DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: THE BROOD (The Criterion Collection)
David Cronenberg’s legend emerges with this controversial 1979 shocker inspired by his own divorce (!).
Frank Carveth (Art Hindle) is concerned for the welfare of withdrawn daughter Candy (newcomer Cindy Hinds), whose mother Nola (Samantha Eggar) is undergoing intense psychiatric treatment from Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed), best-selling proponent of “Psychoplasmics,” wherein patients physically manifest their deepest emotional torment.
A series of brutal murders committed by mysterious, diminutive beings leads Frank to realize that Psychoplasmics has horrific, devastating results. Longer on imagination than emotion, Cronenberg exercises chilling, clinical, even ruthless control.
The earnest Hindle does his best, but Eggar, in only a few scenes, imbues Nola with a tragic, tortured soul, and Reed is superb as the “mad” doctor who feels remorse (and worse) for what he’s wrought in the name of science – and how the cycle will inevitably continue.
The DVD retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray for $39.95. Special features include retrospective interviews, vintage interviews, and more. Rated R.
ARMY OF DARKNESS (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): A collector’s edition Blu-ray ($34.99 retail) of Sam Raimi’s award-winning medieval romp – the third in the original Evil Dead trilogy – pitting wise-cracking Bruce Campbell against the undead, one more time. This includes the theatrical version, director’s cut, international version and television version (plus a bevy of special features), and is being released to coincide with the premiere of the STARZ series “Ash vs. the Evil Dead.” Rated R.
ARMY OF FRANKENSTEINS (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): Ryan Bellgardt’s award-winning debut feature combines time-travel, Mary Shelley’s legendary literary creation and the Civil War – all rolled into one, available on DVD ($14.93 retail) and ($19.97 retail).
THE BABADOOK (IFC Midnight/ Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): Actressturned-writer/director Jennifer Kent’s award-winning debut stars Essie Davis and newcomer Noah Wiseman as a mother and son terrorized by the evil incarnation of the title character, seen in a children’s book. The denouement’s anti-climactic, but this absolutely lives up to the hype. The DVD retails for $14.93, the Blu-ray for $24.97, the special-edition Blu-ray for $29.93 – special features on all.
BLOOD PUNCH (Bluff Road Productions/Midnight Releasing): Director Madellaine Paxson and writer Eddie Guzelian’s award-winning, head-spinning black comedy posits Milo Cawthorne, Olivia Tennet and Ari Boyland as a love triangle who re-live the same day over and over again – with various consequences. Worth a look.
CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): A Blu-ray special edition ($24.97 retail) of director (and future Oscar winner) Bill Condon’s so-so 1995 sequel to the 1992 horror hit based on executive producer Clive Barker’s story, with imposing Tony Todd reprising his title role as the hookhanded dream demon. Rated R.
DOG SOLDIERS (Scream Factory/ Shout! Factory): Writer/director Neil Marshall puts a refreshing (and grisly) spin on the werewolf legend with this award-winning 2002 shocker about a military platoon (including Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd and Liam Cunningham) encountering a lycanthropic threat during maneuvers in the Scottish Highlands. The collector’s edition DVD/Blu-ray combo ($29.93 retail) includes audio commentary, interviews, and more. Rated R. ***
FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Cinedigm): A DVD compilation ($14.93 retail) of the 2015 season of the popular CONtv and YouTube series in which reality-TV “stars” are pitted against zombies in a fight to the death … or “undeath,” as the case may be.
FINAL GIRL (Cinedigm): Photographer Tyler Shields makes his feature directorial bow with this stylish, self-indulgent black comedy/thriller with Abigail Breslin trained by Wes Bentley to become a lethal weapon – and then to deliver retribution
upon a group of affluent, well-scrubbed teenaged boys (including Alexander Ludwig, Cameron Bright and Logan Huffman) who delight in torturing young girls. Not for all tastes, but acted with gusto. Rated R.
“THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE: THE COMPLETE SEQUENCE” (IFC Midnight/ Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): A Bluray collection ($59.99 retail) of filmmaker Tom Six’s highly controversial horror trilogy, including director’s cuts of the 2009 original and the 2011 and 2015 sequels, with audio commentaries and other special features for each film.
“iZOMBIE”: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Warner Home Video): The zombie craze continues in this CW series, loosely based on the DC Comics’ Vertigo series starring Rose McIver as a medical student trying to stave off infection by consuming human brains – which allows her to see their memories … and the circumstances surrounding their deaths. All 13 episodes from the inaugural 2015 season – plus bonus features – are available on DVD ($39.98 retail).
“THE LARRY FESSENDEN COLLEC- TION” (IFC Midnight/Scream Factory/ Shout! Factory): A Blu-ray boxed set ($79.97 retail) of four shockers made by the acclaimed filmmaker: No Telling (1991), Habit (1995), Wendigo (2001) and The Last Winter (2006) – each with audio commentary and other special features.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (Warner Home Video): After 30 years, filmmaker George Miller proves he hasn’t missed a step with this blistering, rip-roaring reboot/sequel to the slam-bang apocalyptic action series, with Tom Hardy assuming the title role of the taciturn but tough ex-cop Max Rockatansky, aided and abetted by Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa. The DVD retails for $28.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $35.99, the 3-D combo for $44.95, and a Blu-ray anthology of all four films (Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and this) for $88.98. Rated R. !
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2015, Mark Burger.