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A Dario Argento Classic Is Our Pick of the Week

Plus 12 more new releases to watch at home this week on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD!
Tenebre Argento Horror Movies
By  · Published on September 26th, 2023

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 September 26th, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes Dario Argento’s Tenebrae in 4K, Brian De Palma’s Carlito’s Way in 4K, and more. Check out our picks below.

Pick of the Week

Tenebrae UhdTenebrae [4K UHD, Synapse]

What is it? People start getting killed in ways inspired by a horror writer’s latest novel.

Why see it? Dario Argento had quite the run from the 70s into the 80s, and this terrific giallo is one of his great ones. Anthony Franciosa is a writer whose work is inspiring a lunatic, and the bodies are piling up. Memorable set pieces, gory killings, and a wonderfully entertaining finale all add up to make a slasher classic, and supporting turns by John Saxon and Daria Nicolodi add to the fun. Argento’s films are typically attractive affairs, and this is no different, and Synapse’s new 4K UHD delivers on the potential with a gorgeous transfer making for a must-own release.

[Extras: Commentaries, documentary, interviews, featurette]

The Best

ArnoldArnold [Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? Folks gather for a will reading and more start dying.

Why see it? This early 70s romp would make a fun double feature with The Weekend Murders as both see a group of people gather after a death in the hopes of cashing in, but they start dropping dead instead. This one has the dead man still wreaking havoc via tape recordings and an elaborate plan, and we find some laughs alongside some creative deaths. It’s a campy good time, and Vinegar Syndrome’s new Blu looks fantastic with colors that pop.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, video essay]

Carlitos Way UhdCarlito’s Way [4K UHD, Arrow]

What is it? A newly released ex-con tries to go straight.

Why see it? Brian De Palma’s films may not always be good to great, but they’re never uninteresting. This early 90s effort is one of the greats despite the lackluster box-office, and it’s made extremely interesting in part through the performances by Al Pacino and Sean Penn. The film opens mid finale only to jump back in time and show us how Carlito’s choices — and the choices made for him — led him right back into the criminal element he so desperately wanted to escape. It’s a captivating lead performance infused by pathos, and Penn’s lawyer character adds a heightened personality into the mix. It’s a crime film with thrills and a genuine sadness, something De Palma doesn’t typically aim for, and it remains an all-timer among his filmography.

[Extras: Commentary, interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes]

Coming OutComing Out

What is it? A young teacher realizes he’s gay.

Why see it? This late 80s drama hits beats we’ve seen many times since, but it remains one of the best and earliest explorations of the struggle to come out in an unforgiving society. Here it’s Germany, but the reactions, fears, and redemptions are universal. The power here comes in large part to the lead performance by Matthias Freihof who captures the joys of love and the fear of what comes next.

[Extras: Video essay]


What is it? A woman returns after two years with no memory.

Why see it? Agnieszka Smoczynska made a big splash with her feature debut, The Lure, and she scales things back on all fronts with her follow-up. Alicja walks out of a subway tunnel with no memory of who she is, and two years later nothing has changed. But then a TV interview reunites her with her family. There are themes at play here about female independence and empowerment in a society that sees them as mothers and wives, but the big takeaway is more that it’s both beautiful and depressing as hell.

[Extras: Interview, Q&A, booklet]

The Hard Part BeginsThe Hard Part Begins [Canadian International Pictures]

What is it? A country musician sees the ceiling on his career.

Why see it? Donnelly Rhodes is best known from television and small supporting roles, but he does good work at the center of this drama. There’s a touch of A Star Is Born in the journey here, and it works well for both the center relationships and commentary on the hard road that is the entertainment business. The music is fine and captures the heart and soul that is country and these people’s lives, and it serves as an engaging score to the tale. Director Paul Lynch became pigeonholed as a horror director, but his best work is arguably the dramatic efforts he crafted before finding terror.

[Extras: New 4K scan and restoration, commentaries, interviews, featurettes, alternate ending]

The Rest

Curse of the Screaming Dead [Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? A group of friends unknowingly wake the Confederate dead.

