• Samuel Fuller’s sixties B-movie TKOs Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss—now in Criterion Blu-ray and DVD editions—are the perfect entry into the singular world of the wonderfully ballsy auteur, a point that Raymond Benson makes at Cinema Retro: “Anyone unfamiliar with the director’s work will do no better than to dive in to these powerful, dynamic dramas. How these films were released in a time when the Production Code was still in effect is a mystery.” Vue Weekly’s Josef Braun muses on the movies’ controversial subject matter: “These movies prowled the greasy peripheries of American life for tales of murder and prostitution, corrupt public services and pedophilia, incest and repressed rage.” And for the New York Times’s Dave Kehr, these are “two of the most thrillingly pure and profoundly eccentric films of [Fuller’s] career.”

    It’s Shock Corridor—Fuller’s excoriating tale of madness in the heart of America—that has Jamie S. Rich going nuts over at DVD Talk. He dubs it “a unique cinematic event” and goes on to say, “Fuller’s fearless examination of our neuroses and disorders delivers a powerful message about the collective illusion that still has the nation in its grip more than forty years later.” Svet Atanasov of Blu-ray.com writes, “Brilliantly conceived and executed, Shock Corridor is undoubtedly one of Samuel Fuller’s most provocative films. It reaches so far and delivers lessons that are so effective, it is hard to believe that it was filmed nearly half a century ago.” And according to Slant’s Bill Weber, “The disturbing, singular vision of Sam Fuller still generates heat . . . It’s cinema pumped purely from the auteur’s heart.”

    Braun on The Naked Kiss: “A scathing take on the ‘woman’s picture,’ like Douglas Sirk with all the nerves exposed . . . Deliciously over the top, it’s perfect in its own way.” Slant’s Eric Henderson makes the same connection, calling this “fizzy, wigged-out masterpiece” “Sirk-on-a-shoestring, and twice as cynical.” DVD Movie Central’s Michael Jacobson is also knocked flat by this tale of a call girl in suburbia, “a surreal, juicy, shocking picture that defies conventional description.  One thing’s for certain . . . you won’t forget it anytime soon.” Paper’s Dennis Dermodyblows Kiss a kiss too: “This dissection of the seamy underbelly of a small town is as devastating as it is insane . . . [It] brims with subversive power.” And DVD Beaver’s Gary Tooze rates this edition of The Naked Kiss “one of the essential purchases of the early year.”

    More from the Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips:Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss are as ripe as their titles suggest.”

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