Philip Kaufman

top shelf invasion of the body snatchers

Most home video releases are mass produced and marketed by faceless conglomerates interested only in separating you from your hard-earned cash. If you look closely though you’ll find smaller labels who love movies as much as you do and show it by delivering quality Blu-rays and DVDs of beloved films and cult classics, often loaded with special features, new transfers, and more. But yes, they still want your cash too. Top Shelf is our new bi-weekly look at these labels and the films they’re releasing. The movies won’t always be classics in the traditional sense and you may not even recognize the titles (or stars or directors), but somebody somewhere loves them which is enough of a reason for us to shine a light their way. This week we’re taking a look at two new releases from the UK’s Arrow Video. They’re the sleazier, more entertaining brother of Arrow Academy, and while they predominantly focus on resurrecting horror films like Squirm, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and anything Dario Argento has ever pointed his camera towards, they also dabble outside the genre with releases like The Last American Virgin. Horror is their bread and butter though, so horror is where we’ll start. Two of Arrow’s releases this month are considered classics from acclaimed directors Philip Kaufman and Wes Craven, but while they both have their fans only one of the films still holds up today.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: Jack Finney’s novel “The Body Snatchers” gets its second film adaptation by Philip Kaufman in 1978. This time, the setting is changed from a small California town to the teeming metropolis of San Francisco. Donald Sutherland plays Matthew Bennell, a health inspector who stumbles across reports of people claiming their loved ones are not themselves. His colleague Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) faces similar stories and even suspects her live-in boyfriend Geoffrey has been infected. After conferring with Matthew’s pop psychology guru friend David Kibner (Leonard Nimoy), they settle on mass hysteria as a cause. However, when Matthew’s other friends (Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright) discover a mysterious body in the back of their spa, the group soon discovers an insidious alien force has come to earth with the ability to duplicate people.

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Movies We Love

Monkeys? You think a monkey knows he’s sittin’ on top of a rocket that might explode? These astronaut boys they know that, see? Well, I’ll tell you something, it takes a special kind of man to volunteer for a suicide mission, especially one that’s on TV. Ol’ Gus, he did all right. Ol’ Gus is Gus Grissom, the second US man to be shot into space, though his ride becomes tarnished when he loses his capsule, the hatch blowing before it can be pulled from the water.

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