Tuesday, September 18, 2018

BOSS NIGGER (1975) (The Sprocket Vault Blu-ray Review)

BOSS NIGGER  (1975) 

Label: The Sprocket Vault

Region Code: A
Rating: PG
Duration: 93 Minutes

Audio: English 2.0 PCM Mono with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: Jack Arnold
Cast: Fred Williamson, D’Urville Martin, William Smith, R. G. Armstrong, Don “Red” Barry

Blaxploitation western Boss Nigger (1975) stars former pro-footballer turned bad-ass black cinema hero Fred Williamson (1990: The Bronx Warriors) as "Boss" and comic sidekick Amos (D'Urville Martin, Sheba Baby), a pair of black-skinned bounty hunters in the Old West. After years of being enslaved by whitey they've turned the tables and have begun hunting down bad white men for a change! At the top of the film the pair gun down a group of bank robbers and find a note from the Mayor of a nearby town offering one of the crooks a position as the town's sheriff, which seems odd but it turns out the Mayor, played by R.G. Armstrong (The Car), is in the back pocket of notorious outlaw Jed Clayton (William Smith, Invasion of the Bee Girls). Boss uses this bit of information to blackmail the mayor into giving him the vacant Sheriff position, making his sidekick Amos deputy, much to the dismay of the local white-folks who don't take kindly to a black sheriff in a white town! 

Amos begins posting notices around town laying down the new law, fining the not-so-good folk for racial slurs and general impoliteness, humorously jailing the bank president for using the n-word to the consternation of the befuddled Mayor. The film is a ragged bit of cinema that's poorly shot and edited but it has some charms, namely the presence of Fred "The Hammer" Williamson and D'Urville Martin as the gun-slinging bounty hunters turned local lawmen, plus a cast of fun side characters like Armstrong, and Carmen Hayward (Father of the Bride) as an ebony love-interest for Boss, and white-lady Barbara Leigh (Terminal Island) as a real-thirsty for lovin' schoolteacher! 

The film is filled with a typical western tropes with a blaxploitation slant, scripted by Williamson the film is loaded with bad dialogue, but some of it as uttered by Williamson is pretty cool, the guy is just bad-ass clad in all black leather from head to toe, plus Martin offers up loads of laughs as the sidekick. The film struggles a bit to find and maintain a tone though, at first it delivers the humor in force but then goes for some pervy leering and rape (via Armstrong's Mayor character) and then we have the death of a small Mexican child who is trampled by a baddie on a galloping horse, coming to a close with the torture of out hero and some grim revenge. That said, all the key players are a blast to watch and I found the technical shortcomings of the film forgivable. Director Jack Arnold made some iconic sci-fi and horror films in the fifties with Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Tarantula, (1955) and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) before moving onto Westerns and TV fare in the sixties, this is not his best film by any means but it is entertaining slice of blaxploitation featuring Fred Williamson kicking ass and taking names in the old west, it's schlocky but fun.

Audio/Video: Boss Nigger (1975) arrives on Blu-ray from MVD Visual and The Sprocket Vault in 1080p HD framed in 2.35:1 widescreen. The flat murky image leaves a lot to be desired in regard to contemporary HD viewing with lots of softness, anemic blacks than leans towards dark green, and the color temps are all over the place. There's some print damage evident throughout but it's mostly minor white speckling, but it does look like it's been put through the proverbial DNR-wringer, it's just a shame this didn't get more love for it's Blu-ray debut. The mono PCM audio sounds okay, it's flat with some crackling and hiss in places but it does the job, the main theme song sounds good, optional English subtitles are provided. 

Onto the extras we get carry-overs from the previous DVD by way of an 8-min interview with Associate Producer Myrl Schrelbman who discusses his mentor and friend Jack Arnold, he speaks about how Arnold struggled to film the death of the little boy by horse trampling, and the difficulty casting an appropriate villain to go up against the imposing Fred Williamson. He also gives a brief tribute to the director , recalling Arnold's entry in the military where he made documentaries before going on to make horror, sci-fi and western films.

We also get a 27-min interview with star Fred Williams who discusses his career as a footballer before turning to TV and film, and how he earned "The Hammer" nickname, the disc is buttoned-up with a trailer for the film. The 2-disc DVD/Blu-ray release comes housed in a stylish clear Blu-ray keepcase with a sleeve of reversible artwork, the a-side is a sanitized "Boss"-titled variant, the b-side featuring the original illustrated one-sheet baring the Boss Nigger title. The Blu-ray disc features the Boss artwork, while the DVD disc, which features the same film and extras, has a sepia tone image of Williamson on a white background. 

