Best Blu-ray Catalog Releases of 2016

2016 was a standout year for physical media releases by any measure.  Classics, genre or current all had stellar releases.  Many small companies and labels made bigger pushes this year, and there were new kids on the block as well (looking at you Indicator).  The big boys kept being big boys, and some added another imprint (Shout! Select)

Here, with apologies to new films, the focus is catalog releases.  Recognized releases take into account tech specs, extras, packaging and the film itself as well as previous releases of the film (and the shape the elements were in).

They are not ordered, just listed.  So without further ado here are the best single film and multi-film releases of 2016. (*note – some specific extras details have been sourced from the distributors and bluray.com)

 

Single Movie:

 

Deep Red  – Arrow Home Video (UK)

deep-red-arrow-video

A glorious 4k restoration of Dario Argento’s masterful Profondo Rosso would have been enough, but this limited edition from Arrow comes packed with more goodies than a six foot pinata.  If you missed out on the limited, there is a regular release that will still make fans scream.

Details:

Disc One: Director’s Cut

 

  • Introduction – a short video introduction by composer Claudio Simonetti from the legendary Italian band Goblin. In English, not subtitled. (1 min,.
  • Italian Trailer – original Italian trailer for Profondo Rosso. With music and effects only. (2 min).
  • Rosso Recollections – in this featurette, the legendary Italian director explains how Profondo Rosso came to exist, and discusses the film’s characters, his family, the films he liked while growing up, etc. In Italian, with imposed English subtitles. (13 min).
  • The Lady in Red – in this video interview, the Italian actress discusses her contribution to Profondo Rosso and relationship with Dario Argento during and after the shooting of the film. In Italian and English, with imposed English subtitles where needed. (21 min, 1080p).
  • Music to Murder For! – in this video interview, musician Claudio Simonetti discusses his relationship with Dario Argento, the history of Goblin, how the soundtrack for Profondo Rosso was created, etc. In English, not subtitled. (15 min, 1080p).
  • Profondo Rosso: From Celluloid to Shop – a fascinating tour of the Profondo Rosso shop in Rome with long-time Dario Argento collaborator Luigi Cozzi. In Italian and English, with imposed English subtitles where necessary. (15 min, 1080p).
  • Profondo Giallo – in this new video essay, Michael Mackenzie offers a detailed analysis of Profondo Rosso and discusses Dario Argento’s career as well as the evolution of his directing style. In English, not subtitled. (33 min).
  • Audio Commentary – a very good, very informative audio commentary with Danish filmmaker and Dario Argento expert Thomas Rostock, who discusses Profondo Rosso and the legacy of its creator, the film’s unique narrative and characters, production history, the various locations seen throughout the film, etc. In English, not subtitled.

Disc Two: Export Theatrical Cut

 

  • Trailer – original trailer for Deep Red. In English, not subtitled. (3 min).

Soundtrack

 

  • Soundtrack – 28-track CD featuring the entire Profondo Rosso film soundtrack from Italian progressive rock band Goblin and composer Giorgio Gaslini. The CD is included only with the new Limited Edition Blu-ray release of Profondo Rosso.

Additional Content

 

  • Lobby Cards – 6 x postcard-sized lobby card reproductions.
  • Poster – double-sided fold-out poster featuring two original artworks.
  • Sleeve – reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx.
  • Booklet – limited edition booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film and an archive piece by critic Alan Jones, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.

 

Bride of the Re-Animator – Arrow Video (US,UK)

bride-of-re-animator-2

Sometimes a film you want in a suped-up special edition comes out, and sometimes a film you didn’t want does.  SOMETIMES that special edition is so lovingly put together, so engorged with extras, so damn beautiful that you could almost not care what the film is.  In this case while not a great film, this special effects tour-de-force gets a special edition worth its price and then some.

Details:

Unrated Version (1080p; 1:37:45)

    • Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride (1080p; 9:37) is a fun reminiscence by the director, who gives a brief but detailed accounting of some background information. There are some enjoyable candids included.
    • Splatter Masters (1080p; 14:39) focuses on the SFX, and includes interviews with Robert Kurtzman, Screaming Mad George, Tony Doublin and John Buechler.
    • Getting Ahead in Horror (1080p; 23:50) features archival behind the scenes footage.
    • Deleted Scenes
    • Meg is Re-Animated (1080p; 8:04) is actually a kind of “making of” detailing this sequence.
    • Carnival Sequence (1080p; 2:03) features audio of the cast and crew talking about the sequence playing out under stills.
    • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 1:53)
  • Audio Commentaries
    • Audio Commentary by Brian Yuzna also features David Gregory
    • Audio Commentary with Cast and Crew features Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs, Howard Berger, Robert Kurtzman, Tom Rainone, Mike Deak, Screaming Mad George, John Buechler
    • Audio Commentary with Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott

R Rated Version (1080p; 1:37:45)

  • Behind the Scenes Reel (1080i; 14:30)

This deluxe Arrow package also includes a beautifully illustrated booklet reprinting Re-Animator Dawn of the Re-Animator from Adventure Comics in 1992. The insert booklet contains an essay by Michael Blyth of BFI.

 

The Hills Have Eyes – Arrow Video (US, UK)

hillseyes

The best that a fan of any horror classic could hope for, Arrow gives a well rounded and beautifully presented set of Wes Craven’s classic.  A shelf addition to be proud of.

