get yr release on

A shiny happy Blu-Ray release of the lovely Adrienne Barbeau in John Carpenter's The Fog almost makes you forget that the technology's meant to break and corral adventurous movie fans. Almost.

US DVD Releases:
- Blood, Boobs & Beast ( Documentary about Don Dohler. Includes film Nightbeast)
- Chris & Don: A Love Story (documentary)
- Coup D'Etat (dir. Ryszard Filipski)
- Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (documentary)
- Eden
- Epitaph (dir. Sik Jung who worked as asst. dir. under Park Chan-Wook on Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance)
- Extreme Movie (starring Michael Cera and Frankie Muniz)
- Fidel! (documentary)
- Four Flies on Grey Velvet (dir. Dario Argento)
- The FTA (documentary - 1972)
- The Haunting of Molly Hartley
- Hounddog (starring creepy Dakota Fanning)
- Ironweed (starring Jack Nicholson)
- The Last House On The Left- Collector's Edition (dir. Wes Craven)
- Late Bloomer (review)
- A Lonely Cow Weeps at Dawn
- Lullaby (starring Melissa Leo)
- Man Walking on Snow (starring Ken Ogata)
- Matador: The Story of Passion, Tragedy, Triumph, and Love! (documentary)
- Matisse/Picasso: Twin Giants of Modern Art (documentary)
- Mr. Average (advertised as the Bollywood Knocked Up)
- Pear Tree (dir. Dariush Mehrjui)
- Poil de Carotte (Carrot Top - 1932) (dir. Julien Duvivier)
- A Policewoman in New York (starring Edwidge Fenech)
- Protege (starring Andy Lau)
- Requiem for a Vampire (dir. Jean Rollin)
- Running Hot (starring Eric Stoltz)
- Scorpion with Two Tails (dir. Sergio Martino)
- Sexy Battle Girls
- Sins of Sister Lucia (starring Rumi Tama)
- What Just Happened (dir. Barry Levinson, starring Robert De Niro)
- The Whole Shootin' Match (dir. Eagle Pennell)

US Blu-Ray Releases:
- Akira
- The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (dir. Dario Argento)
- The Fog (1979) (dir. John Carpenter)
- Freedomland (starring Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore)
- The French Connection (dir. William Friedkin)
- French Connection II (dir. John Frankenheimer)
- Friday the 13th Part 2
- Friday the 13th Part 3
- Hounddog
- Ronin (dir. John Frankenheimer)
- Sex Drive
- Vanishing Point (1971) (starring Barry Newman, Cleavon Little)
- What Just Happened?
- Zulu (starring Michael Caine)

Multi Region DVD releases:
- Achilles and the Tortoise (dir. Kitano Takeshi)- Japan Region 2
- Alice et Martin ( dir. Andre Techine)- UK Region 2 PAL
- Alone Across the Pacific (dir. Ichikawa Kon)- UK Region 2 PAL
- Entranced Earth (dir. Glauber Rocha)- UK Region 2 PAL
- Gazwrx: The Films of Jeff Keen- UK Region 2 PAL
- Hunger (dir. Steve McQueen)- UK Region 2 PAL
- Kokoro (dir. Ichikawa Kon)- UK Region 2 PAL
- Klass (dir. Ilmar Raag)- UK Region 2 PAL
- Lady Cop and Papa Crook (dir. Alex Mak, Felix Chong) Hong Kong All Region

A warning to the curious from Pike Bishop about the following releases plus some odds and ends:

DVD Releases from Raunchy Tonk/Midnight Choir
- Biker Mania!
- House on Haunted Hill: 50th Anniversary
- The Long Hair of Death/An Angel for Satan (a review that confirms my fears)
- The Sadist
- Sweeny Todd/Incredible Crimes at the Dark House
- The Whip and the Body/Conspiracy of Torture

As enticing as the idea of a good looking release for titles like The Sadist, The Whip and the Body and The Long Hair of Death might be to the cult connoisseur, I would caution the prospective purchaser from going into buying these titles blind. They are being put out on labels owned by Johnny Legend who is a gent that, by most accounts, is a fan, supporter and promoter of cult cinema, but who has a lengthy history of releasing sub-par DVDs of films that are either poorly (and some question whether legally) ported from previous European releases while others are just fluffed up public domain properties. It wouldn't be so bad if these titles were in the 6-8 dollar price range like Alpha Video releases, but rather they are coming out with a $19.99 MSRP. The best bet is to wait for some reviews to come out and see what kind of effort was put into these discs. As for House on Haunted Hill, it is rumored that Martin Scorsese and Sony are working on a William Castle box-set that will undoubtedly include the film, so wait for that to hit the shelves if you are looking for a proper DVD.

