Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hitting Shelves 8.27

There's actually not a ton of stuff out there this week, but there's a few pretty great releases from Scream Factory and Arrow well worth adding to your collection.

Dark Angel

Detective Jack Caine (Dolph Lundgren, Joshua Tree, The Expendables) thought he’d dealt with every kind of crime on earth. But now, someone is using human bodies to manufacture narcotics. Someone – or something – not of this world.
To the Alien that has arrived on earth, humans represent ideal drug factories because of our endorphins. To detective Caine, the Alien represents mankind’s worst threat. If the alien’s mission succeeds, our planet will be destroyed. Together with his straight-arrow FBI partner (Brian Benben, Private Practice) and his girlfriend, the city coroner (Betsy Brantley, Deep Impact), Caine is going to send this alien home in pieces!

I'd somehow actually never even heard of this one before, but it's one of my favorite new discoveries of the year. This one has it all; an alien drug dealer, throat slashings galore, brain spikings, so many explosions that I lost count and best of all, Dolph Lundgren really kicking a guy in the face. Any aspiring actors take note, if you miss your marks a huge Swedish dude will kick you in the face and knock you unconscious.

I can't recommend this one enough for those of you who enjoy early 90's action packed sci-fi films, it's just a great deal of fun. Pick it up now from Scream. Or Amazon if you prefer.

Q: The Winged Serpent

Its name is Quetzalcoatl, a dragon-like Aztec god that is summoned to modern-day Manhattan by a mysterious cult. But just call it “Q”…because that is all you’ll be able to say before it tears you apart! Roosting within the top of the Chrysler Building, this fearsome monster begins raining blood – from the bodies of window washers, construction workers and rooftop sunbathers alike – onto the streets of New York!
Director Larry Cohen (It’s Alive, Maniac Cop) “proves himself to be among the most creative, original and intelligent American horror film directors [with] this bizarre masterwork” (TV Guide), while the fantastic cast includes Michael Moriarty (Law & Order), who’s “fun to watch” (Roger Ebert) as a small-time thief who finds the nest of the creature, and Richard Roundtree (Shaft) and David Carradine (Kill Bill) as New York’s finest, hot on the serpentine tail of the bloodthirsty Q!

Larry Cohen's weirdo take on giant monsters hits Blu-ray for the first time with a brand new audio commentary from Cohen himself. Quetzacoatl is a pretty cool looking monster, but I'm not a big fan of the monster attack portions of the film - the stop motion stuff is just a bit too wonky for me. However Michael Moriarty is pretty great in this and he and David Carradine play off of each other amazingly well. Their back and forth is highly amusing and make Q The Winged Serpent well worth a watch.

Get it from Scream or Amazon.

For the Region B or Region Free readers out there Arrow Video has a couple of excellent classics out on Blu-ray this week; Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits, and Roger Corman's The Fall of the House of Usher. Both of which are packed with features and come in standard and steelbook cases. You can get Time Bandits and Usher can be picked up here.

The film that established Terry Gilliam as more than just Monty Python’s resident animator, this delightfully inventive children’s fantasy is about young Kevin (Craig Warnock) who finds himself travelling through holes in the space-time continuum in the company of half a dozen fractious dwarfs.

Along the way, he encounters Agamemnon (Sean Connery), Robin Hood (John Cleese), Napoleon (Ian Holm) and winds up as a passenger on the Titanic, although not necessarily in that order. But is this just random entertainment laid on for history fan Kevin’s benefit, or part of a wider struggle between the forces of good (Ralph Richardson) and evil (David Warner)?

At the time, this was a rare example of a small-budget British film successfully taking on American blockbusters. Now, it's a much-loved fantasy classic bursting with inspired images and ideas: Gilliam and co-writer Michael Palin (who also appears) are clearly enjoying themselves as much as their audience.

Special Features:
-Brand new 2k-resolution restoration of the film from the original camera negative, approved by director and co-writer Terry Gilliam
-Original uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio options
-Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Chasing Time Bandits: A new interview with Terry Gilliam
-Writing the Film that Dares Not Speak its Name: A new interview in which Michael Palin discusses co-writing and acting in Time Bandits
-The Effects of Time Bandits: A new interview in which Kent Houston, founder of the Peerless Camera Company, discusses Time Bandits’ optical effects
-Playing Evil: A new featurette in which actor David Warner remembers producer George Harrison and playing Evil in Time Bandits
-The Costumes of Time Bandits: A new interview with costume designer James Acheson
-The Look of Time Bandits: A new interview with production designer Milly Burns
-From Script to Screen – A new animated featurette in which Milly Burns takes us through her production notebooks, locations photographs and storyboards revealing how twentieth century Morocco was transformed into Ancient Greece
-Original Trailer
-Restoration Demonstration
-Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver

Region B


When exploitation maestro Roger Corman decided to raise his game by hiring Vincent Price to star in an adaptation of a classic tale by Edgar Allan Poe, he set in train a series of Poe adaptations that would redefine American horror cinema.

When Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon) visits his fiancée Madeleine Usher (Myrna Fahey) in her crumbling family mansion, her brother Roderick (Price) tries to talk him out of the wedding, explaining that the Usher family is cursed and that extending its bloodline will only prolong the agony. Madeleine wants to elope with Philip, but neither of them can predict what ruthless lengths Roderick will go to in order to keep them apart.

Richard Matheson's intelligent, literate script is enhanced by Floyd Crosby's stylish widescreen cinematography, but it's Vincent Price's anguished conviction in one of his signature roles that makes the film so chillingly memorable over half a century on.

Special Features:
-High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the feature, transferred from original film elements by MGM
-Original uncompressed 2.0 Mono PCM Audio
-Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Audio commentary with director and producer Roger Corman
-Legend to Legend: An interview with director and former Corman apprentice Joe Dante
-Interview with author and Gothic horror expert Jonathan Rigby
-Fragments of the House of Usher: A Specially-commissioned video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns examining Corman’s film in relation to Poe’s story
-Archival interview with Vincent Price
-Original Trailer
-Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
-Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and critic Tim Lucas and an extract from Vincent Price’s long out of print autobiography, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

Region B

Those of you without region free capabilities who are dying for a high def copy of Usher, it will be released next month in Scream's Vincent Price Collection set - though you will be missing out on the awesome steelbook case.

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