New Blu-ray & DVD releases for the week include lots of TV, lots of horror, some great collection sets and some older stuff getting upgrades. I’ll start with the horror movies.
George A. Romero’s genre defining classic Night of the Living Dead gets a 50th Anniversary Blu-ray release this week. The film helped set the rules of zombie movies and this film is a staple for any horror collection. If you don’t own it already, you have to add it to your library. The Walking Dead wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Romero’s zombie films. The cult classic has been restored in high-definition and this is the first time it’s available on Blu-ray in the United States. It is a must own for any horror fan, but it’s pretty much a film that needs to be in any movie collection. It shaped horror and every film since has copied its guidelines. The zombie genre owes everything to Romero and this film. It is a top 5 genre film.
Sticking with zombies, Warm Bodies gets a 4K release this week. I actually think it’s an underrated movie. Over the past 10+ years we’ve seen a lot of zombie films and most lack originality. This Nicholas Hoult/Teresa Palmer starring zom-com is one of the most original films in the genre. It’s a romantic comedy between the easy to look at Palmer and Hoult who happens to be one of the walking dead. I don’t know if the film really needs a 4K release, but it does look pristine. If you don’t own it you should pick it up if you are genre fan. This new 4K release has NINE featurettes, commentary, deleted scenes and more. It’s actually a great collection for an underrated film. It’s a nice way to break up the monotony of typical zombie flicks.
Stephen King’s classic Children of the Corn gets a 2K restored Blu-ray release this week as well. The film spawned a bunch of not so good sequels, but the original is worth seeing if you haven’t already. Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton play two out of towners driving through Nebraska when they keep seeing signs for the town of Gatlin. The town seems abandoned, but they meet some children who explain what’s going on and who’s in control. It’s a creepy flick and King made a generation of people scared of kids with it. This new release looks pretty solid and comes with a bunch of bonus material including multiple commentaries and new interviews with cast and crew. If you are a fan, this is a must own collection outlander!
Mill Creek Entertainment has two new horror collections out this week. First is Vincent Price Collection: 5 Frightening Features. This collection features The Bat, The Last Man on Earth, The Jackals, Shock and House on Haunted Hill. We here at The Nerds Templar enjoy Vincent Price quite a bit and it’s always great rewatching his work. The two standouts are The Last Man on Earth and House on Haunted Hill. Last Man, not to be confused with the Will Forte TV show, is actually a forgotten zombie gem. It’s a black & white film from 1960 that makes the undead seem more like vampires, but they are zombies or at least what we would consider zombies today. This came out years before Romero’s classic and is a must see for zombie/genre fans. House on Haunted Hill has been remade, but the Price version is worth seeing. It’s your classic story of how long you can survive in a haunted house. If you are a Price fan, this is a nice collection to add to your library.
The other release from Mill Creek is The Purgation: 10 Horror Films. The films are: All Alone, The Purgation, Ashes, Bloodline, All God’s Creatures, Billy’s Cult, Phobia, Summer School, Vanished, Stevie. These are all pretty obscure films even for someone like me who watches a lot of horror movies. I thought I had seen Vanished before but it was a different movie I had watched. Summer School is not the Mark Harmon comedy from the 1980s. There are a l lot of asylums, slashing, paranormal activity and more in these 10 movies. It’s a nice way to get you ready for Halloween just don’t expect to recognize too many of the actors.
Mill Creek also has out a 10 action movie collection called Death Grip. Like the horror release, this is a collection of films you probably aren’t familiar with. The films are: The Advocate, Legacy, Mall, Death Grip, The New Republic, Night Drive, Nobody Can Cool, Lost Dream, Silent Thief and Who is Delsin? Mall has the biggest names in it including Gotham’s Cameron Monaghan, Gina Gershon, Peter Stormare and Vincent D’Onofrio. I had actually seen that one before. Who is Delsin? is pretty similar and is about a Pulitzer Price winner opening fire at a museum in Tampa Bay. I recognized Steven Bauer in it. Those two are probably the biggest standouts of this collection.
Sticking with action, The Game Changer is out on Tuesday and features some fantastic action sequences. This Chinese crime drama starts out with two prisoners escaping from jail. The one prisoner joins his father’s gang and brings along the other inmate as a bodyguard for his sister. It’s based in 1930’s Shanghai and I liked a lot of it. It has great costume and set design. Wardrobe is appropriate and the cars, houses and clubs look great. I didn’t love the CGI/green screen work though. Some of the backdrops look super fake, like Sin City, and I hate that. If it wasn’t for that, I would have loved the film. The action sequences are fantastic with a great mix of gun work, hand to hand fighting and chase scenes. The car chases are over the top and the fighting scenes especially the prison escape and the final fight are pretty good. Fans of Asian crime dramas will like it a lot, I did overall.