Special Features: 
- “A Conversation with Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson” with Joel Blumberg (27 min) 
- “A Boss Memory” with Producer Myrl Schrelbman (8 min) 
Jack Arnold Tribute by producer Myrl Schrelbman (4 min) 
- Original Theatrical Trailer (3 min) 

Boss Nigger (1975) is a bit on the shabby side of Western film making but it entertaining and fun, I love seeing Fred Williamson do his thing in an Old West setting, and D'Urville Martin threatens throughout to run away with the show, still managing to be decked out in velvety pimping threads as the wisecracking deputy.

Monday, September 17, 2018

BOUND (1996) (Olive Signature Blu-ray Review)

BOUND (1996)

Label: Olive Films
Region Code: A
Rating: R/Unrated
Duration: 109 Minutes
Audio: English 2.0 DTS_HD MA Stereo with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: The Wachowskis
Cast: Christopher Meloni, Gina Gershon, Jennifer Tilly, Joe Pantoliano, John P. Ryan

Before they hit the mega-big-time with sci-fi game-changer The Matrix (1999) writer/directors The Wachowskis made this little gem of a film, a neo-noir thriller with a lesbian tinge that dazzled me when it arrived in the cinema in the mid-90s and still manages to thrill me today. The woman-on-woman crime caper stars Gina Gershon (Showgirls) as Corky, an ex-con who takes a job doing some paint and plumbing in an apartment, which is where she meets the curvaceous sex-pot Violet (Jennifer Tilly, Bride of Chucky) who lives right next door with her mob-connected boyfriend Caesar (Joe Pantoliano, The Sopranos).

The women strike up a torrid affair that set my early-20s libido on fire when I caught in the cinema, before you know it the pair are lustfully entangled right under the nose of the unhinged - but painfully dimwitted - Caesar, plotting to lift two-million dollars in blood-stained cash that the mob money launderer has hidden away at his place. Should the plan go perfectly it will pit the money launderer against his nemesis, an even more unhinged mob bosses son (played with demented delight by Christopher Meloni from Law and Order: SVU), but like most of the best laid plans it doesn't go off without it's share of danger and violence, as the par seem to have under estimated just how unhinged Violet's man can be. 

The coupling of Tilly and Gershon is sexual perfection, with Tilly's sultry voice and Gershon's seductive lip-curl they are sexual dynamite, their sex scenes are way steamy, even more so on the unrated cut which is included on the disc, in addition to the R-rated version. The story is a deep-dive into Noir visuals with high-contrast cinematography (from Bill Pop of The Matrix trilogy) and striking shadow play, plus we have a cool cast of crime character including John P. Ryan (It's Alive) as one of the mobsters associated with Caesar. It all adds up to a whiz-bang of a debut film from The Wachowskis that has all the style and visual artistry they displayed in their next film, this one holds-up, if you haven't checked it out do yourself a favor, I think you'll be pleased you did.  

Audio/Video: Bound (1996) arrives on Blu-ray for as second time from distributor Olive Films, this time as part of the too-long dormant  Olive Signature collection, touted as a new "HD digital restoration", I am assuming from the same previous master with some restorative tweaking. Things here look good, grain is nicely managed, it's less soft that the previous 2012 release, colors look more saturated and dense with improved contrast. 

Audio comes by way of a robust 2.0 DTS-HD MA stereo track with optional English subtitles. Dialogue  crisp and clean with some nice oomph to it when called upon, the Don Davis (The Matrix Trilogy) sound great in the mix, as do the songs from Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, The Hail Marys and crooner Tom Jones

Looking at extras it looks like Olive licensed the audio commentary with writers/directors The Wachowskis; actors Joe Pantoliano, Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon; film editor Zach Staenberg; and technical consultant Susie Brightand from Arrow Video, the track is filled to the brim with technical and anecdotal info. 

