Video Vault – May 9, 2018
MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT
PICK OF THE WEEK
THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): With its star-studded cast of genre favorites (Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, Jon Pertwee) and a script by Robert Bloch, this 1970 horror anthology remains one of the most popular of its kind – and the title is one to remember!
Under the assured direction of first-timer Peter Duffell (who died in December), the wraparound segment follows Scotland Yard inspector Holloway (John Bennett) as he investigates the strange history of the titular English manor, whose previous tenants all seem to have met with ghastly or unexplained fates. John Bryans plays the estate agent – one Mr. Stoker (hmmm …) – who clearly knows much more than he’s letting on.
Thus follows four tantalizing tales of terror, some played completely straight and others with tinges of black comedy and irony. The sterling supporting cast includes such stalwarts as Denholm Elliott, Nyree Dawn Porter, Joss Ackland, Joanna Dunham, Geoffrey Bayldon and young Chloe Franks, who gives a chilling performance as widower Lee’s seemingly abused daughter.
Incidentally, despite the lurid title, the film is essentially bloodless – although it certainly has its scary, unsettling, and outrageous moments. This is one cult classic that holds up.
The special-edition Blu-ray ($29.98 retail) includes audio commentaries, retrospective and vintage featurettes, theatrical trailers, and more. Rated PG. ***
“ACKLEY BRIDGE”: SERIES 1 (Acorn TV): A two-DVD collection ($39.99 retail) of all six episodes from the inaugural 2017 season of the award-winning series dramatizing the adjustments made at a newly integrated academy school in Northern England, featuring an ensemble cast including Jo Joyner, Steve Nicholls, Liz White, Sunetra Sarker, Samuel Bottomley, Poppy Lee Friar and Amy-Leigh Hickman.
EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS (Severin Films/CAV Distributing): Sleaze reigns supreme in this 1977 exploitation cult classic (originally titled Emanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali) from Joe D’Amato (AKA Aristide Massaccesi), with Laura Gemser back as the lusty title character, here an intrepid photo-journalist who joins anthropologist Gabriele Tinti (Gemser’s real-life husband) on a perilous journey to the Amazon in search of a lost tribe of cannibals. Needless to say, they find them. This made its belated US bow in 1984 and was retitled Trap Them and Kill Them for the video market. The DVD ($19.95 retail), Blu-ray ($29.95 retail), and limited-edition Blu-ray ($34.95 retail) boast special features including retrospective interviews and theatrical trailer.
IN BETWEEN (Film Movement): Writer/director Maysolun Hamoud’s award-winning debut feature (originally titled Bar Bahar) stars Mouna Hawa, Shaden Kanboura, and newcomer Sana Jammelieh as a trio of Palestinian women who share an apartment in Tel Aviv and seek a balance between religious and cultural tradition with their modern lifestyles. In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles, available on DVD ($24.95 retail), replete with special features.
IN SEARCH OF FELLINI (Samuel Goldwyn Films/AMBI Media Group): Producer/director Taron Lexton’s wistful, ethereal, award-winning debut feature stars Ksenia Solo as a withdrawn girl who embarks on a journey of self-discovery after being inspired by the films of Federico Fellini, based on the actual experiences of screenwriter/executive producer Nancy Cartwright (of “The Simpsons” fame), who also appears in a supporting role. Executive producer Maria Bello plays Solo’s ailing mother and Mary Lynn Rajskub her pragmatic aunt, with Kevin Garrison’s lovely cinematography (his first feature) a standout. Rated R. ***
JASPER JONES (Film Movement): Director Rachel Perkins’ award-winning adaptation of Craig Silvey’s international best-seller (scripted by the author and Shaun Grant) is a coming-of-age drama set in 1969 Australia, with Levi Miller as a lonely lad unexpectedly approached for help by the title character (Aaron McGrath), a mixed-race outcast. Episodic but affecting, bolstered by heartfelt performances, including those of Toni Collette and Dan Wyllie as Miller’s parents, Angourie Rice as a pretty classmate, and Hugo Weaving as a grizzled hermit with secrets. ***
LEGEND OF THE MOUNTAIN (Kino Classics): Writer/producer/director King Hu’s award-winning 1979 epic fantasy (originally titled Shan zhong zhuan qi) stars Chun Shih as a traveling scholar who encounters supernatural phenomena during an arduous journey through the mountains. In Mandarin with English subtitles, available on DVD ($19.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.95 retail) – both boasting bonus features.
