Home Again – September’s Blu-Ray Releases

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.

9/22

Star Wars Saga (1977-2018) – Disney/Buena Vista –  For some reason Disney chose Sunday to reissue all ten live action theatrical Star Wars films in new, matching packaging.

I mean, obviously Rise of Skywalker is coming soon and thye want to capitalize on that, but why not just wait for Triple Force Friday in a couple of weeks and tie in to that hype?

Granted, it would be far, far more exciting if they were releasing new masters of the original theatrical cuts of Episodes IV-VI, but it’s starting to seem more and more like that’s just not going to happen.

9/24

Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986) – Vinegar Syndrome – On the one hand I hate to be constantly saying “I’ve never seen/heard of this” in these posts.

On the other hand, there are an awful lot of movies out there and who has the time and money to have seen them all?

I’ve never seen/heard of this. But it certainly sounds exciting. I think “hotel slaughter movie” is a small and underappreciated subgenre of horror. Sure, you’ve got The Shining (which doesn’t actually feature much slaughter, but I think counts) and Psycho, but there are also gems like Motel Hell and Tourist Trap. Now we can add Mountaintop Motel Massacre to the list and if it ever dips below twenty bucks, I’ll grab it.

Stephen King’s The Stand (1994) – Paramount Pictures – I had some issues with this adaptation when it first aired, as is the case with most King adaptations. Overall it isn’t bad, but some of the casting simply didn’t work for me.

Gary Sinise is awesome, but he wasn’t right for Stu. Corin Nemec wasn’t right for Harold, period. But to me the worst was Jamey Sheridan as Randall Flagg. I didn’t find him menacing or powerful and he didn’t match up with my mental image of the Man in Black at all. By the time the miniseries came out I had already read the novel several times and had these characters pretty firmly set in my mind.

The rest of the cast was pretty fantastic, especially Molly Ringwald and Laura San Giacamo. There were also a couple of spot-on calls like Bill Fagerbakke as Tom Cullen and Matt Frewer as Trashcan Man.

Beyond the casting I think I had some problems with what was left out, but at this point I have to admit that that might have been immature on my part. The Stand is a roughly three billion page novel. Obviously cuts had to be made and to be honest I’d need to revisit both the book and the miniseries to see how I feel about them now. And I kind of want to do both.

John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998) – Shout Factory – I did not like this movie when I saw it in the theater. I didn’t like it later when it came out on home video, either. It seemed oddly shallow and inconsequential. If I’m remembering correctly I felt like there was nothing special enough about it to feel like a John Carpenter film.

Just like The Stand, I think it’s time to give it another chance. After realizing how utterly wrong I was for not liking Carpenter’s The Fog when I rewatched it earlier this year, I’m all about giving any of his movies another shot.  I’m not buying it outright because there’s just too darn many movies coming out in the next month – stay tuned! – but I’ll grab it during the next Shout Factory sale.

Child’s Play (2019) – Metro-Goldwin-Mayer – I only mention this aberration to note that it was made with zero input from Chucky’s creator, Don Mancini, and in spite of the fact that he has been fostering the franchise’s success for over thirty years now. Not to mention that over the last few years his Child’s Play has gotten better than ever and is continuing on with a TV series on SyFy.

Mancini himself isn’t happy about it and I don’t blame him.

Having said that, this thing came and went like a fart in the wind and hasn’t had a noticeable effect on anything. I won’t lie – I’ll watch it when I can do so without directly contributing any money. I am, after all, a horror fan.

Anna (2019) – Lionsgate Films – This newest film from Luc Besson had pretty good word of mouth. After the dismal reception Valeryan received (I liked it), I’m glad to see the French director doing something a little more grounded. Girls + guns + violence is definitely his wheelhouse.

Yesterday (2019) – Universal Studios – Believe it or not, I’m pretty excited to see this movie.

I’m not much of a Beatles fan, though I respect their contributions to rock n’ roll, but I think the idea of this movie is fascinating.

One day a musician wakes up and is the only one on Earth who remembers the Beatles. Because he’s human he capitalizes on the greatest song library of all time (I may not be a fan, but I’m also not stupid) and becomes a superstar. Obviously there is guilt and fallout and I’m very interested to see how everything plays out because, shockingly, the trailer didn’t give everything away.

Sleepy Hollow 20th Anniversary Edition DigiBook (1999) – Paramount Pictures – This, to me, represents the end of Tim Burton’s legendary run as one of the most interesting and unique filmmakers in Hollywood history.