Olive also carried-over some of the Arrow extras, beginning with the 10-min “Here’s Johnny!” interview with Christopher Meloni, the 27-min “Femme Fatales” with stars Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly and the 29-min “Modern Noir: The Sights & Sounds of Bound” with cinematographer Bill Pope, editor Zach Staenberg, and composer Don Davis, all of it great stuff. Olive also bring new extras to the table by way of the 7-min “Part and Parcel” with titles designer Patti Podesta, plus a 18-min discussion with academics Ruby Rich and Jen Moorman who speak about noir and the neo-noir movement in relation to Bound. The only extra not carried over from the UK release from Arrow is an interview with Joe Pantoliano, but it is erroneously listed on the slipcover and wrap sent our way for review. 

The single-disc release comes housed in a clear BLu-ray keepcase with 2-sided war, the reverse side featuring images from the film, it also includes a matte finish slipcover plus an 8=page booklet with writing on the film from Guinevere Turner, which is also available as a text-only extra on the disc.

Special Features: 
- New High-Definition Digital Restoration
- Audio commentary with writers/directors The Wachowskis; actors Joe Pantoliano, Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon; film editor Zach Staenberg; and technical consultant Susie Bright
- NEW! “Part and Parcel” – with titles designer Patti Podesta (7 min) HD
- NEW “The Difference Between You and Me” – with B. Ruby Rich and Jen Moorman (18 min) HD 
- “Here’s Johnny!” – with Christopher Meloni (10 min) HD 
- “Femme Fatales” – with Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly (27 min) HD 
- “Modern Noir: The Sights & Sounds of Bound” – with cinematographer Bill Pope, editor Zach Staenberg, and composer Don Davis (29 min) HHD 
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) HD 
- 8-Page Booklet with Essay by Guinevere Turner

Bound (1996) is a seductive and compelling slice on 90's neo-noir, a stylish film loaded with crime, violence and lesbian-tinged thrills. The new Olive Signature Blu-ray is the best the film has looked on home video and loaded with archival and new extras that pack in the value, plus it has some nice shelf appeal.

ZOMBIE (1978) 3-Disc Limited Edition/4K Restoration from Blue Underground 11/27

ZOMBIE (1978) 
3-Disc Limited Edition/4K Restoration

Label: Blue Underground
Region Code: Unrated
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 92 Minutes
Audio: English, Italian, French 7.1 DTS-HD; 1.0 DTS-HD; Dolby Digital 1.0 with Optional English SDH, Français, Español, Português, Deutsch, Italiano, Dansk, Suomi, Nederlands, Svenska, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, English for Italian Audio
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1)
Director Lucio Fulci
Cast: Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver, Olga Karlatos

40th Anniversary Limited Edition! New 4K Restoration!

In Italy, it was considered the ‘unofficial sequel’ to DAWN OF THE DEAD. In England, it was known as ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS and banned as obscene. In America, it was called ZOMBIE and advertised with the depraved tag line "WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU!" Tisa Farrow (THE GRIM REAPER), Ian McCulloch (CONTAMINATION), Al Cliver (CANNIBALS), and Richard Johnson (THE HAUNTING) star in this worldwide splatter sensation directed by ‘Maestro Of Gore’ Lucio Fulci (CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY) that remains one of the most eye-skewering, skin-ripping, gore-gushingly graphic horror hits of all time!

Just in time for its 40th Anniversary, Blue Underground is proud to present ZOMBIE in a brand-new 4K Restoration from the original uncut and uncensored camera negative. This is ZOMBIE like you’ve truly never seen it before, bursting at the seams with hours of new and archival Extras!

Special Features:
Disc 1 (Blu-ray) Feature Film + Extras:
- NEW! Audio Commentary #1 with Troy Howarth, Author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films
- Audio Commentary #2 with Star Ian McCulloch and Diabolik Magazine Editor Jason J. Slater
- NEW! When The Earth Spits Out The Dead - Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci
- Theatrical Trailers
- TV Spots
- Radio Spots
- Poster & Still Gallery
- Guillermo del Toro Intro

Disc 2 (Blu-ray) Extras:
- Zombie Wasteland – Interviews with Stars Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson & Al Cliver, and Actor/Stuntman Ottaviano Dell'Acqua
- Flesh Eaters on Film – Interview with Co-Producer Fabrizio De Angelis
- Deadtime Stories – Interviews with Co-Writers Elisa Briganti and (Uncredited) Dardano Sacchetti
- World of the Dead – Interviews with Cinematographer Sergio Salvati and Production & Costume Designer Walter Patriarca
- Zombi Italiano – Interviews with Special Make-Up Effects Artists Gianetto De Rossi & Maurizio Trani and Special Effects Artist Gino De Rossi
- Notes on a Headstone – Interview with Composer Fabio Frizzi
- All in the Family – Interview with Antonella Fulci
- Zombie Lover – Award-Winning Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro talks about one of his favorite films
- BONUS! ZOMBIE Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by Fabio Frizzi (with exclusive Bonus Track)
- BONUS! Collectable Booklet with new essay by Stephen Thrower

