Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New on DVD (10/10/06)...

Sadly, no TV horror program offerings this week. Hey, did you ever check out that American Gothic set that came out earlier this year? That’s definitely worth a look.

In lieu of a horror show, my spotlight TV set of the week is Scrubs S4. This is a very, very good sitcom that just never caught on the way it should have, although at least it’s stayed on the air.

Animation fans, meanwhile, will want to check out the goofy nostalgia snarkfest Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law S2, as well as the rather less ironic Defenders of Earth Vol. 1, a Filmation series that brought together a number of their licensed characters, including the comic strip hero the Phantom, Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician.

Other television offerings this week include The A-Team S5; CSI S6; Everyone Hates Chris S1; Magnum PI S5; Numbers S2; Simon & Simon S1; and Three’s Company S8.

Film wise, the horror pickings are rather more profuse.

The big Kahuna this week is definitely Hollywood’s Legends of Horror Collection, a set of six essential but rarely seen horror films of the classic era. These include Doctor X (Lionel Atwill)/The Return of Dr. X on disc one, The Mark of the Vampire (Lugosi) /The Mask of Fu Manchu (Karloff) on the second, and Mad Love (Peter Lorre, and the set’s clear highlight) and The Devil Doll on the final one. Even Humphrey Bogart makes an appearance, and as a monster! All but one of the films feature commentary tracks from well-known horror buffs. To say this set is worth the $30 asking price is to damn it with faint praise. This is one of the year’s essential buys, along with Brainiac, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare and Gojira.

Meanwhile, there’s The Exorcist, the Complete Anthology, which for around $30 rounds up an impressive array of material, including, of course, a legitimate contender as the Worst Movie Ever Made, and pretty much hands down the Worst Sequel Ever Made. Includes The Exorcist (original theatrical version and the longer “Version You've Never Seen” reissue); The Exorcist 2: The Heretic and The Exorcist 3, along with the two prequel stories, by two different directors, of Dominion and The Beginning. Several commentaries and documentaries, etc., add to the value. Sadly, Exorcist II is bereft of such notice. Boooo!

Another noteworthy offering of the week is The Aztec Mummy Collection from Brentwood, featuring The Attack of the Aztec Mummy, The Curse of the Aztec Mummy and The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy. Meanwhile, The Wrestling Woman vs. the Aztec Mummy was put out by Something Weird/Image a few years ago, so you should grab that to complete your collection.

Brentwood also continues its bargain Crypt of Terror double feature line with three more offerings:

Crypt of Terror: Don’t Panic / The Demon Rat Dubbed Spanish movies featuring, respectively, a ouiji board and giant killer rats.

Crypt of Terror: Lord Shango / Embryo Voodoo movie and the ‘70s sci-fier starring Rock Hudson and Barbara Carrara.

Crypt of Terror: Prime Evil / Brain Twister Immortal devil worshippers and mind control gone awry.

The proto-slasher Black Christmas gets a Special Edition. Which is good (although it’s not a film I am especially interested in), as the previous “25th Anniversary” release offered nothing in the way of extras. This version, in contrast, lards on a documentary, trailers and two commentaries, including one by director Bob Clark, and another with stars John Saxon (cool!) and Keir Dullea. Also included is a horror TV episode starring Saxon. Hmm, I guess I’ll have to give this a look after all. Both discs offer the movie in ‘standard,’ though, so I guess that’s how it was intended.

Speaking of slashers, Don’t Answer the Phone (from Rhino, so don’t expect much in the way of extras or great presentation) gets a disc today. Being afforded a much more lavish treatment is Don’t Go Into the Woods, with a documentary and two director commentaries.

Those with a taste for the exotic, meanwhile, might want to check out Eastern Horror Four Movie Set, featuring Vampire Resurrection, Devil Shadow, Calamity Of Snakes & The Devil's Box. Pretty good for $15.

Several more DTV horror entries this week. I’ll have to put Scott Foy into my dead pool for next year, because surely this stuff must kill him sooner or later.

