Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Drunk on Foolish Pleasures: Coming Attractions!

Boo! Scary Movie Month is almost here. As a horror “collector,” I look at the list of what is being released in the next six weeks, and I salivate. My excitement longs to roam free, like comedian Patton Oswalt’s clinical depression when he stops taking his meds. Come with me now, as I daintily pick through the pumpkin patch of this fall’s home video releases…

thedigitalbits.com is an indispensible website (some prefer Blu-ray.com, but why quibble?) One of the best features on “The Bits” is its illustrated guide to upcoming releases! It is fun to see what’s coming down the gravy pipe, and to plan purchases accordingly. These are the upcoming Scary Movie Month releases that make me all tingly inside. NOTE: This list is not all-inclusive. It is selective. Do not leave comments at the bottom that I “left out this release or that release” or I WILL F YOU UP. I am big, but I am sneaky. And nimble. And drunk. Onward!

Already Out:

Swamp Thing: Scream Factory just released this so-called “definitive version” on Blu-ray; the transfer is beautiful and the extras are nice. True fanboys (and girls) may quibble (they always do) that Scream Factory is leaving off the “Alternative Spicy European Version” that accidently made its way to disc at the turn of the millennium and features a few extra moments of Adrienne Barbeau in the altogether. This of course makes that original release a valuable collector’s item. For perverts.
Walking Dead Season 3: Did all of you see (or actually buy) this @#$%^&*^%! Special Edition? Good Lord, this gives my “Ape’s Head Planet of the Apes” box set a run for its money. A tiny aquarium with decapitated zombie heads that you can fill with real water? The set also comes with “plastic bits of zombie skin” that you can float in the aquarium, so it looks just like the Governor’s aquarium on the actual show. Except tinier, and slower to rot. Say what you want, but The Walking Dead is still my favorite Sunday night guilty pleasure. I loves me my zombies.

Q: The Winged Serpent: Larry Cohen returns with a Sci-Fi/Horror film that should have been titled Batshit Crazy. On Blu-ray for the first time courtesy of Scream Factory. Nice transfer and an audio commentary with the always-entertaining Cohen. Highly recommended.

The Lords of Salem: One of our favorite horror films of the year here at F This Movie!. We loved this bastard hybrid of Rob Zombie, Dario Argento, and David Lynch and wonder why more people did not see this in theaters. Now is your chance to see it at home with all of the lights turned out.

Out Today:

Friday the 13th COMPLETE: This Blu-ray box is garnering negative buzz on the Internets (a series of doomed summer camp tubes) because of its incompleteness. (Actually, I am NOT looking forward to this one – and will not be buying it – but I know many F-Heads, going against my stern advice, still love these goddamn films, so I mention it here. YOU’RE WELCOME. Also, you’re doomed.)

Here is what this “Complete” version LACKS, according to Machete Jason on Amazon.com: “uncut versions of any of the films except the reboot, separate discs for parts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and Jason X (they are included in pairs), any of the extended/deluxe DVD versions already released, and commentary tracks for Parts 2 and 3. Not all of the extras were ported over from previous releases of the films, and Friday the 13th 3D Blu-ray disc is anaglyph 3D and not true 3D. Daniel Farrand's popular His Name Was Jason documentary is not included either. Also, the included booklet, Crystal Lake Memories, is a severe abridgment of the original book on which it is based.”

I see that you do get a “Camp Crystal Lake” counselor patch, though, and all for the low, low price of $100.

I am on record as being NO FAN of this series, so I will probably borrow Patrick’s copy.

The Fly (1956): Released today for the first time on the Blu-ray, this release too is receiving quibbles from fans who wish 20th Century Fox would just port over their previous, terrific “Original Fly” DVD boxset to Blu. Boo-hoo!

I’m buying this. “Help meeeeeeeeeee. Help meeeeeeeeee!”

September 17th:

World War Z: I am the only sentient adult on the planet who actually liked this film. I particularly liked the metaphor of the zombies as plague. Feel free to fill the comments section below with your profanity-laden approbations.

