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Halloween Gift Guide: Books, DVDs & Blu-rays, and More!

It’s that time of the year again, when Pumpkin Spice finds itself in everything from lattes to Pop Tarts to Oreos. But fortunately, there’s something better on the horizon.

Halloween.

A favorite holiday that resonates with both children and adults that maintain their love of ghosts, goblins, spectres and monsters.

So, to take full advantage of all things spooky, here are some selected items worth giving to other Halloween fans, or even better adding to your own collection.

 

BOOKS

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery.

Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price.

As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved.

Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

 

Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito

Junji Ito meets Mary Shelley!

The master of horror manga bends all his skill into bringing the anguished and solitary monster—and the fouler beast who created him—to life with the brilliantly detailed chiaroscuro he is known for.

Also included are six tales of Oshikiri—a high school student who lives in a decaying mansion connected to a haunted parallel world.

Uncanny doppelgangers, unfortunately murdered friends, and a whole lot more are in store for him. Bonus: The Ito family dog! Thrill to the adventures of Non-non Ito, an adorable Maltese!

“Junji Ito’s bold graphics blend with prose from Shelley’s original novel to present the Frankenstein story in a way that has never been done before,” says Masumi Washington, Sr. Director, Publishing Production. “Junji Ito also displays his humorous and whimsical side with the inclusion of a variety of bonus stories. We look forward to fans discovering the latest from the master of horror, just in time for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein!

 

Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s by Michael Gingold

Growing up in the 1980s, Michael Gingold became obsessed with horror movies, and his love of the genre led him to become a Fangoria writer and editor for nearly 30 years, as well as a Rue Morgue contributor. But before all that, he took his scissors to local newspapers, collecting countless ads for horror movies, big and small.

Ad Nauseam: Newsprint Nightmares from the 1980s is a year-by-year deep dive into the Gingold archive, with more than 450 ads! Within these pages you’ll see rare alternate art for GremlinsChild’s PlayThe Blob remake, and the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. You’ll also revel in oddities including Psycho from TexasDracula Blows His CoolBlood HookZombie Island Massacre, and many more.

Gingold provides personal recollections and commentary, and unearths vintage reviews to reveal what critics of the time were saying about these films. He also interviews the men behind legendary exploitation distributor Aquarius Releasing to learn how they built buzz for shockers like Make Them Die Slowly and Doctor Butcher M.D

One of my favorite books in recent memory, Ad Nauseam brings back my adolescence in full force collecting off-forgotten newspaper ads that I used to pore over.

 

Monsters of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to The X-Files
by Zack Handlen and Todd VanDerWerff

In 1993, Fox debuted a strange new television show called The X-Files. Little did anyone suspect that the series would become one of the network’s biggest hits—and change the landscape of television in the process.

Now, on the occasion of the show’s 25th anniversary, TV critics Zack Handlen and Todd VanDerWerff unpack exactly what made this haunting show so groundbreaking. Witty and insightful reviews of every episode of the series, revised and updated from the authors’ popular A.V. Club recaps, leave no mystery unsolved and no monster unexplained. This crucial collection even includes exclusive interviews with some of the stars and screenwriters, as well as an original foreword by X-Files creator and showrunner Chris Carter.

This complete critical companion is the book about The X-Files, the definitive guide whether you’re a lifelong viewer wanting to relive memories of watching the show when it first aired or a new fan uncovering the conspiracy for the first time.

 

 

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix, horror writer and author of Paperbacks from Hell and My Best Friend’s Exorcism, is back with his most electrifying novel yet.

In the 1990s, heavy metal band Dürt Würk was poised for breakout success—but then lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career and rocketed to stardom as Koffin, leaving his fellow bandmates to rot in obscurity.

Two decades later, former guitarist Kris Pulaski works as the night manager of a Best Western—she’s tired, broke, and unhappy. Everything changes when a shocking act of violence turns her life upside down, and she begins to suspect that Terry  sabotaged more than just the band.

Kris hits the road, hoping to reunite with the rest of her bandmates and confront the man who ruined her life. It’s a journey that will take her from the Pennsylvania rust belt to a celebrity rehab center to a music festival from hell.

A furious power ballad about never giving up, even in the face of overwhelming odds, We Sold Our Souls is an epic journey into the heart of a conspiracy-crazed, pill-popping, paranoid country that seems to have lost its very soul…where only a lone girl with a guitar can save us all.

 

Vault of Frankenstein: 200 Years of the World’s Most Famous Monster by Paul Ruditis 

Beginning with the story of how Mary Shelley first conceived of the novel (on a stormy night on the shores of Lake Geneva), The Vault of Frankenstein traces the Creature’s evolution from nameless literary character to international superstar, appearing in films, TV shows, comic books, and commercial merchandise.

Frankenstein’s monster has been a hero and a villain, in both comedies and dramas. He has tap danced with Gene Wilder, held a daisy by a stream, and even appeared on cereal boxes.

With special attention placed on the 1931 film that lifted Frankenstein’s monster to a new level of stardom, this book explores the many facets of this enduring—and often tragically misunderstood—character.

Fantastic replica memorabilia—enclosed in an elegantly designed envelope inside the back cover—bring the history to even more vivid life as you hold it in your hands:

  • The Bride of Frankenstein movie poster
  • Pages from Mary Shelley’s original manuscript of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
  • Photo of Boris Karloff on the set of Universal’s Frankenstein
  • Playbill for Presumption; or The Fate of Frankenstein, the first stage adaptation of Frankenstein
  • Frankenstein movie poster

Relive the Creature’s greatest pop culture moments in this new retrospective that commemorates the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece.

 

Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles An Alphabettery by Becket

An annotated cosmology of Anne Rice’s Vampiredom from A(kasha) to Z(enobia)–all fifteen books of the Vampire Chronicles detailed by a longtime Anne Rice reader and scholar; the who, what, where, why, (and often) how of her beloved characters, mortal and ‘im’, brought together in a book for the first time. Illustrated by Mark Edward Geyer.

An Alphabettery of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles gathers together, from all fifteen of the books in the series, the facts, details, story lines, genealogies of her characters, vampiric subjects, geographical influences, and cultural and individual histories, all of which Rice painstakingly researched and invented during her 40-year career–to date–through which she has enchanted and transported us.

Here are concise, detailed biographies of every character, no matter how central or minor to the cosmology.

Revealed are the intricacies and interconnectedness of characters and subjects throughout. We see how Akasha (Queen of Egypt and the first vampire) is connected to Mekare (the inheritor of the title of the Queen of the Damned), etc., and how these characters connect back to the darkest rebel outlaw of them all, Lestat de Lioncourt.

And we see, as well, the ways in which Rice’s vampires have evolved from warring civilizations to isolated covens to a unified race of blood drinkers led by their hero-wanderer and sole monarch, Prince Lestat.

For devoted and first-time Anne Rice readers alike, An Alphabettery of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles will be the holy grail of lore and revelation for those who have been, and continue to be, mesmerized by the worlds within worlds of these beloved tales of the undead.

