Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New on DVD this week (07/25/06)...

Tons of TV sets out this week. I’ll take a flier and say the two most essential are the first seasons of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain. Both of those were really terrific shows, and I’ll never forget this exchange from the PatB pilot, which saw them working undercover as elves in Santa’s workshop:

Pinky: Brain, the reindeer are inviting elves to join them for a party at Donner's house.
Brain: Hmm, somehow the idea of joining
the Donner party is unappealing.

Other new TV sets include All Creatures Great & Small S6; Bill Cosby Show S1; Boondocks S1; Bridezillas S1 & S2; Invisible Man S2; JAG S1; Le Femme Nikita S4; Laguna Beach S2; Miami Vice S1 & S2; The Prisoner Complete Series (Re-release); Punky Brewster S3; Rawhide S1; Seven Swordsmen Complete; Tales From the Crypt S4; Three’s Company S7

[Scary thought: The release of the seventh season of Three’s Company indicates that thousands of people bought the first six seasons.]

On to movies. A possible Brave New World is presaged in a couple of DVDs being released this week. Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman is a DVD version of the old paperback kids books where you are invited to make decisions and events branch off depending on your choices.

More ambitious (albeit striking even further at the idea of a movie as a set piece of work) is the DVD for Final Destination 3, which includes a feature allowing you to basically drive events in the way the Choose Your Own Adventures stories do. You pick what the film’s characters do, and apparently in some cases thus decide if they live or die, or perhaps merely decide how gruesome their deaths are.

Frankly, this sort of thing is usually hashed out first in porn films. And maybe it has been. If not, a Choose Your Own Porn Adventure series seems a natural.

Other items of possible interest:

Dark Sky Films, which has quickly established itself as a name to be reckoned with in the cult movie field, releases three British horror movies today, including the gruesome ghost movie And Now the Screaming Starts, the anthology film Asylum, and the assuming werewolf/ten little Indians combo The Beast Must Die. The discs include commentaries and other sweetmeats.

Anatomy of a Psycho is an early ‘70s Brit psychokiller flick.

The Bogie & Bacall Signature Collection offers classic film buffs special editions of The Big Sleep, The Dark Passage, Key Largo and To Have and Have Not.

Covert One: The Hades Factor See if you can figure out what’s wrong with the following description: "Stephen Dorff and Mira Sorvino are part of a secret agency sent on missions for President Angelica Huston."

Dogs is a Day of the Animals knock-off with predacious pooches. David McCallum stars.

Two-disc special editions are now available for the horribly lame Halloween 4 and the downright atrocious Halloween 5. Different strokes, I guess.

Halloween: 25 Years Later is a two-disc set of documentaries and other extras on the series.

Hammer the Film Noir Collection offers six dark, black & white crime films from the period before the studio basically decided to focus on horror movies.

Komodo vs. Cobra Run, Scott Foy, run!

Scorpius Gigantus Keep running, Scott!

Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace / The Speckled Band is a cheapie DVD offering up Chris Lee’s German Holmes movie, along with a very old Holmes feature with Raymond Massey as the Great Detective.

Succubus is a Jess Franco movie. You’ve been warned.

Super Chiller Blood o Rama is a collection from Image featuring Claw of Terror (psycho killer with a hook for a hand; an idea recycled in Night Game), Black Mamba, Movie House Massacre and The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (Christopher Lee).

War Gods of Babylon/War Goddess is another Image double bill of Italian Sword & Sandal films.

The Will Rodgers Collection brings together the films of a guy who was once the country’s biggest, most beloved star.


At 10:47 AM, Blogger Big Al said...

Yes, the choose your own porn adventure thing has been done. ah.. a friend told me.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Actually, I kind of figured that was probably the case. It's really not a joke, porn usually is way ahead of the curve in home entertainment technology.

At 12:43 PM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

I wonder why A&E has to keep issuing The Prisoner two episodes to a DVD (the new box is 17 shows on 10 DVDs). I realise that since it's British they use the full hour, but they ought to be able to get three per disk. Thinpak isn't THAT thin.

At 12:51 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Because (and this is why I continue to have a grudge against A&E), they have--or at least had-- this nausiating pattern of selling shows in small sets dribbled out over a long period of time. Only later would they collect these separate chapters into one vastly cheaper single unit.

I don't know if they still get away with this--hopefully not--but I ended up way overpaying back in the day for the Prisoner, as well as numerous seasons of The Avengers and Monty Python, now all available in much cheaper megapacks.

Hence the reason they only put two episodes of the Prisoner on each disc was to multiply how many single unit they had to sell back when they were doing that. And now they're just cutting copies of their original product.

At 3:59 AM, Anonymous Tork_110 said...

My favorite Pinky and the Brain cartoon was the one where they introduced a mouse called Larry for no apparent reason. It had hair like Larry Fine and he spent the entire cartoon saying things like, "Hi" and, "I'm Larry."

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Kurt Von said...

The very first I know of the choose your own adventure is a company called AC-TV. My wife worked there for a while. They owned four channels on the Boston cablevision market, and sold a special remote control that changed between them depending on a yes/no answer at various points.

They carefully scripted four shows so that at certain points your "choice" was just to switch between channels. They had two children's shows, a variation of the old video game "Dragon's Quest" and, of course, strip poker (you even got to choose your oponent).

Of course, the company didn't do well for two reasons: 1. Four paths is still pretty small, 2. Everyone just flipped between the four channels with their normal remote until they found the one where they won (with the appropriately gendered opponent).

At 3:39 AM, Blogger Scott said...

"Komodo vs. Cobra Run, Scott Foy, run!"

Too late.

"Scorpius Gigantus Keep running, Scott!"

I actually shelled out money for a DVD since none of the local video stores are carrying it. I know it's going to be awful but the "Produced by Roger Corman" factor compels me to do so.

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