I hope all of your Halloween celebrations were great. Based on the limited evidence in front of my eyes and on the Twitter machine, the one-two punch of “Thursday Halloween” and “Record Low Temps and F’n Snow” didn’t deter the celebrations one bit. I was thrilled and delighted that the young people in my neighborhood braved the elements. Nothing was going to stop them from getting their candy. At my house, we had as many, or more, trick-or-treaters as we usually have.
Hey! That means next year Halloween is on a Saturday. Hail, Paimon!
I don’t know about you, but I tend to put up the Halloween decorations piecemeal, a bit at a time. The month of September is devoted to sneaking in a few decorations gradually, hoping my wife won’t notice I’ve already started. Then I devote one day to indoor décor, and the next nice, sunny day to the tombstones, pumpkins, groundbreaking zombies, window-hanging skeletons, and enormous inflatables that grace my front lawn. Finally, over the following week, various other decorations come out and take their places: the hand towels, the dish towels, the tablecloths, the candy dishes, the candles, and the life-sized “pretend” rack for torturing uninvited solicitors and wandering Mormons.
This leaves me exhausted (Boooooo.) but with a stack of discs I purchased and received in October, but haven’t gotten around to watching yet (Yaaaaaay!). That’s where you come in.
I’m going to briefly describe my Top Ten Most-Watchable-Unwatched discs below. In the comments section, choose the one you think I should watch. If one disc gets a groundswell of support, I will not only watch it, but it will be the subject of next week’s column. In the words of Olmec, the choice is yours, and yours alone!
Be glad that I am not asking you to write the column as well.
Candidate #1: The New Criterion disc of Chaplin’s The Circus
Candidate #2: The New Criterion disc of Local Hero
Candidate #3: Arrow Video’s new Collector’s Edition of Hellraiser
Candidate #4: CBS/Paramount’s new Stephen King’s The Stand Blu-ray
Candidate#5: Bela Lugosi in The Human Monster, new on Blu-ray
Candidate #6: New Scream Factory edition of The Blob
Candidate #7: New Warner Archive re-master of The Fearless Vampire Killers
Candidate #8: It’s a Wonderful Life on 4K Blu-ray
The Wizard of Oz. I have watched the new Wizard disc and it is the single greatest transfer of a pre-1950 Technicolor film that I have ever seen. The level of detail is astounding. You can see the flush in Judy Garland’s cheeks caused by the massive hot lights that early Technicolor required. It makes me happy that, because The Wizard of Oz so quickly became a holiday broadcast television staple, MGM actually cared for the original negative as the precious asset it so clearly was. Does the new 4K of It’s A Wonderful Life have a similarly astounding transfer? It’s tempting…
Candidate #9: Kino-Lorber’s new Ida Lupino boxed set
Trick question: I could not resist! I love Lupino’s The Hitchhiker and this boxed set will help me become more familiar with her other work. It would also be a wonderful first watch to properly begin Noir-vember! It’s tempting… like the lips of a dame from the wrong side of the tracks that you know in your heart is poison, nothin’ but poison! (See, it’s already working.)
Candidate #10: The 3-D Nudie-Cuties Collection
Kino-Lorber has once again teamed up with Ron Furmanek and The 3-D Archive to restore the obscure 1962 film The Bellboy and the Playgirls, which contains sequences directed by a then-22-year-old Francis Ford Coppola! I have read ominous rumors about the death knell of 3-D monitors because apparently the demand was never there, but I treasure all of my 3-D Blu-rays, especially Universal’s astounding Creature from the Black Lagoon and Warner Archive’s Kiss Me Kate.
Like early 1970s bachelors who insisted that they read Playboy magazine “for the interviews,” my interest in this lascivious little disc is archival and historic, and is in no way based upon naked female breasts and sexy-sex. The disc also contains a co-feature, Adam and the Six Eves, filmed in 3-D but never exhibited in that format; plus two shorts, Love for Sale and Beauty in the 3rd Dimension. Again, my interest in these things is purely academic.
Vote early and often!