This week there’s a lot of monstrous hits roaring to DVD and Blu-ray. We think you’ll love this latest batch of new releases, all of which would take an honored place in your home video library!
Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 (Criterion Collection)
In 1954, an enormous beast clawed its way out of the sea, destroying everything in its path—and changing movies forever. The arresting original Godzilla soon gave rise to an entire monster-movie genre (kaiju eiga), but the King of the Monsters continued to reign supreme: in fourteen fiercely entertaining sequels over the next two decades, Godzilla defended its throne against a host of other formidable creatures, transforming from a terrifying symbol of nuclear annihilation into a benevolent (if still belligerent) Earth protector. Collected here for the first time are all fifteen Godzilla films of Japan’s Showa era, in a landmark set showcasing the technical wizardry, fantastical storytelling, and indomitable international appeal that established the most iconic giant monster the cinema has ever seen.
Upscale couple Amy and Peter Edgar (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth) felt justly proud of their adoptive teenage son Luce (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), who they found in war-torn Eritrea and watched become an accomplished student and athlete. However, after a taskmaster teacher (Olivia Spencer) took issue with his class essay advocating violent rebellion, events would raise disturbing questions about how well they really knew him. Provocative drama co-stars Norbert Leo Butz, Andrea Bang.
In the Gotham City of the 21st century, a new breed of super-criminals has risen to prey on the citizens, and a new Dark Knight, mentored by a retired Bruce Wayne, swoops in to keep the streets safe. Follow the rebirth of Batman in this hit animated series that ran from 1999-2001. All 52 episodes of the series, plus the documentary “Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics,” featurettes, audio commentary, and a booklet, are available in a six-disc set.
In a pocket of Appalachia, the local parishioners were thrilled that Mara (Alice Englert), the daughter of their charismatic, intense pastor (Walton Goggins), was to be given away in marriage. However, the faithful happen to be a sect of snake handlers–and when it’s revealed that Mara still pines for the boyfriend (Thomas Mann) who turned his back on their ways, their venom will know no bounds. Distinctive suspenser also stars Olivia Colman, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Pullman, Kaitlyn Dever.
First seen as a TV play by JP Miller, Blake Edwards’ searing film features Jack Lemmon as Joe Clay, a successful adman who meets pretty Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick) at a party. The two marry and have a child, but their lives spiral downward when they begin taking to the bottle too much. With their marriage threatened, Joe and Kirsten attempt to quit their boozing and get their lives back on track. With Jack Klugman, Charles Bickford. Henry Mancini’s title tune won a Best Song Oscar.
Subtly spooky Hammer Films horror, scripted by Richard Matheson from Dennis Wheatley’s novel, stars Christopher Lee as the Duc de Richleau, a French nobleman living in England. Trying to save an old friend’s son who’s scheduled to lose his soul at the hands of a Satan-worshipping cult, Richleau is forced to perform deadly rituals that draw him into conflict with the Devil himself. With Charles Gray, Leon Greene, Niké Arrighi, Patrick Mower.
Oscar-winning make-up effects by Rick Baker highlight director John Landis’ furry and funny frightfest about backpacking Yank college students David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) in England. When the boys are bitten by a werewolf in the countryside, David is badly injured…and one full moon later, he’s wreaking bloody havoc on the unsuspecting citizens of London. With Jenny Agutter, John Woodvine, Don McKillop.
Not long after a new teacher (Carl Schell) reported for work at a girls’ reform school, young inmates started turning up dead–savagely mauled as if by some kind of animal. With the local authorities baffled, one resident (Barbara Lass) starts her own investigation…but will she live to share the unholy truth? Seminal Euroshocker also stars Curt Lowens, Luciano Pigozzi, Maurice Marsac, Michela Roc. AKA: “Lycanthropus.
A pair of college-bound friends (Deborah Raffin, Lynne Moody) cursed their luck when their car broke down in the Deep South. It’d get far, far worse, as they spurned the come-on of a lecherous local lawman (Chuck Connors)…and he then railroaded them into a brutal work camp from which escape seemed impossible. Made-for-TV “WIP” effort, which received an R-rated recut for overseas release, co-stars Tina Louise, Robert Reed, Della Reese, Lana Wood, and Ralph Bellamy.
