· THERE'S NOTHING OUT THERE: SPECIAL EDITION is a good example of the little known or rarely seen title that the DVD explosion is bringing to the surface. On 9/19, Image Entertainment will release this enjoyable horror spoof that leaves no cliché unscathed. The DVD of this 1990 direct-to-video release will feature deleted scenes, bloopers, and audition and rehearsal tapes, along with a commentary track featuring director Rolfe Kanefsky and several members of his cast.
· THE VEIL is a rare and seldom seen TV pilot from the late 50s which starred Boris Karloff several years before he made an impact on TV anthology horror with his Thriller series. 10 half hour episodes of THE VEIL were shot but never broadcast on TV. Patrick MacNee, George Hamilton, Morris Ankrum and Karloff himself were featured on those ten shows, all of which will be presented on the 9/11 DVD release. As a bonus, the DVD will also contain two episodes of another unaired TV pilot, this one entitled 13 DEMON STREET, featuring Lon Chaney Jr. as the host.
· Paramount Home Video will enlighten viewers to the fact that every new DVD release can't be rare and seldom seen. They'll accomplish this lesson by re-releasing two installments in of an all-too-familiar horror franchise: FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 5: A NEW BEGINNING and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6: JASON LIVES. Both will debut on 9/25, just in time for Halloween family gift giving. What's more, Paramount will also unveil PET SEMATARY 2 that same week.
This Week's Releases
· ATTACK FROM MARS has a production story that may be more fun than the tale on the screen. Originally filmed as a feature-length tribute to the 50s TV series SPACE PATROL, the feature was never totally completed, let alone released. That footage was later cut, re-edited and then outfitted with new, raunchy comedy material depicting the audience at a "Midnight Movie" showing of the SPACE PATROL movie and then re-titled MIDNIGHT MOVIE MASSACRE. That version saw only limited release but will finally find a wider audience with this Image Entertainment release under yet another title. If you like your humor crude and dumb, there are some laughs to be had here, and the SPACE PATROL footage is good enough to make you wish you could see that film in its entirety.
· BEHIND THE PLANET OF THE APES: SPECIAL EDITION is the [IMG1R]video release of the enjoyable documentary on the classic, original film, hosted by Roddy McDowell. This played recently on the AMC cable channel and, while lightweight and uncritical of the APES film series, is a fun and informative journey.
· BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB is another entry in Anchor Bay's ongoing release of the library of Hammer Films. This one is based on Bram Stoker's book Jewel of the 7 Stars, which would later serve as source material for THE AWAKENING and the recent BRAM STOKER'S THE MUMMY. While a little slow at times, this one is well acted with typically solid Hammer production values and an effective atmosphere. All of which is pretty amazing, considering that the director died in mid-production and the producer, who had never previously directed, finished the film.
· HALLOWEEN remains one of the purest examples of the horror film ever made. Then neophyte director John Carpenter had nothing more in mind than creating a sense of fear in his audience, before snapping them out of it with a shock-jolt of terror. As one of the most imitated films of the past 30 years, much of its power has been lost to a sense of familiarity, but it's still a brilliant and assured piece of filmmaking. Anchor Bay's latest incarnation of the film features an additional 12 minutes of footage shot for the TV broadcast. I doubt Carpenter would approve of the inclusion here (though he did film the footage at NBC's insistence), but it doesn't hurt the film and it does clarify a few issues that repeat viewings have raised.
· HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN is another Hammer title release from Anchor Bay. The film was an unsuccessful 1970 attempt by the studio to re-launch the Frankenstein franchise, which they had already done more than a decade earlier with THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Ralph Bates, who essays the bad doctor here, would do some good work for Hammer, but this wasn't among them. That's Dave (Darth Vader) Prowse in the monster makeup.
· JOHN CARPENTER 3-PACK: Christine, Vampires, Starman: Columbia/Tristar cleverly tempts Carpenter fans with this DVD trio, featuring one of the director's best (STARMAN) and two of his lesser efforts. Still, even lesser Carpenter is better than most, and both CHRISTINE and VAMPIRES have some stunning sequences. You can pick this up on the net for under $30, making it a hard to resist package.
· SCARS OF DRACULA is more Hammer horror from Anchor Bay, and it's pretty good stuff. While it's unlikely to be shocking today, this one pushed the envelope on violence even further than its predecessors. This was the last of the studio's period piece Dracula tales and, with Peter Cushing's Van Helsing absent, the film relies quite a bit on Christopher Lee to carry it. And carry it he does.
· SHORT CIRCUIT 2 brings lovable robot Johnny 5 back for more shenanigans, though Fisher Stevens is the only other returnee from the much superior original. Still, kids should enjoy this and adults won't exactly be miserable. You could do worse.
· ANGEL LINKS #3: BROKEN ANGEL offers 3 more episodes of the anime series about the Links Group, this time trying to get back a shipment stolen right under their noses.
· CREST OF THE STARS #2: POLITICS OF WAR was delayed from an earlier announced release, but still finds Jinto and reluctant guardian Lafiel in conflict with the evil baron.
· DRAGON TALES: LET'S SHARE! LET'S PLAY! is a 6 episode entry from the juvenile version of the hugely popular DRAGON TALES anime franchise. Strictly for the pre-school crowd, but they'll probably love it.
· MOBILE SUITE GUNDAM #1: THE BATTLE BEGINS offers 5 episodes of the above-average anime action tale about mankind's last hope in the face of the rebellious Zeons: the humanoid fighting machine called Gundam.
· ZEIRAM 2 features 2 episodes about Iria's efforts to prove the Tedan Tippedai Corporation is responsible for the arrival of Zeiram, a super-powerful beast with designs on world destruction.
Easter Egg Hunt
THE BEYOND, Anchor Bay's DVD of Lucio Fulci's zombie masterpiece, features two hidden goodies. If you select "Extras" from the "Main Menu" and then choose "Images From The Beyond," and then press "Left" on your remote 3 times highlighting the "gate" symbol - and then push "Enter," you will get the trailer for Fulci's semi-autobiographical film, CAT IN THE BRAIN.
If you select "Audio Setup" from "Main Menu," and again press "Left" 3 times, the "gate" symbol will again be highlighted. Press "Enter" and you'll find an alternative opening title sequence for the film.
We'll have Psycho Cats, Goliath, Dragons, Hercules, and Lara "Croff" getting nekkid. Weee doggies, it don't get much better than that!
Vidiocy is our weekly Video & DVD column.