 

The Creature Chronicles: Exploring the Black Lagoon Trilogy
by Tom Weaver with David Schecter and Steve Kronenberg 

He was the final addition to Universal’s “royal family” of movie monsters: the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

With his scaly armor, razor claws and a face only a mother octopus could love, this Amazon denizen was perhaps the most fearsome beast in the history of Hollywood’s Studio of Horrors. But he also possessed a sympathetic quality which elevated him fathoms above the many aquatic monsters who swam in his wake.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Gill Man and his mid-1950s film career (Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, The Creature Walks Among Us) is collected in this book, packed to the gills with hour-by-hour production histories, cast bios, analyses, explorations of the music, script-to-screen comparisons, in-depth interviews and an ocean of fin-tastic photos.

 

Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel: Updated and Expanded Edition by Louis R. Pisano and Michael A. Smith

In all the vast and unknown depths of Hollywood – how could there be only one?

Just when filmmakers thought it was safe to make a sequel, director John D. Hancock ran into huge difficulties making Jaws 2 (1978), a thriller film and the first sequel to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975).

Until now, the full story of the sea of troubles during the making of the film has never been told.

Authors Louis R. Pisano and Michael A. Smith fished from the original cast and crew the full no-holds-barred story from their behind the scenes experiences, a tale as action packed and occasionally as bloody as the film.

Based on Peter Benchley’s original Jaws novel, Jaws 2 starred Roy Scheider as a police chief dealing with another great white shark terrorizing the waters of a resort.

The original director, John D. Hancock, proved unable to handle the action film and was replaced by Jeannot Szwarc. Actor Roy Scheider, who only made the film to end a contractual issue with Universal, was also unhappy during production and had several heated exchanges with Szwarc.

Follow the entire fascinating production of the unforgettable film from concept to the impact the film made on Hollywood after Jaws 2 achieved a spot on Variety‘s list of Top 10 box office hits.

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of one of the most popular and influential movie sequels, the updated and expanded edition of Jaws 2: The Making of the Hollywood Sequel contains more facts, more interviews, footnotes and almost 400 photos, many never seen before, shared by the cast, crew and fans. Just when you thought it was safe to turn the page again…the story continues!

 

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s—and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life.

Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here…

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents’ Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone.

When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen—a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives.

Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen—and that the nightmare they’ve thought long ended is only beginning.

 

Nope, Nothing Wrong Here: The Making of Cujo
Written and Edited by Lee Gambin

“It’s Not A Monster…It’s Just A Doggy…”

Based on the bestselling novel by prolific author Stephen King, Lewis Teague’s masterfully conceived, created and performed film adaptation of Cujo hit theatres in 1983 – a year that became a benchmark for King adaptations with both The Dead Zone and Christine also terrifying audiences around the same time. Cujo would impress critics and fans alike, and would be regarded as one of the most successful of King’s stories brought to the screen during the eighties.

The film would also showcase a phenomenal performance from star Dee Wallace, who throws herself into the rich and complicated part of alienated adulteress Donna Trenton, making it a true tour de force role for a woman.

Along with Wallace’s poignant and dedicated control of the protagonist, this horror classic would feature some of the most thrilling and exhilarating animal action ever put to screen.

Led by dog trainer Karl Lewis Miller, the multiple St. Bernards used to portray the titular rabid canine would terrify hardened horror devotees with brilliantly orchestrated attack sequences during the film’s climactic siege sequence that would see Dee Wallace trapped inside a dead Ford Pinto with child actor Danny Pintauro along for the harrowing ride.

With it’s sophistication and deep subversive intelligence, Cujo is a biting critique on the breakdown of the American family, an electric take on the “woman in the storm” story trope, a personal and introspective ecologically themed horror film (a subgenre usually socially and politically motivated) and a perfectly realised example of the power of circumstance. It also thoroughly scrutinizes fear – both real and imagined – in a sharp and magnetic manner. Lee Gambin’s book analyses the entire film scene by scene – and along with the academic input there is exhaustive coverage of the production.

This is the ultimate in “making of” books, where no stone has been left unturned. From the film’s problematic early days with originally assigned director Peter Medak being fired, to detailed insight into screenwriter Barbara Turner’s take on the source material, to Lewis Teague being brought in to take over as director along with cinematographer Jan de Bont and beyond, this definitive tome features over thirty candid interviews with cast and crew such as stars Dee Wallace, Daniel Hugh Kelly and Danny Pintauro, director Lewis Teague, composer Charles Bernstein, as well as stunt man Gary Morgan who played Cujo in many scenes (care of a St Bernard costume). There are many more additional voices who were on set represented in the book such as Danny Pintauro’s parents as well as some highly deserving and loving insight about the late great animal trainer Karl Lewis Miller, from his daughter Teresa Ann Miller.

With over 200 pictures (most of which have never been seen), this is the perfect tribute to a modern classic – a pure celebration of eighties horror, Stephen King, dogs in film, powerhouse performances from women and much more. The bottom line here is this…everything you have ever wanted to know about Cujo is in this book!

 

Ghoulish: The Art of Gary Pullin by April Snellings and Gary Pullin

For more than ten years artist “Ghoulish” Gary Pullin has been taking art galleries, movie theater walls, and social media by storm with his fresh, inventive takes on film, music, and television properties. Equal parts nightmare and nostalgia, his instantly recognizable style always strikes a chord with fans, and his coveted and acclaimed pieces sell out in lightning speed.

A go-to artist for official film artwork, concert merchandise, LP packaging, and endless other pieces of pop culture ephemera, Pullin has put pencil to paper for film posters such as Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Big Lebowski, Vertigo, and The Babadook, soundtracks including Creepshow, Scream, Christine, and Tales from the Crypt, and concert merch for the likes of Jack White, Alice Cooper, and Misfits.

Featuring hundreds of full-color illustrations, lavish cover galleries, and never-before-seen concept and process shots, Ghoulish: The Art of Gary Pullin is both a celebration of one artist’s remarkable career and an indispensable snapshot of the thriving world of genre art.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book, is watching the evolution of Pullin’s talent and skill.  Coinciding with a sharp imagination and love of the material, Ghoulish: The Art of Gary Pullin is a must have for any cinegeek who classic genre films and new takes on the movie posters.

Go behind the scenes with Gary, let your jaw drop at his brilliant, long out of print artwork, and get ghoulishly inspired by an unforgettable pop artist.

 

DVDS & BLU-RAYS

 

Halloween 4K

First, Halloween is brilliant in itself, even when detached from history. It demonstrates that visceral terror can be generated – even brought to a peak – without gore. The film is a masterpiece of subtlety, atmosphere, delay, and timing. Unlike almost all other slashers, it never feels cheap and pandering.

Carpenter’s tight control links every scene to the ones before and after. The pacing is steady and deliberate.

It is as if Carpenter stalks the viewer via finesse as Michael Myers stalks his victims with knives. You never relax because you always know that there is “something strange here” (as Carpenter himself said in an interview).

