Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for October 24th, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes Cujo, The Others, and Red Dragon on 4K UHD, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Cujo [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A rabid dog terrorizes a woman and her young son.
Why see it? Stephen King’s filmography is filled with highs and lows, and one of those highs that doesn’t get the love it deserves is Lewis Teague’s adaptation of Cujo. Any modern reboot would kick things off immediately, but Teague’s film doesn’t let the dog kill someone until over forty minutes in, and Dee Wallace doesn’t pull to a stop until after the halfway point. Teague spends time with these characters, supporting characters, and the Cujo himself, all of which adds to the drama and terror that follows. Suspense and harrowing horror follows, and while Teague changes up King’s original ending it’s for the best given the performances by Wallace and young Danny Pintauro. Kino’s new 4K looks fantastic with both bright color and sharp details, and along with a bevy of extras this release becomes a must-have for genre fans.
[Extras: New 4K scan, commentaries, interviews, featurette]
The Boys – Season 3
What is it? Both supes and humans alike seek out the first superhero to squash this beef once and for all.
Why see it? There have been plenty of meta commentaries on the once revered, later darkened superhero genre, but almost none of them have found the highs captured episode to episode with The Boys. The series adapts a popular graphic novel series about a world where superheroes are the norm, just like super villains, only it’s a mega corporation that’s responsible for their existence. People with powers is a recipe for disaster, though, and the result is gory carnage, sexual antics, and wholly inappropriate behaviors. In other words, it’s a tone of fun. Even three seasons in the show has remained fresh, and this time out we get the arrival of a superhero from generations past who shows up with all the biases and attitude intact. Hugely entertaining stuff.
[Extras: Gag reels, deleted scenes, featurette]
The Muppets Take Manhattan [4K UHD]
What is it? The Muppets take Manhattan.
Why see it? The third outing for Jim Henson’s Muppets — still a gift to children of all ages — sees the felt-covered friends hitting up the Big Apple with music on their mind. Director Frank Oz might not think he succeeds here (per his commentary), but the film remains a wonderful and warm time with old friends, fun antics, and entertaining musical beats. The Muppets have always been a colorful bunch, and the myriad of fabrics and outfits that encompass their bodies pop in 4K. There aren’t a lot of extras here, but they’re still worth a watch for fans as it offers a peek into the film and its production.
[Extras: Commentary, interview, featurettes]
The Others [Criterion]
What is it? A woman tries to protect her children from both the sun and the ghosts in their home.
Why see it? Alejandro Amenabar’s English-language debut is as strong and effective a gothic chiller as you’re likely to find. Nicole Kidman stars as a mother of two light sensitive children who live in a grand, remote house and await the return of their husband/father. Strange things start happening in the home, and the film quickly creates an atmosphere of chilly uncertainty as the family struggles against the scares while attempting to find the truth. It’s a gorgeous film from its photography and lighting to the production design, and the script takes hold early on and never lets go. Yes, it’s something of a slow burn, but the atmosphere is king. Criterion’s new release, also available on 4K UHD, captures the darkness beautifully and is loaded with engaging extras.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes]
What is it? An aging stuntman realizes he’s been a shitty dad to both his daughter and a horse.
Why see it? It’s easy enough to dismiss this movie starring Jackie Chan as a once legendary stuntman and terrible father because Chan is, in real life, both. But if we judged movies on the real lives of the talents involved there’s be precious few movies to enjoy. So where does that leave Ride On? Perhaps ironically, the damn thing works because of Chan’s real-life work as a stuntman and action star. He laments the changes that have seen CG replace actual stunt work, he reels from the pain of years of damage and abuse, and he realizes what he’s missed with his family while being so focused on his career. That said, this movie uses a lot of CG to bring its story to life, so what are ya gonna do. It all works to pull the heartstrings as we care about his journey as well as the horse’s.
Tombs of the Blind Dead
What is it? Young folks disturb some undead Knights Templar.