Why see it? Zombie cinema consists mostly of very similar horror beats as people wander, the undead attack, and guts are munched. That’s basically what we get here, but it takes quite a while for the gut munching to kick in. Getting there is a mix of rough acting and rougher writing, and that’s enough to keep the film (and the bonus movie too) from being all that entertaining. Instead, it’s a release worth celebrating for established fans as Vinegar Syndrome does a great job with the restoration and the extras.

[Extras: New 2K restoration, bonus feature Night of Horror, commentaries, interviews, documentary, outtakes]

Day of the Panther / Strike of the Panther [Umbrella Entertainment]

What is it? A double feature of Jason Blade adventures.

Why see it? Brian Trenchard-Smith has made more than a few entertaining action pictures over the years (including The Man from Hong Kong), and while this double feature can’t touch that good time, there’s still fun to had. Edward John Stazak is Blade, a martial arts practitioner who finds his way into numerous fights and action set-pieces, and they’re a mixed bag while still entertaining. The fight choreography and execution are fine, but it’s the stunts and silly adventure that bring thrills to the screen. As double features go, you can do far worse.

[Extras: Booklet]

Ghost Nursing [Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? A woman adopts a ghost child but finds out what happens when it’s neglected.

Why see it? As far as Cat III horror flicks from Hong Kong go, this one’s a bit underwhelming. First hour is a slog, and while the third act features some wacky and suggestive terrors, they never quite deliver a single “wow” moment. It’s fine, and the new Vinegar Syndrome looks great. (Although the best thing on the disc is Samm Deighan’s video essay.)

[Extras: New 2K restoration, interview, video essay]

The Giant Gila Monster

What is it? A giant gila monster? In this economy?

Why see it? The late 50s saw plenty of big monster movies making the rounds, and this new release brings together two that were shot back to back, The Giant Gila Monster and The Killer Shrews. Neither is necessarily a good movie, but both speak to the genre and period with their B-movie silliness, low budgets, and general incompetence. Film Masters pairs the two together for a goofy double feature of monster madness making this an easy pick up for fans.

[Extras: New restorations, bonus feature, commentaries, interview, documentary]

The Girl from Rio [4K UHD, Blue Underground]

What is it? A battle of the sexes fueled by sexed up villains.

Why see it? Jess Franco’s filmography eludes my taste profile with a single exception, 1966’s Attack of the Robots. This feature arrived three years later, and while the setup suggests another interesting exception, the execution proves otherwise. The 60s are swinging, and the individual elements at play are entertaining on their face with a super-villain, crime bosses, warrior women, and more. It’s campy and colorful, but the humor, action, and narrative struggle. This new 4K release sees those colors pop, so that’s probably something.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, interviews, deleted scenes, Rifftrax version]

Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later [4K UHD]

What is it? One of the better Halloween sequels.

Why see it? This is an odd release. H20 already has a terrific 4K UHD release from Scream Factory that also features plenty of extras, and now Paramount has released it as well — complete devoid of extra features. The selling point here is the film’s presentation in a slick steel book with new artwork and a clear sleeve. It looks nice, but again, no extras at all? Fans of the film might still want to pick it up for the artwork, so there’s that.

[Extras: None]

I Still Know What you Did Last Summer [4K UHD]

What is it? The killer in the slicker is back!

Why see it? While the first film offered a loose adaptation of the Lois Duncan YA bestseller, the follow up continues the tale all on its own. The action moves to a tropical island caught up in a hurricane. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. return, and they’re joined by Brandy and Mekhi Phifer, with all four becoming the new targets for the hooded, hook-handed killer. Director Danny Cannon manages some thrills and atmosphere resulting in a solid sequel to the popular original, and Hewitt does good work as the young woman at the heart of it all. The new 4K UHD looks good with the film’s numerous nighttime/shadow-filled scenes coming in dark and rich.

[Extras: Commentary, interview, featurette, music video]

Also out this week:

The Defilers / A Smell of Honey A Swallow of Brine [AGFA], Elemental, Evil Judgment [Vinegar Syndrome], Hitman’s Hero, Jack Ryan – Season Three, Loki – The Complete Season Three, Out of Time: The Material Issue Story, Sega: The Complete History Vol. 1, 

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.