Famously, Carpenter composed his own soundtrack to the film. Was ever a more unnerving – and yet enticing – soundtrack composed for any horror film before or since? And while the acting is not the main point, Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence each give signature performances.

Second, Halloween is technically not the first slasher film (Texas Chainsaw usually gets that honor), but it is considered the most archetypal. Slasher films usually include the following elements: (1) The killer is a human being rather than a demon or mutant alien, yet this killer is vaguely abstract, usually masked, and apparently unstoppable. (2) The killer’s weapons are mundane: knives, tools, ropes, clubs. (3) The killer’s motive is associated with revenge or with childhood trauma. (4) The victims are teenagers, usually rowdy and unscrupulous ones. (5) A resourceful “Final Girl” – usually the least rowdy of the teen girls – finds a way to beat or escape the killer at the conclusion. (6) The film ends with a hint that the killer may one day return.

Slasher films also follow patterns that have been satirized in Wes Craven’s 1990s Scream series: the Final Girl comes from a dysfunctional family, the police are incompetent, victims are killed when they wander off alone, victims are killed after telling others that they will “be right back,” and so on. Halloween establishes these patterns with consummate skill.

Third, Halloween took “killer’s eye” views further than ever before. Such shots go back many decades (e.g. Cult of the Cobra), but no one had used “mask view” and no one had tracked the killer from outside a house to inside, upstairs, and downstairs, as Carpenter does here (although Blood and Lace and Black Christmas come close). It is partially through putting us in the killer=s place that Carpenter forces us to project our own fears into the blank unreasoning evil “force” that is Michael Myers.

Carpenter is probably the most beloved horror and science fiction film director of the 70s and 80s. His films are known for tight directorial control, including bare-bones scripting and shadowed cinematography that zeros in on the frights.

Featuring a gorgeous transfer, the Halloween 4K also includes a Blu-ray and a number of supplementary features including audio commentary, featurettes, set location visit, TV version footage, trailer and tv & radio spots.  ( – David E. Goldweber)

 

Hereditary

With Annihilation, A Quiet Place, and The Ritual this has been a banner year for horror movies.

The debut film from writer-director Ari Aster is arguably the best of the bunch. It’s gloriously, insanely fucked up.

And I mean that in the best way possible.

It terrorized an unsuspecting audience when the trailer was accidentally paired with the family-friendly Peter Rabbit.

Those kids will probably be in therapy for life, just from the disturbing images in the trailer.

Even when you’re expecting an intense R-rated horror film, this is one film that won’t leave you soon.

If ever.

Hereditary takes its time getting where it’s going, but maintains an almost unbearable level of dread throughout. From the first moment, the unsettling musical score by Colin Stetson puts you on notice that something profoundly terrible is going to happen, it’s just a question of when.

Just when you’re sure that it’s going to be Rosemary’s Baby or The Wicker Man or maybe even It Follows, the movie takes a sudden, sharp turn.

The film begins with the funeral of Ellen Leigh, the estranged mother of artist Annie Leigh (Toni Collette). Annie delivers a terse eulogy in which she mentions how “secretive and private” her mother was. She acknowledges that her mother was “a very difficult woman, which maybe explains me.”

Although losing their matriarch is hard, you slowly realize there isn’t a “before and after” for this family, and that nothing was ever really okay, especially for Annie.

She’s an artist who crafts miniature tableaux, often drawn from her own life. It’s hard to tell the difference between the enormous craftsman house they live in and Annie’s note-perfect miniatures and we are often tricked into thinking one is the other.

Annie’s daughter Charlie (newcomer Milly Shapiro) seems to miss Grandma the most as she was Grandma’s favorite. This strange, gloomy 13-year-old likes to draw and to build dolls out of odds and ends rather than hang out with kids her own age. And then there’s older brother Peter (Alex Wolff), who just wants to get high and not have to drag his sister along to parties. Husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) is just trying to hold the family together as things begin to spiral out of control.

We get glimpses of what Ellen’s “secretive and private” life might have included, but “Mom’s Things” are shoved away in a box, not to be opened until near the end of the film.

The film’s leisurely pace actually helps tighten the screws on the audience. If it rushed to its reveals, we’d be less on edge. If it hit all the usual horror notes, and played them in the same key as every other horror film about a Creepy Dead Grandmother, we’d relax in knowing when and where to jump. Instead, the pacing is as offbeat as the score, until we’re not sure what to expect.

The jump scares are few here, just as in Robert Eggers’ The Witch, another horror debut that reveled in being strange and off-putting. But when both films commit, by God, they commit.  Blu-ray extras include DVD and digital code, featurette, deleted scenes and gallery. ( – Sharon Knolle)

 

Looker (Warner Archive Blu-ray)

Writer/Director Michael Crichton deserves praise for realizing not only that plastic surgery, computers, and advertising would assume great power in the near future – but that all three would be used together, augmenting each other’s influence in American society.

As Crichton explains in his brief 2006 introduction to the film, he foresaw that a “culture of perfection” (image consciousness, dieting, working out, plastic surgery) was intersecting with “computer culture” and that advertising would take advantage of both. The film traces these intersections and implies, correctly if unsurprisingly, that we ought to beware of them.

Albert Finney (Wolfen) plays our hero, a celebrated plastic surgeon reluctant to perform useless operations and hoping instead to found a ward for burn victims. When the doctor’s patients die one by one, he finds himself drawn into a political conspiracy whose masterminds employ digital hypnotism and a strange “flash gun” that zaps people senseless.

The digital transference scene is gorgeous, and the two flash gun battles very exciting. The rest of the film, alas, lacks cohesion.

Crichton’s correct predictions come to us alongside incorrect ones. He did not foresee that media would fragment – that we would have hundreds of channels, and that Americans would actually watch less TV as they played more video games and surfed the internet. He also didn’t foresee that people would find myriad ways to avoid commercials, either ignoring them, fast-forwarding them, or switching back and forth between five programs at once. The commercials in the film are supposed to be funny and satirical, but the jokes fall flat (Crichton’s work is never very funny) and the satire is obvious (e.g. Spurt). Storywise, it’s never made clear what the bad guys want or why they need to kill the girls. There’s little sense of menace. And the music is dated and annoying. If someone less than Albert Finney had played the lead, the film might have been a disaster.

But Finney is good, and the three standout scenes mentioned above are so successful, that Looker is worth the time for interested fans. Western star James Coburn plays the media mogul bad guy. Leigh Taylor-Young (Soylent Green) plays the bad guy’s manipulative wife. An electronic janitor will remind you of R2-D2.  Extras include commentary, Crichton’s introduction to the film, deleted scene from television version and trailer. ( – David E. Goldweber)

 

Feral

A group of medical students and mates hikes into the woods to begin a camping trip. After setting up camp for the night, the gang chills by the campfire where we learn about the dynamics of the group.

