FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE(1973)
Another long-missing Amicus 'portmanteau' horror film is one of the best, with creepy tales pitching Ian Ogilvy (the star of Witchfinder General) against a phantom door, David Warner (Tron, Time Bandits) against a muderous mirror, and Ian Bannen against Donald Pleasence and his creepy daughter. Now available in the UK and US.
SOMEONE IS WATCHING ME (1978)
THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING (1965)
Another MGM Midnite Movie double-bill sees Terence Fisher's low budget sci-fi invasion teamed with Chosen Survivors - also a post-apocalyptic tale of survival. I moaned that this effective b-movie was missing from shop shelves only in June, and now it's out - coincidence or not??? OK, it's a coincidence. Much more on The Earth Dies Screaming here.
THE LODGER (1944)
HANGOVER SQUARE (1945)
THE UNDYING MONSTER (1942)
Three taught horror thrillers that were hard to see, includes one that I still haven't seen. John Brahms' remake of The Lodger, a fictional tale of Jack the Ripper, first filmed by Alfred Hitchock in 1927! The remake stars the ill-fated Laird Cregar, and was such a hit that he headlined as a similar psycho in Hangover Square. The third film is a rare werewolf film, based on a British horor novel penned before Hollywood (well, Curt Siodmak) scripted The Wolfman. This moody trilogy are the kind of 'noir' suspense films much heralded in Scarlet Street magazine, whose coverage and interviews helped me love these movies even more.
WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968)
Witchfinder General is a movie that horror books and websites spend plenty of time talking about. I try and write about the films that don't get talked about as much. But I have to mention this release because it's been missing in America for so long. This uncensored version with the original musical score is the best way to appreciate this gritty classic. From what I've read, this is the best restoration of the film so far, better even than the UK release.
MUSHI-SHI (2005) - Volume 1
This entrancing and unusual anime series is now available in the UK and US. The US releases have beautiful postcards of the original promotional art, as well as an interesting and well-produced brochure inside. Read more about Mushi-shi here. I'm more than ready to watch the series all over again.
This scary ghost horror kick-started Thailand's horror boom, but has been absent from western DVD until now. No doubt prompted by it's impending Hollywood remake, the original is now out in the US and imminent in the UK. They've missed the boat slightly, especially since the long black-haired ghost woman is now a genre cliche. But this film is one of the best in the genre.
WHISPERING CORRIDORS (1998)
MEMENTO MORI (1999)
WISHING STAIRS (2003)
The 'Ghost School Trilogy' boxset contains the first three films in the Korean 'Whispering Corridors' series, which I reviewed recently, here, here and here.
The fourth film Voice (2005) is also available in South Korea with a 5.1 audio track, available here. The Thai DVD that I reviewed only had stereo on it.
GEGEGE NO KITAROU (2007)
This year's live-action movie of the long-running anime is out in Japan in three different versions, all with English subtitles. They are relatively pricey, but no cheaper releases have so far emerged.
GEGEGE NO KITAROU 'The Movies' Boxset
In support of the feature film publicity, every season of Gegege No Kitarou has now been released on DVD in gigantic boxsets. This one collects all the animated movies that were shown in Japanese cinemas. Some are only half hour long, but are richer in action and have more expensive animation than the series. The movies boxset has no English subtitles though, like all of the Kitarou series sets. My forty years of the Kitarou anime series overview is still here.
Until recently, this was only available full-frame pan-and-scanned in Scandinavia. A new region 2 release in the UK is 2.35 widescreen. More on Fear Is The Key here. It's a killer thriller with a killer car chase - pure seventies cinema.
(Note: lower-case 'i', with four full stops). A classic of British counter-culture cinema has been missing from DVD for too long. Now suddenly it's released on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US it even has a Criterion DVD release, though the UK version seems substantially the same. Malcolm McDowell was cast in A Clockwork Orange after Kubrick saw him in this. He later starred in two more films for director Lindsay Anderson, appearing as the same character, the hapless Mick Travis. Oh Lucky Man and Britannia Hospital are also now finally out on DVD.
THE LOST WORLD (1962)
THE LOST WORLD (1925)
On a tackier note, the last version of The Lost World to reach DVD is also the first version I ever saw. This DVD will be the first opportunity fo me to see it in 2.35 widescreen. The dinosaurs are played by lizards with frills stuck on, Claude Rains plays the shortest ever Professor Challenger, and this is the only version of the classic novel to heavily feature a poodle. Director Irwin Allen was about to enjoy a successful decade of classic children's TV, starting with Lost In Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, before having a disastrous decade of movies with The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno. For all their weaknesses (usually in the acting and realism departments), I can't get enough of his work.
Strangely, an alternate restoration (to any previous release) of the original silent movie version of The Lost World (1925) is also included. This movie is worth a look because it's essentially a dry run for the 1933 King Kong - the pioneering special effects were by Ray Harryhausen's mentor, Willis O' Brien on both projects.
TINTIN AND THE MYSTERY OF THE GOLDEN FLEECE (1961)
This is a pleasant surprise - the live-action Tintin films have been released in Australia (PAL system, region 4 DVDs). They are missing their English language dub, but are the first releases to have English subtitles. I reported the non-subtitled French DVDs here. The picture quality is apparently unrestored, but for those itching to see these charming and faithful Tintin films, now is your chance.
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