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.
It’s that time of year, Phantomaniacs – when all of the big companies get in on the spooky act that our favorites like Shout Factory and Arrow maintain all year long! Halloweeny Blu-rays and 4Ks should be coming out a furious pace for the next few weeks, so be sure to check in every single Tuesday to see what’s coming!
An American Werewolf in London (1981) – Arrow – It feels odd to say this about a movie that gets recognized in every conversation about great horror films, but I feel like An American Werewolf in London doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
When the film is brought up, it is almost always to acknowledge the legendary werewolf transformation designed by Rick Baker. That scene is unparalleled, but such a small part of an otherwise excellent movie. From David’s dream sequences to the eventual chaos in London, the movie is wild and inventive in how it looks at the effects of lycanthropy.
Just between you and me, I’ve always disliked the title. While the movie has comedic elements, to me the title suggest something a little too campy. I actually avoided watching this for years because I assumed it was going to be some kind of outright comedy and I was a very serious young horror fan.
That’s the truth – until Evil Dead 2 converted me I did not like horror movies with overtly comedic elements.
Check out Arrow’s website for the impressive list of features.
Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films (1954-1975) – Criterion – There was a ton of excitement online when Criterion announced this incredible collection of fifteen Godzilla films from the original run. Personally I’m the kind of Godzilla fan who is just fine with whatever versions I’ve bought on DVD and Blu-ray for a discount over the years. I recognize these films as great fun, but I do not need the highest available quality or tons of bonus features. I want to have them, but I don’t need exhaustive compilations of materials.
For the obsessives out there, though – and I know a few – this collection is pure heaven. And is being released in plenty of time for the holiday season.
For full details on Criterion’s mighty one thousandth release, check their website.
The Blob (1988) – Shout Factory – Back in the video store days when I first saw this movie I loved it. I had first read about it in Fangoria and couldn’t wait to see the update of the 1958 classic, which I had seen at a very young age and found to be absolutely terrifying.
Chuck Russell’s version was just as terrifying, but also unforgettably gruesome. It was a landmark film of my youth. I revisited it a few years ago and found it totally underwhelming, but at this point I’m assuming I had a head injury or something because my fond childhood memories can’t be that wrong. As such, I’m going to run by Fry’s today – the only local retailer guaranteed to have the newest Shout Factory releases – to grab a copy. This will be a great addition to whatever horror flicks we marathon over the next few days to close out the spooky season.
The Wizard of Oz 80th Anniversary Edition 4K (1939) – Warner Bros. – I apologize in advance to all the Dorothymaniacs out there, but I don’t really care about this movie. I only mention it because this is a significant anniversary release and I’m sure it being 4K is a big deal.
Get me Return to Oz in 4K and we’ll talk.
This is also available as a Best Buy exclusive Steelbook with the somewhat subversive image of Dorothy snoozing amid the poppies.
It’s a Wonderful Life 4K (1946) – Paramount Pictures – This film has seen a number of Blu-ray releases over the years, but I believe this is its 4K debut.
Until a couple of years ago I had never watched It’s A Wonderful Life. I had always thought of it as being too sentimental and sappy for me. Honestly, until a couple of years ago it probably was, but as I get older I find myself becoming too sentimental and sappy and apparently I like this sort of thing now. It’s a great film and essential Christmas viewing.
Batman Beyond: The Complete Series (1999-2001) – Warner Bros. – This is a great show that resulted in many different positive things for not just the animated DC Universe, but for DC Comics in general. It was an admirable follow-up to what is widely recognized as the greatest animated series of all time.
If you subscribe to DC Universe it’s probably going to be hard to justify this purchase, given that this entire series is already available there in HD. But for those that might balk at subscribing to way too many different streamers, this will be a welcome addition to your shelves.
Amityville: The Cursed Collection (1989-1996) – Kino Lorber – I am baffled as to why anyone would collect these terrible movies. If you look at the years you can see that this set contains some of the absolute worst Amityville sequels or spinoffs or whatever you want to call them – The Evil Escapes, 1992: It’s About Time, A New Generation, and Dollhouse. Each of these movies is more wretched and unwatchable than the last. If you need to let someone know you don’t like them, this set would be the perfect gift.
And now I sit back and wait to hear from the wackjobs that like one or more of these travesties. Bring it, wackjobs!
Two Evil Eyes (1990) – Blue Underground – This is a release strictly for the diehards.
I like this movie just fine. It’s not my favorite from Dario Argento or George Romero, but it’s worth owning for the right price and I think it’s cool that Blue Underground is giving it their deluxe treatment.
However, Two Evil Eyes is not a film I’d pay more than twenty bucks to own. BU charges a premium for its releases, and rightfully so, but you have to really love the film to buy them. If you love this movie, as in thirty-six bucks love this movie, get yourself a copy.
