Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Drunk on Foolish Pleasures: Coming Attractions, Part Deux!

Last week I opined on the horror movie new releases gracing us this fall. This week, I continue to opine until my wife calls in a specialist.

October 1st:
House of Wax IN 3-D: How excited am I for this? I am going to buy it the day it comes out and I DON’T EVEN OWN A 3-D PLAYER OR 3-D TV!

I once took students to see this at the Music Box Theatre, the happiest place on earth. The Music Box is the last theatre in the Midwest equipped with the special double interlocked projection system to show original 3-D correctly. That screening remains the best 3-D I have ever seen.

Perhaps I can watch this new House of Wax at my friendly, neighborhood Best Buy, by pretending to demo some of their new gear… for 90 minutes.

Amityville Complete: Perhaps the recent success of The Conjuring reminded the studios that these films came first, and feature a fictionalized version of the real-life couple also fictionalized in The Conjuring.

I have always liked the first Amityville movie. Stephen King calls it the first economic horror film because the real terror is how much money the young couple stands to lose on their home purchase if the house is indeed haunted. Quentin Tarantino recently declared Amityville 2 one of the best sequels ever made. Probably won’t buy this, but I’m glad these films are getting some renewed attention.

October 8th:

Chucky Complete: No thanks. Bride of Chucky is really something, though. Skip the box set and buy just that individual title; you will thank me.

The Purge: Nice to see Ethan Hawke getting work. I actually liked this film; I thought it “got the job done.” I am alone in this opinion. Workman-like and efficient, The Purge was a fun two hours. I fear that this film’s success ironically doomed last month’s You’re Next, as audiences had no desire to see another (albeit far superior) home invasion flick.

The Exorcist, Extended and Theatrical Cut: And speaking of horror movies with a history of too many rereleases… who is this new Blu-ray disc for - the one guy who didn’t buy the previous box set?

October 15th:
The Haunting: Available for the first time on Blu-ray! I am buying this. I can still remember when this very widescreen film was released on DVD in a cropped version that was missing its sides and was almost incomprehensible. This is one of my favorite horror films. I have written about it on this site in the past:
The Haunting is famous among connoisseurs of the horror film as a masterpiece’s masterpiece (kind of like a ‘comedian’s comedian,’ but with ghosts) because it attempts what few horror films ever dare — it does not show the horror. The film never ‘opens the door.’
The Haunting keeps the door resolutely closed.  It is one of the scariest films ever made… it uses the power of suggestion. There is a lengthy sequence where director Robert Wise scares us with a wallpaper pattern! I am not joking.
In The Mouth of Madness: Warner Bros. here jumps headfirst onto Scream Factory’s bandwagon. Are they hoping we mistake this for those other, superb, reissues? WARNING: this entry that is not for everyone. I love it to pieces. No quibbling!

Embrace of the Vampire: On Blu-ray for the first time. Not really a horror film, but some people really like it for some inexplicable reason, or reasons. I am going to try and borrow Doug’s copy.

Maniac: The recent remake of the Joe Spinell classic makes its DVD and Blu-ray debut. Spoiler alert! Did you know that the entire film is POV, so titular star Elijah Wood is not… in it… all that much? Oops. I am buying this. Frodo lives!

Eyes Without A Face: A scientist in a secret laboratory works on a dark experiment… this was featured years ago at a 24 Hour Horror Massacre and it still works. Sure, this has been released before on plain, old stupid DVD, but I needs me my Blu-ray.

But wait – have you heard about the new “dual format” scheme that Criterion is rolling out in November?

Think of it. New-to-Criterion releases will include both a DVD and a Blu-ray. It really makes sense; they benefit from the economy of scale, buyers wind up with a back-up copy they might lend to friends to spread the Criterion legend, and Blu-ray freaks are satisfied because the whole shebang comes in Blu-ray packaging. I can hardly wait. Too bad dual-format arrives too late for The Uninvited!

October 22nd:
The Uninvited: I remember a time in my youth when I thought The Haunting, The Innocents, and this film were ALL THE SAME FILM. Cut from the same cloth, all three explore “Henry James Territory,” and all three are scary as hell-- in just the way I like—mounting, unbearable suspense and atmosphere to spare. Ray Milland stars in one of the best ghost stories ever committed to film.  I once owned this on laserdisc. Soon I will own it on Blu-ray!
The Vincent Price Collection: The crown jewel. Just in time for Halloween, this is the release that I most eagerly anticipate. Every few years, Rusty Nails sneaks a Corman Poe film into the line-up of our beloved 24 Hour Horror Massacre screening, and all of these films are still audience-pleasers. I can still remember my son commenting years ago that, as far as he was concerned, Masque of the Red Death was the highlight of the marathon. What can I say? Kid has taste.

Here is what we will get: The Pit & The Pendulum, The Masque Of The Red Death, The Haunted Palace, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, and Witchfinder General, all in fresh new transfers and all on Blu-ray. Be still my tell-tale heart. This is what I will be watching Halloween week—all drunk on Price. And Poe. And tequila. But mostly Vincent Price. And tequila.

Calloo Callay!

October 29th:

Oddly enough, no major releases. What are these video companies thinking – that the 29th is too late to capture the Halloween market? This October’s extra Tuesday was a GIFT to them, but they are ignoring it. Will we find late October checkout counter impulse buys this year? We can only hope, F-Heads, that the studios are still planning some last-minute video treats for Halloween week.

THIS JUST IN: KINO is finally putting their terrific restoration of the silent Nosferatu on Blu-ray, but unfortunately the release is too late to make Scary Movie Month. Boo. It comes out November 12th, and all I can do is wonder why the hell Kino couldn’t get this out two weeks earlier in time for Halloween? Use the King of the Undead’s many minions as slave labor and work the disc pressing plants and packaging printing plants overtime. Damnit.

I still love you, Nosferatu.


  1. I think I may just blind buy The Haunting when it comes out on Blu-ray. I have never seen it before, but it has been on my list of movies to watch for a while now. This seems like it will be the best possible way to watch it, and the movie itself sounds great.

    1. You're making the right decision.

    2. Thank you Smokey Robinson for brightening my day!

    3. Do you think The Haunting's blu ray will offer a decent special feature selection, or is it just a quick cash in? Either way, I'm absolutely lining up on the 15th!

    4. Try as I might, I cannot find anywhere that lists the bonus features of the new Blu-ray. We'll just have to wait and see...

  2. FYI - Tarantino thinks "Manos: The Hands of Fate" is the greatest comedy ever made....and not in an ironic way, I've heard.

  3. I love House of Wax unreservedly for just how blatant their "showing off the 3D" is in it.For crying out loud, a guy trying to sell paddle balls.

    1. The paddle-ball scene is my favorite! I think it should be a federal law that every 3-D movie feature a paddle-ball scene.

      Or as Patrick would call it, "T-shirt cannon!"

  4. TCM is releasing a Val Lewton collection on the 1st of October. It will include just his best known movies - Cat People, Curse of the Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie and The Body Snatcher.

    And Warner Archive is now offering Targets, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, Lady In a Cage and Let's Scare Jessica to Death as made-to-orders.

    1. I wish TCM would through in their recent Lewton documentary-- it was terrific. I still have my factory-pressed Targets DVD-- talk about real-life horrors!

  5. That Lewton documentary you saw have Martin Scorsese in it?

    If so it's included in the collection they released back in 2008.

    I still have my factory-made copy of Targets as well. Just nice that it's available again.

    (and "Reply" here still won't work on my tablet)