Monday, November 26, 2018


Welp, Christmas is less than a month away - and if you're anything like me you probably haven't put much of any thought into what to get your friends and family this year. Well, I am here to help, but will admit up front that unless your friends and family love cult, horror and exploitation cinema I have absolutely nothing to offer you, not a god damned thing. 

However, if you happen to be blessed with a loved ones or friends who dig horror and cult movies I do have some great ideas for some fun stocking-stuffers from a bunch a cool labels, with varying price points, depending on just how good they were will ultimately decide what you will stuff in that stocking of theirs this year.

I like to start off with the cheap stuff, deals that won't break the bank but will get you some bang for your buck! To that end let's talk about a few releases from Mill Creek Entertainment, a company that knows how to stretch the almighty dollar, a perfect example of this are their budget-priced double-feature Blu-ray releases. First-up, the NIGHTWING (1979) & SHADOW OF THE HAWK (1976), two slices of native American themed horror, both films get fine looking transfers and make for a fun viewing together, one laced with mysticism the other a killer-bat movie. Then we have the PSYCHO-BIDDY DOUBLE-FEATURE: STRAIT-JACKET (1964) & BERSERK! (1967), both starring Joan Crawford (Whatever Happened to baby Jane?) and both thoroughly fun hagsploitation entries, with Strait-Jacket being directed by William Castle (The Tingler). These double-feature releases are less than $10 on Amazon right now!

Also from Mill Creek, something to appeal to those who grew up in the 80's during the glory days of VHS may I steer you in the direction of the Retro-VHS Blu-ray releases of HARDBODIES (1984), KRULL (1983), HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (1981), SILENT RAGE (1982), LAST ACTION HERO (1993) and WHO'S HARRY CRUMB? (1989) featuring very cool looking slipcovers with retro VHS artwork. A few of these have been available in multi-packs and double-features before, but these stand alone releases look spiffy, my personal favorite of the bunch being the undervalued 80's slasher Happy Birthday to Me. These are all about $7.50 each at WalMart right now, exclusive to the retail chain until January 2019, so your best bet is to sprint down to WalMart and snap these up. 

Scream Factory have had a bang-up year in 2018, with a few box sets and deluxe editions that had me drooling when they were announced, and they delivered the goods when I had them in my hot little hands, but the singular best release this year from Scream Factory was the gorgeous-looking and extras-packed limited edition version of George A. Romero's classic horror anthology CREEPSHOW (1982). If I were to find this under the Xmas tree on Christmas morning I would be a really happy horror fan, as would anyone! Also recommended from Scream Factory are the Blu-ray debuts of sequel-gems GATE II (1990) and PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING (1981) and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD Part II (1988)! 

Coming from Severin Film's are a pair of Amicus films, wonderful editions of the Gothic shocker AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS (1973) and anthology ASYLUM (1974) both with some great extras. If you're loved one or friend is particularly nice perhaps you'll decide to splurge on the OOP three-film THE AMICUS COLLECTION set which also contains THE BEAST MUST DIE (1974) and a sweet bonus disc, both exclusive to this set!

For 80's nostalgia it's hard to beat the awesomeness we've seen coming from the Vestron Video Collector's Series, which delivered to us a long-awaited Blu-ray of Stephen King's MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986), a release that got a semi trailers worth of new extras that go deep into the making of this coked-up disasterpiece of 80's cinema.

Warner Archive continues to dazzle with releases of 70's cult-classics, from the big-budget killer-bee movie THE SWARM (1977) to the made-for-TV hider-in-the-house film BAD RONALD (1974). Both films look stunning in HD, no new extras here but just having these on Blu-ray is something special, either of these would be a yuletide hell-yeah for any self-respecting 70's b-movie/cult fan. 

For the adventurous gift-givers among you maybe you'll want to buy something not even available in this country on Blu-ray yet, but thanks to the region-free import titles you can now buy Blu-ray releases of the surreal alien  XTRO (1982) from the UK's Second Sight Films, or the region-free release of ORCA (1977)  from Australia's Umbrella Entertainment, both are stacked with extras and the the HD transfers are great looking! 

Also coming from overseas is a region free release of the America giallo-esque thriller ALICE SWEET ALICE (1976), an atmospheric and creepy film from 88 Films who have been doing some good work in the UK bringing the cult, horror and exploitation films  to the masses, many of which are region free! 

I'll finish-up with some more contemporary stuff, I'm an oldster and have a lot of love for the vintage stuff, but there have been some truly killer movies and TV released this year, beginning with ASH VS EVIL DEAD - THE COMPLETE SERIES (2015-2018) from Lionsgate, collecting all three season of the all-to-brief series, continuing the adventures of Ash, finishing up with an apocalyptic episode that is so tone perfect, it only made me sadder that the series came to an end all-too-soon. Fans of slashers should totally dig THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT (2018) from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and for someone who's maybe a little too happy these days, bring them back down to Earth with HEREDITARY (2018) from  Lionsgate, which in my opinion was one of the best films of the year, it got right under my skin. 

Happy gift giving, and here's hoping you get some cool stuff! 

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