Alice (Taylor-Compton) has decided she wants to become an epidemiologist. She’s also come out as a lesbian, and has brought along her girlfriend, Jules (Luccardi), much to the chagrin of her male friend, who still carries a torch for Alice.

Other complications are introduced as well (in an admirably compact opening), before our friends learn they’re not alone in these woods…

The trailer for Feral seems to promise a cross between a standard-issue cabin in the woods slasher and The Descent, and that’s pretty much what you get here (hey, points for truth in advertising).

Unfortunately, you don’t get much more than that, as Feral is rather cliched and unoriginal, right down to the creatures themselves.

The introduction of the first creature is well-staged and genuinely creepy and frightening, but their design is so similar to The Descent beasts that their power dissipates a bit as the film goes along.

That, along with some alarmingly bad choices by many of the characters and barely believable motivations, really work against the film.

There are also some missed opportunities: having our heroine be a budding epidemiologist who’s coincidentally facing an undocumented virus is incredibly contrived but would be more forgivable if said heroine actually used her skills and knowledge in an interesting way. Minor spoiler: she doesn’t.

Still, this has some very effective moments. Most of the attacks are visceral and REALLY bloody, and Taylor-Compton and Lew Temple (as the owner of the stereotypical mountain abode) give solid performances (the rest of the cast is variable).

No real spoilers, but the ending is indicative of the “good movie/weak movie” dichotomy in Feral. After a satisfactorily emotional climax, co-writer/director Mark H. Young can’t resist throwing in a totally unnecessary, genuinely annoying “stinger” before the end credits. Boo…..

Feral is not bad overall, but it ain’t gonna make your day, either. ( – William Cutshaw)

 

Creepshow (Collector’s Edition)

My contention that anthology movies are bad is bolstered by the disappointing Creepshow. If you combine George Romero, Stephen King, and EC comics and still get a bad movie, then it=s a pretty good bet there is something fundamentally wrong with the idea to begin with.

Here, as usual with anthologies, the stories are inconsistent. The only interesting things in the first two stories are the appearances of a young Ed Harris (who had recently starred in Romero’s Knightriders) and Stephen King himself. The latter three stories are better, but only the last one – with the cockroaches – really works well.

The others feel like bad episodes of the Tales from the Crypt TV show. The main problems are poor pacing, poor score, lack of surprises, and inappropriate foul language that earned the film an R rating and contributed to its box office failure.

Ted Danson – right before the fabulous Cheers TV show – and Leslie Nielsen – sloughing off his comedy image – contribute the best performances in the “Something to Tide You Over” episode, the most original and most horrifying of the bunch. Adrienne Barbeau is memorably gauche in “The Crate,” although co-stars Fritz Weaver and Hal Holbrook offer nothing special. E.G. Marshall (12 Angry Men) is cheerily arrogant in “They’re Creeping Up on You.” This climactic episode makes great use of antiseptic white interiors and an old jukebox. It is superior to the other episodes because it sets itself up as the original EC stories did: the villain refers to his underlings or his corporate victims as “bugs” who need to be watched before they “creep up” on him, and therefore it’s an infestation of real bugs that does him in.

Stylistically, Creepshow tries expressly to bring “comic book format” to the movies: we get split screens, wipes that look like pages turning, and comic illustrations that turn live, or live images that turn back into comics. I admired these visuals (particularly the ads which are worth freeze-framing), and I admired the EC-style camp. But only the cockroach episode adds anything that the comics don’t provide. I recommend skipping this movie and reading some Tales from the Crypt, some Haunt of Fear, or some Vault of Horror instead.  Extras include new transfer, multiple audio commentaries, interviews, featurettes, behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, trailers, tv & radio spots, and posters, lobby cards and still galleries. ( – David E. Goldweber)

 

Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Collection

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to interview Bruce Campbell several times and in every instance, the publicist has informed me not to mention if there was a new Evil Dead film in the works.

As it turns out there wasn’t, but there was a television series that served as the next installment in the Evil Dead mythology.

In Ash vs Evil Dead, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) is back. He’s accidentally summoned the Deadites once more, and they plan to eliminate him so that they can conquer the earth.

To stop them, Ash must once more don the mantle and chainsaw of reluctant hero and go out to dice and slice the bad guys.

Helping him are the daughter (Dana DeLorenzo) of two of the Deadites’ victims, and a stockboy (Ray Santiago) who believes that Ash is El Jefe, the savior foretold by the brujah. On Ash’s trail are Amanda(Jill Marie Jones), a state cop who has had her own encounter with the Deadites, and a mysterious woman named Ruby (Lucy Lawless).

The series captures everything great about the franchise, from the gore to the over the top humor.  Campbell delivers a fantastic performance, acknowledging both his age and physical limitations without slowing down with the one liners.  With appearances by Ted Raimi, and Lee Majors as Ash’s father, Ash vs The Evil Dead was an unexpected and welcome gift.  Extras include commentaries, featurettes, and montage videos. Highly recommended.

 

A Quiet Place 4K

With marketing campaigns so often ruining the mystery of movies by essentially using trailers as a super cut of the story and often also too many of its twists, the restraint applied to the marketing campaign for A Quiet Place has ensured that the film maintains its mystery until the audience actually sees it unfold on the big screen.

In keeping with that restraint, nothing pertaining to the specifics of the plot will therefore be revealed in this review, but there is still much to be said for the film nonetheless.

Something several critics have remarked are the parallels between John Krasinski’s latest directorial effort and last year’s superbly unnerving It Comes At Night.

While the two films are very different thematically with It Comes At Night being a more abstract tale filled with allegories and ambiguity, A Quiet Place is a more straightforward thriller with an unambiguous antagonist, however, the two films do share some commonalities, the major one of which is the element of dread. Much like the mystery of what is actually going on in It Comes At Night makes the suspense of that film almost unbearably tense – a tension that was largely achieved by the use of lighting and changing aspect ratios – A Quiet Place creates and maintains a similarly strong degree of tension thanks to its intricate sound design.

Ironic as it may seem for a film that revolves around silence, the sound design is immediately what stands out and what continues to keep the audience on the edge of their seats during the many relentlessly tense moments featured in the film. The efficiency of this sound design manages to underline how all the mundane things we absentmindedly do on a daily basis must be executed with utmost care in A Quiet Place, as they could easily become fatal in the context of the circumstances of the film. When sound does occur, it is therefore mixed in a manner that makes it thunderously loud when it is anything other than a moderate, gentle sound, resulting in both the instinctual jump such loudness causes thanks to our reflexes, as well as that aforementioned sense of dread at what will ensue after the silence is broken.

Technical aspects aside, a large portion of what makes any film work is obviously its cast and how compelling their performances are, and A Quiet Place also manages to impress in this area. With Krasinski and Blunt being husband and wife in real life, seeing them as a married couple on the big screen comes across as being natural without trying to oversell their bond. The actors portraying the couple’s children are also good, with Millicent Simmonds being a standout in particular as the daughter Regan. The emotional struggles that come with the family’s situation and the experiences they go through add additional emotional weight to the film, ensuring that the characters are thoroughly relatable and thereby easy for the audience to invest in, and the sound design again adds depth to the characters, as various characters perceive sound differently thanks to various factors that shall not be mentioned here.

