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Chucky: The Complete Collection
I’m a pretty big fan of Chucky as a horror icon and am glad he and the franchise are still alive and kicking. This box set features all six Chucky movies: Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2, Child’s Play 3, Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky and Curse of Chucky. While I’m definitely not that excited about owning the awful Seed of Chucky, I am very pumped to have Child’s Play 1-3 on Blu-ray. I think the original film is an incredibly solid horror film and is definitely one of my favorite films of the genre. The two sequels that followed weren’t as good as the first but I still really enjoy them both (yes, I like Child’s Play 3). I don’t remember being a huge fan of Bride of Chucky, I think I like my Chucky more scary than funny, but I want to rewatch it and see if my opinion has changed over time. I’m glad that creator Don Mancini has returned Chucky to his more suspenseful horror roots with Curse of Chucky and am incredibly excited to have it playing in my annual Night of the Creeps horror marathon at the end of the month!
The Chucky box set has quite a few special features, though Child’s Play 2 and 3 don’t have anything but a theatrical trailer included. There are some fun featurettes to watch on the Child’s Play disc that include a look at the animatronics used to bring Chucky to life as well as three commentaries, two of which feature cast and crew and the second is more for entertainment value as it has Chucky himself commenting on his attack scenes. The Bride of Chucky disc features two commentaries with cast and crew and a brief behind-the-scenes look at the film. The Seed of Chucky disc contains the unrated cut of the movie (no theatrical edition is present, though the unrated cut only features one alternate shot and an ending extended by one minute). It also features two audio commentaries, a deleted scene, a retrospective and interviews with the characters of the movie. Last but not least, the Curse of Chucky disc contains both a 95-minute R-rated cut and a 97-minute unrated cut of the film. Bonus features include an audio commentary with Don Mancini, puppeteer Tony Gardner and actress Fiona Dourif, deleted scenes, a quick gag reel, a making-of Curse of Chucky featurette as well as a look at bringing Chucky to life from the design, molding, animatronics, costuming, puppeteering and vocal performance.
I’m hopeful we’ll be getting more Chucky movies in the future and I have my fingers crossed that the next one is theatrically released. As long as Brad Douriff voices the character, I’ll be happy to watch the further misadventures of Chucky. Let’s just hope the franchise never veers into Seed of Chucky territory again. This box set comes highly recommend, especially to fans of the franchise.
Much Ado About Nothing
Winner of the IFF Boston Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing is a contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s classic comedy about sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick, offering a sensual, tragic and occasionally absurd view of the intricate game that is love. I really liked this movie, even though I tend to find Shakespeare dialogue hard to follow. It took me a few minutes to get a grasp on who was who and the language of the movie but once I did, I found the film to be funny and engaging. Alexis Denisof in particular gives a very good and often funny performance, matched equally by the lovely Amy Acker. In fact, all of the Whedonverse actors are great with Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk standing out as bumbling cops. What’s most impressive about the film, besides the great cast and beautiful black and white imagery is that writer/director Joss Whedon made the film in just two weeks time while he was on a short break from shooting The Avengers.
The Blu-ray features a commentary with Joss Whedon, as well as a second commentary with Whedon and the cast. There is also a Much Ado About Making Nothing behind-the-scenes featurette as well as Bus Ado About Nothing, a short documentation of the cast and crew’s bus trip to Texas for a film festival.
The Hangover Part III
It’s been two years. Phil, Stu and Doug are happily living uneventful lives at home. The only member of the Wolfpack who’s not content is Alan. Still lacking a sense of purpose, the group’s black sheep has ditched his meds and given in to his natural impulses in a big way-which, for Alan, means no boundaries, no filters and no judgment… until a personal crisis forces him to finally seek the help he needs. What could possibly go wrong? When the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.
I’m not a big fan of this franchise. The Hangover was funny the first time I saw it but proved to not have much replay value for me and the second film was just more of the first. Despite this, I feel the need to see this final chapter, especially since it sounds like they actually made a movie that is different than the previous two. I don’t have high expectations for Part III but I’ll give it a watch eventually.
