Happy New Year from myself and all the other hard-working writers here at Rogue Cinema! 2006 was a bumpy year full of disappointing theatrical releases, major changes, and lots of DVD re-releases to piss us movie collectors off! But now we start off 2007 with a clean slate and high hopes! Sadly, January is a pretty bare month in regards to cult DVD and theatrical releases, but that’s fine by me. It’s best to start off slow before a torrential downpour of genre releases inundates all of us cult movie fans! So, without further ado, let’s kick of this new year the right way with my hot picks for the month of January! Release dates are, as always, subject to change and I, as always, am not to blame! (Also note that these aren’t all of the films hitting theaters and retail store shelves, these are just my preferred picks. Writing about every single movie would be a time consuming and pointless venture.)
Now available on DVD:
The Aztec Mummy Collection – This set contains a trio of obscure Mexican flicks whose central character is a goofy-looking mummy. (The latter of the three, Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy should be well known to all you Mystery Science Theater 3000 afficionados!) Aspect ratios and special features are hitherto unknown to myself, but if this Brentwood release is anything like their previous stuff over the years, don’t get your hopes up!
Black Christmas (Special Edition) – Bob Clark’s classic flick that (some say) single-handedly started the slasher genre! A group of sorority sisters are crank-called, stalked, and strangled by a psycho on Christmas Eve in this (now remade) holiday classic. The film is shown in widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and comes with these festive extras: Two newly discovered original scenes with new vocal soundtrack, "The 12 Days of Black Christmas" featurette, interviews with stars Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder, and a midnight screening Q&A session with actor John Saxon, director Bob Clark, and composer Carl Zittrer!
Dark Remains – A shocking supernatural thriller in which a married couple go to a mountain retreat after the brutal murder of their daughter. Unfortunately for them, the place is inhabited by angry, vengeful ghosts, and soon their attempt to find peace and rebuild their dying marriage becomes a fight for survival against the unknown! Dark Remains is featured in enhanced 16:9 widescreen with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound and come with a good number of ghostly extras: Audio commentary by director Brian Avenet-Bradley, a theatrical trailer, behind the scenes featurette, deleted scenes, and finally a featurette about Big Red: The Ghost of Floyd County Prison! (Be sure to read my review of this flick right here in the January issue of Rogue Cinema!)
The Descent (Original Unrated Cut) – Director Neil "Dog Soldiers" Marshall strikes gold again with this awesome and oft-claustrophobic film! Six women go cave spelunking and soon find themselves trapped in a previously unexplored cave system that is home to a race of ferocious albino bat-people! (You laugh, but wait until you see these suckers in action!) This fantastic horror flick has been given the royal treatment by Lionsgate! The Descent comes in either fullscreen or widescreen versions (and is available in Rated or Unrated editions as well) and has Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (as well as 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio). The disc is rounded out with these extra features: Two Audio Commentaries, The Descent: Beneath the Scenes featurette, deleted and extended scenes, storyboard to scene comparisons, outtakes, Interview with Director Neil Marshall, a stills gallery, and finally, cast & crew biographies! Also, if you purchase this DVD at Best Buy, you’ll get a second bonus disc inside the case that contains a "Special Breed of Effects and Actors" featurette!
My Super Ex-Girlfriend – Director Ivan Reitman has been struggling to harness the perfect balance of fantasy, sci-fi action, and humor ever since he hit it big with Ghostbusters! His latest flick is nowhere near as funny as it could be, but there’s plenty to like here. Uma Thurman plays G-Girl, a modern-day superheroine that falls for an everyday schmuck named Matt Saunders (who is played by the usually emotionless Luke Wilson). Once Matt breaks up with G-Girl, she makes his life hell, and forces him to join up with G-Girl’s arch-nemesis in order to get his life back to normal. The DVD offers both the fullscreen and widescreen versions of the film as well as this short list of super extras: Molly McQueen "No Sleep 2Nite" music video, five deleted scenes, and an extended "Shark Sequence."
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2-Disc Collector’s Edition) – Jack Sparrow and the gang are back in this frustrating but fun sequel! Jack, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann and nearly every other character from the first film butt heads with the undead man-fish Davey Jones (played with zeal by Bill "Victor from Underworld" Nighy) and his pet monster, the Kraken! Great visuals, great music, and one of the most infuriating conclusions to a film ever make this one a must see! The 2-Disc Edition of the film comes with these extras: Two audio commentaries, a blooper reel, and a buttload of extras! The movie is featured in its original widescreen ratio (2.35:1) and has Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio and it looks and sound perfect! (It should since this movie came out early last year!) And for those of you that are thriftier than I, there is a single disc edition available in stores as well.
The Red Skulls – One of Tempe Video’s newest DVD titles! When the leader of a gang called the "Red Skulls" sees his best friend hacked to pieces by a rival gang, he tries to bow out and leave town. Unfortunately for him (and the rest of the Skulls), one of his own gang members backstabs him and leads him into an ambush by a gang of mutant cannibals! (Think The Warriors meets C.H.U.D. and you’re kinda close!) The film is feature in a letterboxed (4:3) format and boasts a good number of extras: Audio commentary by cast and crew, a behind the scenes featurette, a makeup f/x featurette, outtakes, a music video ("Freaky Tiki" by the "Lords of the Highway."), a preview for Cordoba Nights, and a handful of trailers for other Tempe (Splatter Rampage) releases! (And don’t forget to check out my review for the film in this month’s issue!)
