Sunday, 24 November 2013

Severed Headlines

DVD/Blu-ray Releases - UK

Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue (Blu-ray)

If you haven't seen Satoshi Kon's stunning Perfect Blue you really need to sort that shit out as soon as possible.  Imagine if an "in his prime" Dario Argento had absconded to Japan and thrown himself into writing/directing an anime masterpiece. The end result would likely have looked something like Perfect Blue.  Despite the best efforts of Studio Ghibli anime is still often considered to be somewhat juvenile; mistakenly believed to consist mainly of giant robots beating seven shades of unholy shit out of each other (or kicking the crap out of monsters) and /or demons raping pre-pubescent school girls with their giant tentacle cocks.  This is not the be all or the end all and in the work of director/animator Satoshi Kon there is ample evidence that anime can achieve a level of multi-layered sophistication that the best live-action genre movies (both horror and sci-fi) seldom achieve (I especially recommend his brilliant anime series Paranoia Agent).  Perfect Blue is a remarkable example of this and as such gets my highest recommendation.  I'll be picking up a copy of this for review purposes soon so look out for a write up sometime in December.

This Blu-ray release comes courtesy of new Scottish company Anime Limited who have a lot more in the way of cool releases planned for the future. Coming soon are UK Blu-ray releases of early Makato Shinkai movies The Place Promised in our Early Days and Voices of a Distant Star each of which are pretty special.  Bonus features on the Perfect Blue Blu-ray include interviews with Ruby Marlow, Wendee Lee, Bob Marks, Junko Iwao and Satoshi Kon.  Hopefully the transfer will be something special.

The World's End (DVD/Blu-ray)

I liked but didn't love the third entry in Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost "Cornetto Trilogy" but I did enjoy it a lot more than I expected when I eventually caught up with it.  It doesn't come close to the brilliant Shaun of the Dead and comes a close third to Hot Fuzz but is, nonetheless, a thoroughly engaging exploration of male friendship and the travails that are often faced when faced with the whole "growing up" thing.  All of this drama is set against an alien invasion/pub crawl backdrop which smooshed together make for a mostly entertaining but sometimes repetitive slice of sci-fi/comedy that mostly works because of the sheer charisma of it's main cast.  Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan (who is becoming increasingly and welcomingly ubiquitous) are all excellent and scattered throughout the movie are a plethora of UK acting talent who bring a lot of fun to the constantly escalating, often ridiculous, but never less than entertaining nonsense that ensues.

As is somewhat customary with any DVD/Blu-ray release of an Wright/Pegg/Frost movie the disc comes replete with some cool extras. There's a commentary, a making of doc and 90 minutes of additional special features which are exclusive to the Blu-ray release (various featurettes and two additional commentary tracks plus much more). Altogether this looks like a fine release of a very entertaining but, nonetheless, slightly flawed movie.  If you're already a fan...IT'S A MUST BUY.

Other UK Releases

Shinya Tsukamoto's Tokyo Fist (DVD/Blu-ray) - Not horror but being that Tsukamoto has delivered a number of genre classics in his career this pugilistic gem is surely worth mentioning. Release courtesy of Third Window Films.

Brian De Palma's Obsession (Blu-ray) - I've never seen this  and I'm 50/50 where De Palma is concerned (I still get flashbacks to sitting in a freezing Florida cinema watching the awful Raising Cain).  I've heard good things about Obsession though so it might be worth checking out.

Breaking Bad Complete Box Set - I know...not horror so why am I mentioning it yada yada yada. But Breaking Bad is quite simply as good as TV gets and deserves the undivided attention and complete worship of everyone who loves a great story beautifully told.  The character development is a wonder to behold and the pay off?  Well...too often the journey isn't worth the effort (I'm looking at you disappointing fuck) but here the pay off is remarkable and perfect and everything leading up to that payoff?  Remarkable and perfect too. If you haven't seen's the ideal opportunity.  It's a masterpiece of TV drama and I don't throw that word around too often.

US DVD/Blu-ray Releases

The Horror Show (DVD/Blu-ray)

This is an interesting release.  The Horror Show was produced by Sean S. Cunningham (Friday the 13th) and stars Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Near Dark) and was originally released as the second sequel in the House franchise.   I remember seeing it back in the day when it was released to the rental market in the UK.  From memory it was...alright.  It felt nothing like the first two entries in the House series and that was with good reason.  It was never meant as a sequel to the first two House movies but instead had that title forced upon it because House 1 & 2 had been (apparently) moderately successful.  It was also subjected to a number of cuts imposed by the MPAA.  So here's hoping that this Shout Factory release presents the full uncut version for the first time ever.

Special features include an audio commentary by Sean S. Cunningham and an interview with Stunt Coordinator Kane Hodder and Actress Rita Taggert (slim pickings for sure).

Other US Releases

Wolf Children (DVD/Blu-ray) - Being that our remit is horror I'm stretching a bit here but this looks like an anime masterpiece and I can't wait to see it.  I'll be hanging on for the UK Blu-ray release which is due from Manga Entertainment on 23rd December.  But if you're an anime fan and your equipment can handle playing US Blu-rays this is definitely worth checking out.  I've heard incredible things about this anime from Afraid of the Dark film editor Sam Inglis who has already reviewed the movie for his 24 Frames Per Second blog.  His five star review can be found here.

This Week In Remakes

Not so much a remake but rather a re-adaptation.  Previously (loosely) adapted by Tobe Hooper for his cult 1985 sci-fi/horror classic Lifeforce, Colin Wilson's 1976 novel The Space Vampires has been optioned by Ringleader Studios who intend to turn it into a TV series, graphic novel and computer game.  I'd be willing to bet a very small amount of money that this will never actually happen but it did for a second re-awaken my desire to own a copy of Lifeforce on Blu-ray (something I intend to make happen very soon).

A UK trailer for the Robocop remake arrived this week.  Have I watched it?  No. Why?  Because the Robocop remake can fuck right off thank you very much.

Trailer of the Week.

Fangoria are re-releasing Silent Night, Deadly Night to cinemas in December in HD remastered form.  Here's the trailer.

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