Details:

  • Brand new 4K restoration of the film, supervised by producer Peter Locke and viewable with both original and alternate endings
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • 6 x postcards
  • Reversible fold-out poster featuring new and original artwork
  • Limited edition booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Brad Stevens and a consideration of the Hills franchise by Ewan Cant, illustrated with original archive stills
  • Brand new audio commentary with actors Michael Berryman, Janus Blythe, Susan Lanier and Martin Speer
  • Brand new audio commentary by academic Mikel J. Koven
  • Audio commentary with Wes Craven and Peter Locke
  • Looking Back on The Hills Have Eyes – making-of documentary featuring interviews with Craven, Locke, actors Michael Berryman, Dee Wallace, Janus Blythe, Robert Houston, Susan Lanier and director of photography Eric Saarinen
  • Brand new interview with actor Martin Speer
  • The Desert Sessions – brand new interview with composer Don Peake
  • Never-before-seen Outtakes
  • Alternate ending, in HD for the first time
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery
  • Original Screenplay (BD/DVD-ROM Content)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper

 

 

Year of the Dragon – Carlotta (FR)

carlotta-films_sorties_video_mars_juin_002

 

If you haven’t gotten to know Carlotta, do.  Their treatment of under the radar US classics put most of their stateside counterparts releases to shame.  They are well thought out, well produced and cocktail table worthy.  If you are a Cimino fan, you owe yourself this.

Details:

  • Bande-annonce – original theatrical trailer for Year of the Dragon. In English, with optional French subtitles. (3 min).
  • Preface de Jean-Baptiste Thoret – exclusive new filmed video introduction by French film historian Jean-Baptiste Thoret. In French, not subtitled. (9 min).
  • Au Coeur du Dragon – in this wonderful new audio interview, director Michael Cimino explains how Year of the Dragon came to exist, and discusses how various sequences were choreographed and shot (with some terrific comments about the reconstruction of Chinatown), his interactions with the actors and some real Chinese gangsters, the evolution of Chinatown in New York City, the film’s critical reception, some quite interesting comments Stanley Kubrick and Clint Eastwood had about the film and his work, etc. In English, with optional French subtitles. (28 min).
  • Book – 208-page hardcover book with writings on the film, the original script for the film, reprinted interviews, and production notes. Also included in the book are 50 archival production photos. Oliver Stone’s script is in English, while the rest of the printed material is in French.

 

Body Double – Carlotta (FR)

body

 

See above and double it.  Stunning.

Details:

  • Preface de Samuel Blumenfeld – new video introduction to the film by writer and film historian Samuel Blumenfeld. In French, not subtitled. (8 min).
  • Bande-annonce – original theatrical trailer for Body Double. In English, with optional French subtitles. (2 min).
  • Pure Cinema – in this new documentary film, first assistant director Joe Napolitano recalls his first encounter with Brian De Palma (which was prior to the shooting of Blow Out) and discusses the director’s working methods, the shooting of various sequences from Body Double (with some very interesting comments about Melanie Griffith’s performance), the desire to make the sleezy side of the adult world depicted in the film look classy, production designer Ida Random’s invaluable contribution to the film, the various locations that were used in the films, some of the unique framing choices that were made, the brilliant use of music, etc. The documentary was produced by Robert Fischer for Fiction Factory. In English, with optional French subtitles. (39 min).
  • Featurettes – presented here are four archival featurettes. In English, with optional French subtitles.1. La seduction/The Seduction – Brian De Palma addresses the type of research and discusses the auditions that were done during the pre-production process and addresses some popular myths and half-truths. Melanie Griffith and Deborah Shelton also recall how they became involved with Body Double. (17 min).2. La mise en scene/The Setup – Brian De Palma and cast members discuss how various sequences were shot and some of the obvious Hitchcockian overtones in them. (17 min).3. Le mystere/The Mystery – Brian De Palma and cast members discuss the adult footage that was created for the film, including the sequence with Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and the use of music. (13 min).4. La polemique/The Controversy – Brian De Palma, Deborah Shelton, Gregg Henry, Dennis Franz, and Melanie Griffith discuss some of the unusually harsh reactions the film inspired and explain why it has become a cult classic. (6 min).
  • Book – 200-page hardcover book with writings on the film, in French, and numerous archival and production photos.

 

10 Rillington Place – Powerhouse: Indicator Series (UK:Region Free)

rill

 

Newcomer Powerhouse has made quite a splash with releases and announcements like Body Double, The Last Detail and Christine but the standout for this Monsters $$ is this Richard Fleischer directed Richard Attenborough powerhouse (sorry).  A gem of a film that would be great to simply have a nice copy of, Powerhouse doesn’t stop there in giving it the treatment that it has long deserved.  Can’t wait to see how these guys play out.

Details:

  • Introduction – filmed video introduction by Richard Attenborough. In English, not subtitled. (2 min).
  • Interview – in this archival video interview, Richard Attenborough discusses why character work was so important to him, how he became involved with 10 Rillington Place, his opinion on capital punishment, his interactions with during the shooting of the film, the real John Reginald Christie, etc. In English, not subtitled. (23 min).
  • Being Beryl – in this new featurette, Judy Geeson recalls how she prepared to play Beryl Evans, the simple yet very authentic visual style of 10 Rillington Place, John Hurt’s performance, Richard Attenborough’s magnificent character transformation, Dick Fleischer’s working methods, the real locations where the film was shot, etc. The featurette was produced by Robert Fischer for Fiction Factory. In English, not subtitled. (23 min).
  • Audio Commentary – John Hurt discusses in great detail how and where specific sequences were shot, some of the interesting qualities of the character he played, the real John Reginald Christie and the tactics that he might have used to get closer to his victims, Richard Attenborough’s performance, etc.
  • Audio Commentary – in this audio commentary, Judy Geeson talks about her involvement with 10 Rillington Place, the character she played, the impact the film had on her career, etc. Also participating are Nick Redman and Lem Dobbs.
  • Trailer – original trailer for 10 Rillington Place. In English, not subtitled. (4 min).
  • Image Gallery – a gallery of original promotional materials for the film.
  • Isolated Score – presented as LPCM 2.0 track.
  • Booklet – 32-page illustrated booklet featuring Thirza Wakefield’s essay “The House of Death”, authentic newspaper reports about the 10 Rillington Place murders compiled and annotated by Jeff Billington, and technical credits.

 

The Return of the Living Dead – Scream Factory (US)

rotld

Scream has no shortage of candidates in any given year, but with this RotLD they show that when it comes to cult they are without peer stateside in getting it right.  Without the documentary this release probably could have made this list.  With it, it is the standout release of the year for Scream (with apologies to the release below).

