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 July 26th, 2022! This week’s home video selection includes a new Giallo Essentials, Stanley Kubrick in 4K UHD, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Giallo Essentials – Black [Arrow Video]
What is it? Three underseen Italian thrillers from the 70s.
Why see it? Arrow’s third giallo box set (after Yellow and Red) is another winner. Smile Before Death is the highlight here, and while I’d argue it’s not really a giallo there’s a fine, blackly comic mystery at its core filled with numerous double-crosses and one hell of an ending. The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive is a saucy number that unfolds around a nunnery as a killer starts killing for the usual reasons. The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is also included and is the relative weakest of the bunch, but it’s still an engaging enough riff on Agatha Christie. Those first two are great and make the set worth a pickup, and all three come with commentaries and other extras. Keep these sets coming, Arrow!
[Extras: Commentaries, interviews]
Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell
What is it? A Japanese riff on The Evil Dead!
Why see it? First, fair warning, this release is the best available for the film, but as an 8mm movie from 1995 that “best” is still low VHS-level quality. If you can accept that — something that’s pretty much expected for releases that were shot on video or 8-16mm — then the movie delivers good fun with some silly beats, gory goods, and a sixty-two minute running time. Three people enter a haunted house, and bloody chaos ensues leading to a third act where our hero gets to really flex his muscles. The debut Blu-ray release from Visual Vengeance features a commentary by Joe Lynch and Adam Green in addition to other extras.
[Extras: Interview, commentaries, featurette]
Don’t Let the Angels Fall [Canadian International Pictures]
What is it? A man grows apart from his family.
Why see it? Dramas about suburban ennui have been around for decades as evidenced by this late 60s gem from Canada. Robert Harrison stars as a husband and father, a man who works in finance, a guy with everything figured out — until he realizes he doesn’t. The film slowly chips away at his awareness, understanding, confidence, and more until a sharp truth about his existence is made clear. It’s a beautifully acted drama, one that lands hard for those paying attention. Big ups to this new label as they continue to deliver the goods from Canadian history.
[Extras: New 2K restoration, commentary, short films, booklet]
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A sci-fi/rom-com for the ages.
Why see it? The pairing of director Michel Gondry and writer Charlie Kaufman results in absolute brilliance in this blend of romance, comedy, drama, and science fiction. A company removes memories of people you want to forget, and that sends Jim Carrey down a rabbit hole after discovering his ex (Kate Winslet) has had him erased. The film delivers big emotional swings, beautiful moments, imaginative sequences, and a real sense of wonder. The supporting cast is aces too with the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, and Tom Wilkinson. As a visual treat, it’s an ideal upgrade to 4K UHD.
[Extras: New 4K master, commentary, interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes]
Heartbreakers [Fun City Editions]
What is it? Two friends struggle with life and love.
Why see it? This mid 80s drama was mostly forgotten amidst big, splashy movies from the decade, but thankfully it’s been given new life from the fine folks at Fun City Editions. Peter Coyote and Nick Mancuso play good friends who hit a bump — mid-life crisis, maybe — in their lives and their friendship. Both characters are selfish and egotistical to varying degrees, but they’re learning. There’s a beautiful scene in a diner between them offering up more honesty about male friendships than most films manage with their entire running time. Check out the new interview with the two leads for some fun and enlightening background info.
[Extras: New 2K restoration, interviews, introduction, booklet, commentary]
The Killing [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A group of crooks plan an elaborate race track heist.
Why see it? Stanley Kubrick directs a script co-written with Jim Thompson, and it’s exactly the kind of smart, dark thriller you’d expect. The narration needs to go, but that aside this is a slickly methodical look at the varied criminals coming together with an elaborate plan to rob a race track. There’s a strong structure to the planning, the execution, and the fallout, and the black & white photography lends it all an air of stark truth. Kino’s new UHD highlights those blacks and details well.
[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary]
Night Gallery – Season Two [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? All twenty-two episodes from season two!
