Video safe – October 6, 2021 | Movie
CHOICE OF THE WEEK
ALONE IN THE DARK (Scream Factory / Shout! Factory): Director / co-writer Jack Sholder’s feature debut in 1982 is among the most star-studded slasher films, with a spicy cast and a generous dose of dark comedy amid blood and guts .
Dwight Schultz, shortly before joining Team A, plays Dan Potter, the sweet-mannered, bespectacled new psychiatrist in an asylum run – rather indulgently – by dowry Leo Bain (the inimitable Donald Pleasence), a regular practitioner of medical marijuana before it was legal .
The true gallery of thugs Potter meets, played, with varying degrees of chewing glee, by future Oscar winners Jack Palance and Martin Landau, and the imposing Erland Van Lidth – as well as a fourth patient (nicknamed “The Bleeder” ) whose identity is not disclosed until much, much later.
A convenient power failure allows the inmates to escape, and they head for Dr. Potter’s house, having mistakenly thought he murdered his predecessor. In what can only be called “brutal irony,” the Potters must become more vicious and violent than their attackers to survive the night.
Alone in the dark, which has the distinction of being the first film produced by New Line Cinema (which hit paydirt with Freddy two years later), isn’t a horror classic, but it delivers operating goods and a fair amount of laughs along the way. Moreover, the film has absolutely no relation to the video game of the same name or its (appalling) film versions.
The “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray (retail $ 34.98) features audio commentary, retrospective interviews and features, a theatrical trailer, and more. Classified R. ** ½
AWAKENING (Cohen Media Group / Kino Lorber): The award-winning, R-rated 2011 Cooler Blu-ray arc ($ 29.99 retail) from director / screenwriter Nick Murphy set in 1920s England, with Rebecca Hall in as an investigator delving into the dark past of a boarding school where a wave of ghost sightings allegedly caused the death of a young child, with Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Diana Kent, Shaun Dooley and John Shrapnel (deceased in 2020) at hand. Bonus features include retrospective and vintage reports and interviews, deleted scenes, and more.
BLADES (Vinegar Syndrome): Mutilated bodies keep showing up at the Tall Grass Country Club, and a Possessed Lawnmower (!)?) Aired to an unsuspecting audience in 1989. A horror parody too long but sometimes inspired that passes the time quite easily, available in a limited edition Blu-ray ($ 39.98 retail) featuring audio commentary, retrospective documentary, and more. To classify. **
SPIRIT DESIRE (IFC Films / IFC Midnight / Shout! Factory): Director Edward Hall’s feature debut is the latest incarnation of Noel Coward’s classic farce, in which struggling writer Dan Stevens and his new wife Isla Fisher are haunted by the spirit of his first wife (Leslie Mann) after a botched shoot led by an eccentric medium (stage thief Judi Dench). The cast goes to great lengths – perhaps too much – but despite a few fun scenes, it pales in comparison to the final 1945 version. The DVD ($ 19.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($ 22.98 retail) include behind-the-scenes functionality, rated PG-13. **
THE CANNIBAL MAN (Severin Films / MVD Entertainment Group): Director / screenwriter Eloy de la Iglesia’s Macabre Shock of 1982 (originally titled The semana del asesino) stars Vicente Parra as an increasingly deranged slaughterhouse worker who sets out on a killing spree but finds getting rid of his victims a hindrance – at least at first. There isn’t much else to say, although it has its devotees. Bonus features include original audio options in Spanish (with English subtitles) and English, retrospective interviews, and more. Classified R. * ½
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles as real-life paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren in the latest R-rated installment of the popular – and highly profitable horror franchise, based on a true 1981 case in which the defendant (Ruairi O’Connor) pleaded not guilty due to demonic possession, available on DVD ($ 29.98 retail), Blu-ray ($ 34.98 retail) and 4K Ultra HD combo (44 , $ 98 retail), each loaded with bonus features.
A DAY OF JUDGMENT (Severin Films / MVD Entertainment Group): A Special Edition Blu-ray ($ 34.95 retail) of the only feature film directed by and starring CDH Reynolds, A 1981 Low Budget Supernatural Shock – Shot in North Carolina – in which the corrupt the inhabitants of a small rural town are brutally massacred for their moral transgressions. Bonuses include retrospective interviews.