Sell Points:
- The worldwide splatter sensation returns in a new 40th Anniversary 3-Disc Limited Edition!
- WORLD PREMIERE! New 4K Restoration from the uncensored original camera negative
- Bursting at the seams with hours of NEW and archival Extras
- Blu-ray features Full 1080p HD Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio for the ultimate home theater experience
- Exclusive Limited Collector’s Edition includes 2 Blu-rays, Soundtrack CD with Bonus Track, collectable booklet, reversible sleeve, and special 3D lenticular slipcover (First Pressing Only)
- National Print Advertising and extensive Online Exposure
- This is ZOMBIE like you’ve truly never seen it before!

Film Reviews:
- “Belongs In Every Horror Film Collection!” – DVD Review
- “An Instant Gorehound Classic!” – Fangoria
- “ZOMBIE Holds A Special Place In The Hierarchy Of Hardcore Horror!” – DVD Talk
- “A Veritable Orgy Of Cannibalistic Dismemberment!” – Cinefantastique
- “As Gory As The Law Allows, ZOMBIE Set New Standards For Eyeball Violence, Arterial Spurting, Maggot Infestations, Topless Skin-Diving And Zombie Table Manners!” – Chas Balun, Gorezone

ZOMBIE (2-Disc Ultimate Edition) Blu-ray Reviews:
- “This is an excellent package put together with lots of love for one of the movies that had a profound effect upon my life, so to say that I highly recommend it is obviously an understatement!” – Fangoria
- “Fulci’s film is a treat for gorehounds. Just out on a two-disc Ultimate Edition Blu-ray, the bloody import is packed with squirm-inducing scenes like a splinter impaling a woman’s eyeball and an underwater battle between a zombie and a shark. Buon appetito! B+” – Entertainment Weekly
- “Blue Underground's 2-Disc Ultimate Edition takes a pretty fantastic-looking transfer and tosses on a heap of great interviews with all the major players, for a digital lasagna of delight. If you consider yourself a gorehound or serious horror fan, this should be in your collection, so I'm going to go ahead and fling the old DVD Talk Collector Series its way!” – DVD Talk
- “Blue Underground has gone all out on their Blu-ray edition of this film, and it is definitely one that should find space on your shelf. Highly Recommended!” – Twitch Film
- “ZOMBIE is a film that belongs in every horror film collection, plain and simple, and Blue Underground’s presentation on this release is nothing short of a revelation!” – DVD Review
- “The movie has never looked better, more stable, more ominous and terrifying. This is another good quality release from Blue Underground!” – Blu-ray.com
- “Thankfully, Blue Underground has given us a new technical gold standard for this movie, adorned with the biggest and best complement of bonus materials it has ever seen. Run, don’t walk, and buy, don’t rent!” – Big Picture Big Sound
- “Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE is a classic that belongs in every horror aficionado’s collection. The quality of the image is nothing short of astounding. This is, by far, the best transfer offered by Blue Underground yet. ZOMBIE is easily amongst the best Blu-ray releases of 2011, and earns my highest possible recommendation!” – Horrorview

Saturday, September 15, 2018

New Release Update - MANIAC (3-Disc Limited Edition)

MANIAC (1980) 
3-Disc Limited Edition 

Label: Blue Underground
Release Date: December 11th 2018 
Region Code; Region-FREE
Duration: 88 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio:English 7.1 DTS-HD; 2.0 DTS-HD; Dolby Digital 2.0 with Optional English SDH, Français, Español, Português, Deutsch, Italiano, Dansk, Suomi, Nederlands, Svenska, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai SUbtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 

Director: William Lustig
Cast: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Gail Lawrence, Kelly Piper, Tom Savini, Hyla Marrow

The Notorious Horror Classic! New 4K Restoration!

Frank Zito (a career performance by writer/executive producer Joe Spinell of ROCKY and THE GODFATHER fame) is a deeply disturbed man, haunted by the traumas of unspeakable childhood abuse. And when these horrific memories begin to scream inside his mind, Frank prowls the seedy streets of New York City to stalk and slaughter innocent young women. Now Frank has begun a relationship with a beautiful photographer (Caroline Munro of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME), yet his vile compulsions remain. These are the atrocities of a human monster. This is the story of a MANIAC.

