Summer Camp! (Mania.com)

By:BRIAN THOMAS
Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Has the DVD marketplace reached a saturation point?

With the two Hi-Def DVD formats struggling to make their way into your homes, it’s no wonder they’re having trouble making progress. We’re already swimming in product! Labels are putting out DVDs at an unprecedented rate, putting theatrical features on disc sooner, pulling titles out of their libraries for release and re-releasing already available titles in new editions. Sure, there’s no shortage of titles competing for our NOT ON DVD CORNER (see below), but for DVD enthusiasts, it has become impossible to keep up with all the worthwhile titles being unleashed.

Market watchers say this bubble is due to pop soon, as more product is released than the buying public can consume. Unfortunately, the titles most likely to be trimmed from schedules are the more outré films sitting in the vaults. There are plenty of smaller labels vying to give these films their chance, if for no other reason than the labels are owned by fans who just want to see their favorites given a good presentation. But the bigger studios are likely to concentrate on recent theatrical releases and TV shows that can benefit from promotion that has already begun than to try to alert modern audiences to older (but worthy) titles.

If there’s a breakin the HD battle, this coming stall should loosen again, with everything coming to whatever format takes hold. But until then, maybe we’ll all get a chance to do some catching up with our collections.

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Speaking of recent hits, if you haven’t seen our news item about it, I wanted to be sure you knew about the cool promo contest going on at www.Jointhe300.com. It looks like the DVDs will be terrific and the prizes in the contest are exciting.

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Maybe not quite so exciting is our own modest Prize Closet. This week we have 5 copies of DEAD SILENCE to give away, courtesy of Universal. This creeper didn’t do as well at the box office as hoped, but it’s still worth a look for all horror fans, boasting some great cinematography and quite a few chills. Plus, you can get it FREE! To enter, all you have to do is send an email which includes your name and address to DVD Shopping List, and put the words “SHHHHHHH” in the subject line.

SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK
 
This week, our spotlight falls on summer camp titles! Summertime – for me, anyway – means drive-in movie time, and today Warner Bros. opened their vaults to release a pile of titles just made for outdoor viewing, plus Rhino delivers another great MST3k box. So why not drag the home theater out onto the patio this upcoming Independence Day and watch movies while you barbecue?  

(O)   CULT CAMP CLASSICS Volume 1: Sci-Fi Thrillers (Warner Bros.) Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The Giant Behemoth and Queen of Outer Space. All with commentraks and available separately.
(O)   CULT CAMP CLASSICS Volume 2: Women In Peril (Warner Bros.) Trog, The Big Cube and Caged. All with commentraks and available separately.
(O)   CULT CAMP CLASSICS Volume 3: Terrorized Travelers (Warner Bros.) Hot Rods to Hell, Skyjacked and Zero Hour. All with commentraks and available separately.
(O)   CULT CAMP CLASSICS Volume 4: Historical Epics (Warner Bros.) Colossus of Rhoades, The Prodigal and Land of the Pharoahs . All with commentraks and available separately.
(O)   MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 COLLECTION 11 (Rhino) Four more experiments: Ring of Terror, The Indestructible Man, Tormented and Horrors of Spider Island, plus MST3k Jukebox, MST3k Hour wrap-arounds., interviews and trailers.

