This Week in Home Video: Room 237, Iron Man 3, Halloween, Prince of Darkness and the return of the Black Museum
This Week in Home Video previews all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and on-demand titles hitting the street this week, plus lost gems, crazed Cancon, outrageous cult titles and the best places to rent or buy movies in Toronto.
Simply the most bonkers documentary in a long while explores the many and varied theories regarding what Stanley Kubrick's ho-hum adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining (1980) is really all about. Things start off promisingly with talk of late 1970s subliminal advertising, hidden Minotaurs and ample clues about the massacre of native Indians, who in turn may possess lunatic novelist Jack Torrence (the always unhinged Jack Nicholson in an insane career highlight).
Mystery Solved? Not quite. Sadly it's not long before zany moon "truthers" arrive and suggest the whole of The Shining is actually about Kubrick's involvement in the faked lunar landings. Overlong but fascinating balderdash.
Incredibly, available in a Blu-ray/DVD/VHS combo pack, this "all-new anthology of dread, madness, and gore" sets out to evoke the heady days of finding scary VHS tapes at the back of dusty rental store. Result - a mixed bag of styles from found footage to snuff that actually manages to brilliantly capture the highs and lows of renting shitty horror movies based on the cover art alone.
Eccentric genius, billionaire, philanthropist Tony Stark is the armored super-hero known as Iron Man, whose recent activities with the Avengers haunt him to the point of psychosis. Non-stop Iron Suit action plays it fast and loose to break free from the long shadow of The Avengers, with mixed results.
Barking loon Dr. Hannibal Lecter teams up with the FBI, toying with them while they work to unravel mysteries and catch serial killers. Creepy doesn't come much creepier than Mads Mikkelsen, who manages to make this busy role his own in spite of the other greats who have come before him. Bonus features include audio commentaries, storyboards, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and several behind the scenes featurettes.
Doctor Who celebrates 50 years with a rather subdued season that starts with a Dalek insane asylum and ends with the Doctor's own mausoleum. High hopes the golden anniversary special airing in November will restore this brand to its former giddy heights after the low blow of seeing breakdancing Cybermen, comedy Dinosaurs and a looming sense of been there, done that with this set of underwhelming episodes.
Prince of Darkness: Collector's Edition
Satan is returning, and his passage to Earth ends in an abandoned urban church being monitored by University professor san students. John Carpenter's masterpiece of metaphysical horror plays mood like a synth, with terrifying imagery and even more terrifying ideology. Mostly forgotten amidst the great directors other masterful works, Prince of Darkness deserves to be reappraised. This collector's edition features a commentary track from Carpenter, as well as an interview with soundtrack contributor and guest star Alice Cooper.
Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition
Nevermind that low life Rob Zombie remake, John Carpenter's original Halloween remains the most terrifying slasher film ever made. Whether you've seen it once or 100 times, Halloween is a sweet seasonal treat that invites and rewards multiple viewings. This 35th (!) anniversary edition sports a spritely brand new transfer and also boasts all new audio commentary with writer/director Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis, and all new featurette entitled "The Night She Came Home" - a documentary-style piece showing Jamie Lee Curtis attending a fan convention, On Location: 25 Years Later featurette, Trailer, Old TV and radio spots and the TV version footage - footage added in for the film's TV airings.
Just in time for Halloween, Scream Factory resurrects the neglected Psycho sequels. Part II, released during the slasher crazy early 1980s, is actually amazing all things considered. A tight script from Tom "Fright Night" Holland finds Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates released from the loony bin and deciding to take up Motel management again. Original Psycho actress Vera Miles lends a hand, as does mega 80s babe Meg Tilly. Extras include commentary from Holland, vintage interviews with the cast and crew, and TV spots and trailers.
Directed by Norman Bates himself, this gory sequel actually pre-figures the now popular A&E prequel series. Extras include commentary from the screenwriter Charles Pogue, interviews with the actors and make-up artists and an original trailer.
THE BLACK MUSEUM RETURNS TO TORONTO
Lurid lectures for the morbidly curious. Named after Scotland Yard's infamous murder exhibit, the Black Museum returns to Toronto just in time for Samhain's fall of fear and this season's eclectic line-up promises everything from video games to Giallo , Stephen King and horrors from the womb.
First up - a dose of chilling 8-bit monstrosities...
September 26, 2013 "Arcane Arcade: The History of Horror in Video Games"
During the short history of the videogame industry, the horror genre has grown from humble beginnings greatly inspired by the genre's long running history in film. While film has long offered the means for the audience to become passive observers of horror, videogames continue to use advances in technology to immerse players as active participants, tasking them with walking through darkened hallways and opening forbidden doors, creating experiences that simply can't be had through other media.
This lecture will examine the history of the horror genre within the videogame industry, from early licensed film titles to the emergence of survival horror, which came to define the genre with titles such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill creating narratives that influenced the film industry in turn. We'll also look at the aftermath of survival horror, with the hybrid action horror titles of recent years, in addition to releases working to increase the psychological act of play and the rise of indie programmers creating compelling horror experiences outside the major studio system.
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