Details:

    • The Decade of Darkness (1080i; 23:23) is an older featurette focusing on 80s horror entries.
    • Theatrical Trailers (1080p; 8:31)
    • T.V. Spots (1080p; 5:22)
    • Still Gallery (1080p; 7:22) features lobby cards, posters and the like.
    • Still Gallery (1080p; 2:06) has some cool behind the scenes stills of make-up and prosthetics.
    • Commentaries:
  • Gary Smart, co-author of The Complete History of The Return of the Living Dead, and Chris Griffiths*
  • Actors Thom Mathews, John Philbin and Make-Up Effects Artist Tony Gardner*
  • Director Dan O’Bannon and Production Designer William Stout
  • The Cast and Crew (William Stout, Don Calfa, Linnea Quigley, Brian Peck, Beverly Randolph, Allan Trautman)

Disc Two

    • More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead (1080p; 1:59:43) is an extremely well done and very informative documentary that gets into a lot of the nuts and bolts of the production. A number of cogent interviews with many of the principal cast and crew help to keep this a treasure trove of information for fans.
    • The FX of The Return of the Living Dead (1080p; 32:49) is another really well done piece, concentrating on the film’s many effects.
    • Party Time: The Music of The Return of the Living Dead (1080p; 29:31) features some fun interviews with (ostensibly?) former punk rockers.
    • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (1080p; 10:15) offers a tour through some of the film’s locations.
    • A Conversation with Dan O’Bannon (1080i; 28:32) finds the writer-director in a wonderfully self-deprecating mood.
    • The Origins of The Return of the Living Dead (1080p; 15:12) features John A. Russo.
    • The Return of the Living Dead: The Dead Have Risen (1080i; 20:34) is another older piece that features some decent interviews.
    • Designing the Dead (1080i; 13:39) looks at the film’s production design.
  • Return of the Living Dead Workprint (480i; 1:48:05) will be fun for completists, but is sourced from pretty shoddy looking video.

 

 

The Thing – Scream Factory (US)

product_images_modal_thething_beautyshot72dpi__7b39b48e85-453d-4f3b-8c32-9f0c04df38ea_7d

 

In a world that already had a great Thing release, it would be hard to really improve on it a lot.  Scream found a way, combining most of what came before with some fantastic new material and a gorgeous new transfer.  In any other year this would be their crowning achievement, but it narrowly misses this year.  It strongly makes this list nevertheless.

Details:

Disc One (with the feature film)

    • Theatrical and Teaser Trailers
    • Theatrical Trailers (1080p; 3:27)
    • German Trailer (1080p; 1:47)
    • Teaser Trailer (1080p; 1:22)
    • TV Spots (1080p; 1:35)
    • Radio Spots (1080p; 2:27) also offers a bit of “extracurricular” footage, as well as Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”.
    • Still Galleries
    • Behind the Scenes (1080p; 4:47)
    • Lobby Cards and Press Stills (1080p; 4:18)
    • Programs (1080p; 1:44)
    • Posters (1080p; 1:59)
    • Storyboards (1080p; 2:34)
    • Production Artwork (1080p; 1:24)
    • Audio Commentary with Dean Cundey
    • Audio Commentary with Co-Producer Stuart Cohen
    • Audio Commentary by Director John Carpenter and Actor Kurt Russell

Disc Two (Bonus Features)

  • Interviews
  • Requiem for a Shapeshifter (1080p; 28:39) features John Carpenter being interviewed by Mick Garris.
  • The Men of Outpost 31 (1080p; 51:14) features interviews with several of the supporting players.
  • Assembling and Assimilation (1080p; 11:09) features editor Todd Ramsay.
  • Behind the Chameleon (1080p; 25:26) is a fun overview of some shapeshifting activities with Peter Kuran, Visual Effects Supervisor.
  • Sounds from the Cold (1080p; 14:53) features Alan Howarth, Special Sound Effects and Music.
  • Between the Lines (1080p; 15:58) features author Alan Dean Foster.
  • More of The Thing
  • Network TV Broadcast Version of The Thing (480i; 1:33:45) is sourced from pretty spotty looking video.
  • John Carpenter’s The Thing: Terror Takes Shape (1080i; 1:24:03) is a really well done in depth piece on the background and production of the film.
  • The Making of a Chilling Tale (480i; 5:14) is a brief vintage featurette.
  • The Making of The Thing (480i; 9:20) is another archival piece.
  • Featurettes
  • The Art of Mike Ploog (1080p; 12:21) is a nice tour through some storyboards.
  • Back into the Cold (1080p; 11:16) visits some of the film’s locations.
  • Outtakes (1080i; 5:19)
  • Vintage Featurettes (480i; 13:20)
  • Vintage Product Reel (480i; 19:38)
  • Vintage Behind the Scenes Footage (480i; 2:02)
  • Annotated Production Archive (1080i; 54:12)

 

 

Road Games – Umbrella Entertainment (AUS-Region Free)

roadgames-bluray-cover

 

A great Ausie film, affectionately restored and packed to the waistband with more delights than The White Witch could muster.  Umbrella has put out some fantastic releases the last couple of years.  It’s time we started talking about them more.