Ringu Collection (1998-2000) – Arrow – Ringu and Ringu 2 are both excellent horror movies. I, like most people, discovered Japanese horror just after the turn of the century when the American adaptation of Ringu was released. While I enjoy the American versions, the Japanese originals are almost always better if you can deal with subtitles. I can’t watch dubs.
Some research was required here because I was very confused by this set’s contents. Ringu and Ringu 2 seem straightforward enough and to me were the first and second parts of the series.
It turns out that Rasen – listed in this set as Spiral – is a sequel to Ringu that was released at the same time as Ringu. As in, literally the same day.
Rasen, or Spiral, is not to be confused with the 2000 film Uzumaki, which is also known as Spiral.
Ringu 2, however, was made because Rasen – which is an adaptation of the novel that was the sequel to the novel that Ringu was based on – was not well-received. So an entirely different follow-up was imagined.
Ring 0 tells the story of how Sadako – the girl who is the source of the curse the series is about – ended up in the well.
I haven’t seen Rasen or Ring 0 and I’d like to. If I see this set for the right price, I’ll grab it. I own the two I have seen on DVD and I’m sure Arrow’s upgrades will be worthy replacements.
Ringu is also available as a single-disc release.
The Devil Rides Out (1968) – Shout Factory – Check out my review of this long-awaited Hammer Horror classic!
Red Heat 4K (1988) – Lionsgate Films – An often overlooked gem, Red Heat is a fun Walter Hill flick that hit at the height of Russia being the Bad Guys.
I mean, back in the 80s when they were the Bad Guys. Not now.
Schwarzenegger was just foreign enough to be a great Russkie and Jim Belushi… well, love him or hate him, the guy is definitely all-American. The movie is an action-packed ride with a mild dose of comedy that, in my opinion, deserves to be mentioned alongside Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours, and Rush Hour.
Unmasked Part 25 (1989) – Vinegar Syndrome – In this parody of slasher flicks, a Jason-like serial killer named Jackson suffers an existential crisis, finds romance, and ponders the possibility of changing his ways.
Berserker (1987) – Vinegar Syndrome – Friday the 13th – Jason Voorhees + Viking warrior = Berserker, apparently.
I very much want to see this movie.
Beyond the Door III (1989) – Vinegar Syndrome – Wow, Vinegar Syndrome is really kicking out the jams today, huh?
This one is about a college professor who is a secret Satanist luring co-eds to Europe in order to sacrifice them to, who else? Satan!
Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) – Arrow – James Cagney stars in this biopic about Lon Chaney.
Paganini Horror (1989) – Severin Films – Man! Today’s releases are making me feel like I wasn’t even alive in 1989! How did I miss all of these?
It could be because they’re foreign, or terrible, or both. But that’s beside the point.
This Italian flick is about a rock band who decide to record a long-lost score by a famous composer in his haunted house. Obviously this opens a portal to Hell.
Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory (1961) – Severin Films – Do I even need to write a synopsis for this one? I don’t know how this isn’t a Cramps song.
Byleth: The Demon of Incest (1972) – Severin Films – Next time Grandma and the rest of the family visit, sit everyone down in front of the ol’ tube, make some s’mores, and throw in your copy of BYLETH: THE DEMON OF INCEST! You’ll all have a great time!
Undertaker (2012) – Synapse Films – I think I’ve seen this movie. It takes place in a post-zombie-outbreak Japan. A young boy who loses everyone he knows in a zombie massacre ends up serving as assistant to an Undertaker – the person who families hire to exterminate their zombified loved ones.
Satan’s Slave (1976) – Vinegar Syndrome – Michael Gough (Alfred from Tim Burton’s Batman) stars in this thriller about a young girl whose uncle and cousin are in an evil cult devoted to… you guessed it – SATAN!
John Wick Chapters 1-3 (2014-2019) – Lionsgate Films – These films are shockingly excellent.
I already own a Steelbook with the first two films, so when the third came out I went ahead and bought it despite being reasonably sure this would happen. If you don’t already own the films this is a great way to get them.
Or you could just wait a few years for the collection that will include the fourth movie. As much as I love physical media, there’s no winning this game.
Nightbeast (1982) – Vinegar Syndrome – What do you do when a film is briefly shown in an instant cult classic like Mandy? If you’re Vinegar Syndrome you get the distribution rights and release it as a special edition Blu-ray/DVD!
Nightbeast is total Commander USA’s Groovie Movies/USA Up All Night fodder, featuring a weird practical effects alien slaughtering its way through a small town. The alien looks so familiar to me that I’m pretty sure I saw this on one of those shows.
Bloody New Year (1987) – Vinegar Syndrome – Shipwrecked teens take refuge in a weird murder hotel.
Other Titles Worth Noting
The Pretender, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, Lust in the Dust, A Discovery of Witches, Life With Mikey, Message from Space: Galactic Wars, Legend of the Demon Cat, The Human Monster, Nightmare in Badham County, Watch Me When I Kill, The 3-D Nudie Cuties Collection, Mr. Nice Guy, Private School
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