MANIFESTO (FilmRise/MVD Entertainment Group): Cate Blanchett delivers a tour-de-force turn in Julian Rosenfeldt’s award-winning treatise, playing 12 different characters in 13 vignettes in which her character delivers famous manifestos about art. Occasionally (and perhaps unavoidably) pretentious, but imaginatively rendered and always watchable — thanks to Blanchett. ***
PARADOX (Well Go USA Entertainment): Director Wilson Yip joins forces with action coordinator Sammo Hung and leading man Louis Koo for the award-winning third installment of the SPL franchise (originally titled Sha po lang: taam long), which sees Koo and Thai counterpart Wu Yue seeking the former’s missing daughter (Hanna Chan) in Thailand. In Cantonese with English subtitles, available on DVD ($24.98 retail) and DVD/Blu-ray combo ($29.98 retail).
PLEASE STAND BY (Magnolia Home Entertainment): Dakota Fanning headlines this PG-13-rated adaptation of Michael Golampo’s play (scripted by the author), as an autistic girl who runs away from home to compete in a Star Trek screenwriting competition, with Toni Collette, Alice Eve, Marla Gibbs, Robin Weigert and Patton Oswalt in support, available on DVD ($26.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.98 retail), each replete with special features.
“ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME: IN CONCERT” (Time Life): The title tells all in this collection of 53 live induction ceremonies at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame beginning in 1986, featuring such legendary music luminaries as Pearl Jam, Cheap Trick, Peter Gabriel, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Ringo Starr, Rush, Chicago, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Yes, and many others, available on DVD ($34.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($39.99 retail).
“ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN”: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON (Time Life): “Sock it to me!” A seven-DVD collection ($39.95 retail) of all 26 episodes from the 1970-’71 season of the ground-breaking, often controversial NBC comedy/variety series hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, featuring regulars Lily Tomlin, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Alan Sues and Gary Owens, and a slew of guest stars including Vincent Price, Orson Welles, Art Carney, Wilt Chamberlain, Johnny Carson, Tim Conway, Bob Newhart, Rich Little, Peter Lawford, Andy Griffith, Rod Serling. Flip Wilson, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby and many others. Emmy winner for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for Variety or Music, with four additional nominations including Outstanding Variety Series (Musical) and for Johnson and Tomlin (Special Classification of Outstanding Programming and Individual Achievement – Individuals).
SCHLOCK (Turbine Media Group): At last (?), a limited-edition DVD/Blu-ray combo of John Landis’ 1972 debut feature, an affectionate and (very) low-budget sci-fi/horror parody, in which the missing link – called a “Schlockthropus” (played by Landis in a gorilla suit designed by future Oscar winner Rick Baker) – goes on the rampage in Southern California. After Landis’ success with Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) and National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), this periodically turned up in re-release (as Banana Monster) and on the midnight-movie circuit. In his on-camera introduction, Landis apologizes to the viewer! Special features include audio commentary with Landis and Baker. Available directly through: HYPERLINK “https://www.rakete-shop.de/catalogsearch/advanced/result/?name=schlock”https://www.rakete-shop.de/catalogsearch/advanced/result/?name=schlock. Rated G. **½
THE UNWILLING (Vision Films): The reading of a will proves deadly for a dysfunctional family in writer/co-producer/director Jonathan Heap’s award-winning shocker, with Lance Henriksen as the despised (and deceased) patriarch heading an ensemble cast that includes associate producer Dina Meyer, writer/producer David Lipper, Robert Rusler, Levy Tran, Bree Williamson, and Winston-Salem’s own Austin Highsmith, available on DVD ($14.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($19.99 retail)
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. (Copyright 2018, Mark Burger)