Details:

  • Trailer – original restored trailer for Road Games. In English, not subtitled. (3 min).
  • Image Gallery and Essay – presented here is a very large collection of original promotional and archival materials (stills, posters, photographs, newspapers clips, production stills), as well as an exclusive visual essay by Fangoria writer Lee Gambin. Without sound. (33 min).
  • Audio Interview with Grant Page – in this new audio interview, stunt coordinator and actor Grant Page (the killer) explains how he became involved with Road Games and discusses his contribution to the film. The interview was conducted exclusively for Umbrella Entertainment in 2016. In English, not subtitled. (33 min).
  • Audio Interview with Stacy Keach – in this new audio interview, actor Stacy Keach (Pat Quid) mentions that Road Games is one of his favorite films and discusses his work with Richard Franklin, some of the unique qualities of his character, the tone and style of the film, his interactions with Jamie Lee Curtis, etc. The interview was conducted exclusively for Umbrella Entertainment in 2016. In English, not subtitled. (10 min).
  • Audio Interview with Richard Franklin – in this archival audio interview, director Richard Franklin discusses the early stages of his career, his interactions and work with various prominent figures from the film business, the production history of Road Games (with some very interesting comments about the script), etc. The interview was conducted exclusively for Umbrella Entertainment in 2001. In English, not subtitled. (24 min).
  • Interview with Richard Franklin – in this archival featurette, dierctor Richard Franklin discusses his early work and some of his stylistic preferences. The featurette also includes raw footage from the shooting of different films. The interview was conducted in 1981. In English, not subtitled. (25 min).
  • Not Quite Hollywood Interviews – presented here are excerpts from interviews conducted by director Mark Hartley for his documentary Not Quite Hollywood (2008). Jamie Lee Curtis, Stacy Keach, dierctor/producer Richard Franklin, Grant Page, and screenwriter Everett De Roche talk about their involvement with Road Gamesand discuss some of the film’s unique qualities. In English, not subtitled. (64 min).
  • 4K Featurette with Vincent Monton – in this new featurette, cinematographer Vincent Monton discusses the visual style and atmosphere of Road Games and the new digital restoration of the film. The featurette was produced exclusively for Umbrella Entertainment in 2016. In English, not subtitled. (11 min).
  • Road Games Lecture – presented here is a filmed lecture with director Richard Franklin, coproducer Barbi Taylor, and composer Brian May. The three guests answer a wide variety of questions about Road Games, its characters, and style and structure. The lecture was filmed on November 20, 1980. VHS quality. In English, not subtitled. (131 min).
  • Kangaroo Hitchcock: The Making of Road Games – in this archival featurette, director Richard Franklin discusses his association with Hitchcock, early work and the production history of Road Games (the original intent was to have Sean Connery play the main protagonist). Stacey Keach also recalls how he was approached with an offer to play Pat Quid and some of the interesting work he had to do during the shooting of the film. In English, not subtitled. (21 min).
  • Audio Commentary – this archival audio commentary initially appeared on Anchor Bay’s out of print DVD release of Road Games. Director Richard Franklin explains in great detail how Road Games was shot, and discusses some unique lensing choices, some interesting changes in the original story, the atmosphere of the film, etc.
  • Cover – reversible cover.

 

Petey Wheatstraw – Vinegar Syndrome (US)

petey

 

Vinegar Syndrome puts more care into their releases than almost anyone I can think of, but what they have done with Rudy Ray Moore’s ouvre is really something special.  Do yourself a favor and pick up this, Dolemite, Disco Godfather AND the Human Tornado.  If you just get one though, get this.

Details:

  • Commentary features Rudy Ray Moore biographer Mark Jason Murray, co-star and set designer Jimmy Lynch, and “closing comments” from Cliff Roquemore.
  • “I, Dolemite: Part III” (18:08, HD) continues the Rudy Ray Moore discussion, bringing in cast, crew, and family to provide an understating of “Petey Wheatstraw,” which generated a creative detour for the star after finding success with “Dolemite.” BTS anecdotes are amusing and interesting, including the belief that a hotel filming location was haunted. The featurette has the right mix of emotion and memory, providing an efficient summary of production achievements.
  • “Shooting Locations Revisited” (8:53, SD) joins Moore as he visits famous sights from his filmography, sharing stories about his career, and even taking time to pick up his mail along the way.
  • Still Gallery collects images from various theatrical and home video releases, along with publicity pictures.
  • Soundtrack offers 11 tracks for your listening pleasure.

 

Tenebrae – Synapse (US)

tenebrae-blu-ray-steelbook-02

 

What a year to be an Argento fan.  Synapse shows once again that they understand what you need to do to call something a special edition.  They know what to do with a steelbook too.

Details:

  • Commentary features film critic Maitland McDonagh.
  • English Sequence Insert Shots are available via seamless branching.
  • “Yellow Fever: The Rise and Fall of the Giallo” (89:24, HD) is a feature-length examination of the popular suspense genre, directed by Callum Waddell. Collecting interviews from some of the brightest analytical minds when it comes to giallo and its influences and inspirations, the documentary submits an engaging overview of creative highlights, with special emphasis on Dario Argento’s filmography. The maestro himself participates in the conversation. “Yellow Fever” is a fluid and fun picture, and a proper education for those interested in giallo and its artful, exploitative history.
  • Alternate Main Titles (2:15, HD) are offered.
  • Alternate “Unsane” Closing Credits (1:53, HD) use Kim Wilde’s “Take Me Tonight” to finish off the movie. Purists tend to scoff at this choice, but it’s not all that inappropriate, giving the feature a pleasing synth-pop send-off.
  • And an International Trailer (3:16, SD) and Japanese Trailer (2:11, SD) are included
  • Bonus Compact Disc (19 Track) All-new 2015 restoration of the soundtrack containing additional track not included on 1982 release.
  • Steelbook by Silver Ferox Design

 

 

One Eyed Jacks – Criterion (US)

eyed

 

Anyone who doesn’t understand why this is here, go and get any previous release of this film and endure the abominable transfer that Charles Lang’s beautiful cinematography received.  Add to it some Brando ramblings and a great video essay, and you get a standout release of  a unique and beautiful interpretation of an American western.