A crash landing leaves teenager Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his legendary father Cypher (Will Smith) stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape. With Cypher critically injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help, facing uncharted terrain, evolved animal species that now rule the planet, and an unstoppable alien creature that escaped during the crash. Father and son must learn to work together and trust one another, if they want any chance of returning home.
M. Night Shyamalan has been on a bit of downslide with the quality of films he’s been making since Signs, or arguably The Village, so my enthusiasm for watching a new movie from him is on the low side. Pair that with lead actors Will and Jaden Smith and might interest continues to dwindle. I don’t dislike Will Smith but I feel his ego overshadows the movies he’s in generally and I find that to be a bit of a turn off. Seeing as how After Earth didn’t really inspire the greatest of criticism, I did not see this theatrically. I am willing to give it a shot though so I’ll be adding it to my Netflix queue. Maybe I’ll like it in a so-bad-its-good kinda way.
American Horror Story: Asylum
The sins of the past haunt the present at the notorious Briarcliff home for the criminally insane, ruled with an iron fist by Sister Jude. Forbidden desire and terrifying evil lurk around every corner…from alien abduction to demonic possession to a skin-wearing psychopath known as “Bloody Face.” Emmy winner Jessica Lange leads an ensemble cast, including Zachary Quinto, James Cromwell and Sarah Paulson.
Despite not being in love with the pilot of the first season of American Horror Story, the rest of the season went on to impress me and made for some good horror TV. I’ve been waiting for this second season to come out on Blu-ray so I can catch up in time for the third season but seeing as how the American Horror Story: Coven premieres tomorrow night on FX, I don’t think I’m going to be catching up. However, each season of this TV series doesn’t seem to relate to each other so I suppose I could start on either season and be fine. That’s one of the aspects of this series that I’m intrigued and excited by, the fact that each season is a whole new story with all new characters. I think it could make for a fun long-form anthology series and give the show a lengthy life, barring the ratings continue.
If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do? In The Purge, a speculative thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home. In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity—including murder—becomes legal. The police can’t be called. Hospitals suspend help. It’s one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking.
There isn’t much in the way of special features for The Purge as the disc contains a single 9-minute making-of featurette. I haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet but general consensus seems to say that it’s not bad but had potential of being way more than it is. I like Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey so I’m sure this will be something I’ll check out soon.
Europa Report follows a contemporary mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa to investigate the possible existence of alien life within our solar system. When unmanned probes suggest that a hidden ocean could exist underneath Europa’s icy surface and may contain single-celled life, Europa Ventures, a privately funded space exploration company, sends six of the best astronauts from around the world to confirm the data and explore the revolutionary discoveries that may lie in the Europan ocean. After a near-catastrophic technical failure that leads to loss of communication with Earth and the tragic death of a crewmember, the surviving astronauts must overcome the psychological and physical toll of deep space travel, and survive a discovery on Europa more profound than they had ever imagined.
Man, this week’s releases seem to be filled with movies that have evaded me! Europa Report is no exception in that respect but it is a movie that I regret not seeing while it was in the theater. Friend of Monster Popcorn, Horrorella, reviewed the movie over on her blog (you can read her full review here) and she had this to say about the film, “It is an intelligent story told in a very grounded and convincing manner, yet still able to play up the tension (very well, I might add) at appropriate moments. It’s a great example of just how good low-budget genre films can be.” Sounds good to me!
Night Train to Terror
Aboard a fast moving train bound for Hell, God and Satan decide the fates of three unfortunate mortals. In Harry, a fiendish killer keeps the horribly mutilated body parts of his countless victims in a diabolical tourture chamber. In Gretta, a young woman, obsessed with death, takes part in an unspeakable ritual of Russian roulette. Finally in Claire, a young woman and a Holocaust survivor are terrorized by the son of Satan! This horror anthology features three stories connected by segments of God and Satan bickering for the souls while aboard the Night Train to Terror!
I recently did a little spotlight on this movie for my 31 Days of ’80s Horror column I’m doing this month. The Night Train to Terror Blu-ray + DVD combo pack comes from Vinegar Syndrome and features an interview with director Jay Schlossberg-Cohen and a commentary from The Hysteria Continues blogger team. There is also an interview with the editor of the movie on the DVD disc as well as Gretta, the full-length (91 min.) version of The Case of Gretta Conners that reveals an entire story behind the selected snippets that appear in Night Train to Terror. This movie looks like a lot of fun and I’ve had it recommended to me as a blind buy for those who can appreciate crazy ’80s horror, so count me in.
The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition
The Exorcist tells the now-famous story of a girl’s demonic possession, and a gripping fight between good and evil. Linda Blair, in a breakout role, plays Regan, a young girl who starts to exhibit strange, arcane behavior. Her mother calls upon a priest, Father Karras to investigate. But Karras, who has a spiritual crisis of his own, is suddenly confronted with the unimaginable evil of Regan’s possession. Father Lankester Merrin, an archeologist-priest, is called to help, and a horrific battle for her soul begins.
I already own the previous Digibook release of The Exorcist so I’m not exactly gunning to get this new one. The 40th Anniversary Edition contains both the extended director’s cut (aka 2000’s The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen) and the original theatrical version. This new release contains features brand new to this edition, the Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist and Talk of the Devil featurettes. It also includes other special features that have been released previously like an introduction by William Friedkin, three audio commentaries, the 1998 BBC documentary The Fear of God: 25 Years of the Exorcist, Raising Hell: Filming The Exorcist, The Exorcist Locations: Georgetown Then and Now, Faces of Evil: The Different Versions of The Exorcist, various interviews, sketches and storyboards, the original ending and trailers, TV and radio spots. If you’ve not picked up The Exorcist yet, this may be an easy purchase, but for those of you who already own it on Blu-ray, you may have to think on whether you want to spend the $35 to get the new edition.
The Other, directed by Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird) and adapted by Tom Tryon from his own best-selling novel, is a psychological horror film set in Depression-era New England about a pair of young twins who find themselves at the center of a series of ghastly accidents that may not be so accidental, after all. Shot by the extraordinary Robert Surtees (Ben-Hur), and featuring a score by the superb Jerry Goldsmith, The Other is available from Twilight Time as one of their limited edition (of 3,000) releases. So once all 3,000 Blu-ray sell out, it’ll be out of print. I’ve had this movie on my Netflix Instant Queue for some time now and am really curious about the movie. Now that it is on Blu-ray, I hope to obtain a copy and give it a watch.
Cult horror veterans Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead) and Angus Scrimm (Phantasm) co-star in Mindwarp, produced by Fangoria Films (an off-shoot of the popular horror film magazine). The film tells the grisly tale of a post-apocalyptic society in which the privileged exist only as “Dreamers,” eternally plugged into a virtual reality fantasyland, Inworld, while in the ravaged Outworld, humans have mutated into savage flesh-eaters, led by a mysterious, charismatic despot interested only in survival. This is another release from Twilight Time, so like with The Other, Mindwarp is limited to 3,000 units. I’d never heard of this before but, hey, it’s a movie starring Bruce Campbell and the Tall Man, so yea, I’m in. Hail to the king, baby.
Learning that his best friend, Chris, is holed up in a remote rural shack on a methamphetamine bender, Michael takes it upon himself to travel out to the location with a pair of handcuffs determined to enforce cold turkey on his beleaguered pal – as a last ditch attempt to save his life. Suddenly forces seemingly beyond their control combined with baffling activity and the memories of each man’s past actions occasion an intense excursion of isolation for these friends whose friendship will be tested to the brink.
I’ve only heard a few rumblings on Twitter in regards to Resolution but it sounds like it’s a pretty solid low-budget horror flick. The blurb on the front of the cover art compares it to The Cabin in the Woods, but from what I’ve heard it doesn’t really have much in common with that film other than there is an actual cabin in the woods in the movie.
More titles released this week:
Curse of Chucky
The House on Straw Hill
Bones: The Complete Eighth Season
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Deluxe Edition (Target sells it in a Steelbook case)
Robot Chicken: Season 6
Stuck in Love
Nothing Left to Fear
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
Airplane II: The Sequel
Laura Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
I Married a Witch (Criterion)
The Hot Nights of Linda
Shout at the Devil
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
On the Riviera
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The Man in the Iron Mask
Tad: The Lost Explorer
Alvin and the Chipmunks 3-Pack Box Set
Ice Age Trilogy
by Ben McBride
Follow Ben on @monsterpopcorn