“Okay, don’t take this the wrong way: Takashi Miike’s Audition should only be on your “buy” list if you know exactly what you’re in for and you like it! The last 30 minutes of this movie contain grotesque special effects which haven’t aged a bit since the movie’s notorious initial 2001 release. Beyond the gore, however, is an incredibly well-made Japanese horror movie which only seems to grow more relevant as time marches on.”
We sift through the new release heap so you don’t have to!
Welcome to Horror News Network’s Buy / Wait / Rent, a monthly article devoted to the most highly-anticipated horror releases on blu-ray. Here you will find the best home video releases of each month, along with our opinion on whether each film is a must-own on the first day of release, something you should wait to buy until it goes on sale, or something you’re better off renting for a one-time watch. And now, on to the notable new releases of July 2018! read more
Frank Henenlotter’s 1982 cult classic film Basket Case holds a special place in my heart. Basket Case was one of the many doozies that my mother brought home from the video store during those glory days of VHS. I can vividly remember our living room being filled with hysterical laughter which quickly turned to disgusted groans and then back to laughter as my parents and I digested this odd film about a pair of brothers (sort of) and their first trip to New York City.
Having always sort of flown under the radar among mainstream horror fans, I was surprised, and intrigued, to learn that the Museum of Modern Art helped to restore Basket Case from it’s original 16mm film and scan it to 4K for this Arrow release. That, although interesting, left me a bit worried. What would a “fixed” version of Basket Case look like? Would it lose that gritty feeling? How would early 80’s New York City look with a 4k restoration? The answer is simple: it looks incredible. read more
Arrow Video has followed up on their stellar release of Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage with a beautiful restoration of his second giallo thriller, The Cat O’ Nine Tails. While some believe that Cat is evidence that even master directors like Argento aren’t immune from the fabled “sophomore slump,” Arrow’s release lovingly presents the material in a way that highlights all of the excellent qualities of the film and proves its deserved spot among the auteur’s most memorable works. read more
Most fans probably immediately go to Shaft, Black Caesar, Foxy Brown, or Dolemite when they think of the Blaxploitation craze of the 1970’s. Although the genre is mainly associated with these type of urban crime action flicks, the Blaxploitation movement also featured films that veered towards romance, comedy, and of course, horror.
After the release of Blacula in 1972, B-Movie factories such as AIP produced a string of blaxploitation horror features such as Blackenstein, Scream, Blacula, Scream, and Abby (also known as “The Black Exorcist”). And in 1976, producer Sam Arkoff and director Arthur Marks combined the traditional gangster tropes of blaxploitation and added supernatural elements to the mix to form the past-lives regression shocker called J.D.’s Revenge. read more
Over a decade before fans were fawning over Stranger Things‘ 1980’s horror and pop culture nostalgia, Richard Kelly practically invented this formula for homage with Donnie Darko. In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the film, Arrow Video has created a beautiful 4K restoration of both cuts of the movie, taken from the original film negatives. This version of the film was released in U.K. theaters for a short period in late 2016, and Arrow Video followed up with a definitive home video package for the movie, which contains these lovely transfers and a mountain of engaging special features. This release is a must-have, even for casual fans of the movie. read more
Following up on their excellent October release of Dark Water, Arrow Video continues their tradition of offering important early 2000’s J-Horror films with this month’s Pulse blu-ray and DVD set. While I find the film to be an acquired taste in comparison to some of the other popular Japanese ghost films of its time, it is highly regarded by many critics and it has withstood the test of time as evidenced by this release 16 years later. Arrow Video has cut no corners with this release; and the overall package includes a digital transfer of the film which has it looking the best it possibly can, as well as a wealth of interesting special features. The first pressing of the set will include a booklet featuring illustrations and an article by film critic Chuck Stephens. The package also features new cover art by Tommy Pocket which recalls the contemporary work many artists are doing with pop culture screen printing these days. Overall, I believe this package will be highly desirable for J-Horror fans who want to own the best possible versions of all of the classics, but this one may not be for every casual horror fan out there. read more
Dario Argento’s first film, the 1970 classic The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, profoundly impacted the world of horror and established his career as a sophisticated auteur of cinema for decades to come. The film’s beautiful cinematography and expert filmmaking qualities make it an integral addition to any film-lover’s home video collection. There have been several blu-ray releases of various quality over the years, but none have come close to giving this important Italian film the level of love and attention as the upcoming limited edition box set from Arrow Video. read more
There is no better representative of video store culture of the 1980’s than Douglas Cheeks’ C.H.U.D.
This cult classic had all of the right ingredients to become a hit on the video market including a mysterious acronym, memorable tagline (“They’re not staying down there, anymore!”), and frightening vhs box artwork that would make any one looking for a fun Friday night stop dead in their tracks.
Thankfully, the fine people at Arrow Video have decided to give this well-loved horror-exploitation gem from 1984 a first class restoration and package in the form of their two disc special edition blu-ray release (available on November 22nd). read more
Arrow Video continues their tradition of releasing hard to find horror films with a jam packed blu-ray special edition of 2002’s Dark Water, based on a short story by Kôji Suzuki and directed by J-Horror master Hideo Nakata. Both of these influential artists reinvented the genre with 1998’s Ringu, and suddenly these ghostly stories and their American adaptations were experiencing success at the box office all over the world. With their special edition release of Dark Water, Arrow Video pays homage to Nakata’s and Suzuki’s entire bodies of work, featuring behind the scenes material and interviews which thoroughly chronicle their popular styles of storytelling and filmmaking. read more