DOWNSTREAM FROM KINSHASA (Icarus Films Home Video): Dieudo Hamadi’s feature-length documentary (originally titled On the way to the Millard) details the efforts of survivors of the Ugandan / Rwandan Six Day War in June 2000 which demand recognition and reparations from the government. Well-intentioned and touching at times, but his low-key approach is further undermined by a lack of momentum – at least until the last third. In Swahili with English subtitles, available on DVD (retail $ 29.98). ** ½
FOR CRAZY ONLY (Utopia Distribution / Vinegar Syndrome): Director Heather Ross makes her writing debut with this feature documentary (subtitled Del Close stories) retracing the life and career of improvisational comedy legend and teacher Del Close (1934-’99), with interviews with comedy luminaries including Dave Thomas, Bob Odenkirk, Tim Meadows, George Wendt, Jason Sudekis , Patton Oswalt, Michaela Watkins and others. The Limited Edition Blu-ray ($ 34.98 retail) features audio commentary, additional and extended interviews, vintage improv footage, a trailer, and more.
“FRIDAY 13E 8-FILM COLLECTION ” (Paramount Home Entertainment): The title tells all in this Blu-ray collection ($ 79.99 retail) including the first eight films from the venerable horror franchise: Friday the 13the (1980), Friday the 13the Part 2 (nineteen eighty one), Friday the 13the Part 3 (1982), Friday the 13the: The last chapter (1984), Friday the 13the Part V: A New Beginning (1985), Friday the 13the Part VII: New blood (1987), and Friday the 13the Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), each is loaded with bonuses (including access to digital copies of every movie) and every movie is rated R (for obvious reasons).
PARADISE (Virgil Films / Kino Lorber): Angus Benfield wrote, produced, and directed this award-winning PG-13 faith-based drama based on the Alan Duprey novel Sky: the adventure begins, in which he portrays a disillusioned paramedic who wakes up in Heaven and finds his life made more sense than he thought, available on DVD ($ 19.95 retail).
I CARRY YOU WITH ME (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Writer / Producer / Director Heidi Ewing’s award-winning, fact-based, R-rated debut feature film stars detail the relationship between budding chef Armando Espita and free spirit Christian Vaszquez, and the unintended consequences the two face when the former travels to New York City to establish a career and live openly as a gay man. In Spanish with English subtitles, available on DVD ($ 21.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($ 24.99 retail).
NAKOM (Corinth Films): Producer Kelly Daniella Norris and first-time writer / producer TW Pittman co-directed this 2016 award-winning drama with Jacob Ayanaba (in his feature debut) as a young returning medical student. him in the titular Ghanaian village to take responsibility for his impoverished family, to meet resistance from the townspeople and even from his own family. In Kusaal with English subtitles, available on DVD ($ 24.95 retail).
NIGHT OF THE ANIMATED DEAD (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): As the title suggests, this is an animated version of the 1968 horror classic by George A. Romero Night of the Living Dead, in which the dead mysteriously rise up and besiege the living on a remote farm in Pennsylvania. Surprisingly effective and unsurprisingly gory, with a range of premium voice overs including Josh Duhamel, Nancy Travis, Dulé Hill, Katharine Isabelle, James Roday Rodriguez, Katie Sackoff, Will Sasso and Jimmi Simpson. Both DVD ($ 14.99 retail) and Blu-ray combo ($ 19.99 retail) include behind-the-scenes functionality. To classify. ***
NOTORIOUS NICK (LionsGate): Cody Christian is making headlines in this factual drama as a wrestler determined to succeed in mixed martial arts despite being born with one hand. Formula but well-intentioned and watchable, thanks in large part to heartfelt performances, especially Elisabeth Rohm as Christian’s mother and especially Barry Livingston (far from My three sons) as a Support Coach, available on DVD (retail $ 19.98). Classified PG-13. **
PLAYING FRISBEE IN NORTH KOREA (Kino Lorber): Producer / director Savanna Washington has become the African-American director to direct a feature documentary in North Korea, as she explores the region’s political and social turmoil and its impact on the people, available on DVD ($ 19.95). retail).
THE WOMAN WHO CRIES (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Olivia de Havilland brings considerable empathy (and star power) to this intermittently whimsical and effective 1972 ABC-TV adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s short story, in which she stars as a recently freed woman from At a mental institution that meets resistance when she insists, she hears a woman screaming underground. Along with the costumes by Edith Head and a score by John Williams, this is further reinforced by a cast of old pros: Joseph Cotten, Walter Pidgeon, Ed Nelson and Laraine Stephens. Both DVD ($ 14.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($ 24.95 retail) include audio commentary and trailers. ** ½
SOPHIE JONES (Oscilloscope Laboratories): Producer / Director / Co-Writer Jessie Barr’s debut feature stars her real cousin Jessica Barr (who makes her debut as a co-writer / producer) in the title role, a teenage girl from American suburb trying to come to terms with the death of her mother and her burgeoning sexuality. A compassionate coming-of-age story that benefits from Barr’s utterly believable performance, but the narrative tends to meander. Both DVD ($ 27.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($ 32.99 retail) include audio commentary, behind-the-scenes functionality, trailer, and more. ** ½
(Copyright 2021, Mark Burger)