Bates Motel, Season 1: I have not yet seen a single episode of this bizarre, “What If?” television series, but my students rave about it, which probably means it is bad.

Day of the Dead: Again? Still, I’m buying this. AGAIN.

Dracula, Prince of Darkness: Yes, this is what we get in America because there is some goddamned hold-up releasing the RESTORED Horror of Dracula, which has been out in England for six months already. Surely, you have read about this restoration? Apparently, those rumors I was always reading in Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine when I was a teenager about a more violent alternate cut of the film prepared for Japan were TRUE. That footage has been reinstated, but not in the United States unless you have a multi-region Blu-ray player. Boo-hoo.
Devil Bat: Kino gives us Bela Lugosi hitting the skids on Blu-ray! This film is so cheesy, so irredeemably low budget, so awful in conception and execution, that it is irresistible. This is one of the first public domain titles I ever purchased on VHS. I would conservatively estimate that I have seen it more than fifty times. Now it is on Blu-ray! Bela trains bats to attack and kill people wearing a certain after-shave lotion. Wouldn’t a special “gift” edition of this release, packaged with a bottle of the shaving lotion, be cool? I’d buy it. Look out, ladies! And killer bats.

Speaking of our beloved Bela Lugosi, more Universal Classic Monsters Blu-ray individual disc releases are set for release. Half the “singletons” (The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Phantom of the Opera) were already released on June 4th; the rest (Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man) come out on September 17th. Even if you have the American box set (and the slightly different English box set, and the special Collector’s Edition Coffin set, and the individual English discs because of the unique packaging) do you NOT need these a FIFTH TIME? C’mon, WHAT KIND OF MONSTER FAN ARE YOU?

SIDE NOTE: You realize Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein was given a Blu-ray release last year, right? There is a God.

September 24th:
Halloween 35th Anniversary Edition: When will Anchor Bay stop already? I mean, I think I have purchased this #@$*&^%! movie twenty #@$*&^%! times already: the original release, the rerelease, the double disc edition with the television cut, the misbegotten version where they remastered it and all of the film’s beautiful blues and oranges were wiped away, the next special edition with the new audio commentary, and so on. The torture never stops. What does this one feature-- an official Camp Crystal Lake counselor patch? Sheesh. Still, I might buy it.

Apparently, we will get two new bonus features: an all-new commentary track with John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis, and a short documentary about Jamie Lee’s visit to Horrorhound Weekend Cincinnati last fall. She was signing for a children’s hospital charity and announced that it was the only horror convention she would ever attend.

Prince of Darkness: The fine people at Shout! Factory’s horror subsidiary Scream Factory have done excellent work; I look forward to all of their new releases. They remind me of what the late, lamented Elite Entertainment used to do on laserdisc. Man, when I think back to that 25th Anniversary Night of the Living Dead they put out in 1994, I get all misty. And bloody. Bloody, and misty.

Room 237: Actually, forget it. Read Adam Riske’s fine article here.
V/H/S 2: The subject of a recent, award-winning podcast makes its home video debut in a packaging scheme some of you may find irresistible. You not only get the film on Blu-ray and regular DVD, but you also get the movie on VHS tape. Is this a winsome adventure in nostalgia for the studio, or a sly attempt to bring back a clearly superior format?

Psycho II & Psycho III: When I first typed the Roman numerals after the films’ titles, I used the wrong key and accidently typed exclamation points. Maybe I should just keep it that way, because I am SO looking forward to these releases. Psycho II has one of the GREATEST ENDINGS IN HORROR FILM HISTORY.

Trust me. And grab a shovel.

Hey, F-Heads—which of these are you particularly looking forward to this season? Comment below, and I will be back next week with the October bounty.


  1. Great Column J-Bones - I got drunk just reading it!

    I thought I was a Friday the 13th fan until last Horror Movie Month - I planned on watching the whole series but bailed after the best one (IV, duh) because there was just so much more interesting stuff to watch. I would buy this set for fifty bucks and that's my final offer!

    I have a concept for a glossary entry but no catchy word/phrase - it's the dilemma of buying a new horror movie in September and really wanting to watch it, but also wanting to save it for October. Bought Lords of Salem on Friday and not sure what to do! Still sitting on They Live too...

