Both of the Big Bad Mama films have been on DVD before, with each release hav­ing its ups and downs.  The first film has been pre­vi­ous­ly released twice, on New Concorde and Buena Vista, and the lat­ter release had a com­men­tary track with Roger Corman and Angie Dickinson as well as a ret­ro­spec­tive fea­turet­te.  Big Bad Mama II was released on disc by New Concorde back in the day and fea­tured a Jim Wynorski com­men­tary.  Unfortunately, all of the­se releas­es used old, VHS-era full frame trans­fers that didn’t do jus­tice to the visu­als of either film.

Thankfully, fans have final­ly got­ten a square deal via a new dou­ble-fea­ture release from Shout! Factory.  Not only do fans get both films on one disc, they are also treat­ed to new trans­fers and a slew of extras that col­lect all the old bonus fea­tures while throw­ing in a few new ones.  The end result deliv­ers as much val­ue as the MGM “Midnite Movies” two-fers from the first half of the 2000’s.

The new trans­fers are sub­stan­tial upgrades on past ver­sions, offer­ing anamor­phic widescreen trans­fers that offer plen­ty of clar­i­ty and vivid hues.  They look like they might have come from print sources rather than neg­a­tives so the results aren’t pristine but they are still a dra­mat­ic improve­ment upon past ver­sions.  Of the two films, Big Bad Mama looks a lit­tle bet­ter.  Both films retain their orig­i­nal sound­track mix­es and each sounds nice and crisp.

The disc also offers a “Grindhouse Experience” choice which allows the view­er to watch both film back to back with two trail­ers before each film, vin­tage title cards and a clas­sic “go to the snack bar” ad between the movies.  It’s a nice retro touch and the fact that the trail­ers offer pre­views for Shout! Factory releas­es past and future makes it all the sweet­er.

The disc also boasts an impres­sive amount of extras for a two-fer release.  With Big Bad Mama, you get the orig­i­nal Corman/Dickinson com­men­tary plus a new­ly-record­ed track fea­tured direc­tor Steve Carver and cin­e­matog­ra­pher Bruce Logan.  The Corman/Dickinson track is a relaxed affair where the two ban­ter about the onscreen goings-on while offer­ing up the occa­sion­al bit of triv­ia.  The result isn’t super-infor­ma­tive but it’s fun to lis­ten two because the two have a nice rap­port (they’re par­tic­u­lar­ly fun­ny when they dis­cuss Dickinson’s nude sce­nes).

The Carver/Logan com­men­tary is mod­er­at­ed by Walter Olson and is the more infor­ma­tion-inten­sive of the two tracks.  Carver has a pret­ty sharp mem­o­ry regard­ing his deal­ings with Corman (the two scout­ed loca­tions for the film togeth­er) and doles out all man­ner of inter­est­ing fac­toids, like how they shot 61 loca­tions in 21 days and a dis­cus­sion of the ten­sions between Tom Skerritt and William Shatner.  Logan backs up his mem­o­ries nice­ly and also offers many inter­est­ing anec­dotes about how he achieved the look of var­i­ous sce­nes in the film.  Olson is not as obtru­sive as he was on the com­men­tary track for The Evil but tends to ask ques­tions that don’t real­ly stim­u­late the dis­cus­sion in a mean­ing­ful way.  Still, there is plen­ty of good info for fans to glean from this track.

The “Mama Knows Best” fea­turet­te from the Buena Vista release of Big Bad Mama is also includ­ed here and offers a fast-paced recount­ing (about 15 min­utes) of the pro­duc­tion which includes input from Corman, Dickinson and Carver as well as William Shatner and writ­ers William Norton and Frances Doel.  It’s fast, fun­ny and offers up plen­ty of fun sto­ries on the shoot, par­tic­u­lar­ly when they dis­cuss the chal­lenges of shoot­ing the nude sce­nes.  Also retained from the New Concorde Big Bad Mama disc is a short Corman inter­view con­duct­ed by Leonard Maltin — it’s very brief but a fun lis­ten.

As for Big Bad Mama II, the Wynorski com­men­tary is car­ried over from its orig­i­nal DVD.  It’s not that heavy on con­tent or sto­ries but Wynorski is an amus­ing host and his stream of con­scious­ness thoughts are fun enough for a b-movie fan to lis­ten to at least once.  There are a few inter­est­ing bits for the patient lis­ten­er here, like how an ear­ly scene was shot on a left­over set from Extreme Prejudice and Wynorski point­ing out the par­tic­u­lar sequences that Linda Shayne helmed as his sec­ond-unit direc­tor.  There’s also a new video inter­view with Bruce Glover: he’s always a good inter­view sub­ject and he dis­cuss­es the film as well as the begin­nings of his career and his thoughts on act­ing as a pro­fes­sion.  The pack­age is round­ed out by trail­ers and still gal­leries for each film.

In short, this is anoth­er Corman-cen­tric win­ner from Shout! Factory.  Their dou­ble-fea­ture pro­gram has quick­ly devel­oped into one of the best cur­rent val­ues for exploita­tion film buffs and this Big Bad Mama dou­ble fea­ture is a great exam­ple of why this is so.

Big Bad Mama / Big Bad Mama II [Double Feature]

Big Bad Mama / Big Bad Mama II [Double Feature]

Two action packed, gun tot­in’ films for one price!Big Bad Mama: Sexy, Depression-era Mama (Angie Dickinson) and her daugh­ters get forced by cir­cum­stances into boot­leg­ging and bank rob­bing, and trav­el across the coun­try trailed by the law.Director: Steve CarverStars: Angie Dickinson, William Shatner, Tom SkerrittBig Bad Mama II: Mama and her daugh­ters return for a crime spree through the South as they seek to avenge the death of her husband.Director: Jim WynorskiStars: Angie Dickinson, Robert Culp