"Halloween" is just around the corner and in anticipations of the thrills and chills of the 31st, plenty of spooky movies are hitting store shelves. This article is a profile of some of the releases that have recently become available.
In terms of sets, Fox has "The Roger Corman Collection", a set of 8 Corman classics, including "Gas-s-s-s", "The Trip (written by Jack Nicholson), "The Wild Angels" (starring Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, "The Young Racers", "Bloody Mama" (starring Robert Deniro and Shelly Long), "A Bucket of Blood", "X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes" and "The Premature Burial". The films are presented in their original aspect ratios and with their original mono soundtracks. For low-budget features from the 50's, 60's and 70's, the audio/video quality is rather good, coming in somewhat above expectations. "The Trip" offers commentary from Corman, the "Tune In, Trip Out" featurette, "Psychedelic Film Effects" and "Love and Haight" featurette. "Premature Burial" has an interview with Corman included, as well.
Also from Fox is the "Vincent Price Scream Legends Collection", also an 8-DVD set that boasts: "Tale of Terror" (starring Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone and Peter Lorre); "Twice Told Tales" (Price's trilogy of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classics); "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" (Price plays a surgeon seeking revenge) and its sequel, "Dr. Phibes Rises Again"; "Theatre of Blood" (Price plays an actor plotting revenge); "Madhouse" (which stars Price, Peter Cushing and Robert Quarry) and finally, "Witchfinder General" (the film stars Price as an educated rogue in the middle ages who goes from town to town claiming to be a witchfinder. Town leaders pay him to accuse and then execute - usually innocent - suspects.) The "Witchfinder General" DVD includes audio commentary with producer Philip Waddilove and actor Ian Ogilvy, as well as the "Witchfinder General: Michael Reeves' Horror Classic" featurette. The "Witchfinder General" DVD is also available separately. The set also includes a bonus disc with extras like the "Vincent Price: Renaissance Man" and "The Art of Fear: Working with Vincent Price" featurette. The films look reasonably good for their age, with sharpness and detail that is usually consistently pleasing. While some minor wear is occasionally spotted on the elements, the majority of the films look rather fresh.
Super scary is the fact that director Uwe Boll has made another film. This time, Boll goes back to the drawing board and tries to make a sequel to "Bloodrayne", a videogame about a female vampire slayer doing battle with hordes of vamps. The first movie was bad enough, and while "Bloodrayne 2: Deliverance" (Vivendi) improves things a lot, that's like saying a skunk smells better than manure. The DVD offers the blah movie with reasonably good image and sound quality, as well as a nice helping of extras, including: the PC game of "Bloodrayne", extended scenes, director's commentary and interviews with the director and cast.
Those looking for some campiness in their holiday viewing should look into "Elvira's Movie Macbre", which has already busted out on store shelves courtesy of Shout Factory. Each of the three new sets includes two cornball horror classics, but no extras. The pairings are: "The House That Screamed"/"Maneater of Hydra"; "Gamera, Super Monster"/"They Came From Beyond Space" and "Blue Sunshine"/"Monstroid".
Other horror flicks that recently landed on shelves include a full-frame (boo!) version of Michael Mann's Hannibal Lecter film, "Manhunter". One of the first productions from former Miramax co-chairs Bob and Harvey Weinstein was the horror flick, "The Burning" (1.85:1), which gets fine treatment from MGM, with a commentary from director Tony Maylam and journalist Alan Jones. The Stephen King scare-fest "Sometimes They Come Back", starring Tim Matheson, gets less respectable treatment, with an average 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation and no extras. The 1976 giant animal flick "Food of the Gods" and the 1988 thriller "Scarecrows" also get no extras, but are presented in their original aspect ratios. Also out from MGM/Fox is a 2-DVD set that offers both editions of Irwin Allen's "The Lost World" - the 1960 version and the 1925 version. The 2-DVD set includes a few minor supplements, such as the "Footprints on Sands of Time" featurette and the trailer for the 1960 film.