Why see it? Actually, it’s twenty-two episodes featuring sixty-one individual tales from talents like Richard Matheson, Rod Serling, John Badham, Clint Howard, Robert Bloch, Cloris Leachman, Mark Hamill, Sondra Locke, August Derleth, and many more. The sixty-minute time slots afford each episode time for anywhere from two to four story segments, and the result is a variety of tales ranging from the unsettling to the strange, humorous, and nifty. That variety along with Serling’s guiding hand is what makes this one of the better anthology shows to ever grace the screen. The HD facelift gives them new life and will hopefully find it new fans along the way.
[Extras: New 2K scans, commentaries, lost episodes, featurettes]
Planet of the Vampires [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Astronauts land on a mysterious planet.
Why see it? Mario Bava’s slice of space horror is a clear inspiration for Ridley Scott’s admittedly superior Alien — even if he claims he’d never seen it before — but even on its own merits it’s an atmospheric and memorable gem. Two ships land on a strange planet only to discover bad things afoot including acts of violence, zombie-like encounters, and the large skeleton of some other species. It’s a highly attractive film, a real accomplishment given its low budget, and the colorful visuals pop now more than ever. Two commentary tracks add to the fun with thoughts by Kim Newman and Tim Lucas providing anecdotes and details about the production.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentaries]
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
What is it? A teen’s descent into an online game has grim consequences.
Why see it? The horror genre has no shortage of movies about young people messing around with games, whether in person or online, only to find some terrible fate awaiting them. Jane Schoenbrun’s film is a bit different, though, in part because it finds the emotional horror behind both the player and the game. It’s a creepy, atmospheric, heartbreaking tale with a terrific lead performance by Anna Cobb and a sharp condemnation by way of its ending. It’s the kind of horror that hits hard because the loneliness at its core is a relatable darkness, one that we or someone we love could easily fall prey to. Give it a spin, and then watch the extras to confirm that Cobb is actually okay.
[Extras: Commentary, interviews, booklet]
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
What is it? Doctor who?
Why see it? Doctor Strange isn’t one of my more beloved MCU characters — his intro film is pretty meh, magic is fairly uninteresting, and the character is something of a prick — but this sequel delivers a more entertaining time. Director Sam Raimi injects the MCU formula with creative visuals and an eye for horror resulting in some truly fun beats nestled within an otherwise familiar outing. It’s telling when the best bit in the movie is a throwaway showing how easy it is to actually defeat superheroes if you really try.
[Extras: Featurettes, gag reel, deleted scenes, commentary]
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
What is it? A woman’s ex returns as a ghost after she remarries.
Why see it? This 1976 feature out of Brazil made a big splash on release, and it’s easy to see why. Sonia Braga burst onto the scene here as a vivacious young woman whose life takes some strange turns. The ghost element doesn’t kick in until past the halfway mark, so the bulk of the film is a blend of drama and comedy with romance teasing its way in on occasion. Blame shifting times, but the romance angle is a rough one as the man she loves most is abusive which makes it tough to root for their pairing. Taste varies, though, so fans should know only that this is a solid disc with a new commentary by the director.
[Extras: Commentary, featurette, booklet]
What is it? The true story of a man who stole a Goya from the National Gallery in London.
Why see it? While the premise seems a bit tame, there’s real heart to this story about a pensioner charged with the high profile theft of a very expensive painting from a British museum. Jim Broadbent plays the man, and he finds humor and sincerity in the guy’s situation. As true stories go it’s a light one, but it finds some poignant moments and led to real change, neither of which are all that easy to do.
Heavy Metal Parking Lot
What is it? A short doc about Judas Priest fans.
Why see it? Two filmmakers entered the parking lot before a Judas Priest concert in 1986 and chatted with the folks waiting for the show. It’s an entertaining time capsule of a time and people, and the disc’s extras share catch ups with some of those teens — now adults — in the years since. The team also did similar short docs for Neil Diamond and Harry Potter, and they make for enjoyable peaks into fandoms.
[Extras: Shorts, featurettes]
I’m Dangerous Tonight [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A cursed cloak causes chaos!