5ive Girls: Hot Catholic school girls fight a demon, or something. Supposedly disappointingly short on T&A (another reason the ‘70s ruled), and sure to embarrass fans of Ron Perlman, who appears here.

8th Plague: An ancient Evil is set free in an abandoned prison and threatens the world. Has gotten some good (if not great) reviews from fans who like some gore and such.

Other horror entries include Skeeter (embiggened mosquitos), Superstition (1982; evil witch) and Horror Rises from the Tomb. Meanwhile, the really not bad Charles Band Subspecies films are collected in Subspecies: The Epic Collection. Then there’s Tiki: “A Hawaiian girl gets revenge on evil schoolmates with the help of a killer tiki.” Take that, Bradys! Meanwhile, check out Witchery: “David Hasselhoff, Catherine Hickland and Linda Blair investigate an evil witch in a haunted hotel.

Non-horror offerings this week include:

Bikini Girls from the Lost Planet. Directed by Fred Olen Ray, ‘nuff said.

Cinderella 2000 is a futuristic sexploitation flick made by Al Adamson back in 1977. Is it sexy? Again, it was made by Al Adamson.

The Bing Crosby / Fred Astaire Christmas classic Holiday Inn (in which Astaire amusingly plays a cad) gets a well-deserved special edition. This is the movie that introduced the song White Christmas, and is in my opinion a much superior film to the movie that bears that song’s name. Two documentaries and a commentary are included in what looks to be a pretty good package.

Too Cool for School: The John Hughes Collection bunches together Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Some Kind Of Wonderful. (Where the hell is The Breakfast Club?!)

The five films in the Trancers series starring Tim Thomerson and (for a while) Helen Hunt are collected in the Trancers Box Set.

Meanwhile, long after the Pirates of the Caribbean films have seen the release of every lame little pirate movie from the days of yore, the genre’s one authentic classic, the Wallace Beery version of Treasure Island, is finally hitting DVD. About frickin’ time.


At 1:16 PM, Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Scrubs is indeed great, and I'll be Netflixing that season to watch them again and in order, but I'd have to give my TV pick of the week, by a nose, to Everyone Hates Chris .. It's one of the few remaining sitcoms that's truly laugh out loud funny

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

I actually haven't seen that show yet, but I've heard it's good. Thanks, I'll add that to my own Netflix list.

At 6:06 PM, Anonymous TV's Grady said...

I second the "Everybody Hates Chris" recommendation.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

The DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE disc that came out today is actually from Brentwood, which, believe it or not, is making an attempt to produce DVDs of a higher quality than those ubiquitous 20-pack bootlegs you see everywhere. The original DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE was a Rhino release, but it was a cut TV print. This new disc is the complete sleazy uncut version that was previously only available on VHS. I haven't been able to check out the quality yet, but the DVD does have several extras, including a commentary track by the director, an on-camera interview with star Nicholas Worth, a photo gallery and trailers.

It's hard to recommend DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE, because it's a fairly unpleasant and misogynist slasher movie, but I find it somewhat entertaining, certainly filled with nudity and violence, and blessed with a gonzo lead performance by Worth as one of cinema's most memorable psychopaths.

I hadn't heard anything about that TRANCERS set. The original TRANCERS DVD was merely a port of the laserdisc and didn't look very good. I believe TRANCERS 2--5 are making their DVD debuts. TRANCERS 6 was released directly to DVD a couple of years ago and is an abomination, stay far FAR away from it.

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exorcist 2 hands down the worst sequel ever? What, no love for Jaws: The Revenge?!!!

I leave room for the Harrad Summer of course, but my copy is a UK DVD which I have no way of viewing, so I can't really say. But come on, Jaws: The Revenge for the win, am I right?!

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Naw, JtR had the advantage of climbing down the descending quality ladder of its two older brethren. EII:TH blindly leapt down into the darkness purely on its own. Also, JtR, for all its hilarity, has nothing to equal one of Dick Burton's insanely gonzo bad acting performances.

Plus, EII has a Nut o' Fun.


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