As expertly as A Quiet Place manages to walk that incredibly thin line between thriller and horror, the film is not entirely faultless in how it chooses to terrify its audience. With the sound design being as excellent as it is, that alone ought to be enough to leave your nerves irreparably frazzled, however, Krasinski unfortunately also relies on a few too many jump scares. While a jump scare can be a worthwhile element if the buildup is sufficiently unnerving and in need of that sudden release, there are simply too many stereotypical jump scares that rely on both red herrings and cliches, and as well-executed as they are, they still somewhat detract from the overall impact of the terror of the film.

Much like Jordan Peele impressed with 2017’s critically acclaimed Get Out, Krasinski also impresses with his first outing as a horror director. Paradoxical as it may seem to some that two well-known comedians excel at making horror, the correlation between what makes comedy and horror work is, however, really rather obvious, as both genres rely heavily on not only well-written scenarios and characters that can grip the attention of an audience, but also the importance of timing. A Quiet Place has plenty of these elements, making it an unusually terrifying cinematic experience.  Includes Blu-ray and digital code.  Extras include featurettes.  ( – Leyla Mikkelsen)

 

Village of The Damned  (Warner Archive Blu-ray)

This famous British horror flick is notable for being quiet and shocking at once.

The premise is unnerving from the outset: a mysterious force shuts down the village, and then all the young women find themselves pregnant when they wake. They give birth simultaneously, and as time passes the children grow increasingly closer to each other and increasingly detached from everyone else. In the tradition of alien invasion films, the quasi-alien kids are brilliant but unemotional.

It is a low budget but high quality film energized by weirdness instead of effects. I think it’s a bit overrated, as it loses steam gradually after the opening.

The first half hour, before the kids take precedence, is the best. But it’s recommended for horror fans, especially anyone who gets creeped out by demonic kids as in The Bad Seed or The Omen. It is unnerving to find oneself drawn to the children, curious about them, while at the same time positive that they must be destroyed.

The child actors were fitted with special wigs that made their foreheads look unnaturally large. Rilla purposefully cast dark-haired and dark-eyed kids to help the blondeness of the wigs create additional subliminal weirdness. The brief special effect – the children’s glowing eyes – was simple to achieve by whiting out the little circles on the film.

The Blu-ray includes lively and informative commentary from film historian Steve Haberman. Haberman discusses the history of the film and gives some fruitful comparisons with John Wyndham’s original 1957 novel, The Midwich Cuckoos. The novel had 60 children, for example, while the movie has 12. The novel also made it explicit that the children=s fathers were aliens; the movie is ambiguous. Haberman also points out that Village gives almost no attention to how the parents, specifically the mothers, feel about their freakish offspring. It was left to Roman Polanski and Rosemary’s Baby to explore this side of things.  In addition to the commentary, the Blu-ray also includes a trailer. ( – David E. Goldweber)

 

Twilight 4K
Twilight Saga: New Moon Blu-ray
Twilight Saga: Eclipse Blu-ray
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Blu-ray
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Blu-ray

It’s been a decade since the Twilight series first launched based on the novels by Stephanie Meyer.  Making movie stars (at least at the time) of it’s ensemble of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, the series almost immediately became a phenomenon, and it’s presence at San Diego Comic-Con led to an almost blowback.

But now, a decade later, here’s the biggest secret regarding the Twilight Saga.

It’s pretty entertaining.

Look, I know immediately that statement alone might draw criticism, but if you watch or have enjoyed any of the teen supernatural series such as The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, etc., this is just more of the same.

It’s not high art, but it’s character driven and combined with high production values and a talented extended cast (including Sarah Clarke, Billy Burke, Anna Kendrick, Nikki Reed, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Rachelle Lefevre, Elizabeth Reaser, Michael Sheen, Graham Greene, Dakota Fanning, Bryce Dallas Howard, Maggie Grace, Lee Pace, and Rami Malek.)

The story which functions as a supernatural Romeo and Juliet, focuses on Bella Swan (Stewart), who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington to live with her father.  Life is uneventful until she meets the mysterious and handsome Edward Cullen (Pattinson) — a boy who’s hiding a dark secret: he’s a vampire. As their worlds and hearts collide, Edward must battle the bloodlust raging inside him as well as a coterie of undead that would make Bella their prey.

This current wave of releases are packed with extensive supplements including commentaries, featurettes, feature length documentaries, music videos, deleted scenes, webcast events, and galleries.

 

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom DVD

Tricks and Treats strike Bikini Bottom in this Stop-Motion Spooktacu-lar! This terrifying tale tells the story of the Flying Dutchman (Brian Doyle-Murray) coming to Bikini Bottom to make sure everyone in town is scared–especially SpongeBob, who seems to be unflappable in his belief that spooky things are actually funny.

Inspired by the visual style of classic stop-motion animation TV specials, The Legend of BooKini Bottom was brought to life in three dimensions by Los Angeles-based stop-motion studio Screen Novelties.

Plus, you’ll shake in your square pants when a strange moon turns everyone into wild animals, gooey brain drones fly over town, icky worms move into SpongeBob’s holes, and more!

 

House On Haunted Hill (Collector’s Edition)

Unspeakable things happened at the Vannacutt Psychiatric Institute for the Criminally Insane- experiments that brought human torture to new depths of depravity… secrets that died with their victims and the practioners of the demonic acts that masqueraded as medicine.

Now there are no living witnesses. Nothing survived Dr. Vannacutt’s excesses; nothing endures except the building in which they occurred. But that building holds all the secrets of its terrible past.

Decades after the Vannacutt Institute was shuttered, five strangers are invited to spend a night there. Their reward is a million dollars each.

All they have to do is stay alive. The House on Haunted Hill, is a jolting, effects-ramped remake of the 1959 cult classic that starred Vincent Price and was directed by screen horror legend William Castle. Geoffrey Rush plays twisted theme park bigshot Stephen Price, who’s hosting a scary/jokey birthday bash for his wife (Famke Janssen) at an abandoned institute for the criminally insane. Taye Diggs, Ali Larter, Bridgette Wilson, Peter Gallagher and Chris Kattan portray strangers mysteriously assembled for the event that could make them all very rich. Or profoundly dead. And you? We wouldn’t start the party without you.  Extras include new transfer, commentary, interviews, storyboards, concept art, behind-the-scenes photos, vintage featurettes, deleted scenes, trailer, tv spots, stills and poster gallery.

 

The Curse of The Cat People

It’s best to view Curse as a stand-alone film and not a sequel to Cat People. Three actors from Cat People reprise their roles, but the thematic connection is non-existent. In fact, if you view Irena here as the same Irena from Cat People, the effect is to reduce the lure and mystery of Irena in the original Cat People film. Apparently, producer/writer Val Lewton wanted a film called “Amy and her Friend” but RKO insisted he force a connection to Cat People for publicity purposes. The RKO title is good, but there is neither a curse nor any cat people in the film. It should be called “Godmother Fairy.”

