over young children.
Make no mistake about it however, Lemora is very low budget replete with buildings that appear like cardboard cutouts and car scenes that you know were not filmed in cars. No doubt at its time of filming it was meant to be little more than drive-in fodder. Also while I loved Cheryl Smith's performance as little Lila the actress who plays Lemora was absolutely atrocious. It was funny witnessing a middle-aged woman getting upstaged in every scene by a little girl.
Still, anyone who likes thick atmosphere and sleazy 70's euro-horror (although this particular one is American) will probably like "Lemora". I know I sure did. How can you not like a film that mixes influences of Lovecraft, George Romero, Brothers Grimm and the sleazy vampires of Jean Rollin?