May 2009 Horror DVD and Blu-ray List.

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May 5th

There are only two standard definition titles of the week that I recognize.  MUM & DAD is a British import that got some modest appreciation on the fest circuit.  The other is a flick called THE 8TH PLAGUE, which has found its way in this DVD guide well over a year ago.   I’ve seen neither.  The best bet may be THE 8TH PLAGUE, seeing as it now has a special edition.

Rounding out the straight to DVD titles of the week are ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES, SCARCE, HOUSE OF THE DEMON, UNCONCIOUS.

The real winners of the week are the hi-def titles.  I’m not the biggest fan, but DOG SOLDIERS on Blu is definitely going to warrant a watch, if not a purchase at a cheaper price point.  I can’t say the same for TWILIGHT, though.  Vampires that sparkle like diamonds are only going to look sillier in 1080p, but the teen vamp phenom certainly has its fans.  Why else would Amazon think they could get away with charging $80 for a collectors edition?

This leaves Season 2 of  “DEXTER” as the winner for the week.  Season 2 has been available on DVD for a while and if you already own that set, other than the bump in looks there isn’t much incentive to pick it up in Blu.  If, however, you are looking to save the economy by needlessly spending money, at $39 the price is right for a great show in the best available format.

May 12th

Do you own THE MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN?  Do you own ALIEN APOCALYPSE?  No?  Is it because they’re awful movies?  Well, now you can get twice the awful for half the price!  The Chin doubles up with the disc 2 TIMES THE BRUCE, though neither is worth $14.  Sorry, Bruce.

Guh, is this a crappy start to the month or what?  Next up is BTK, THE GRUDGE 3, and PLAGUE TOWN.  I can’t speak to the quality of any of these three, though I think you can trust your instincts.  BTK could be a Lifetime channel movie if Kane Hodder didn’t play the real life killer, THE GRUDGE 3 is near franchise abandonment and I saw someone on Twitter a week or two ago say PLAGUE TOWN was awful.  Great month!  Ugh.

The biggest genre title of the week is UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS.  I never much liked the UNDERWORLD franchise.  Oddly (though not without easy explanation) I do like Kate Beckinsale, but the franchise does nothing for me.  I was out of country when this hit theaters, but I’m interested to see if Rhona Mitra can bring some fresh blood to the series I always felt suffered a lack of blood.

Worth stepping outside of the genre we have TAKEN, which gets a mention because it is a phenomenal return to form for the one-man action genre.  I stopped counting, but if I had to guess I’d have to peg my TAKEN viewing count at no less than 7 times.  If you saw Liam Neeson throat chopping all of Paris in a theater in the States, you actually got a watered down experience.  This DVD and Blu-ray remedies that with the uncut, trigger happy version.  This is a must see for any fan of ’90s action.

Blu-ray titles for the week include the mentioned RISE OF THE LYCANS (as well as a trilogy set of all three latex loving entries to the UNDERWORLD verse) and an HD release of the ‘original’ THE GRUDGE.

May 19th

It has just occurred to me that MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D (review) is the best horror I’ve seen in theaters so far in 2009.  That is a statement I was not expecting to make, but is a testament to how much fun Patrick Lussier’s dimension thrusting update/ how piss poor the rest of the offerings have been so far this year.  Both the DVD and BRD for this release include the 3D presentation as well as the 2D, though I’m ignorant as to what method is used.  Everyone always talks about the ‘good’ 3D and the ‘bad’ 3D.  If someone knows the difference, do drop some knowledge.

I love Magnet Releasing for giving festival titles broadened exposure, which they’ve done once again with EDEN LOG, which is a bizarre French hybrid of science fiction and horror.  Taken as a whole, EDEN LOG is nothing to write home about, but it does have highlights and a technical mastery on the part of director Franck Vestiel, who for a feature first timer does an excellent job of invoking BRAZIL era Terry Gilliam.  Also available on Blu.

I’ve heard mumblings of good things about British offering BANE, which I’m told has a low budget look not unlike the majority of titles each month, but that its strong script takes familiar material better places.  Perhaps the same can be said of BACKWOODS (Haylie Duff, weird) and THE DEVIL’S GROUND (Daryl Hannah, weird) don’t know, but I’ll definitely be checking out BANE.

