email@example.comDVD PICK OF THE WEEK:DAY OF THE DEAD(Scream Factory/Shout! Factory)
Released in 1985, the third in George A. Romero’s “original” Dead trilogy is perhaps the best. Much as Night of the Living Dead (1968) reflected the ’60s and Dawn of the Dead (1979) the ’70s, Day of the Dead offers a glimpse into ’80s culture — albeit with Romero’s distinctive spin. (It also ends on a more hopeful note than its predecessors.)At this point in the saga, the living dead have basically overrun civilization. A contingent of scientific and military personnel is hunkered down in an underground missile base in Florida, and their escalating antagonism drives the story forward. Once again, mankind’s worst enemy is himself.A terrific ensemble cast includes Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joe Pilato, Jarlath Conroy, Richard Liberty and Howard Sherman, the latter as “Bub,” a zombie whose humanity hasn’t quite deserted him. Rest assured, Tom Savini’s impressive special effects are given an impressive showcase when the inevitable climax transpires. (The squeamish are strongly forewarned.)The new collector’s edition DVD retails for $19.93, the Bluray for $29.93 — both with plenty of special features for “Dead Heads” including audio commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes and rare footage.
THE BEST OF ‘FRIDAYS’ (Shout! Factory): A DVD collection ($34.99 retail) of 16 episodes from the late-night comedy series broadcast on ABC from 1980-’82 as its version of “Saturday Night Live.” Series regulars included Larry David, Michael Richards, Melanie Chartoff and Mark Blankfield, musical guests included the Cars, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Devo and the Clash, and guest hosts included William Shatner, Billy Crystal and, most infamously, Andy Kaufman.
COCKNEYS VS. ZOMBIES (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): London takes a licking in producer/director Matthias Hoene’s cheeky, award-winning horror send-up — very much in the vein of Shaun of the Dead. Like that film, the joke is stretched a little thin, but it’s faster and certainly funnier than World War Z. An appealing cast includes Honor Blackman, Harry Treadaway, Rasmus Hardiker, Michelle Ryan, Georgina King, Dudley Sutton, Richard Briers (in his final film) and Alan Ford, who steals the film as a lovably gruff grandfather.
THE DETROIT TIGERS 1984 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR’S EDITION (MLB Productions/LionsGate): The title tells all in this DVD collection ($29.98 retail) featuring all five full-length games of the 1984 Fall Classic, as Detroit defeated the San Diego Padres, making Sparky Anderson the first manager to win a World Series in both leagues.
THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC (EuropaCorp./ Shout! Factory): Luc Besson’s award-winning adaptation of Jacques Tardi’s popular comic-book series stars Louise Bourgoin as the titular heroine, an intrepid reporter seeking to discover the power of life over death in the early 20 th century. This extravagant PG-rated adventure (originally titled Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adele Blanc-Sec) is available as a DVD ($14.97 retail), a DVD/ Blu-ray combo ($24.97 retail), or a director’scut DVD/Blu-ray combo (also $24.97 retail). In French with English subtitles.
IRON MAN 3 (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): Shane Black assumes the directorial reins for the latest in the popular Marvel Comics film franchise, with Robert Downey Jr. back as billionaire Tony Stark and his metallic alter-ego. Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, executive producer Jon Favreau and a very funny Ben Kingsley also appear. More entertaining than the second film, although purists may object to the liberties Black has taken with the original mythology. Still, good fun all around. Rated PG-13.
MLB 25 GREATEST POSTSEASON HOME RUNS (MLB Productions/LionsGate): The title tells all in this documentary ($14.98 retail) a literal hit parade recounting the most memorable homers in postseason baseball, including those by Babe Ruth, Bill Mazeroski, Carlton Fisk, Kirk Gibson, Reggie Jackson… and, yes, Joe Carter’s three-run shot to win Game 6 of the 1993 World Series against the Phillies — which broke my heart — is included.
MOVIES 4 YOU: TIMELESS HORROR (Timeless Media Group): A “quadruple feature” of vintage shockers: Face of Marble (1946) starring John Carradine, The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959), The Snake Woman (1961) and the gem of the bunch: Albert Band’s I Bury the Living (1958) starring Richard Boone and Theodore Bikel. This DVD collection retails for a very affordable $6.95.
PRINCE OF DARKNESS (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): A “collector’s edition” re-release of John Carpenter’s imaginative 1987 chiller about the discovery of an evil essence bottled in the basement of an abandoned Los Angeles church (just go with it), prompting an investigation by Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Lisa Blount, Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Dirk Blocker, Susan Blanchard and Peter Jason. It’s hard to judge which is creepier: Carpenter’s pounding score or Alice Cooper’s cameo as a murderous vagrant. It doesn’t always make sense — who said horror movies should? — but it’s very scary in places, real nightmare material. The DVD retails for $14.98, the Blu-ray for $29.93. Both contain extensive special features. Rated R.
ROCK JOCKS (Flatiron Film Company/ Cinedigm): Writer/director Paul Seetachitt’s one-joke feature debut centers around a group of geeks and gamers who monitor and destroy asteroids that threaten our planet. A hard-working cast includes Felicia Day, Andrew Bowen, Kevin Wu, Doug Jones, Jason Mewes and Robert Picardo — but too often this lapses into sophomoric silliness.
‘ROOSTER TEETH’: BEST OF RT SHORTS & ANIMATED ADVENTURES (Flatiron Film Company/Cinedigm): The creators of the popular online “Red vs. Blue” series strike again with this two-DVD collection ($19.95 retail) of live-action and animated comedy shorts from the ongoing “Rooster Teeth” podcast, plus bonus features. Cinedigm and Rooster Teeth have also released “Fails of the Weak: Halo Edition” ($9.95 retail), a compilation of fansubmitted video fails inspired by the popular video-game franchise.
SCANNERS II: THE NEW ORDER/ SCANNERS III: THE TAKEOVER (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): After director David Cronenberg moved on, producer Pierre David kept the head-blowing franchise going with these two R-rated sequels (both released in 1991), now available in a DVD/ Blu-ray combo ($26.99 retail).
SHIVER (Image Entertainment): Scream queen Danielle Harris is this time pursued by serial killer John Jarratt (as “The Gryphon”) in this award-winning adaptation of the novel by Brian Harper (AKA Michael Prescott), penned by producer Robert D. Weinbach. Richard Band’s score and Zoran Popovic’s cinematography hold interest, but this ultimately settles for the routine. Also on hand: Casper Van Dien, Rae Dawn Chong, Valerie Harper and executive producer Brad Harris.
THE VICTORVILLE MASSACRE (Indican Pictures): Nine college friends on a weekend getaway over Labor Day weekend predictably fall prey to a serial killer who’s been terrorizing the community. A hard-working young cast (including gorgeous Sonja O’Hara in her screen debut) do what they can with writer/editor/director Riley Wood’s hackneyed material, padded with unnecessary flashbacks. Rated R.
A WEREWOLF BOY (CJ Entertainment America): Writer/director Sung-Hee Jo’s award-winning fantasy (originally titled Neuk-dae-so-nyeon) details the childhood relationship between a lonely young girl (Park Bo-young) with a feral boy (Song Joong-ki) whom her family adopted. In Korean with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $26.98.
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2013, Mark Burger.