NEW RELEASES

(O)   AFTER MIDNIGHT (MGM) Horror anthology written & directed by the Wheat Brothers starring (Pitch Black) starring Marg Helgenberger and Jillian McWhirter.
(O)   AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT THE CLASSICS Collection 2
(Acorn) David Suchet in The ABC Murders, Death in the Clouds, Dumb Witness, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Hickory Dickory Dock, Murder on the Links, The Mystereious Affair at Styles, One Two Buckle My Shoe and Peril at End House.
(O)   BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON
(Anchor Bay) The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he plans his reign of terror over the sleepy town of Glen Echo, all the while deconstructing the conventions and archetypes of the horror genre for them.
(O)   BIGFOOT
(Leo)
(O)   BLACK SNAKE MOAN
(Paramount) Bluesman Samuel L. Jackson takes extreme measures in an attempt to redeem fallen woman Christina Ricci in a sweaty southern gothic. Includes commentrak, Making-Of and deleted footage. Also available bundled with director Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow.
(O)   BRUTAL RIVER
(Tai Seng) Thai terror about a huge alligator preying on a relote village.
(O)   DEAD SILENCE
(Universal) The creators of Saw dreamed up this terror tale of a hideous, vengeful ghost with an army of sinister ventriloquist dummies. Includes deleted footage, Making-Of, featurettes and more. Unrated edition adds on alternate ending and opening scenes.
(O)
   EBOLA SYNDROME (Discotek) Another exercise in bad taste from director Herman Yau (Untold Story) with star Anthony Wong as a deranged restaurant employee who spreads the horrible disease all over Asia.
(O)   EROTIC GHOST STORY
(Tai Seng) Amy Yip in a 1990 adaptation of a famous Chinese ghost tale.
(O)   THE FAIRY KING
(Allumination) Family fantasy with Malcolm McDowell and Corbin Bernson.
(O)   FAMOUS SWORDSMAN
(Inspired) 1969 Hong Kong swordplay drama.
(O)  
FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD (Media Blasters) 2-disc set holds the bizarre 1965 Japanese giant monster rumble Frankenstein vs. Baragon, plus the US dubbed version.
(O)   GOMER PYLE USMC Season 2
(Paramount)
(O)   GUYS DON’T CRY
(Facets) Polish action comedy
(O)   HAMMER FILM NOIR Double Feature Volume 6
(VCI) Includes The Black Glove and Deadly Game.
(O)   HAMMER FILM NOIR Double Feature Volume 7
(VCI) Includes The Unholy Four and Race For Life.
(O)   HAMMER FILM NOIR Double Feature Collector’s Set 2
(VCI) Includes Volumes 4-7: Terror Street, Wings of Danger, The Glass Tomb, Paid to Kill, The Black Glove, Deadly Game, The Unholy Four and Race For Life.
(O)   HAUNTED FOREST
(Lionsgate) The vengeful ghost Satinka haunts the woods 200 years after her death.
(O)   ISOLATION
(First Look) Five people trapped in a remote farm as part of a biotech experiment.
(O)   LE JETEE / SANS SOLEIL
(Criterion) Two odd and influential 1960s films from artist Chris Marker. Includes interviews, booklet, music video and more.
(O)   JOHNNY LEGEND'S MANIA MANIA Volume 1: TV Mania / Commercial Mania
(Legend House/Ryko)
(O)   JOHNNY LEGEND'S MANIA MANIA Volume 2: Sex Mania / Dope Mania
(Legend House/Ryko) More crazy clips from Johnny’s archives.
(O)   THE LAST HUNTER
(Dark Sky/MPI) Antonio Margheriti’s violent 1980 Vietnam war flick.
(O)   THE LAST LEPRECHAUN
(Allumination) Sequel to Last Hunter. Just kidding – it’s a family fantasy film.
(O)   THE LEGEND OF CRYIN’ RYAN
(Allumination) Family ghost comedy.
(O)   THE LITTLE UNICORN
(Allumination) Family unicorn drama.
(O)   LOCKOUT
(Warner Bros.) Haunted Wisconsin farmhouse horror.
(O)   MARTIAL ARTS MASTER BRUCE LEE
(Delta) Includes Fist of Fear Touch of Death, The Real Bruce Lee and Bruce Lee Fights Back From the Grave.
(O)   MASTERS OF HORROR: VINCENT PRICE
(Delta) Includes The Bat, House on Haunted Hill and Last Man on Earth.
(O)   MAX MAGICIAN AND THE LEGEND OF THE RINGS
(Allumination) Family fantasy adventure.
(O)   MERLIN: THE RETURN
(Allumination) Family fantasy adventure.
(O)   MIAMI VICE Season Five
(Universal) Final season.
(O)   MONK Season Five
(Universal) Includes commentraks, webisodes, Psych pilot and more.
(O)   MY BROTHER THE PIG
(Allumination) Family fantasy adventure in which Scarlett Johansson’s sibling is transformed into a pig by a voodoo curse.
(O)   PSYCH Complete First Season
(Universal) A fake psychic detective gets real results. 15 episodes on four discs, plus commentraks, pilot, bloopers, audition, deleted footage and more.
(O)   RENO 911 Complete Fourth Season
(Comedy Central/Paramount) Uncensored episodes plus commentraks, deleted footage and more.
(O)   THE ROBERT KLEIN DVD COLLECTION (Kultur) 4-disc set of HBO stand-up specials, including the first such concert performance in 1976.
(Kultur) 4-disc set of HBO stand-up specials, including the first such concert performance in 1976.(O)   ROGER CORMAN’S CULT CLASSICS: JACK NICHOLSON
(Delta) Includes Little Shop of Horrors, The Terror and Dementia 13 (which does not feature Nicholson at all).
(O)   SEARCH AND DESTROY / THE GLOVE
(MPI) Drive-In Double Feature from 1979.
(O)   SHAOLIN VS. EVIL DEAD: ULTIMATE POWER
(Tai Seng) Hong Kong action fantasy sequel.
(O)   SHOOTER
(Paramount) Acceptably diverting Antoine Fuqua action item with Mark Wahlberg as a retired Marine sniper set up as the fall guy in an assassination conspiracy. Widescreen and “fullscreen” editions include commentrak, Making-Of, deleted footage and featurette.
(O)   SONNY CHIBA: MASUTATSU TRILOGY
(BCI Eclipse) Includes Karate Bull Fighter, Karate Bear Fighter and Karate For Life.
(O)   SORCERER’S APPRENTICE
(Allumination) Family fantasy adventure.
(O)   THE SPAGHETTI WEST
(Docurama) Documentary on Italian western movies.
(O)   SPENSER: A Savage Place
(Ryko) 1993 TV movie
(O)   SPENSER: Judas Goat
(Ryko) 1994 TV movie
(O)   SPENSER: Pale Kings & Princes
(Ryko) 1994 TV movie
(O)   SUPERPRODUCTION
(Facets) 2003 Polish showbiz spoof.
(O)   TRANSMORPHERS
(Asylum) “A race of alien robots has conquered the Earth and forced humanity underground. After three hundred years of domination, a small group of humans develop a plan to defeat the mechanical invaders in the ultimate battle between man and machine.” Why does that sound familiar…
(O)   URCHIN
(Vanguard) An adventure set in the tunnels under New York.
(O)   VISIONS OF HORROR
(Hart Sharp) Seven indie horror shorts.
(O)
   THE WHISTLER (Leo)
(O)  
WHO CAN KILL A CHILD?
(MPI) Nicisco Ibanez Serrador’s transcendent 1976 horror in which the children of an island community suddenly turn violently against adults. Presented uncut for the first time in North America. With interview featurettes. 

HD-DVD CORNER

(O)   ARMY OF DARKNESS (Universal)
(O)   BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (Universal) Includes six featurettes, interview and more.
(O)   THE BIG LEBOWSKI (Paramount) Includes Making-Of and featurettes.
(O)   BLACK SNAKE MOAN
(Paramount) Includes commentrak, Making-Of and deleted footage.
(O)   BULLETPROOF (Universal)
(O)   DEAD SILENCE (Universal) DVD combo Includes deleted footage, Making-Of, featurettes and more. Unrated.
(O)   MALLRATS (Universal) With commentrak, interviews, retrospective Making-Of, reunion and more.
(O)   MEET JOE BLACK (Universal)
(O)   MYSTERY MEN (Universal) Includes commentrak, deleted footage, featurettes and more.
(O)   UNLEASHED (Universal)
(O)   THE WATCHER (Universal)
 
BLU-RAY DISC CORNER

(O)   BLACK SNAKE MOAN (Paramount) ) Includes commentrak, Making-Of and deleted footage.


NOT ON DVD CORNER
We welcome the input of Maniacs who want to share input on this section, where we highlight a different genre feature that has yet to come to digital disc format – just send your suggestions toDVD Shopping Listin an email identified with “NOT ON DVD” in the subject line.   

(O)   QUEEN OF BLOOD (Buena Vista?, MPI? Image? MGM?) The recent death of director Curtis Harrington reminds us that much of his filmography remains neglected, including this 1966 low budget, silly, but still effective sci-fi horror item that served as one of the inspirations for ALIEN.It ought to be up there in our Spotlight as a prime summer camp title, but instead it’s NOT ON DVD.

 
ANIME ADDITIONS
And finally, we close off each weekly list with a rundown of the constant stream of anime from around the world:

(O)   THE ADVENTURES OF SUPER MARIO BROS. 3
(Shout Factory) All 26 episodes of the 1990 series on three discs. Includes interactive writer’s bible, featurettes and more.
(O)   ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT ...AND OTHER FANTASTIC ADVENTURE STORIES
(Scholastic)
(O)
   BEST OF CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST Volume 1 (Classic Media)
(O)  BEST OF CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST Volume 2 (Classic Media) Casper is the ghost of a young boy who doesn’t enjoy the spiritual pursuits of scaring the living. In a series of formulaic cartoon shorts starting with 1945’s “The Friendly Ghost”, Casper finds himself shunned by both the living and the dead until an act of heroism gains him a bit of friendship. These collections each contain a dozen or so shorts. Delayed from last month.
(O)   BOBOBO-BO BO-BOBO Volume 1: Bo Nafide Protector (Westlake) More goofball adventures.
(O)  
DEMON PRINCE ENMA Volume 2
(Bandai)
(O)   GUNBUSTER 2 Volume 3
(Geneon) The time has come to launch the strongest fleet in the Space Force--and the Buster Machine # 7! Includes 20-page booklet.
(O)   INU-YASHA Volume 55
: The Bond Between Inu Yasha and Kagome (Viz)
(O)   IRIA ZEIRAM: THE ANIMATION Complete Collection
(Media Blasters)
(O)   MY LITTLE PONY: Pony Puppy
(Rhino) Hmm. How is that even possible?
(O)   NARUTO Volume 13: Forbidden Secret Jutsu
(Viz) Episodes 49-52.
(O)   THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN
(Warner Bros.) 1977 Saturday morning series in a 2-disc set, plus commentraks and featurette.
(O)   THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN
(Warner Bros.) 1966 Saturday morning series in a 2-disc set, plus featurette.
(O)   NOEIN Volume 4: To Your Other Self
(Manga/Anchor Bay)
(O)   ONE PIECE Volume 9: Rogue Town
(Viz) Episodes 37-41.
(O)   PAPUWA Volume 6: Reunions and Farewells
(ADV)
(O)   RATATOING
(Inspired) A rat becomes top chef in Rio de Janeiro. The secret inspiration for Ratatouille?
(O)   TO HEART Volume 3: Bonds of Friendship
(Right Stuf) Based on one of Japan’s most popular games, To Heart follows childhood friends Akari and Hiroyuki, and their classmates, as they deal with life’s everyday – and not-so-everyday – dramas. For example, this volume introduces robot girl Multi, a character that has become very popular in Japan.
(O)   TOKKO Volume 2
(Anchor Bay)
(O)   VANDREAD / VANDREAD: THE SECOND STAGE Complete Collection
(Geneon) Eight discs of space opera.
(O)   VAN-PIRES TRANSFORM Volume 1: Mission Demolition
(Inspired) Episodes 1-4. A meteor transforms derelict cars into undead monsters that suck gas from other vehicles.
(O)   VAN-PIRES TRANSFORM Volume 2: Deep
Freeze (Inspired) Episodes 5-7.

Be sure to check back next week—and every week—for Mania’s DVD Shopping List!

DVD Shopping List (© 2007 Brian Thomas) is our weekly DVD column. Brian Thomas is the author of the massive book VideoHound’s Dragon: Asian Action & Cult Flicks, available now!
 
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