Why see it? Amando de Ossorio’s early 70s horror gem spawned an entire franchise, but the simple pleasures of this first film remain the best. Friends get off a train where they shouldn’t, cross paths with some undead knights on undead horseback, and soon discover why sometimes dead is far, far worse. The film’s low budget limitations become strengths as atmosphere, dread, and style ooze from the screen. The knights look eternally cool riding in slow motion after their prey, and it’s never not fun when their skeletal faces munch down. The included documentary is a great watch as it explores Spanish zombie films and the filmmakers behind them.
[Extras: New restoration, documentary, featurette, music video]
Alien Outlaw [Kino Cult]
What is it? Alien outlaws are fought by brave, whip-wielding heroes.
Why see it? As with The Dark Power below, Phil Smoot’s other film getting a slick new Blu-ray release this week, this is an arguably bad film that finds some entertainment in its ambition, execution, and overall silliness. A low-cost B-movie to the very end, there’s a campy thrill in the alien makeup and heroic antics of Lash La Rue and his whip. It’s never impressive or purely entertaining, but genre fans with a low threshold for competency might find some fun.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentaries, featurette, interview]
Black Sabbath [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Three tales of terror.
Why see it? I’m in the absolute minority on this one, but Mario Bava’s anthology film is a good time that never becomes a great one. The segments all look fantastic with colorful lights and a wonderfully gothic feel to much of it, but the stories don’t really find a strong rhythm or execution. The stories go to expected places in no real hurry, but the second one is better served by a feature length adaptation called Night of the Devils. Kino’s disc looks good with sharp colors, but the extras are limited to a commentary track.
The Dark Power [Kino Cult]
What is it? Long dead Toltecs rise from the ground to terrorize young folks shacking up on their land.
Why see it? Hoo boy, this is pretty much a stinker aside from comedic bits both intentional (I think) and accidental. There’s an abundance of chatter played very serious regarding the land, the Toltec peoples who previously occupied it, and the cattiness of college co-eds, but once the zombies arrive they’re prone to a little slapstick and tomfoolery in between kills with their arrows and tomahawks. We do get one very cool kill as a zombie tears open a dude’s face, but everything from the performances to the script choices leave a lot to be desired.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentaries, featurette, interview]
The Iron-Fisted Monk [Arrow Video]
What is it? A young man enjoys some fight training with a splash of revenge.
Why see it? Sammo Hung films, whether he’s starring, choreographing the fights, or directing, are always worth watching. His first time doing all three delivers an occasionally funny action/comedy that turns ugly super fast. Hung is great, and the fights, particularly the end one, are as well-crafted as you expect, but the humor isn’t all that successful — especially once the tone is slammed with a rape scene that feels out of nowhere gratuitous. Fans will enjoy the release, though, as Arrow does their usual fine job with the presentation and extras.
[Extras: New 2K restoration, commentary, interviews]
Red Dragon [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]
What is it? An ex-FBI agent seeks help from a criminal mastermind to catch a new threat.
Why see it? Brett Ratner issues aside, Red Dragon is a perfectly competent thriller and a solid adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel. That said, it would probably be regarded a bit better if Michael Mann’s Manhunter didn’t already exist. Ratner’s film hits many of the same beats, and they’re fine, but compared to what Mann manages, scenes like the tiger petting, the home video label reveal, the mention of Graham’s home address, and others all feel somewhat flat. The talent here is undeniable, hell, they even got the same Director of Photography from Manhunter, but you don’t feel that fist-clenching thrill. Still, at least Ratner’s film gives us the ending from the book and the sequence where Dolarhyde eats the painting of the Red Dragon. As should be expected, Kino’s new 4K looks quite good, and the extras offer up plenty more to pour through for fans.
[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, documentary, featurettes, deleted scenes]
Also out this week:
Before Night Falls [Warner Archive], Deadgirl, The Devil Doll [Warner Archive], Godzilla [4K UHD], Lorna the Exorcist [Kino Cult], Marcel Pagnol, Meg 2: The Trench, Messiah of Evil [Radiance], Visible Secret [Radiance]
Related Topics: Home Video