Directed by William Lustig (MANIAC COP 2, VIGILANTE) and featuring landmark gore effects by Tom Savini (DAWN OF THE DEAD, FRIDAY THE 13th), this relentlessly shocking and disturbing film was originally banned or censored all over the world due to its graphic violence. Now Blue Underground is thrilled to present MANIAC in a brand-new 4K Restoration from its recently discovered 16mm original camera negative, overflowing with hours of new and archival Extras!

Special Features: 
Disc 1 (Blu-ray) Feature Film + Extras:
- Audio Commentary #1 with Producer/Director William Lustig and Producer Andrew W. Garroni
- Audio Commentary #2 with Producer/Director William Lustig, Special Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Savini, Editor Lorenzo Marinelli, and Joe Spinell’s Assistant Luke Walter
- Theatrical Trailers
- TV Spots
- Radio Spots

Disc 2 (Blu-ray) Extras:
- NEW! MANIAC Outtakes
- NEW! Returning to the Scene of the Crime with William Lustig
- Anna and the Killer – Interview with Star Caroline Munro
- The Death Dealer – Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Savini
- Dark Notes – Interview with Composer Jay Chattaway
- Maniac Men – Interview with Songwriters Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky
- The Joe Spinell Story
- Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2 Promo Reel
- MANIAC Publicity
- MANIAC Controversy
- BONUS! MANIAC Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by Jay Chattaway
- BONUS! Collectable Booklet with new essay by Michael Gingold

Sell Points:
- The notorious horror classic returns in a newly remastered 3-Disc Limited Edition!
- WORLD PREMIERE! New 4K Restoration from the recently discovered 16mm original camera negative
- Overflowing with hours of NEW and archival Extras
- Blu-ray features Full 1080p HD Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio for the ultimate home theater experience
- Exclusive Limited Collector’s Edition includes 2 Blu-rays, Soundtrack CD, collectable booklet, reversible sleeve, and special 3D lenticular slipcover (First Pressing Only)
- National Print Advertising and extensive Online Exposure
- From Director William Lustig (VIGILANTE, RELENTLESS, UNCLE SAM, MANIAC COP trilogy)
- Stars cult favorites Joe Spinell (THE GODFATHER I & II, ROCKY I & II, VIGILANTE), Caroline Munro (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD), and Make-Up Effects Master Tom Savini (FROM DUSK TILL DAWN)
- Acclaimed 2012 remake starring Elijah Wood (THE LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy)

Film Reviews:
- “Some Of The Most Unprecedented, Graphically Detailed Depictions Of Violence Ever Put Before A Viewing Audience!” – Rue Morgue
- “One Of The Darkest Films Of All Time… Required Viewing For Any Horror Fan!” – HorrorDVDs.com
- “An Undiluted Expression Of Urban Horror… A Formidable New York Grunge Flick Through And Through!” – Cinepassion
- “Forget Tarantino & Rodriguez… This Is The REAL Grindhouse!” – eFilmCritic.com
“A Grimy Snapshot Of Early ‘80s Manhattan And An Unapologetically Twisted Study In Pathological Murderousness!” – Lessons Of Darkness

MANIAC (30th Anniversary Edition) Blu-ray Reviews:
- “The new transfer is visually striking, especially on Blu-ray, consistently enhancing the film’s grain and grime. Fans with a casual interest, hardcore devotees and collectors alike would all do dreadfully well to pick up the new edition of MANIAC!” Four Skulls (out of 4) – Fangoria
- “Blue Underground has done a tremendous job with their double-disc Blu-ray edition of MANIAC. The gorgeous 2K high-def transfer looks fabulously detailed at every turn; this is how every catalog film should look in high-def!” - Film Score Monthly
- “Blue Underground has once again delivered a high quality Blu-ray release… the lossless soundtrack is fantastic and two discs worth of wonderful extras make this a package that’s easily recommended!” – Blu-ray.com
- “Extras are as stacked as I think I’ve ever seen. One can’t help but applaud the work of Blue Underground – these guys are coming across as top producers of the Blu-ray format – along with Criterion!” – DVD Beaver
- “Blue Underground certainly knows how to put a special edition Blu-ray together. Not only is this a great movie that looks killer in high-def, but there are tons of special features on the release. If you haven’t seen MANIAC before I can’t recommend the movie enough!” – Gutmunchers
- “MANIAC’s morose desperation and Spinell’s full-tilt sicko-performance mark the movie as an all-time exploitation classic, and one that should be on every collector’s shelf. You blood-spatter fanciers out there can consider this one Highly Recommended!” – DVD Talk
- “Blue Underground’s MANIAC is a model for how to handle a catalog Blu-ray release!” – Twitch Film
- “Blue Underground continue to outdo themselves with their Blu-ray releases. MANIAC is easily the most comprehensive and thoroughly entertaining set the company has produced. I’m absolutely floored by the enormous attention to detail that went into putting this 30th Anniversary edition of MANIAC together. Needless to say, this one gets my absolute highest possible recommendation!” Five Skulls (out of 5) – Horrorview