    Damned if that stupid VHS tape with V/H/S 2 isn't oddly compelling...

    And your zombie-head fishtank looks awesome - give it a kiss for me too!

  2. I look forward to the return of your Shitting on the Classics column after you've watched Bates Motel.

    1. Not to suggest that I'm not enjoying this new column.

    2. I watched it for a while and was kind of digging it, but quickly seemed to lose interest before the first season even ended.

    3. "You like Darth Vader? Want to know what he was like as a kid?"

      I watched only the first episode and found it relied too much on my familiarity with the films in order to try and tease my interest. Too cute for me.

      But to be fair, Freddie Highmore is not a bad Norman Bates.

  3. As a commentary track junkie, I'm really excited to grab the new version of Halloween for the Curtis/Carpenter commentary. I hope it's interesting and worthwhile, or at the very least entertaining.

    Regarding Friday the 13th, 1 and 3 are pretty cheap on Amazon, and those, with perhaps 4, are the only ones I find to be worth getting, anyway. I'll pass on the box set. I'm sure my younger self would be kicking me for saying that.

    1. Yes, have you ever noticed that Carpenter's commentaries are much better when he is with someone else?

    2. Absolutely. Especially if that someone else is Kurt Russell.

  4. Just wanted to add "Crystal Lake Memories", a comprehensive documentary about the "Friday the 13th" series by the same team behind the great "Never Sleep Again". Aptly, it comes out on blu-ray/DVD this Friday the 13th. It is available for pre-order at www.crystallake memories.net.

    1. Now that I am interested in!

    2. I have heard great things about the documentary. I think I would rather watch it than the original Friday the 13th-- ever again.

  5. I also thought World War Z was alright. We types gotta stick together JB.

    1. You and me, Myke. Let's fight them damn zombie together...

    2. That reminds me of the one time I played the Zombies boardgame: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2471/zombies

      It's designed for competitive play, pitting human against human for survival. After a couple of rounds I proudly declared to my friends "Screw this! There's no way I'd screw you guys over during the Zombie Apocalypse. No man is left behind!"

      Once we all embraced that attitude, it was a total cakewalk to fight off those damn zombies.

      And I enjoyed World War Z too. But I say it as World War Zed so that might be a little divisive.

    3. I'm reserving judgment on WW Z until I have time to watch the unrated version that just came out.

      Yeah, it might just be a "cash grab" edit but I've heard that it really improves the film (a/k/a the studio made them trim them for time/rating)

      And I agree for the most part about Psycho II. However, I think III and the "prequel" with Olivia Hussey and Henry Thomas are great.

  6. Psycho II has one of the all-time great overhead "God" shots (it's the one featuring the Bates manse).

  7. Okay, so...while it was on I thought World War Z was okay. I enjoyed it well enough, even though I kind of noticed that it's just stuff going wrong for Brad Pitt over and over again for an hour and a half. It was okay, but nothing earth shattering.

    Also, the movie takes place over like three days, right? That's about how it felt to me.

    Once he got to the hospital though... I don't know, the gear change worked for me and I felt really invested all the sudden. The movie went from "Well, this is okay." to "I am really enjoying this." once he gets to the hospital.

    I came out of the movie really having enjoyed it, although upon later thinking about it I don't think it says very much. It's kind of hollow, but enjoyable enough. So yeah, I liked it too, with certain reservations.

    While I'm here...

    I have a strange affection for the Friday the 13th movies, but no actual love for them. As an example of this, I only bought them on DVD last year because I podcast I know of did a commentary for part 3. I'm in ho hurry to go to blu-ray on these.

    HOWEVER! Keep me apprised, if Corman's Poe Cycle hits blu, then I am there.

    1. Concerning the Corman Poes on Blu-- make sure you read the column next week!

  8. What's up my boi JB!

  9. Room 237 is invaluable if for no other reason than to be able to go to Rotten Tomatoes and find the names of 112 critics you never have to listen to again. Movie's bullshit.