Don’t Torture a Duckling is a 1970’s Italian film I had never seen before. I’d assume fans of the genre will like it. I’m not sure if I did or not. It’s about the killing of children in a small town in Italy. There is a woman who practices black magic that everyone assumes is a witch and kills the kids, but as the investigation continues it leads to other suspects. There’s a beautiful woman, and I mean beautiful, who could be a suspect. There’s a priest and a mute girl. The town is quick to accuse pretty much everyone. It eventually tells you who the killer is, but I don’t know if I like who it is. I won’t spoil it, but the ending didn’t do much for me. There is nudity, killing and a beautiful setting. This Blu-ray features commentary, interviews and more. If you are familiar with the movie, this is a nice upgrade.
The Suspicious Death of a Minor also gets a new upgrade. It’s also another 1970’s Italian film this time involving under age prostitutes. An undercover cop investigates and finds a whole network of prostitution, drugs and powerful people. I thought this was pretty good. I had never seen or heard of it, but the lead actor was good and I liked his sidekick who didn’t know he was a cop. The lead is a Dirty Harry type who does things by his own rules. This new version has gone through a 2K restoration and features commentary and interviews. It’s not a giallo film, but isn’t super mainstream either. I liked it and I have a feeling it has a lot of fans that will like this new presentation.
And sticking with upgraded films, A Fish Called Wanda gets a 4K restored Blu-ray this week. The movie is either the funniest film you’ve ever seen or the dumbest. I hadn’t seen it in years, but remembered a lot of it like the stuttering and paving scene. John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Michael Palin star in this cult favorite. Curtis, Kline and Palin are involved with a diamond heist and get barrister Cleese involved. You probably know whether or not you like the film. If you do like the film, this new release is for you. The bonus features are quite impressive with all kinds of commentaries, interviews, deleted scenes and more. Cleese shines in the bonus features doing his own commentary and having a documentary on the making of the movie. There are 24 deleted and alternative scenes and a documentary on the locations of the movie. This is pretty much THE version to own (at this time).
Now for the TV shows finding their way on DVD/Blu-ray on October 3rd. Loch Ness Series 1 stars Laura Fraser from Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul and if you never wanted to visit Scotland, you will after this. This 6 episode series revolves around murders in a small Scottish town. Fraser is a detective and her husband is a boat owner who gives tours to visitors wanting to see The Loch Ness monster. Her daughter is part of a group of kids playing a prank, but it goes wrong when a human heart is found. A local gay man is found dead and higher-ups are brought in for the investigation. Anyone can be a suspect and you really don’t figure it out until the end. It reminded me of Australia’s Deep Water. I’ve wanted to visit Ireland for a long time and after seeing this, I will have to hit Scotland as well. The scenery and locations are stunning. The acting is great, the writing is smart and one character I kept waiting to pay off pays off big time shockingly. If you like Broadchurch, you should like this as well. I’m not sure how the series can continue, but if it does, I’ll watch it.
AMC’s The Son The Complete First Season finds its way onto DVD. Pierce Brosnan stars in this look at a family’s rise along with America’s rise during the oil boom. My parents really liked the show and I did as well. It’s not as action-oriented as a Hell on Wheels, but to me it’s much more dramatic. Some people don’t like the pacing of it, but I think it adds tension. In today’s ridiculous world some people might think it’s racist, but they have no perspective. The time period the show is based on was a much different time. Brosnan is great and continues the line of great leading men on AMC. Think of it as a western Dallas I guess. If you like AMC shows and haven’t checked this one out, you should.
Second to last we have Legend of Bruce Lee Volume Three. I have a love/hate relationship with this series. I like Bruce Lee, I just wish these were better. Just like the previous volumes I like the story more than the production. Danny Chan continues to make for a good Bruce Lee, but I find myself snickering while watching these. Volume 3 is the last 10 episodes and involves a lot of the Bruce Lee stories us Americans might know. I like Ray Park and Michael Jai White as well, but the look and production are so bad. It’s worth watching if you’ve seen the previous volumes and want to know more about Bruce.
Last we have The Best of The Carol Burnett Show 50th Anniversary Edition. This is a 6 DVD collection including 16 episodes. I wasn’t born when this show first aired so I enjoy watching these DVDs when they come way. They are iconic TV and are just as timely today as they were decades ago. They are just as funny as well. This is a good grouping of episodes including the first show and the finale. Mrs. Wiggins is prime Burnett and shows you how talented she is. Her back and forth with Tim Conway is just perfect. There are bloopers, but how they didn’t break character more often is beyond me. This new release does feature bloopers of course because that was part of what made the show so great. There are all kinds of guests stars, but it was the main cast that made the show legendary. If you have any of these collections already, add this one to your library too.