Details:

  • Trailer – original trailer for One-Eyed Jacks. In English, not subtitled. (5 min, 1080p.)
  • Introduction by Martin Scorsese – this video introduction by director Martin Scorsese was recorded in 2016 by The Film Foundation for the upcoming special presentation of the new restoration of One-Eyed Jacks the Cannes Film Festival. In English, not subtitled. (3 min, 1080p).
  • Marlon Brando – presented here is a collection of audio selections which Marlon Brando likely recorded in 1958 while Stanley Kubrick was still set to direct One-Eyed Jacks. Many of these selections highlight key differences between Marlon Brando’s original vision and what ended up being the final version of the film which Paramount edited and distributed in cinemas across the United States. In English, not subtitled. (34 min, 1080p).
  • A Million Feet of Film – presented here is a brand new video essay by film historian Toby Roan which focuses on the fascinating production history of One-Eyed Jacks. In English, not subtitled. (24 min, 1080p).
  • I Ain’t Hung Yet – presented here is a new video essay by filmmaker and critic David Cairns which focuses on the visual style and narrative structure of One-Eyed Jacks. In English, not subtitled. (25 min, 1080p).
  • Leaflet – an illustrated leaflet featuring writer Howard Hampton’s essay “Zen Nihilism” and technical credits.

 

The Taking of Pelham 123 – Kino Lorber (US)

phelam

 

Kino Lorber has done a great job of releasing under the radar films from the 60’s to the 80’s with their Classics Label. X aside, 2016 saw their best release to date.  Pelham is not just a tremendous film, but with strong video and audio plus a great commentary and interviews KL puts one on the big board.

Details:

  • Commentary features actor Pat Healy and film historian Jim Healy.
  • Interview (12:01, HD) with Hector Elizondo discusses the specialness of working in New York City during its downfall in the 1970s, supplies adoration for director Joseph Sargent, shares memories of his co-stars (including Matthau, who convinced the actor to quit smoking), and explores his approach to the character.
  • Interview (9:06, HD) with composer David Shire explores the jazzy influences that helped to shape the iconic score, along with his general reluctance to play into musical trends of the day, trying to generate an unusual sound for the picture.
  • Interview (9:08, HD) with editor Gerald Greenberg chats up his professional position at the time of production and his role in helping the feature work its way through structural problems that required some additional shooting.
  • “Trailers from Hell” (2:29, SD) discusses “Pelham” with director Josh Olson, who shares trivia and love for the movie.
  • Animated Montage of Stills and Posters (2:19) provides the viewer with a look at publicity efforts.
  • And a Theatrical Trailer (2:32, HD) is included.

 

 

I Drink Your Blood – Grindhouse Releasing (US)

idrink

 

You could put a Grindhouse release on here just about every year, but they really killed it with I Drink Your Blood.  The Extras, the transfer, the additional film (Blue Sextet), the syringe and the package…….sigh.  Bravo GH.

Details:

  • Booklet (six pages) contains essays by David Szulkin, Tyde Kierney, and John Damon.

Disc 1

  • Commentary #1 (Theatrical X-Rated Cut) features David E. Durston and Bhaskar.
  • Commentary #2 (Theatrical X-Rated Cut) features Jack Damon and Tyde Kierney.
  • Commentary #3 (Director’s Cut) features Durston and Bhaskar.
  • Deleted Scenes (6:04, HD) offer the additional material prepared for the Director’s Cut, with optional commentary by Durston and Bhaskar.
  • Out-Takes (3:11, HD) provide a peek at the “I Drink Your Blood” production process, showing the cast and crew putting scenes together for the movie.

Disc 2

  • “The I Drink Your Blood Show” (28:53, SD) travels to Durston’s back porch, where he interviews actors Lynn Lowry, Damon, and Kierney, along with ad man Barney Cohen, who was responsible for the “I Drink Your Blood” and “I Eat Your Skin” double feature.
  • Interview (59:52, SD) with Durston is an extensive conversation about his early years and rise through the industry, discussing his filmography and moviemaking education. Talk eventually turns to “I Drink Your Blood,” and it’s interesting to see how, after all these years, the picture’s treatment during its initial theatrical release still upsets Durston, who shares fascinating anecdotes about the production.
  • “‘I Drink Your Blood’ Reunion” (34:59, SD) captures a 2004 screening of the movie at the New Beverly Theater, with Durston, Lowry, Kierney, and Arlene Farber sharing stories and taking questions after the film.
  • “Cinema Wasteland” (17:11, SD) is a 2004 Q&A with Durston and Lowry at a horror convention.
  • “Cinema Wasteland” (3:49, SD) is a short interview with Durston at his autograph table.
  • Bonus Feature: “I Eat Your Skin” (81:21, HD)
  • Interview (18:14, HD) with “I Eat Your Skin” 2nd Unit Director William Grefe covers career highlights and on-set memories.
  • Bonus Feature: “Blue Sextet” (89:26, HD)
  • Commentary features Jack Damon.
  • German Super 8 Versions: “Haus Des Blutigen Schreckens” (15:59, SD) and “Die Satansbande” (23:45, SD).
  • Bios & Filmographies are supplied for Durston, Bhaskar, and producer Larry Gross.
  • Galleries include: “Production Stills” (35 images), “Cast & Crew” (41 images), “Theatrical – U.S.” (43 images), “Theatrical – Foreign” (31 images), “Video Releases” (32 images), and “Blood-Horrors” (49 images).
  • Radio Spot (:59) is presented.
  • And a Theatrical Trailer (2:49, HD) is included.

 

 

The Man Who Fell to Earth – Studiocanal (UK)

 

manwho

 

In any year this is a release that would vie for best of the year, in this year it kinda makes you cry too.  It’s coming stateside soon for those who are R1.  Just buy it.

