Welcome to the extra spooky Halloween edition of ComingSoon.net’s October 31 Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD column! As you can see, we’ve added a video player at the top highlighting this week’s releases, and you can find more detailed write-ups of different titles below! You can click each highlighted title to purchase through Amazon!
The Dark Tower
The long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s epic fantasy novel series comes to Blu-ray this week, with Idris Elba giving a terrific performance as the gunslinger Roland on an odyssey between dimensions to destroy Matthew McConaughey’s Man in Black. Since the film rejiggers the books into something wholly different, it’s best to judge this film on its own terms, and even though it’s a little rushed and uneven in places, it is a worthy revision of one of King’s signature works.
Halle Berry stars in this supercharged thriller about a mother who takes things into her own hands after her son is kidnapped, trailing the perp’s car.
Person to Person
On DVD and Digital HD: Michael Cera, Abbi Jacobson, Philip Baker Hall and more lead this loose ensemble New York comedy from director Dustin Guy Defa about a disparate group of characters interacting over the course of a single day.
The Shadow Man (exclusive clip)
On Digital and DVD, this thriller finds a newlywed photographer stalked by a dark man in a brimmed hat who follows her from her nightmares and into reality. ComingSoon.net has an exclusive clip, which you can check out below!
Land of the Dead / Dawn of the Dead
Scream Factory has reissued two defining zombie movies of the 2000s on Collector’s Edition Blu-rays: Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, and George Romero’s fourth film in his zombie cycle, Land of the Dead from 2005. Both films feature terrific transfers, and the two-disc sets each contain both theatrical and unrated versions, along with TONS of new bonus features. As for the films themselves, traditionalists like yours truly don’t care for the Snyder-ization of Romero’s “Dawn,” but the film has an unquestionable following and a slick script by James Gunn, who appears in brand new interviews along with other actors and make-up personnel from the film. Land of the Dead, though, is a wholly worthy entry from Romero, building off the previous three and adding new dimensions to the way a society of haves and have-nots cope with the zombie apocalypse. With a brisk 90-minute runtime, killer cast (Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, John Leguizamo, Simon Baker) and a scale Romero had never worked on before, its the one film he made that truly deserves to be called “epic.” Leguizamo’s recollections of the shoot are honest and enthusiastic, with a great reverence for the master. Oh, and Pillsbury steals the show, and accordingly actor Pedro Miguel Arce gets his own new special feature as well.
The Lift / Down
Blue Underground is also killing two birds with one stone this week as they release Dutch director Dick Maas’ 1983 sci-fi horror romp The Lift as well as his 2001 English language remake Down. Both films are, not to put too fine a point on it, about a killer elevator. The Lift features some weird sex scenes and some showstopping set pieces, including an elevator beheading. Down features much-improved production value and a solid cast including Naomi Watts, James Marshall, Michael Ironside and Ron Perlman, although many of the scenes, like the elevator beheading and a final death, are ported over virtually shot-for-shot. The Lift features a booklet written by our departing ShockTillYouDrop editor Chris Alexander, while Down features one by horror community maven Michael Gingold.
The Devil’s Rain
Severin Films is giving the devil his due with a deluxe Blu-ray edition of this 1975 cult horror flick featuring a great paranoid William Shatner performance, Ernest Borgnine having all sorts of fun, and even a young pre-fame John Travolta for good measure! Shatner plays a man with a family curse who comes to a ghost town to do battle with a satanic cult led by Borgnine. Face-melting insanity ensues.
Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collector’s Series label brings another 80s cult classic to Blu-ray with this 1986 flick set in an American high school but clearly shot in England with actors well into their 30s. That’s part of the charm, though, and with the stunning Caroline Munro leading the pack, no one’s going to complain. The story centers around a dorky kid who gets horribly mutilated in a prank gone wrong in high school, then years later sets everyone up for a class reunion they won’t soon forget.
Kill Baby Kill
Kino Lorber has done a terrific job in the past of bringing Italian horror master Mario Bava’s film’s to Blu-ray (The Whip and the Body, Black Sunday, etc). The long-awaited restoration of his 1966 gothic classic Kill Baby Kill is a must-have for fans, bringing us indelible images like the little ghost girl Melissa and her bouncy ball, and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart running through an endless loop of rooms only to catch up with… himself! Unfortunately, unlike many of Kino’s Bava releases -which were taken from negatives – this film was given its 2K restoration from 35mm elements, so the picture has less focus and more digital grain than normal. However, it is still the best version available, having previously been available only on budget pan-and-scan DVDs. The disc also includes an informative commentary by Bava scholar Tim Lucas, an interesting locations doc from 2007 with Lamberto Bava, an alternate German title sequence and both English dub and Italian dialogue with English sub versions.
Young Doctors in Love
TV producer-turned-director Gary Marshall (Pretty Woman, New Year’s Eve) assembled a murder’s row of great actors for his 1982 feature directorial debut, including Michael McKean, Sean Young, Harry Dean Stanton, Dabney Coleman, Michael Richards and many more. The gag-a-minute screwball comedy follows a group of horny, eccentric hospital interns in a series of loosely connected narrative threads that are hit-or-miss but certainly never dull.
Voice of the Moon
Oscar-winner Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful, Down by Law) stars in this 1993 film that served as a swan song for legendary Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini (La Dolce Vita, 8½). Arrow Video has put out a beautiful package that includes both Blu-ray and DVD, as well as the hour-long documentary “Towards the Moon With Fellini” about the making of the film.
Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen star in this critically-acclaimed mystery thriller set in Wyoming about a murder that takes place on an Indian reservation.
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
Will Arnett returns to voice Surly, who must team up with his friends to stop the mayor from destroying their home to build an amusement park in this animated sequel.
Our departing ShockTillYouDrop editor Chris Alexander directs this third installment in his art house vampire trilogy, which is available on Amazon Prime and VOD.
Halo: The Complete Video Collection
Shout Factory has put out a mightily impressive 6-disc set featuring four different iterations of the sci-fi video game franchise. The set includes the animated anthology movie Halo Legends, which is an anthology featuring multiple directors and animation styles not unlike The Animatrix. Also included is the complete run of series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Halo: Nightfall and Halo: Fall of Reach. Needless to say, this set is a must have for Halo fans!
Also available on Blu-ray for genre TV fans this week is Outcast: Season 1 and Orphan Black: The Complete Series Blu-ray.