Spacemen & Go Go Girls Double Feature – Two fun short films appear on this new Tempe DVD title. In the first short, Spacemen, Go Go Girls, & The True Meaning of Christmas, aliens from Uranus come to Earth to steal our precious resources. It’s up to a group of go-go-dancing private eyes to stop these invaders. The second short Spacemen, Go Go Girls, & The Great Easter Hunt pits the Go Go Girls and their new alien allies against an evil Space Bunny! This entertaining double feature has gotten the royal treatment from Tempe and contains these extras: Audio commentary with cast and crew, the original 1999 version of Spacemen, Go Go Girls, & The True Meaning of Christmas, the original 2000 version of Spacemen, Go Go Girls, & The Great Easter Hunt, Super 8-MM footage from the original Spacemen and Go Go Girls film, a Spacemen 2004 preview, and finally there are several trailers for other Tempe releases to round out the disc!
Now Playing in Theaters:
Black X-Mas – Not only a remake, but a remake with a trendy "title change!" (i.e. Christmas became X-Mas! WOW! Now I really want to see it!) Read my tidbit above about the DVD release of the original, then get the original, and then forget that a remake even came out. ‘Nuff said.
Children of Men – Out of nowhere comes this highly-praised film in which the Earth’s future looks bleak because no one can procreate…. that is until one lone woman steps forward with a baby in her womb! There’s a lot of positive buzz about this one, so I may actually see it before it gets crushed by 2007’s new theatrical heavyweights.
Eragon – Still in the top ten but dropping fast! Though I considered seeing it, I’ve decided that Eragon (and the kid that wrote the story) can lick my hairy testicles! Reign of Fire forever! Dragonslayer rules! Down with gay, cuddly, blue dragons!
Night at the Museum – Amazing special effects highlight this family friendly movie. Ben Stiller is the new night security guard at the Museum of Natural History where history comes alive…. literally! I loved this flick and it deserves to be America’s #1 movie, hands down! (Best scene in the film: Tiny cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and his Roman counterpart attempt to let the air out of a van’s tires with some hilarious results!) Definitely check this movie out!
Rocky Balboa – The final(?) Rocky film pits the aging fighter against the Heavyweight Champ, Mason "The Line" Dixon. If I get some spare time, I’m actually going to see this movie!
DVDs to look for in January:
January 2nd: "Militant Eagle/Prodigal Boxer" (Double Feature), "Moonlight Sword and Jade Lion/Bloody Fists" (Double Feature), "Seven Swords," and "Snakes on a Plane!"
January 9th: "Crank," "Doom Asylum" (Unrated), "The Giant Majin Collection," "A Mexican Werewolf in Texas," and "The Shunned."
January 16th: "Broken Sword," "Cannibal Campout," "Die, You Zombie Bastards!," "The Protector," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" (Rated and Unrated Editions), and "The Woodchipper Massacre."
January 23rd: "The Master Ninja Collection," "The Monsters and Madmen Collection" (Criterion DVD), and "Sasquatch Mountain."
January 30th: "The Fly" (1986 – Collector’s Edition), "Gymkata," "Infested," "Iron Lion," "Maniac" (1980 – Blue Underground), and "Slaughter of the Vampires."
Theatrical Films to Look for in January:
Arthur and the Invisibles – Family film in which a human boy turns into a CGI troll-doll-lookin’ thing in order to find some red gems that he can get money for in order to save someone’s house… or something. Just think of it as The Goonies without a criminal family and filled with CGI fairytale critters.
The Hitcher – Sean Bean (Boromir from Lord of the Rings) plays the titular character in this remake. The first trailer impressed me, but I’m a huge fan of the original (which has already been tarnished by a crappy direct-to-dvd sequel) so I don’t have very high hopes for this one.
Blood and Chocolate – A romantic film… with werewolves! This Romeo and Juliet-ish flick sounds kind of cool, and it’d be great to finally see a decent werewolf movie on the big screen. I’m keeping my eye on this one!
Epic Movie – So far this is looking hilarious! This parody pokes fun at all the huge fantasy and sci-fi films that have come out in recent years including The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the X-Men films, and more! I wonder how this one will compare with Superhero which comes out in (I believe) March.
The Invisible – Some guy is trapped in limbo after being left for dead and must now try to bring his attacker(s) to justice. This one might turn out to be pretty decent methinks, but I may be setting myself up for a heartbreak.
That’s all I’ve got for you this month cult movie fans! As I said, it’s a pretty dry month, but don’t worry, this year will be a great year for cinema. Already we’ve got a multitude of comic book films to look forward to (300, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3, and Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer), two killer crocodile flicks (Rogue and Primeval), and a multitude of horror movies, remakes, and sequels (The Hills Have Eyes 2, Fido, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Hannibal Rising. Hell, there’s even an all-CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flick on the horizon, so I for one have high hopes! And the DVD releases are going to mouth-watering to say the least this year! Already there’s news that cult faves like Night of the Comet and The Manitou are hitting DVD so start putting in some extra hours at work and prepare to spend, spend, spend!