Holiday-themed entry in the popular fairy tale-inspired series centers on Kat Decker (Laura Marano), an aspiring musician who gets stuck working as a singing elf during the Christmas season. Kat hits it off with billionaire’s son Nick (Gregg Sulkin), but will her sinister stepmother (Johannah Newmarch) and stepsisters (Lillian Doucet-Roche, Chanelle Peloso) keep the young couple from attending an upcoming gala? Isabella Gomez, Barclay Hope co-star.
Frank Capra’s perennial holiday classic is one of the most beloved films of all time and the quintessential “Capraesque” comedy/drama. James Stewart is Bedford Falls banker George Bailey, who is driven by circumstances one Christmas Eve to consider suicide, only to be shown by neophyte angel Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers) what a difference his life has made. Tremendous supporting cast includes Donna Reed, Thomas Mitchell, Lionel Barrymore, Ward Bond, Beulah Bondi. Complete, uncut 130-minute version.
The Human Monster (collector’s Edition)
Moody thriller, based on the Edgar Wallace story “The Dark Eyes of London,” stars Bela Lugosi as the diabolical Dr. Orloff, who lives up to the film’s name by murdering blind people for their insurance money. His evil ways are threatened when the daughter (Greta Gynt) of one of his victims and a Scotland Yard inspector (Hugh Williams) start poking around. Edmon Ryan, Wilfred Walter, Alexander Field also star. AKA: “The Dark Eyes of London,” “Dead Eyes of London.”
The Blob (Collector’s Edition)
Just when you thought it was safe to open a jar of Vaseline… What is the secret behind a gelatinous, carnivorous mass that fell from the sky to ooze and devour its way through a small town, and can the local teens convince the authorities in time to stop it? Slick remake of the ’50s shocker stars Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith, Donovan Leitch, Candy Clark.
After a heist goes sideways, professional thief Frank Sullivan (Michael Chiklis) realizes he’s lost 10 minutes of his memory, the result of a nasty whack on the head during the botched job. With his brother murdered and the ill-gotten gains missing, all Frank has to do is figure out which member of his team betrayed him while he avoids getting killed by Rex (Bruce Willis), his ruthless and wealthy employer. Meadow Williams, Kyle Schmid, Texas Battle also star in this exciting crime thriller.
A bizarre videotape that promises all who watch it will die within seven days comes into the possession of a TV journalist. After viewing the video, the reporter and her ex-husband seek to uncover its sinister secret–linked to a late psychic on the tape–before she becomes the next victim. Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Otaka Rikiya star in the original Japanese chiller that inspired 2002’s hit “The Ring.”
Desperate to punch up her sound, a girl-group leader (Jasmine Maimone) procured a sheaf from a sinister song peddler (Donald Pleasence) that turned out to have been composed by Paganini himself. Unfortunately, the old mansion where they chose to shoot the music video happens to be haunted…and the spirit of the vengeful virtuoso is out to collect his royalties in blood. Luigi Cozzi’s long-sought Euroshocker co-stars Daria Nicolodi (who co-scripted), Pascal Persiano.
Making her way across the New Mexico desert to the sleepy town of Chile Verde, showgirl Rosie Valez (Divine) is rescued from certain doom by outlaw Abel Wood (Tab Hunter). After reaching their destination, a chance encounter with local madam Marguerita Ventura (Lainie Kazan) provides all three with an unexpected map to a legendary cache of gold. Paul Bartel’s outrageous sagebrush spoof also stars Cesar Romero, Woody Strode, Henry Silva, Geoffrey Lewis.
It rises from the very depths…its strength is inhuman…it has hungered for an eternity…it’s standing right behind you…and you won’t have time to scream! An alien spacecraft crash-lands on Earth, and the creature inside sets out to destroy the little town of Perry Hill, with only the sheriff and a few allies to stop him. Low-budget sci-fi chiller from Baltimore horror maestro Don Dohler stars Tom Griffith, Dick Dyszel, Greg Dohler, Anne Frith.
After a bizarre car accident results in the death of her parents, Catherine (Candace Glendenning) moves to the foreboding mansion where her uncle (Michael Gough) and cousin (Martin Potter) reside. Soon, the love that dares not speak its name (between Catherine and her cousin), creepy séances, and human sacrifice are on the menu of this British thriller boasting generous portions of skin and gore. With Barbara Kellerman, Michael Craze. AKA: “Evil Heritage.”