Reaching back into the catalog is 1982’s THE LAST HORROR FILM, which is not to be confused with THE LAST HORROR MOVIE, an intelligent Brit Indie from a few years back that I never pass up an opportunity to recommend.

I wish I could recommend Vikings and Astronaut vs Alien Beowulf flick OUTLANDER, but I’d only go so far as to shove it somewhere in your Netflix queue.  The premise was either going to lend itself to inspiration or mastication, unfortunately we get the later.  The best thing that can be said of OUTLANDER is that it chews and chews and chews on its roots, but never makes a meal of any of potentially tremendous elements.  Ron Perlman probably filmed this on the same day he did MUTANT CHRONICLES.

On DVD and Blu-ray we have Season 1 of HBO’s “TRUE BLOOD”, which last year replaced both “LOST” and “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA” as my favorite show on television.  I will be giving this a buy in Blu and couldn’t be more excited about watching each episode again before the season 2 premiere in June.  Sexy is probably the number one adjective bandied about describing the show, sexy is a killer buzz word for a blurb, but the show goes above and beyond its nudity.

The first three episodes are burdened by the heavy weight of having to acclimate the viewer to a supernatural world more adult than any genre fare in years, but the show really finds its groove around the time Bill recounts for a church group how he was turned during the civil war.  From episode four on it is an invigorating, rapturous series.  Assuming whoever you watch this with is okay with sporadically gratuitous sex, I’d say this is a must buy.  If anything, Netflix it.

In addition to the mentioned titles on Blu, we’ve got Brad Anderson’s THE MACHINIST and a special edition of T2.

May 26th

Three STD flicks end out the lackluster month: CARNIVOROUS, AMBITION and THE DEVIL’S TOMB.  I’m actually looking forward to THE DEVIL’S TOMB.  Not because I think it’ll be any good, but because a producer somewhere (likely in Europe) was able to wrangle a cast composed of Cuba Gooding Jr., Ray Winstone, Taryn Manning, Ron Perlman, Zack Ward, Bill Moesely AND Henry Rollins.  Somewhere in all that mediocrity must be at least one reason to justify 90 minutes of, er, tomb deviling.

And if you weren’t a sucker like me who bought it on HD DVD, you may want to go grab CHILDREN OF MEN, which hits the Blu shelves today.

Netflixing the Month

  2. TAKEN
  3. MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D (if you have a way of seeing the 3D…)
  4. BANE
  5. MUM & DAD


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Directed by Patrick Lussier, 2009
Written by Todd Farmer and Zane Smith

I’m not of the crowd that believes a movie – any movie, not just MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D – is campy or corny or popcorn or fluff and that it is a requirement of the viewer to turn off some theoretical switch in their brain to enjoy said applicable filmmaking.  I am of the stance that one should not excuse a movie for its behavior, that one most apologize for a low brow road as if the movie unwittingly committed an offense.  I don’t care how low the talent, how mild the budget or how high the schlock, the filmmakers knew what they were doing and if they did it right there is no burden on the viewer to disable a mythical intellectual barrier.  If a movie works, it works.  The transition from its goal to your enjoyment will be natural.  If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.  They failed.  End of story.

There is no lowering of the shields.  None of this, “Well it was stupid, but if you just take it for what it is, it’s not bad” logic.  This is not an if/then equation.  You take it for what it is.  And though I’m sure I made the very statement at some foolish point in my life, I especially don’t want to hear the, “So bad its good” argument.  A movie may do many tangents poorly, but if it does one thing right, the one thing we all know it set out to do from the beginning, it can supplement all manner of shortcomings.

This is why I know one month into 2009 that MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D will end up being one of my more respected horror films of the year.  It is king at one thing and one thing alone: entertaining pick-axe swinging, gas mask wearing, black rubber stalking mayhem bursting forth into the third dimension.

We all know what to expect and it sure as shit isn’t a layered labyrinth of deep characters coming face to face with their mortality and unimportance in a withering small town based an antiquated economy.  The only layers one should expect from MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D are of the geometric plane variety, the only labyrinth that of the mine shaft, and characters only deep enough to have a pick axe go in one side of their body and out the other.  Anything else is dressing as far as I’m concerned.

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