Details:

 

  • Trailer – original trailer for The Man Who Fell to Earth. In English, not subtitled. (3 min).
    • Poster – A4 poster of new theatrical quad.
      • Interviews
      • 1. Candy Clark – in this archival interview, Candy Clark recalls how she became involved with The Man Who Fell to Earth and discusses her professional relationship with Nic Roeg during the shooting of the film. The actress also discusses some key themes and relationships from the film. In English, with optional German subtitles. (28 min).
      • 2. Paul Mayersberg – in this archival interview, writer Paul Mayersberg discusses his long professional relationship with Nic Roeg and the evolution of the original script for The Man Who Fell Earth (with some very interesting comments about the political themes in the novel that inspired the film, as well as some specific changes that were made in the final version of the script). In English, with optional German subtitles. (32 min).
      • 3. Tony Richmond – in this archival interview, Tony Richmond recalls how he was approached and invited to work with Nic Roeg on The Man Who Fell to Earth. The cinematographer also explains how and where different portions of the film were shot, as well as what it was like to work with David Bowie. In English, with optional German subtitles. (22 min).
      • 4. Nic Roeg – in this archival interview, Nic Roeg recalls how he entered the film business, and discusses the shooting of The Man Who Fell to Earth and his interactions with David Bowie during the process. In English, with optional German subtitles. (33 min).
      • 5. May Routh – in this new interview, costume designer May Routh discusses her professional career and contribution to The Man Who Fell to Earth. In English, with optional German subtitles. (15 min).
      • 6. David James – in this new video interview, stills photographer recalls how he was invited by Nic Roeg to join his team and discusses the director’s working methods. In English, with optional German subtitles. (9 min).
      • 7. Sam Taylor-Johnson – in this new video interview, writer/dierctor Sam Taylor Johnson (Fifty Shades of Gray) recalls her initial reaction to The Man Who Fell to Earth and the tremendous impact the film had on her. In English, with optional German subtitles. (12 min).
      • 8. Michael Deeley – in this new video interview, producer Michael Deeley discusses his involvement with The Man Who Fell to Earth and the film’s production history and success. In English, with optional German subtitles. (17 min).
      • The Lost Soundtracks – this brand new featurette takes a closer look at the scoring of The Man Who Fell to Earth. Included in it are clips from new interviews with arranger/composer/conductor Paul Buckmaster, producer Michael Deeley, and author/John Phillips biographer Chris Campion. In English, with optional German subtitles. (17 min).
      • Watching the Alien – presented here is a wonderful featurette in which director Nic Roeg, executive producer Si Litvinoff, actress Candy Clark, production designer Brian Eatwell, director of photography Anthony Richmond, editor Graeme Clifford, and costume designer May Routh recall how The Man Who Fell to Earth came to exist. Produced by David Gregory and Lizette Pena. Courtesy of Blue Underground, Inc. In English, with optional German subtitles. (25 min).
      • David Bowie Interview – presented here is an archival interview with David Bowie in which the star discusses his contribution to The Man Who Fell to Earth. The interview was conducted in 1977 for French TV. In French and English, with optional English and German subtitles where necessary. (9 min).
      • CD/Soundtrack – the entire soundtrack for The Man Who Fell to Earth is included on a separate CD.
      • Booklet – 70-page illustrated booklet with writings on the film, archival stills and promotional materials, and technical credits.
      • Press Book – included with the release is an original press book for The Man Who Fell to Earth.
      • Art Cards – four original art cards for The Man Who Fell to Earth.

 

Honorable Mention to: CriterionIn A Lonely Place, Manchurian Candidate, The Graduate, McCabe & Mrs Miller.  GrindhousePieces.  Eureka!The Man With the Movie Camera.  Umbrella EntertainmentThe Man From Hong Kong.  Scream FactoryCarrie.  Vinegar SyndromeDolemite, Disco Godfather, Death Machines.  ArrowDonnie Darko88 filmsSorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Evilspeak.  Kino LorborThe Pit.  Olive FilmsHigh Noon Signature Edition.  Carlotta FilmsThe Panic in Needle Park.

 

Best Sets:

 

Pioneers of African-American Cinema – Kino Classics (US)

afra

For the Micheaux films alone this would make this list, but with everything included this is one of the best sets released since the inception of the format.

Details:

  • Disc 1:“Two Knights of Vaudeville” (1915, 10:56)
    “Mercy, the Mummy Mumbled” (1918, 13:29)
    “A Reckless Rover” (1918, 14:07)
    “Within Our Gates” (1920, 73:41)
    “The Symbol of the Unconquered: A Story of the Ku Klux Klan” (1920, 59:15)
    “By Right of Birth” (1921, 4:40)
    “Body and Soul” (1921, 93:01)
    “Screen Snapshots” (1920, 1:40) – Taken from newsreel footage of Oscar Micheaux on the set of “The Brute.”Disc 2:“Regeneration” (1923, 11:33)
    “The Flying Ace” (1926, 65:48)
    “Ten Nights in a Bar Room” (1926, 63:56)
    “Reverend S.S. Jones Home Movies” (1924-1928, 16:11)
    “The Scar of Shame” (1929, 86:36)Disc 3:“Eleven P.M.” (1928, 66:42)
    “Hell-Bound Train” (1930, 50:57)
    “Verdict: Not Guilty” (1933, 8:41)
    “Heaven-Bound Travelers” (1935, 15:18)
    “The Darktown Revue” (1931, 18:26) – Subtitles are included.
    “The Exile” (1931, 78:26) – Subtitles are included.
    “Hot Biskits” (1931, 10:03) – Subtitles are included.Disc 4:“The Girl from Chicago” (1932, 70:43) – Subtitles are included.
    “Ten Minutes to Live” (1932, 57:58) – Subtitles are included.
    “Veiled Aristocrats” (1932, 44:10) – Subtitles are included.
    “Birthright” (1938, 13:39)Disc 5:“The Bronze Buckaroo” (1939, 58:03) – Subtitles are included.
    “Zora Neale Hurston Fieldwork Footage” (1928, 3:02)
    “Commandment Keeper Church” (1940, 15:41)
    “The Blood of Jesus” (1941, 56:29) – Subtitles are included.
    “Dirty Gertie from Harlem, U.S.A.” (1946, 60:24) – Subtitles are included.
    “Moses Sisters Interview” (1978, 32:05)
  • Booklet (76 pages) contains essays by Paul D. Miller, Charles Musser, Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, Rhea L. Combs, Mary N. Elliot, and a filmography.