Why see it? The great Tobe Hooper directed this made for cable horror flick, and it’s… fine. The cast is solid with the likes of Madchen Amick, Anthony Perkins, Dee Wallace, and others, but there’s a silliness to the horror as a cursed piece of fabric is turned into a red dress encouraging all manner of bad behaviors. It all feels too light and never really finds the menace that it clearly thinks it has, but still, it’s Hooper meaning you’ll find something to enjoy here all the same.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentaries, interviews, featurettes]
Jack Be Nimble
What is it? Twins separated as children reunite as troubled adults.
Why see it? A miserable family falls apart landing the two children in an orphanage where they’re adopted by different families. One grows up in hell, the other in a good home, and soon psychic powers, murder, and four mute sisters lead them towards a dramatic reunion. This moody horror film from New Zealand has a very dark take on parenting at its core leading to themes of nature, nurture, and the blackly comic jokes of fate. Alexis Arquette takes the lead here alongside Sarah Smuts-Kennedy, and there are some engaging ideas and visuals at play.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, interviews, shorts, commentary, bonus film Beyond Gravity]
The Lost City [4K UHD]
What is it? An unofficial riff on Romancing the Stone.
Why see it? There are enough differences here from the still very funny Robert Zemeckis film starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, but it will still have you missing that comedy classic. That said, Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum are both having a good time, and their chemistry and humor are effective in ensuring viewers will too. Some real laughs, a little action, and a stellar cameo all come together for a good enough time that also delivers an enjoyably villainous turn by Daniel Radcliffe.
[Extras: Deleted scenes, bloopers, featurettes]
Lux Aeterna [Yellow Veil Pictures]
What is it? Two renowned French actors attempt to make art.
Why see it? Beatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg are immensely talented actors, but some things are out of their control. That truth reveals itself while the pair, playing themselves, attempt to capture a shot in a film about witch burnings. This long short by Gaspar Noe is at its best in the front half as the two legends sit and talk about past experiences with movies, men, and more. It’s humorous and candid, but it’s a bit less successful when the two move about the set facing interruptions and issues along the way. Still, an interesting glimpse behind the scenes.
[Extras: Introduction, commentary, featurettes, short films, booklet]
What is it? A woman wanders after an accident.
Why see it? Calvin Lee Reeder’s 2011 feature has its fans, many of whom claim those who don’t like it just don’t get it, and honestly they can keep it. Designed as an intentionally abrasive and unexplained slice of weirdness, the film follows Lindsay Pulsipher as she walks and drives her way through rural Washington meeting weirdos and imagining encounters. It’s dull and far less interesting than it thinks it is.
[Extras: Commentary, short films, featurette, booklet]
What is it? A man hunts for his family’s killer.
Why see it? As shot-on-video movies go, director Ronnie Sortor’s 1997 film delivers more and arguably better action than you’re expecting. Shootouts and fights splatter blood everywhere, and the arrival of numerous killers keeps things interesting enough. It’s unable to generate much in the way of suspense, though, as other aspects of the production leave something to be desired including a main killer who’s anything but threatening. Still, hard to knock a micro-budgeted film that manages this much action.
[Extras: New restoration, commentaries, original version, documentary, outtakes, short film]
What is it? A man sees visions of a killer.
Why see it? Director David Prior gathered a tight little cast for this thriller including Glenn Ford, Jan-Michael Vincent, Sandahl Bergman, and Traci Lords. Ted Prior takes the lead, though, as the man who “sees” the kills, and soon his lady friends and some cops are all up in his grill. It’s probably about what you’d expect from a low budget, early 90s thriller up to and including its story beats. The new Blu looks solid and features some informative extras so fans won’t be disappointed.
[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, interviews, bloopers]
Also out this week:
Apocalypse After, El Cortez, The Eurocrypt of Christopher Lee – Collection 2 [Synapse Films], Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen, The Gilded Age – The Complete First Season, Green Lantern: Beware My Power, Mid-Century, Pleasure, Rocco Schiavone: Ice Cold Murders – Seasons 3 & 4, Species [4K UHD, Scream Factory], Time Out of Mind [KL Studio Classics]
Related Topics: Home Video