As for the rest of these week's releases, I want to point out some interesting foreign releases along with some first-time-on-DVD cult film coming out domestically. First up, Mondo Macabro is releasing another Nikkatsu Roman Porno film titled The Sins of Sister Lucia. It is a little Nunsploitation number that promises some anti-catholic fun sprinkled throughout with surreal, candy colored images shot in the kinetic style that the Japanese excelled in during the early 70s. In somewhat the same vein, PinkEiga is releasing two relatively modern Pink films, Sexy Battle Girls and The Lonely Cow Weeps at Dawn. Sexy Battle Girls is film based on the Sukeban Deka (Delinquent Girl Detective) manga series and looks to be a manic, schlocky school-girl revenger that shows its budget limitations but makes up for it with a hyperactive sense of inventiveness. The Lonely Cow Weeps at Dawn, on the other hand, is about a widow who, after her senile father-in-law loses his prized cow, begins to substitute for the cow during the morning milking. More unusual though is that even with this lurid set-up, the film plays out more like a Japanese art-house melodrama about devotion to family and respect for the elderly! On the Blu-Ray front, we get two great pieces of car porn in Ronin and Vanishing Point. In Ronin, Robert De Niro and a cast of great character actors like Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgard, and Jonathan Pryce beat the hell out an Audi S8, some Citroens, a BMW, a Mercedes Benz and the entirety of the oncoming traffic in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. In Vanishing Point, Barry Newman elegiacally drives a beautiful white 1970 Dodge Challenger into oblivion. Of final note, I would like to point out two new Ichikawa Kon (Burmese Harp, Fires on the Plain, Tokyo Olympiad) releases from the folks across the pond at Masters of Cinema- Alone Across the Pacific and Kokoro. These films have never been released in the west and I, for one, am grateful to the folks over at MoC for continuing to release some of the more obscure titles from the careers of world class filmmakers. It gives someone like myself, who doesn't live in a city with a rich cinema culture (i.e. New York, L.A., San Francisco), the ability to see things that would otherwise be unavailable. I have the Ichikawa discs coming from Amazon UK and will review them in the near future.

Dex on Dario:

Though Dario Argento's career continues to sink into ignominy with every dreary one of his giallo retreads and shitty sequels, there's still his body of work from the early 1970s, a cycle of "animal thrillers" featuring catchy titles and typically (but not ridiculously) convoluted plots seeded with sex, scandal, cool hairstyles, and general Euro-weirdness. While these films are heavily influenced by Argento's mentor Mario Bava (and spiritual godfather Alfred Hitchcock), they're also compact and exciting, and a reminder of the skill Argento once possessed and has since somehow lost. The last of the animal trilogy, 1971's Four Flies on Grey Velvet, is finally getting a Region 1DVD makeover courtesy Mya Communications with all the goodies: trailers, teasers, and photo gallery.

Patrick on Last House:

Especially with an undoubtedly shitty remake in the works, there's cause to check out this repulsive little bit of shock cinema yet again. Craven and his cast worked a vein of intense and brutal horror here that's certainly a forerunner to what we call "torture porn" today, but Craven - and his contemporaries like Romero and Tobe Hooper - were operating in reaction to a society that had seemed to them to have lost all the value placed on human life. Last House is a response to My Lai, to Kent State, to the madness of the Vietnam War itself - a mirror to show a society they're at odds with just how horrific they saw life around them. To say it's unpleasant to watch is an understatement, but the graphic power of the documentary feel Craven sought and achieved is unnerving in the extreme, even if undercut by hammy attempts at humor that are thoroughly at odds with the tone of everything else in the film. It is otherwise a downward spiral of violence, in which the revenge is every bit as horrific and no more cathartic for the protagonists than that of the antagonists.


Howard said...

I love Adrienne Boobeau. And Swamp Thing still holds a special place in my heart.

Cam & I watched the direct-to-video Otis last night. It was surprisingly funny and of higher quality than is to be expected. We thought of you while we were watching it. Not that you'd kidnap girls, call them Kim and force them to live out your shattered prom memories.

...or would you?

Dex said...

AHEM...no, i've never thought those things at all ever. AHEM.