Title notwithstanding, the picture is great. It’s a modern fairy tale that can appeal to young children (I imagine that girls 6-10 will get the most out of it) as well as to adults.

There are moments of fear and tension, including a trademark Lewton “walking” sequence toward the end. But the overall effect is one of sensitivity and caring, a sort of dreamy love.

Young Ann Carter plays the six-year-old Amy with emotion and poise. Ann is probably the greatest child actor covered in this book, and Amy the most wonderful child character. Unlike so many other children, she is never sickly, never peevish, never sentimental. I loved her.

The story takes surprising directions as it follows Amy’s encounters with strange people around her. She attempts to convince her parents (Oliver and Alice from Cat People) that her dream world is more than just a dream. Irena (Simone Simon) becomes her friendly godmother, and of course only Amy can see her. Elizabeth Russell (who appeared briefly in Cat People) makes a sinister villainess and Julia Dean (otherwise undistinguished) a likeable but mysterious mentor to young Amy. The link between Amy and her mentor is their mutual confusion of dream and reality. But they are ultimately the most enviable personages in the film. If Lewton had been given more freedom, it seems he would have produced one of the greatest fantasy films in history. It’s still close.  Extras include commentaries, video essay, audio interview, trailers and still gallery. ( – David E. Goldweber )

 

Of Unknown Origin

When not mired in the corporate rat race, Wall Street executive Bart Hughes is king of his sleek Manhattan brownstone … until he finds his castle under siege by the most determined of home intruders. Forced to enter a rat race of an entirely different sort, Bart takes a stand, with his survival and sanity at stake. Peter Weller stars in Of Unknown Origin, an eerie and nerve-tingling suspense thriller directed by George P. Cosmatos and the winner of Paris International Film Festival Awards for Best Picture and Actor. Cleverly and compellingly, the film draws you into a battle of wits, namely one with an intruder that’s formidable, persistent and clever enough to lure Bart (Weller) along on an unwitting path to self-destruction. In the battle of man vs. beast, push has come to scream.

Cast also includes Lawrence Dane, Kenneth Welsh, Shannon Tweed, Jennifer Dale, and Louis Del Grande.  Blu-ray features new transfer and extras include commentary, interviews, still gallery and trailers.

 

The Swarm

Every few years, American media sensationalizes a global or national threat against which we are all but helpless.

Occasionally the threat is viable (global warming). Often the threat is overblown (AIDS, terrorism, avian flu). Usually the threat is bogus. Perhaps the greatest bogus threat of the 70s was killer bees.

But we sure felt scared at the time, and the movies responded. In 1978 we were treated to the low-budget The Bees and the big-budget The Swarm.

Decades later, The Swarm has become famous for camp, but I must admit that I found the action scenes well-directed, and that I was surprised by some of the extreme directions taken by the plot.

We’ll start with the acting, which ranges from decent to good. Michael Caine and Richard Widmark struggle mightily with B-level lines, as do Katharine Ross and Henry Fonda. These are the four prominent performances in the film. Most of the other roles border on cameos, with Richard Chamberlain and Slim Pickens in particularly thankless positions. I liked the “old people” love triangle between Olivia de Havilland, Ben Johnson, and Fred MacMurray, but the screenplay leaves us hanging with respect to their fate (I imagine that she dies but they both survive).

We’ll go next to the story and screenplay. It’s all too long. Story elements are obviously inspired by 1950s monster and insect films: tensions between scientists and military men, a romance that blossoms amidst the chaos, a small town destroyed and a large city threatened, a search for the One Thing that will defeat the menace. Two particular elements can be traced directly: a child orphaned at the start of the film (Them!) and an electronic mating call that lures the insects out to sea (Beginning of the End). There is some confusion in themes, as we are first given an environmentalist message but ultimately given a decidedly anti-environmental conclusion. But despite all this, the story and screenplay impressed me by not holding back: children are killed (on screen!), choppers really crash, the train really derails, the power plant blows up, and the body count (mostly offscreen) rises into the tens of thousands.

The special effects, too, are better than their reputation. VideoHound quips that the bees are “just black spots painted on the film,” but this is only true (if at all) in the brief swarm scenes. For the most part the bees are real! Millions were used during filming. You can see them crawling over the actors. In the contemporary 22-minute promotional featurette you can even see the director and crew wearing their white bee suits during filming. I’m not an Irwin Allen fan (actually, he has no fans), but Allen deserves credit for the extensive use of actual bees for this film. And while all Allen’s projects are compromised by pandering and silliness, they are good for action.

The Swarm offers plenty of deaths, fires, crashes, and explosions for action fans. Allen made another good call by employing slow motion for some bee-attack scenes so that we can actually see the real bees flying around. Allen produced half a dozen disaster pictures in the 1970s, most famously The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. He is also known to genre fans for creating Lost in Space (TV) and directing Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

A note on camp: I’ve tried to give the film credit where due, but I admit it’s often hard not to laugh, especially in the final half hour. It also occurred to me that the film could come across as racist, and that this too might augment the camp. In real life, killer bees are known as “Africanized” but in the film they are known as “African.” Much of what transpires could be perceived as white panic over mobs of blacks: African bees symbolize African-American people. Consider these lines: “Dr. Hubbard was out collecting live Africans.” “Forty-six towns, not including Houston, are now directly in the path of the Africans.” “From now on, the war against the Africans will be under military direction.” Makes you think, doesn’t it? Consider also that there is NOT A SINGLE black person in the cast. And this is a huge cast. And this is the decade that invented the well-intended concept of the “token black.” Am I making it all up? Consider also the note amidst the closing credits that expressly dissociates the “Africans” from the “industrious, hard-working American honeybee.” All coincidence?  Extras include trailer and behind-the-scenes documentary.

 

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special

For many years, Paul Lynde was best known for his role as Henry McAfee in Bye Bye Birdie (and singing the hit song “Kids”).

He also brought his infectious laugh and sarcastic delivery to featured roles in Under the Yum Yum Tree, Son of Flubber, Send Me No Flowers, The Glass Bottom Boat and Rabbit Test, among others.

While working in film, Lynde also made numerous appearances on television, including the eponymous Paul Lynde Show (cancelled after one season).

He took his wild and flamboyant sense of humor to appearances on The Munsters, F-Troop, Gidget and I Dream of Jeannie before moving on to play Uncle Arthur on Bewitched.

But it was his 1966 appearance on a new game show called The Hollywood Squares that propelled Lynde to his greatest notoriety – starting as one of the squares and eventually winning his place in the coveted Center Square.

So significant was his presence that he won two Emmy Awards for his work.

Paul also did a number of TV specials, but none attained the legendary status of The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. It aired only once (on October 29, 1976) and featured a Who’s Who of mid-70’s TV and film stars. Paul somehow held everything together as the ringmaster of a circus that featured Margaret Hamilton (in her only prime time TV appearance…and wearing her full outfit from Wizard of Oz), Witchie Poo from H.R. Pufnstuf, Tim Conway, Billy Barty, Betty White, and Donnie and Marie. What gives this program a special cache is that it features the first prime time TV appearance of KISS. Watch for their 3 songs…but stay for the on-stage conversation between KISS, Paul and Margaret Hamilton. It’s is priceless!  Extras include name that quip quiz, photo scrapbook, candid interview with Peter Marshall the host of Hollywood Squares and a series of memorable quotes by Paul Lynde.

 

Trick ‘r Treat (Collector’s Edition)

A creepy, darkly comic celebration of the scariest night of the year from writer-director Michael Dougherty (Krampus, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters), Trick ‘r Treat takes the Creepshow/Tales From The Crypt approach to nefarious new depths with four interwoven tales set on Halloween night.

A high school principal (Dylan Baker) moonlights as a vicious serial killer; the quest of a young virgin (Anna Paquin) for that special someone takes a gruesome turn; a group of teens carries out a cruel prank with disastrous consequences; and a cantankerous old man (Brian Cox) battles a mischievous trick-or-treating demon.  Also stars Leslie Bibb, Tahmoh Penikett, and Rochelle Aytes.

Collector’s Edition features new transfer and extras including Commentary, featurettes, interviews, new scan of Season’s Greetings short, deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary, FX comparison, storyboard/conceptual art gallery, stills, story from the Trick ‘r Treat Graphic Novel and FEARnet.com shorts.

 

The Walking Dead: The Complete Eighth Season

Following the lackluster Seventh Season which started with Glenn and Abraham’s ultraviolent demises, a misstep in my opinion that the show has never recoved from, I had high hopes that the Eighth Season would steer things around.

I was wrong.

Once again the main cast (Alexandria) find themselves separated by one another, which serves as a parallel to the series itself; a mess without direction.  Even as multiple threats emerge on all sides, Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes’ solutions feel like short term fixes, meant to keep the television series going rather than putting an end to the surrounding menaces.

The Walking Dead has evolved from one of my must-watch series to one of general indifference. With the death of Carl, long assumed to be the series’ anchor, the show has eliminated any hope which both the audience and characters desperately need.  No longer does the death of a character add any dramatic weight, making the viewer as immune to death as the series itself. Extras include commentaries, and featurettes.  Includes the episodes:

  • Mercy: This year, Rick brings ‘All Out War’ to Negan and his forces. The Saviors are larger, better-equipped, and ruthless – but Rick and the unified communities are fighting for the promise of a brighter future. The battle lines are drawn as they launch into a kinetic, action-packed offensive. As with any battle, there will be losses
  • The Damned: The plan involving Alexandrians, Kingdommers and Hilltoppers unfolds. As Rick continues to fight, he encounters a familiar face.
  • Monsters: Conflict with the Saviors leads to unintended consequences for the Hilltop, the Kingdom and Alexandria. Morality proves tricky in wartime.
  • Some Guy: A new weapon in the Savior arsenal proves to be a giant hurdle as fighting continues between Rick’s forces and those of the Saviors.
  • The Big Scary U: With war raging all around him, we get a close look at Negan and the lives of the Saviors during the conflict through a familiar set of eyes.
  • The King, The Widow, and Rick: With things looking up for Rick and our group, an argument breaks out at the Hilltop. The consequences of the decision are life versus death.
  • Time for After: The battle lines are drawn as they launch into a kinetic, action-packed offensive. As with any battle, there will be losses. Casualties. But with Rick leading the Alexandrian forces, Maggie leading the Hilltop, and King Ezekiel leading the Kingdom, Negan and the Saviors’ grip on this world may finally be coming to an end.
  • How It’s Gotta Be: The battle lines are drawn as they launch into a kinetic, action-packed offensive. As with any battle, there will be losses. Casualties. But with Rick leading the Alexandrian forces, Maggie leading the Hilltop, and King Ezekiel leading the Kingdom, Negan and the Saviors’ grip on this world may finally be coming to an end.
  • Honor: Rick faces new difficulties after a battle. Meanwhile, the fight continues in other communities as core members face hard decisions.
  • The Lost and the Plunderers: Groups unite their forces and converge on the Hilltop. Meanwhile, Aaron and Enid search for allies; and Simon takes matters into his own hands.
  • Dead or Alive Or: Daryl finds himself in bad company as his group heads to the Hilltop; Maggie makes difficult decisions at the Hilltop; Gabriel’s faith is tested.
  • The Key: Hilltop’s leadership faces a difficult dilemma after the arrival of unexpected visitors. Meanwhile, Rick comes face-to-face with an adversary.
  • Do Not Send Us Astray: Trouble arises at the Hilltop when unexpected visitors arrive and the community is thrust into action; heartbreaking discoveries are made.
  • Still Gotta Mean Something: A Heaps prisoner makes a discovery; Carol searches for someone in the nearby forest; Rick and Morgan find themselves in the company of strangers.
  • Worth: With the threat of the Saviors still looming, Aaron continues searching for allies. Daryl and Rosita take action and confront an old friend.
  • Wrath: In the season finale, the communities join forces in the last stand against the Saviors. The season’s story lines culminate in all-out war.

 

Beast

Moll (Jessie Buckley) is 27 and still living at home, stifled by the small island community around her and too beholden to her family to break away.

When she meets Pascal (Johnny Flynn), a free-spirited stranger, a whole new world opens up to her and she begins to feel alive for the first time, falling madly in love.

Finally breaking free from her family, Moll moves in with Pascal to start a new life. But when he is arrested as the key suspect in a series of brutal murders, she is left isolated and afraid.

Choosing to stand with him against the suspicions of the community, Moll finds herself forced to make choices that will impact her life forever.

From writer/director Michael Pearce, Beast is a fantastic psychological feature and easily one of the most underrated movies of the year thus far.  Extras include featurette, and photo gallery.

 

Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (Warner Archive Blu-ray)

Driving through Texas, young yuppie couple Michelle (Kate Hodge) and Ryan (William Butler) stop at the Last Chance Gas Station, but after they witness the owner attacking a hitchhiker named Tex (Viggo Mortensen), they panic and flee.

In their hasty departure, they get lost and soon find themselves pursued by the chainsaw-toting maniac known as Leatherface (R.A. Mihailoff).

While running, the couple bump into survivalist Benny (Ken Foree), who they team up with in an effort to escape.

Their only chance to escape is a survivalist with enough firepower to blast Leatherface and the rest of the grizzly predators to hell.

A depraved shocker of intense terror from the gruesome beginning to the bloody finish. Extras include commentary. making of, deleted scenes, alternate ending and trailers.

 

In The Mouth Of Madness (Collector’s Ediiton)

Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow) is this century’s most widely read author and his novels have been translated into 18 different languages, spawning a billion dollar industry.

When Cane vanishes just days before he’s expected to deliver his last manuscript, his publisher (Charlton Heston) hires John Trent (Sam Neill) to investigate his disappearance. Trent believe at first it’s an ill conceived publicity stunt–until he and Linda Styles (Julie Carmen), Cane’s editor, travel to New England.

There, they wind up in a town that cannot be found on any ordinary map- called Hobbs End, a fictional village that exists only in Cane’s novels.

Has the investigation unearthed a fantasy world or has reality blended with the macabre imagination of Sutter Cane?

Inspired by the tales of H.P. Lovecraft, this shocking story is, in the words of its acclaimed director John Carpenter, “horror beyond description!”  This Collector’s Ediiton features a new transfer and includes the following special features: commentaries featurette, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, trailer and tv spots.

 

American Psycho (Uncut Version) 4K

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is young, white, beautiful, ivy leagued, and indistinguishable from his Wall Street colleagues; obsessed with success, status and style, with a stunning fiancee (Reese Witherspoon).

Shielded by conformity, privilege, and wealth, Bateman is also the ultimate serial killer, roaming freely and fearlessly, who rapes, murders and dismembers both strangers and acquaintances without provocation or purpose.

His murderous impulses are fueled by zealous materialism and piercing envy when he discovers someone else has acquired more than he has.

After a colleague presents a business card superior in ink and paper to his, Bateman’s blood thirst sharpens, and he steps up his homicidal activities to a frenzied pitch. Hatchets fly, butcher knives chop, chainsaws rip, and surgical instruments mutilate-how far will Bateman go? How much can he get away with?

Based on the controversial novel by Bret Easton Ellis and featuring the sounds of Huey Lewis and other classic early 80s gems, this satire set in 1980s Manhattan offers a sharp satire to the dark side of yuppie culture, while setting forth a vision that is both terrifying and chilling.

The talented ensemble also includes Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Samantha Mathis, Chloë Sevigny, Justin Theroux and Reg E. Cathey.  4K Blu-ray also includes Blu-ray and Digital Code.  Extras include commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes and brief vintage interview clips.

 

The Evil Dead 4K

Perhaps one of the most influential horror films of the 20th century, director Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead launched a franchise, a devoted fanbase and the career of film (and later, series) star, Bruce Campbell.

Nearly forty years after it’s debut, a new version in the latest format, 4K UHD has arrived, making this extremely low budget film look and sound far better than ever before.

The Evil Dead’s plot is pretty simple (so simple in fact that it’s sequel, Evil Dead II, is essentially a humorous remake).

In the film, “Five twentysomething friends are holed up in a remote cabin where they discover a Book of the Dead. An archaeologist’s tape recording reveals that the ancient text was discovered among the Khandarian ruins of a Sumerian civilization. Playing the taped incantations, the youths unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one (Campbell) is left intact to fight for survival.”

There’s little in terms of subtley in The Evil Dead, but there’s lots of energy.  Imagine being in the middle of the woods in your early twenties with your best friends making the movie that you always wanted to see.

That’s The Evil Dead. 

It’s fun, over-the-top and a wonderful introduction to early independent film (Coen Brother, Joel Coen worked on the film as an assistant film editor and indie filmmaker Josh Becker worked multiple jobs on the film).  4K UHD includes commentary. Blu-ray and digital copy.

 

The Bride

Frankenstein builds the perfect woman — and lives to regret it — in this tantalizing marriage of horror, romance, and unbridled passion!

Rock legend Sting plays the cunning scientist and Jennifer Beals lends her dramatic presence as his supreme, sublime creation.

This sumptuously gothic tale, inspired by the indelible themes and characters originally brought to life by Mary Shelley, follows Frankenstein’s creations as they search for their place in the world — the gorgeous Eva by declaring her independence, and her grotesque intended mate Viktor (Clancy Brown) by learning self-worth from a compassionate circus dwarf (David Rappaport).

Can Dr. Frankenstein survive when the monster returns to claim his intended?

Alive with brilliant photography and lavish costumes. The Bride invites you to a wedding night you’ll never forget.

Extras include commentary, interviews and tv spot.

 

Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection

From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection showcases all of the original films featuring the most iconic monsters in motion picture history.

Once a staple of popular culture and early morning/late night television, the Universal Monster library is becoming more obscure to the general public with each passing generation.

This set should make a major step in putting an end to that.  Within this box are thirty of the most entertaining, creative and inspiring series of films ever produced by a major studio.  It includes:

  • Dracula
  • Drácula (aka Spanish Dracula)
  • Frankenstein
  • The Mummy
  • The Invisible Man
  • Werewolf of London
  • Bride of Frankenstein
  • Dracula’s Daughter Son of Frankenstein
  • The Invisible Man Returns
  • The Mummy’s Hand
  • The Invisible Woman
  • The Wolf Man
  • The Mummy’s Tomb
  • Ghost of Frankenstein
  • Invisible Agent
  • Son of Dracula
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
  • The Mummy’s Ghost
  • House of Frankenstein
  • The Mummy’s Curse
  • The Invisible Man’s Revenge
  • House of Dracula
  • She-Wolf of London
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • Abbott & Costello Meet the Invisible Man
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy
  • Revenge of the Creature
  • The Creature Walks Among Us

Starring some of the most legendary actors including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy, John Carradine, Henry Hull. Gloria Holden, Basil Rathbone, Lionel Atwill, Vincent Price, Glenn Strange, Abbott & Costello, Onslow Stevens, Jon Hall, and Elsa Lanchester in memorable performances, these films set the standard for a new horror genre with revolutionary makeup, mood-altering cinematography and groundbreaking special effects. These landmark movies defined the horror genre and are still regarded as some of the most unforgettable characters ever to be filmed.  Extras include a book, and more documentaries, featurettes, commentaries, trailers, art and still galleries that you’ll never have time to watch them all.  Highest recommendation.

 

MORE!

The Creature from the Black Lagoon Groundbreaker

Most of your classic movie monsters are really closer to tragic heroes when you look at their backstories, and the Creature from the Back Lagoon (or Gill Man, as he’s more informally known) has had a tougher run than most. He’s just your average everyday evolutionary marvel, chilling in his comfy little pocket of the Amazon when a bunch of nosy adventurers stumble in and start complicating his life and making him out to be some kind of horrifying threat. Come on, folks, you can’t bring your baggage into Gill Man’s house and then get all offended when he tells you to take a hike! And let’s not even get into the sequel, where Gill Man gets kidnapped to a Florida aquarium and – surprise, surprise – gets treated like public enemy number one when he has the gall to make an escape.

All the Gill Man ever wanted was a quiet place to call home, and now you can give him one. Just set this lifelike groundbreaker decoration in your yard (he’d appreciate being near a water feature, but that’s not a requirement) and let him live in harmony with nature for once. Measuring 32″ long, 26″ wide and 11″ high and easy to assemble, he’s one invasive species you can welcome into your home. He may look scary, but he’s a gentle creature at heart. Treat him nicely enough and he might just forget all about the Black Lagoon.

 

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