SUPERNATURAL: THE COMPLETE 13TH SEASON (2018) / TAG (2018) / TARANTULA! (1955) / OCCUPATION (2018) / BLAST (2018) / CRAZY SIX (1997) / GHOST STORIES (2017) 

This week we have some new releases from Warner Bros. by way of the long-running Supernatural, an Ed Helms comedy about long time friends, an atomic aged creature feature, a trio of ghost stories and a pair of pretty generic action-thrillers...

The long-running TV series SUPERNATURAL returns with The Complete Thirteenth Season on Blu-ray+Digital from Warner Bros. containing all 23 episodes plus a wealth of cool bonus content sure to please fans of the series. This season the brothers Winchester must do battle with Lucifer's all-powerful son who poses an apocalyptic threat to the world. I am not die-hard fan of the show in that I don't actually tune in every week or even binge watch it, it's more of a watch when I can sort of thing, but this season had an event that pulled me right in, the "Scoobynatural" episode, wherein the Winchester's after battling a plush dinosaur are literally sucked into an animated episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? which was frigging awesome, featuring the return of Matthew Lillard (SLC Punk) as the voice of hungry stoner Shaggy, this episode alone is worth the purchase in my opinion. Fans of the show will be very pleased with HD presentation and should enjoy the hours of bonus content including deleted scenes, behind-the-stuff (including a fun look at the Scoobynatural episode) and a gag-reel. 

Also from Warner Bros,. comes the based on true-life comedy TAG (2018) about a group of friends who have been playing an annual game of tag for thirty years, it sounds too weird to be real but apparently this is based on reality. This is what I like to call an Ed Helms Comedy, the man seems to be in about every ensemble comedy lately, and that's not a bad thing, I like him a bunch and this semi heart-warming comedy was good stuff. This years tag event takes them to some crazy places, one of the friends is getting married and rumor has it might be his last game of tag with his long-time friends, it also happens that his guy (played by Jeremy Renner (Avengers)) has never once been tagged in thirty years of the game, so Helms character along with his way too involved wife (Isal Fisher, Wedding Crashers), is out to finally tag the mate before it's too late. If you like ensemble comedies this one has loads of appeal and more than it's fare share of rib-tickling funny business, also starring Jon Hamm (TVs Mad Men), Jake Johnson (Neighbors), and comedian Hannibal Buress (Blockers). The Blu-ray+DVD+Digital release includes deleted scenes, a gag reel and a featurette about the guys who inspired the movie. 

Fans of black and white atomic-age creature features should absolutely check out the Jack Arnold (Creature from the Black Lagoon) giant-spider flick TARANTULA (1955) out now on DVD from Umbrella Entertainment! Arnold in my opinion is a bit of an unsung director in the world of science-fiction cinema, he brought us such notable movies as The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) and It Came from Outer Space (1953), he's not praised often enough, just Creature from the Black Lagoon should have cemented his place as monster movie royalty, but this spider movie is another goodie in his filmography worth checking out. Here we have Dr. Deemer (Leo G. Carroll, Strangers on a Train) experimenting on animals in the Arizona desert, he's been working on an irradiated serum which promotes unusual growth in the animals, sure enough a lab fire sets one of his oversized tarantulas loose on the unsuspecting community and before you know it a hairy 100-foot tall arachnid is running amok. We also have a local physician Dr. Hastings (John Agar, Revenge of the Creatureinvestigating a mysterious rash of human and cattle deaths, the smarmy doc has a crush on Dr. Deemers hot new lab assistant Stephanie (The Black Scorpion). There are scenes of the authorities finding large white pools of an unknown substance, I always laugh when Dr. Hastings just sticks his finger into the pool of goo and tastes it, surmising that yup, that's insect venom of some kind, never mind that the amount he licked off his finger like it was frosting on a beater would have killed a hundred men! The spider effects in this one are pretty cool-looking, and keep an eye/ear out for an uncredited Clint Eastwood as the squadron leader who dumps a load of napalm of the eight-kegged freak! 