Don’t get me wrong – there are films from later in his career that I enjoy. But check this list out:

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

Beetlejuice

Batman

Edward Scissorhands

Batman Returns

Ed Wood

Mars Attacks!

Sleepy Hollow

That’s a phenomenal list of directorial credits that doesn’t even include his contributions to The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was directed by Henry Selick but was certainly Burton’s brainchild.

Anyway, I love Sleepy Hollow and will be grabbing this since we don’t have it on Blu-ray. I wish it was 4K, but I’m sure that will be coming in the future. I’d love to see a Tim Burton: 1985-1999 box set. Multiple studios are involved, though, so it won’t happen until Disney just owns everything.

Hellraiser (1987) – Arrow – This is just a reissue of the version that came in a Steelbook two years ago. If you missed that, grab this. It’s great.

The Vineyard (1989) – Vinegar Syndrome – James Hong (yes – David Lo Pan) directed this flick about a guy who owns a vineyard, directs movies, and also makes a magic potion that keeps him young and handsome.

When the potion stops working he invites a group of young actors to his estate so he can suck the life out of them. As one does.

Fear No Evil (1981) – Shout Factory – You haven’t heard of anyone in this movie about a high school student who is actually Satan. But the director is named Frank LaLoggia, which sounds like Frank Langella and Robert Loggia got fused together like the Fly.

Pledge Night (1990) – Vinegar Syndrome – Have you ever been boiled in acid? If you had, wouldn’t you want revenge on the frat boys that did it to you?

Of course you would.

I’m pretty sure I saw this back in the day on USA Up All Night and I think it fit nicely into that category of movie. That is, late night schlock that you don’t mind being interrupted by Gilbert Gottfried or Rhonda Shear or a commercial for 1-900 numbers.

A Bucket of Blood (1959) – Olive Films – Much like the Beatles, I appreciate Roger Corman’s contributions, but he isn’t really my thing.

I watched all of his flicks back in the day in the Apartment of Horrors and they all sort of blend together. I’m sure plenty of you guys are fans and will want to know about this fancy-pants release.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) – Arrow – Okay, this explains the reissue of Hellraiser. This is a new edition from Arrow, and while I would have liked another Steelbook to match the first film, I’m all over this.

Beyond Evil (1980) – Vinegar Syndrome – John Saxon is the centerpiece of this horror flick about a couple who move into a haunted house. Saxon’s wife, played by Lynda Day George, may or may not become possessed by the ghost of the crazy occultist lady who used to live there.

101 Dalmatians (1961) – Disney/Buena Vista – You’d think they would have held this back to be a little closer to the release of that new Cruella movie, but I’m sure Disney is smarter than we are and know what they’re doing.

This is available as a standard release, a Target DigiBook, and as a Best Buy Steelbook.

Sleeping Beauty (1959) – Disney/Buena Vista – This, on the other hand, makes a little more sense, what with Maleficent 2 about to hit theaters. It’s also available as a Best Buy Steelbook or Target DigiBook.

Fright/I’m Alone and I’m Scared (1971) – Shout Factory – English babysitter versus escaped mental patient!

Action Jackson (1988) – Warner Bros. – Oh, man – I loved this movie when it came out. He’s not quite the black James Bond that the cover suggests, but Carl Weathers is still a badass powerhouse taking on evil honky Craig T. Nelson. And if you can’t imagine the sweet dad from Poltergeist or the cranky but lovable coach from, uh, Coach being an evil honky, well you just haven’t seen Action Jackson.

Also featuring Vanity, Sharon Stone, Bill Duke, Robert Davi, Tom Wilson(!), Dennis Hayden, Sonny Landham, and Mary Ellen Trainor, this is exactly the movie you think it is. And that’s great.

Action Jackson is in my preorders as of right now.

Shaft (2019) – Warner Bros. – Who else forgot that this even happened?

I thought it looked pretty good, actually, but not “in the theater” good. More like “Netflix good”. Which isn’t bad by any means.

3 Bears Christmas3 Bears’ Christmas (2019) – Gravitas Ventures – BURN. IT. WITH. FIRE.

Actually, it’s nice to see that somebody out there is still producing the kind of nightmare-inducing shit that we who grew up in the 70s had to endure.

Other Titles Worth Noting

State of Emergency, 7 Deadly Sins, The Tracker, Skin, A Score to Settle, Pavarotti, This Magnificent Cake!, The Wax Mask, The Hitch-Hiker, Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fourth Season, Local Hero

Be sure to join the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group and let us know what you’re watching!

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Hungry for more movies, music, and pop culture? Visit the Needless Things Archives for a decade of dorkery!

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