Disc 1

  • “An Introduction” (7:30, HD) provides an overview of disc content, featuring film historians Jacqueline Najuma Stewart and Charles Musser.
  • “The Films of Oscar Micheaux” (8:49, HD) returns to Musser, who discusses the work of the pioneer moviemaker.

Disc 2

  • “The Color Line” (5:17, HD) supplies Musser’s thoughts on racial collaboration in film.
  • “Ten Nights in a Bar Room: An Introduction” (4:14, HD) – Musser offers a BTS explanation for the short.
  • “About the Restoration” (8:06, HD) provides an overview of the recovery effort, hosted by Bret Wood. Also of interest are examples of moviemaking mistakes that remain in the pictures, with disc producers resisting the urge to correct these admittedly humorous issues.

Disc 3

  • “Religion in Early African-America Cinema” (6:45, HD) returns to Stewart, who offers historical perspective on depictions and criticism of faith in the collected films.
  • “Eleven P.M.: An Introduction” (3:04, HD) – reunites with Musser for a brief discussion of the Richard Maurice film.
  • Interview (5:08, HD) with film historian S. Torriano Berry inspects the work of James and Eloyce Gist.

Disc 4

  • Trailers for “Veiled Aristocrats” (4:07, HD) and “Birthright” (3:52, HD) are included.
  • “We Work Again” (1937, 15:11, HD) is newsreel focusing on WPA projects across America.

Disc 5

  • “Tyler Texas Black Film Collection” (1985, 5:57, HD) is a promotional film hosted by Ossie Davis.
  • “The Films of Zora Neale Hurston” (1:50, HD) welcomes Library of Congress employee Mike Mashon, who discusses the discovery of a forgotten filmmaker’s work.
  • “The Films of Spencer Williams” (6:58, HD) reunites with Stewart, who identifies creative accomplishments from the former star of “Amos ‘n Andy.”
  • “The End of an Era” (4:42, HD) closes out the set with additional thoughts from Stewart.

 

Lone Wolf and Cub – Criterion (US)

 

Criterion continues to show that when they put their muscle behind it, their box-sets are hard to top.  The inclusion of the Shogun Assassin cut and the documentary are delightful dork frosting.

Details:

Disc One

  • Trailers – original Japanese trailers with optional English subtitles.1. Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance. (3 min, 1080i).
    2. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx. (3 min, 1080i).
    3. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (3 min, 1080i).

Disc Two

  • Trailers – original Japanese trailers with optional English subtitles.1. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril. (3 min, 1080i).
    2. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons. (3 min, 1080i).
    3. Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (3 min, 1080i).

Disc Three

  • Shogun Assassin (1980) – the film is presented in 1080p with English Dolby Digital 1.0 track. For additional information on the technical presentation, please see the video/audio sections of our review.
  • Trailer – newly remastered original trailer for Shogun Assassin. In English, not subtitled. (3 min, 1080p).
  • L’ame d’un Pere, L’ame d’un Sabre – this documentary film takes a closer look at the production history and success of the Lone Wolf and Cub film series, as well their visual style and atmosphere, the evolution of the relationship between the principal characters, and the role of sound/music. Included in it are clips from interviews with producer Masanori Sanada, manga novelist and screenwriter Kazuo Koike, dierctor Buichi Saito (Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril), novelist/Kenji Misumi biographer Kazuma Nozawa, and cinematographer Fujio Morita (Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons), amongst others. The documentary film was produced by French label Wild Side Films in 2005. In Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (53 min, 1080i).
  • Kazuo Koike – in this exclusive new video interview, manga novelist and screenwriter Kazuo Koike discusses his relationship with manga artist Goseki Kojima and explains how together they came up with the original idea for Lone Wolf and Cub, and discusses the historical setting of the manga/film, the similarities between Siegfried and the father samurai, the manga’s popularity, his admiration for Wakayama’s fighting scenes, etc. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2015. In Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (12 min, 1080p).
  • Kenji Misumi – in this new featurette, Kenji Misumi biographer Kazuma Nozawa discusses the director’s rather unusual career (including the time he spent in a prison in Siberia as a POW), his filmmaking style (and specifically the importance of bird’s-eye view scenes in his work), and his involvement with four of the six films in the Lone Wolf and Cub series (with some very interesting comments about their graphic nature). The featurette was produced exclusively for Criterion in 2016. In Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (13 min, 1080p).
  • On Suio-ryu – in this new video interview, Sensei Yoshimitsu Katsue, fifteenth headmaster of the Suio-ryu martial arts system, discusses the culture of swordsmanship and Japanese martial arts traditions, Suio-ryu techniques, the choreography of the sword fights in the Lone Wolf and Cub films, etc. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2016. In Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (14 min, 1080p).
  • Sword of the Samurai – this two-part archival documentary was produced by the Kokusaibunka Shinokai (The Society for International Cultural Relations) in Tokyo in 1939. It chronicles the making of a traditional samurai sword by the River Nagara in the Sekimachi, which is known as one of the towns producing the finest swords of Japan. The film can be viewed with an optional ambient score by Ryan Francis of the Metropolis Ensemble, which was commissioned specifically for Criterion’s release of the Lone Wolf and Cub films. With original English intertitles. (31 min, 1080p).
  • Booklet – an illustrated booklet featuring an essay and film synopses by Japanese pop culture writer Patrick Macias (Japan Edge: The Insider’s Guide to Japanese Pop Subculture, TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion).

 

Shock & Gore: The Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis – Arrow Home Video (UK, US)

hgl

 

That this exists is amazing.  Kudos to Arrow, along with Kino Lorber, for saving so many films that could have easily disappeared forever.