From Australia comes the alien-invasion thriller OCCUPATION (2018) which comes off as Red Dawn by way of H.G. Welles War of the Worlds with a splash of well-worn tropes from other alien invasion films thrown in for good measure. The budget on this one looks to be of good size and the technical merits are solid with some whiz-bang looking alien ships arriving in the skies, soon after humanoid alien soldiers storm the rural area and begin rounding up humans and poisoning the waters - yup, what we have here is a bunch of aliens looking for a new home and they're gonna take it by force. We've seen this sort of thing a lot through the years and this one doesn't have much more appeal than the typical Syfy original miniseries, which is sort of what this feels like, it has the feel of a TV mini-series with a few too many characters and sub-plots to keep track of, and it's overly long at 2-hours and while it didn't ruin my day watching it I know I won't ever watch it again, a classic one and done. This comes by way of Lionsgate and includes a slipcover and digital copy of the film, no extras whatsoever. If you're a fan of middle of the road alien invasion fluff like Battle For Los Angeles (2011) it might be worth a watch.

From MVD as part of their MVD Marquee Collection comes terrorist-thriller BLAST (1996), a schlocky action flick with a serious thirst to ape action-classic Die Hard (1988) right down to that hilarious artwork that shamelessly riffs on an iconic image. The film is directed by Albert Pyun (Cyborg), a man who once made fun sci-fi and action flicks like Cyborg and Dollman, but this is pretty bland stuff right here, terrorist storm an Olympic swimming complex holding the ladies swim team hostage, it's up to out hero played by Linden Ashby (Wyatt Earp) to save the day, he being a former Olympian with a sad career ending story, ugh. Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster) plays the scenery chewing villain and Rutger Hauer shows up in n a thankless cameo. The film is straight up DTV fodder from the 90's, I didn't know about then and I sort of wish I didn't know about now.  This is just bad enough you could potentially squeeze a little bit of schlocky fun out of it via the cheese-factor, but this is a bad movie, this action-stinker comes with a slipcase and no extras. 

Also coming from MVD Marquee Collection and directed by Albert Pyun comes CRAZY SIX (1997), and it's more of the same unfortunately. Starring the late Burt Reynolds, Mario Van Peebles, Ice-T and Rob Lowe who trudge through this one with the look and enthusiasm of actors who long for a time in their careers when they didn't have to take on dreck like this. Set in the Eastern Bloc we gets bad crime-family drama, awful one-liners, dreadful accents and poor performances across the board. This one also comes with a slipcover and no extras, but I would have loved a commentary with Lowe and the late Reynolds, just to find out what the fuck they were thinking when they made this one.  

If you're into old fashioned ghost stories I steer you towards the aptly titled GHOST STORIES (2017) on Blu-ray from Scream Factory and IFC Midnight. A spooky anthology of scary stories centered around the supernatural. Here we have a TV parapsychologist who is renowned for exposing the paranormal frauds on his TV show, one day he is summoned and  tasked by his aging hero to investigate three tales of the supernatural he himself could not prove to be fake, in fact he says the cases will cast doubt on the younger debunkers own skepticism. So he sets out and lays out each of the stories for us, taking us through his investigation with flashbacks to each of the cases. The first pertains to a night watchman with a scary ghost encounter, the second involves a teenager who runs over a devilish goat man on a secluded country road, and third tale involves a man whose wife is expecting a child, but he begins to encounter a poltergeist-ish sort of haunting while alone at home waiting for his wife to give birth in the hospital. All three stories are well told and finely executed with plenty of goosebumps and chilling visuals, each of the tales has an old world craftsmanship in the way they are constructed and told, however, the wrap-up left me cold, and not from fright and fear, but from disappointment. Not every film lands a fine finish, and this is one of those cases, that said I do think the three stories are quite excellent and well done, it's just doesn't stick the the landing for me. This release comes with a slipcover and a reversible sleeve of artwork, but sadly we get no extras for the film.