Welcome to Home Again, where each and every Tuesday I’ll be running down some of the best genre releases coming to home media.
All info is from the excellent Blu-ray.com. This isn’t every genre release, just the ones I find interesting. For the full list, follow that link.
Halloween (2018) – Universal Studios – I loved it. Check out my review here.
There’s a 4K edition, a Blu-ray/DVD/digital edition, and a Best Buy exclusive Steelbook featuring cover art by the incredible Bill Sienkiwicz. I preordered that one the second it went live on Best Buy’s site. I don’t really care about the 4K, but I have to have that cover.
Cliffhanger 25th Anniversary 4K (1993) – Sony Pictures – This movie was a huge hit when it came out, but it didn’t do it for me. Don’t get me wrong – it’s an action-packed, signature Renny Harlin flick. But there were lots of things that didn’t sit right with me; one of the big ones being *SPOILER ALERT* that at the end pretty much everybody is dead except for our main protagonists. I know plenty of movies end that way, but something about the general tone of Cliffhanger made this feel wrong to me.
If I catch it on cable I’ll watch it again, but it isn’t a buy for me, even if the stunts and cinematography are inarguably spectacular.
Crimson Peak Limited Edition (2015) – Arrow – Crimson Peak might not be my favorite Guillermo del Toro film, but I think it’s his most beautiful work. We already own it on Blu-ray and I’m much more strict about double-dips these days, but this is the sort of movie that I want every special feature and extra bit of goodness I can get. And Arrow is really good about that kind of stuff.
Once Upon A Deadpool (2018) – 20th Century Fox – Pass.
I wasn’t that big of a fan of Deadpool 2 in the first place and this cut does not do the lazy storytelling any favors. The Fred Savage stuff is hilarious, but not worth the price of admission.
Saturday the 14th (1981) – Shout Factory – When I was a kid I thought this was just a horror movie. I saw it early enough that I still didn’t recognize satire in some situations. But I really liked it back then.
I had fond memories of Saturday the 14th for decades and always kept an eye out, but somehow never came across it. I’m almost positive I watched it on Amazon a couple of years ago, but I think I either fell asleep or maybe even just turned it off. I don’t have a specific memory of not liking it, though, so I’m going to have to watch it again for a refresher. As soon as Shout Factory has another sale I’ll grab a copy.
Happy Birthday to Me Retro VHS Packaging (1981) – Mill Creek – If these are the same format as the retro VHS releases that recently hit Walmart, they look really cool but will take up a lot of shelf space. As much of a sucker as I am for gimmick packaging, my Blu-ray shelves are already tight without taking up four movies worth of space with one box.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t just put them in a different place…
Anyway, Happy Birthday to Me is exactly what you think it is, and worth it if you grab it for the current $7.50 price.
I’ll be running down the rest of this week’s retro VHS releases as I go.
The Plague of the Zombies (1966) – Shout Factory – A legendary, must-see zombie flick. Beyond the fact that you can see the influence of this film to this very day, it’s a gorgeous, well done movie that stands up even beyond the novelty of being a Hammer horror film about zombies.
Last Action Hero Retro VHS Packaging (1993) – Mill Creek – There’s a lot to love about this movie, but not enough to make me actually love it.
It’s full of cool visuals, smart meta humor, and outstanding action sequences, but unfortunately there’s an annoying kid along for the whole ride. I cannot get past that kid.
Who’s Harry Crumb? Retro VHS Packaging (1989) – Mill Creek – Why can’t I remember this movie? I mean, I am aware of its existence, but I couldn’t tell you a thing about it.
It stars John Candy and came out in 1989, so there’s no way I didn’t see it. For that sweet $7.50 price it’s got to be worth picking up, right?
Howling III: The Marsupials (1987) – Shout Factory – When there’s a conversation about bad horror movies, this is one that I always bring up. I’d be willing to revisit it to see if it’s more entertaining than I recall, but back in the VHS rental days this is one that made me cringe.
The funny thing is that the concept of Australian marsupial lycanthropes is pretty awesome, but I remember the execution being terrible.
Krull Retro VHS Packaging (1983) – Mill Creek – A perfect choice for the retro VHS treatment, and also the second worst film we have ever done a Needless Commentary for. You can listen here.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) – Sony Pictures – We ended up enjoying the first Goosebumps far more than we expected, but never got around to seeing the sequel. I think me and Phantom, Jr. were both turned off by the fact that none of the kids from the first movie were back and also that it appeared to be the exact same plot as that movie.
I’ve since heard that this one is good, and it is a Halloween movie, so I’m sure we’ll check it out eventually.
Knives of the Avenger (1966) – Kino Lorber – Part of The Mario Bava Collection, apparently Knives of the Avenger is a Viking remake of Shane. That sounds pretty darn compelling, but Bava is very hit-or-miss for me. I absolutely love Danger: Diabolik, but some of his other films leave me cold.
Hardbodies Retro VHS Packaging (1984) – Mill Creek – There’s no doubt in my mind that I watched this late at night on premium cable back in the day, but it’s another one that I couldn’t tell you anything about. In this instance I think that says more about the movie than it does about me.
I’d bet money that our pal Chris DePetrillo could give you a plot synopsis, though.
Kindergarten Cop (1990) – Universal Studios – Some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comedies don’t deserve to be looked back on with fondness, but Kindergarten Cop is actually a fun, watchable movie. Directed by Ivan Reitman, it features a very good supporting cast and carefully selected child actors that are mostly not annoying.
This isn’t any kind of special edition and isn’t even the first time the movie has been released on Blu-ray, but I thought it was worth mentioning as a solid milestone of Arnie’s career.
“IT’S NOT A TUMOR. AT ALL.”
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) – Universal Studios – Even though I was a fan of Edgar Wright’s work, this movie had zero appeal for me when it came out. It looked too cutesy and self-aware for me to deal with. I didn’t even bother watching it until a few years ago when it showed up on Netflix (or maybe cable).
This film is an outstanding accomplishment of cinema and is probably one of the most entertaining movies of the last decade. The cast is incredible, the visuals are flawless, and it isn’t quite like anything else that’s ever been done.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) – Universal Studios – Don’t be like I was up until a few years ago and assume that the presence of two comedians, geniuses though they may be, means this movie isn’t worth your time. Not only is it worthwhile, it’s one of the best Universal Monsters films. Seriously.
It’s shame this is just a basic release and not a loaded special edition, but at the same time maybe the affordable MSRP will result in more people seeing this unlikely classic.
Smokey and the Bandit 40th Anniversary Edition (1977) – Universal Studios – This is the same edition that was released two years ago for the actual anniversary, but if you missed it then, grab it now. It’s a great release with several featurettes and documentaries, including The Bandit, a full-length documentary about director Hal Needham.
The Breakfast Club 30th Anniversary Edition (1985) – Universal Studios – This is another re-release of an older anniversary edition. If you somehow don’t already own this one, I recommend you track down the outstanding Criterion release instead.
King Kong Ultimate Edition (2005) – Universal Studios – For the life of me I do not understand how so many people seem to dislike this movie. Sure, it’s long. But every second of it is pure, gorgeous delight. This, to me, will always be the best telling of this story. And yeah – of course I love the stop-motion and practical effects of the 1933 movie. But in this day and age it’s more of a beloved novelty than an immersive motion picture experience. And someday we’ll have more advanced effects and whole new ways of creating visual storytelling and I’ll say the same thing about Peter Jackson’s Kong.
Check back next week for more horror, sci-fi, and whatever else grabs my attention!
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