Details:

  • Fourteen of the Godfather of Gores finest attractions, newly restored from original and best surviving vault materials: Blood Feast, Scum of the Earth, Two Thousand Maniacs!, Moonshine Mountain, Color Me Blood Red, Something Weird, The Gruesome Twosome, A Taste of Blood, She-Devils on Wheels, Just for the Hell of It, How to Make a Doll, The Wizard of Gore, The Gore Gore Girls, This Stuff ll Kill Ya!
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the features and extras on 7 Blu-ray and 7 DVD discs
  • Brand new introductions to the films by Lewis
  • Hours of extras including newly-produced interviews and featurettes, commentaries, short films and much more
  • Additional 2 bonus Blu-rays featuring 1.33:1 versions of Blood Feast, Scum of the Earth, Color Me Blood Red, A Taste of Blood and The Wizard of Gore [limited editions exclusive]
  • Additional bonus DVD: Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore documentary [limited editions exclusive]
  • 28-page H.G. Lewis annual stuffed full with Lewis-themed activities plus archive promotional material [limited editions exclusive]
  • Newly illustrated packaging by The Twins of Evil [Feast edition exclusive]

 

 

Dekalog and Other TV Works – Arrow Academy (UK)

 

With apologies to Criterion on this one, the loss of A Short Film About Love & A Short Film About Killing from their set is more than made up for here.  A must for Kieślowski and film fancy pants’

Details:

  • 4K restoration of all ten episodes, presented in their original broadcast aspect ratios
  • Original Polish mono soundtrack (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays), with optional English subtitles
  • Pedestrian Subway (1973, 29 mins), Kieślowski’s professional fiction debut, about a man trying to repair a failed marriage
  • First Love (1974, 52 mins), a docudrama about a teenage couple coping with an unwanted pregnancy
  • Personnel (1975, 67 mins), Kieślowski’s first feature-length fiction film, a partly autobiographical piece about a Warsaw theatre company
  • The Calm (1976, 82 mins), one of Kieślowski’s most powerful early films, about a man rebuilding his life in mid-70s Poland after a short prison sentence
  • Short Working Day (1981, 73 mins), Kieślowski’s study of a political strike, controversially told from the viewpoint of a Communist functionary trying to keep order
  • Still Alive (2007), an affectionate 82-minute portrait of the director by his former student Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz, including interviews with dozens of friends and colleagues
  • The Guardian Interview: Krzysztof Kieślowski, an onstage conversation with Derek Malcolm at London’s National Film Theatre on 2 April 1990 to mark the British premiere of Dekalog
  • Dekalog: An Appreciation, in which critic Tony Rayns, a Kieślowski champion for many decades, pays tribute to his masterpiece
  • KKTV, Polish cinema expert Michael Brooke explores Kieślowski’s small-screen output in the context of his work as a whole
  • 128-page collector’s book featuring a lengthy essay on Dekalog and Kieślowski by Father Marek Lis, plus Kieślowski’s own intensely self-critical discussion of all the films in this set and Stanley Kubrick’s famous eulogy to Kieślowski and co-writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz

 

Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box – Arrow Video (US)

hellraiser-the-scarlet-box

I’m cheating here, as this was a UK release last year and a US this year.  Belongs on this list in any year.

Deatails:

DISC 1 – HELLRAISER

  • Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon
  • Audio commentary with writer/director Clive Barker
  • Audio commentary with Barker and actress Ashley Laurence
  • Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser – brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellraiser, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members
  • Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellraiser – actor Sean Chapman talks candidly about playing the character of Frank Cotton in Barker’s original
  • Soundtrack Hell: The Story of the Abandoned Coil Score – Coil member Stephen Thrower on the Hellraiser score that almost was
  • Hellraiser: Resurrection – vintage featurette including interviews with Clive Barker, actors Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence, special make-up effects artist Bob Keen and others
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser
  • Original EPK featuring on-set interviews with cast and crew
  • Draft Screenplays [BD-ROM content]
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery

 

DISC 2 – HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II

  • Brand new 2K restoration approved by director of photography Robin Vidgeon
  • Audio Commentary with director Tony Randel and writer Peter Atkins
  • Audio Commentary with Randel, Atkins and actress Ashley Laurence
  • Leviathan: The Story of Hellbound: Hellraiser II – brand new version of the definitive documentary on the making of Hellbound, featuring interviews with key cast and crew members
  • Being Frank: Sean Chapman on Hellbound – actor Sean Chapman talks about reprising the role of Frank Cotton in the first Hellraiser sequel
  • Surgeon Scene – the home video world premiere of this legendary, never before-seen excised sequence from Hellbound, sourced from a VHS workprint
  • Lost in the Labyrinth – vintage featurette including interviews with Barker, Randel, Keen, Atkins and others
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellbound: Hellraiser II
  • On-set interview with Clive Barker
  • On-set interviews with cast and crew
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Rare and unseen storyboards
  • Draft Screenplay [BD-ROM content]
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery

 

DISC 3 – HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the Original Theatrical Version [93 mins]
  • Alternate Unrated Version [97 mins]
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer Peter Atkins
  • Audio commentary with director Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley
  • Hell on Earth: The Story of Hellraiser III – making-of documentary featuring interviews with Atkins, Keen and actor Ken Carpenter
  • Terri’s Tales – brand new interview with actress Paula Marshall
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
  • Raising Hell on Earth – archival interview with Hickox
  • On-set interviews with Barker and Bradley
  • Never-before-seen Hellraiser III SFX dailies
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Hellraiser III comic book adaptation [Disc gallery]

 

Honorable Mention to: ArrowStray Cat Rock, Rainer Werner Fassbinder Collection.  Criterion: Dekalog, Trilogia de Guillermo del Toro.  Kino LorberBuster Keaton: The Shorts Collection 1917-1923.  Eureka!Early Murnau: 5 Films 1921-1925.  Studio-CanalThe Almodovar Collection.

 

Author: El Cinemonster

El Cinemonster hails from the wilds of suburbia, and was raised on a diet of Zombies, Universal Monsters, Kung Fu and Grandmaster Flash. Since those early days he has lugged his bulk back and forth across the US and planet Earth, fueled by good beer and hooch, to dance with life's pixies wherever they are found. He is here to blather on about off the beaten path film, near the beaten path film, and on occasion a film that takes the path. There may also be beer, tequila and music sprinkled over things, as he finds these to be fine seasonings.

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *