DVD Shopping Bag: Giants, Werewolves, and Space Vampires - Mania.com



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DVD Shopping Bag: Giants, Werewolves, and Space Vampires

3 New Blu-rays!

By Robert T. Trate     June 18, 2013
Source: Mania.com

Thankfully, this week features some choice titles for the DVD Shopping Bag. Sure, there are always picks in the Sci-Fi/ Fantasy/ Horror genres. This week, however, is just too encompassing to pick just one title. Instead, I dove right in and picked three films that I was dying to see. Lifeforce (1985) by Tobe Hooper, The Howling (1981) by Joe Dante, and Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) by Bryan Singer. Three films that caught my attention, but for some reason I just didn’t have the time to watch. Thank the maker for this job and the great excuse of having to watch it for work! Let’s get into them chronologically, shall we?
The Howling (1981) by Joe Dante has been given the royal treatment by Shout! Factory’s horror division, Scream Factory. I am at the point now that when Scream Factory puts out these Collector’s Edition Blu-rays, I will pick them up. They are the closest thing to a Criterion Collection Horror Release we will ever get. Here, The Howling gets its Blu-ray debut and it is stunning. What is so surprising about The Howling is that it really is a mystery that unfolds. This isn’t a werewolf movie, per se. In fact, the werewolves take their time in the revelation and reveal. The film isn’t perfect, but in the realm of non-slasher film early eighties horror, it is gold. It might also be Joe Dante’s most serious and horrific film in his cannon. All his favorites are here from Robert Picardo to Dick Miller. Though any true film aficionado will take notice of Roger Corman, John Sayles, and the legendary John Carradine. 
 
The Blu-ray transfer also highlights the magic of practical effects and the transformation of the werewolves. I really hate to Twilight bash, but their werewolves are terrible and effects/ make-up have come along way since 1981. Here, Rick Baker and his crew outshine them and it’s 31 years prior. The Blu-ray is loaded with tons of special features including commentary with Dante and star Dee Wallace Stone. The true fan of The Howling will love the deleted scenes and outtakes. Mania Grade: A for the film and Blu-ray content (order it here on Amazon.com).
Lifeforce (1985) by Tobe Hooper is one of those films I discovered because of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I am huge fan of Patrick Stewart and saw that he was credited in this film. I must have watched it a dozen times and fell asleep every time. That was the peril of working at a video store late and Space Vampires movies being slated for after 2AM on TBS or TNT. The story features the H.M.S. Churchill and its investigation of Haley's Comet. The crew discovers that a ship is in front of it and locked into a strange orbit. Like any good scientists, they investigate all in the name of science. 
 
The film is actually a throw back to late 50’s science fiction movies, most notably MGM’s Queen of Blood (see column). While I marveled at the incredibly dated effects in 1080p, I kept thinking one thing. No, not that Mathilda May is the finest thing to ever appear in a Blu-ray release (which is true). No, it was that, hopefully, NASA and other space organizations around the world watch these movies and tell their astronauts not to do this. It was as if I was watching a bunch of idiots do one stupid thing after another. I even watched the Tobe Hooper approved extended cut hoping for some sort of explanation. Like I said before, the premise is nothing new and has been better executed in The Hidden (1987) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, 1978). Yet, with all that being said, I found this charming and better movie screaming to get out. If any film needed a remake, Lifeforce is one of them. One a final note, this film proved to me that Tobe Hooper did not direct Poltergeist. It’s impossible. Mania Grade: C+ the film and A- for the Blu-ray content (order it here on Amazon.com).

Jack The Giant Slayer (2013) by Bryan Singer sadly suffered from bad word of mouth. I was interested in the film and the cast, but it got pushed to just waiting for it on Blu-ray. If anything, I’ll wait for it when I am trapped on an airplane. The biggest problem with Jack the Giant Slayer is that it goes against conventions and plays the cliches, as well. It was an interesting twist that the film has two heroes. Obviously, there is Jack (Nicholas Hoult) who’s adventure we are going on. Then, there is the Captain of the Guard, Elmont, played by Ewan McGregor. Normally, in a movie like this they are rivals for the Princess’ (Eleanor Tomlinson) hand. Here, they both work together to save her. Their is no love triangle or secret deeds going on behind one another’s backs. There isn’t even a joke or a jab in a hurtful way at the eachother’s expense. No, the film lets Stanley Tucci’s Shrek Farquaad rip off, Roderick, do all the conniving.

The film also suffers from two if not three villains all jockeying for the same thing. It gets boring and tiresome. Would I have enjoyed Jack The Giant Slayer if it was your typical underclassmen rising to the occasion to save the kingdom and win the girl? Probably not. Singer tries too hard to go against the conventions that have been told to us since childhood. He fails miserably when it comes to a mature audience looking for a high adventure. Jack The Giant Slayer undoubtably plays out better for children. Despite the film being rated PG-13, this is really a fairy tale for a younger audience. It is packed with heroes and villains that any 5 to 10 year old would appreciate. The giants themselves are creepy, but their CGI rendering makes them almost cartoony. Perhaps that is where this film may have flourished better. It certainly belongs with Saturday morning cartoons. Mania Grade: C+. Own “Jack the Giant Slayer” on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download 7/16. Buy the film here on Amazon.com.

ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Brass Teapot

The Brass Teapot [Blu-ray]

Cruising Starring Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino and Karen Allen

In the Dark Starring Shannon Elizabeth, Elisabeth Rohm and Sam Page

Jackie Chan: Beginnings - Shaolin Wooden Men / To Kill With Intrigue Double Feature Starring Jackie Chan

Profile of a Killer

Showdown at Boot Hill [Blu-ray] Starring Charles Bronson, John Carradine, Robert Hutton

Showdown at Boot Hill Starring Charles Bronson, John Carradine, Robert Hutton

Stephen King's The Langoliers

Stoker [Blu-ray] Starring Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode

Stoker Starring Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode

Summoned Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., James Hong, Bailey Chase and Ashley Scott

Venom Starring Jessica Morris, Oliviah Crawford, Roberto Sanchez

Wonder Women Starring Nancy Kwan, Ross Hagen, Sid Haig and Roberta Collins

ANIME

Chrome Shelled Regios: The Complete Series S.A.V.E. Starring Todd Haberkorn, Monica Rial and Brina Palencia

Kill Me Baby

Saiyuki Complete Collection

CARTOONS

Dcu: Superman Unbound

The Jungle Book: Adventures Of Mowgli - The Complete Collection

Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness - Good Croc, Bad Croc Starring Mick Wingert, Fred Tatasciore, Kari Wahlgren and Max Koch

Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated - Spooky Stampede Starring Frank Welker, Matthew Lillard, Grey Delisle and Mindy Cohn

CLASSICS

Bomba The Jungle Boy Volume 1 Starring Johnny Sheffield

Flame of Barbary Coast [Blu-ray] Starring John Wayne, Ann Dvorak, Joseph Schildkraut

Flame of Barbary Coast [Blu-ray] Starring John Wayne, Ann Dvorak, Joseph Schildkraut

Of Human Bondage: Kino Classics Remastered Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Bette Davis and Leslie Howard

Of Human Bondage: Kino Classics Remastered Edition Starring Bette Davis and Leslie Howard

One Touch of Venus [Blu-ray] Starring Ava Gardner, Robert Walker, Dick Haymes and Eve Arden

Retreat Hell [Blu-ray] Starring Richard Carlson, Frank Lovejoy, Russ Tamblyn

SlugTerra: Slugs Unleashed

COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style

Before Sunrise / Before Sunset

Movie 43 (Blu-ray / DVD Combo) Starring Emma Stone, Stephen Merchant, Richard Gere

Criterion Collection

Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Josef Kemr, Magda Vasaryova, Nada Hejna and Ivan Paluch

Marketa Lazarova (Criterion Collection) Starring Josef Kemr, Magda Vasaryova, Nada Hejna and Ivan Paluch

 

Safety Last! (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis

Things to Come (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson

Things to Come (Criterion Collection) Starring Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson

HORROR

The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse [Blu-ray] Starring Lee Perkins, Marshal Hilton, Maria Olsen and Michael Villar

The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse Starring Lee Perkins, Marshal Hilton, Maria Olsen and Michael Villar

Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan Starring Joe Estevez, Dan Haggerty, Thomas Downey and Amber Connor

American Mary BD [Blu-ray] Starring Katherine Isabelle and Antonio Cupo

American Mary Starring Katharine Isabelle

Come Out and Play [Blu-ray] Starring Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Vinessa Shaw

Everyone Must Die! Starring Aleen Isley, Seth Gontkovic, Nick LaMantia Nicole Beattie

Exhumed Starring Sarah Nicklin, Michael Reed, Michael Thurber Debbie Rochon

Extinction Starring Daniel Buder, Luise Bähr, Jerry Coyle and Tobias Kay

G-String Horror Starring Debra Lamb Natasha Talonz

The Howling (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray] Starring Dee Wallace Stone, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan

In the Dark Starring Shannon Elizabeth, Elisabeth Rohm and Sam Page

Jersey Shore Lingerie Party Massacre Starring Stephanie Hudson Debbie Rochon

The Last Exorcism Part II [Blu-ray] Starring Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark

The Last Exorcism Part II Starring Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark

Lifeforce (Collector's Edition) [Blu-Ray/DVD Combo] Starring Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay and Mathilda May

Mummy's Kiss/Mummy's Kiss: 2nd Dynasty (3d Horror Collection) Starring Christine Nguyen, Sasha Peralta, Arthur Roberts, Cindy Pucci, Richard Lynch Ava Niche

Plastic Starring Walt Sloan, Colleen Boag Christian Gray

Prank Starring Nick Renaud and Henry Monfries

Stephen King's The Stand

Tourist Trap Starring JOCELYN JONES JON VAN NESS ROBIN SCERWOOD and TANYA ROBERTS CHUCK CONNORS

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

Dino King [Blu-ray] Starring Goo Ja-Hyeong, Sin Yong-woo and Lee Hyung Suk

The Ghastly Love of Johnny X Starring Creed Bratton, Kate Maberly, Paul Williams

Jack the Giant Slayer (Blu-ray/DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy Combo Pack) Starring Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

Jack the Giant Slayer (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy) Starring Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

Jack the Giant Slayer (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy Combo Pack) Starring Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci

Octaman Starring Kerwin Mathews, Jeff Morrow, David Essex Pier Angeli

Stephen King's Golden Years

Ultraman: Series One, Vol. 1 Starring Peter Fernandez, Earl Hammond, Corinne Orr

TV LAND

Body of Proof: The Complete Third Season Starring Dana Delany

Fraggle Rock: Season 4

Wilfred: Season Two

Wilfred: Season Two [Blu-ray]

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 4 of 4
1 
doublec 6/18/2013 3:53:36 AM

 Lifeforce is a personal favorite of mine, at least in terms of bad movies that are a treat to watch. How can you not like a movie where the female lead is buck naked the entire film? Does the Bluray have the American cut or the extended European cut? The latter is edited differently as well as being extended and makes quite a bit more sense (as well as maintaining all of what was Henry Mancini's last score) but is still glorioously goofy.

RobertTrate 6/18/2013 5:53:40 AM

 All it says is the Hooper extended cut. Doesn't say if it te European I e. it does say director approved.

redhairs99 6/18/2013 8:15:24 AM

 Does anyone else find the title The Last Exorcism Part 2 a bit odd?

doublec 6/18/2013 3:06:52 PM

 That would be the European cut. When Cannon brought the pic to America they badly reeditied it and had to replace some of Mancini's cuts with some by Michael Kamen. Well worth seeing, something of a goofy classic!
And yes, redheairs, "The Last Exorcism Part II" IS a dumb title. Next soemone will call a movie "A Haunting in Connetticut Part II: Ghosts of Georgia"...

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