This is an interesting week for Blu-ray and DVD releases, as the majority of titles hitting home video this week are archival classics from the likes of the Warner Archive Collection, the Criterion Collection, and the British Film Institute. There are also a number of hidden gems from the 1970s and 80s making their debut, and more than a couple offerings for hardcore horror fans. Here’s our weekly rundown of what you’ll want to add to your viewing library!
Six seemingly disparate people are given the chance to win $10,000 if they can use a series of clues to successfully make their way through elaborate puzzle rooms. But they soon discover that cash isn’t the only thing that’s on the line as they begin getting picked off one by one while trying to complete a succession of deadly tasks. Deborah Ann Woll, Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis, Nik Dodani star in this intense, suspense-filled horror tale.
Hard-working steel mill foreman Chris Bennett (Barton MacLane) had the respect of everyone on the plant floor, and they all clapped for his deserved promotion to a company vice-presidency. However, the boss’s passed-over cousin (John Eldredge) wasn’t applauding–and he started conniving with his secretary (Mary Astor) to undermine Bennett’s popularity with the rank and file, and set him up for a fall. Workplace drama programmer co-stars Dorothy Peterson, Joseph Crehan.
Refusing to get caught up in the toils of murderous gangster Ed Slayden (Dick Purcell), reformed crook Mike Eagan (Joseph King) decided to put distance between them…by slugging a cop and getting himself thrown in jail. Crime reporter Ken Williams (Craig Reynolds) was determined to find out Eagan’s motives…but it might end badly when his efforts get a vengeful Slayden sent to the same prison. Tidy crime drama co-stars Barton MacLane, June Travis, Charles Middleton, George E. Stone.
As he rode the London subway to work, crass electrician Bert (Cyril McLaglen) took a fancy to shopgirl Nell (Elissa Landi)…but so did gallant escalator porter Bill (Brian Aherne), who stepped in to end the harassment. Bert wasn’t one to take the rejection lightly, though–and he could readily coax his abused ex Kate (Norah Baring) into setting Bill up for public disgrace. Expressionistically rendered working class romance was the first solo directing credit for Anthony Asquith.
Calculating British screen queen Mae Feather (Annette Benson) got all the mileage she had wanted out of husband/co-star Julian Gordon (Brian Aherne)…and she had dreams of hitting Hollywood alongside movie comic/lover Andy Wilkes (Donald Calthrop). Could a prop-gun “accident” be arranged for Gordon on the set of their upcoming western? Prickly industry satire, the directing bow for Anthony Asquith, also stars Wally Patch, Chili Bouchier, Ian Wilson.
An ancient curse levied upon a founding New England family seems poised for self-fulfillment, when a conniving scion (George Sanders) is convinced that the ancestral home harbors a hidden fortune in gold, and he’s willing to frame his own brother (Vincent Price) for murder in order to get it. Effective rendering of the Nathaniel Hawthorne gothic classic co-stars Margaret Lindsay, Dick Foran, Nan Grey, Cecil Kellaway.
New Mexico deputy Roy Dolezal (Willem Dafoe) found an end to his job tedium when he investigated a seeming suicide in the desert…who’d been carrying a half-million in cash. His choice to assume the corpse’s identity and agenda entangles him with two power brokers (Mickey Rourke, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) looking to arm Central American rebels, the FBI agent (Samuel L. Jackson) on their tail, and a few double-crosses. Arresting thriller co-stars Mimi Rogers, M. Emmett Walsh, Maura Tierney.
Based on a Robert Louis Stevenson short story, this atmospheric Gothic chiller stars Charles Laughton as 17th-century nobleman Alain de Maletroit who seeks revenge on his brother, now married to Alain’s true love, by imprisoning him in the dungeon of the family castle and marrying off his grown niece to a drunken scoundrel. Boris Karloff co-stars as Maletroit’s reluctant henchman; with Sally Forrest, Paul Cavanagh.
A Face in the Crowd (Criterion Collection)
Folk-singing drifter Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith) was in an Arkansas cell when local radio producer Marcia Jefferies (Patricia Neal) came looking for color. She’d watch with growing unease as her charismatic and crafty discovery rose from regional sensation to nationally televised–and ambitious–demagogue. Prescient look at the intersection of media, celebrity, and politics from director Elia Kazan and screenwriter Budd Schulberg co-stars Walter Matthau, Anthony Franciosa, Lee Remick.
One of the sickest, most disturbing movies ever made! After being savagely assaulted and left for dead in the woods, a woman returns to carry out her revenge by chopping up, burning, and mutilating her attackers in an equally brutal fashion. Not for the squeamish! Camille Keaton and Eron Tabor star. AKA: “Day of the Woman,” “I Hate Your Guts.”
In the decades after her sexual assault–and fatal vengeance upon her attackers–Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton) found literary success, and raised her grown daughter Christy (Jamie Bernadette). Now, both find themselves kidnapped by the revenge-craving families of Jennifer’s rapists…but, unfortunately for the abductors, Christy’s about to follow her bloodline. Keaton and writer/director Meir Zarchi reunite for this direct sequel to the ‘78 cult shocker; Maria Olsen, Jim Tavaré also star.
A scientific expedition to Antarctica discovers a “lost valley” hidden in mists deep below the icy wastes. The astounded party discovers prehistoric creatures alive, thriving…and hungry. Can the explorers escape this savage land before they wind up on the menu? Thrilling dinosaur drive-in fare stars Jock Mahoney, Shawn Smith, William Reynolds, Henry Brandon.
Fright film faves Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing are featured in this offbeat shocker that reveals the truly bizarre connection between a London serial killer who drains his victims of their blood, an Eastern European intelligence agent, and a scientist who likes to build his own people out of parts harvested from some unwilling “donors.” Don’t watch this one alone…you won’t be able to stop screaming! With Judy Huxtable, Alfred Marks, Michael Gothard.
Race car driver John Bridgeman (Denis Webb) confided to old friend Alan Robert (Terence Alexander) about how his family had been dogged for generations by a numerological curse, and how the number nine was expected to figure in his personal disaster. While his mate did his utmost to convince him the legend was tommyrot, is the supernatural awaiting him around the far turn? Moody little effort also stars Lesley Osmond, Ingeborg von Kusserow, Peter Gawthorne.
While an output marked by “Harold and Maude,” “The Last Detail,” “Shampoo,” “Coming Home,” and “Being There” helped to define American cinema of the ‘70s, time has tended to obscure the significance of his contributions. The life and legacy of Hal Ashby–Bohemian, doper, rebel, artist–receives an affectionate appreciation in this documentary portrait, as friends and colleagues reflect on his career from Oscar-winning editor in the ‘60s to studio-wars casualty of the ‘80s.
To love or not to love? That is the question selfish, neurotic film editor Robert Cole (Albert Brooks, who also directed and co-scripted) continues to ask himself about very patient and beautiful girlfriend Mary (Kathryn Harrold), in this irreverent comedy that explores the joys and pains of modern-day relationships. Bruno Kirby, George Kennedy co-star; look for Brooks’ brothers Bob and Cliff Einstein, and filmmaker James L. Brooks (no relation) in cameos.
Sylvester Stallone wrote, directed, and stars in this rousing period drama set in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in the 1940s. Carboni brothers Cosmo (Stallone), Lenny (Armand Assante), and Victor (Lee Canalito) see the local wrestling hall, Paradise Alley, as their ticket to the top as they try to establish Victor as a real contender. Anne Archer, Joe Spinell, Kevin Conway, Terry Funk, and Tom Waits also star.
For a complete overview of all this week’s new releases, click here.