Genre Watch – September ’06 – By Jordan Garren

 It’s the start of a new month and we’re beginning to head into the holiday season. For the next four months we’re going to get bombarded with films in theaters and on DVD and for those of us who don’t have a lot of cash, this time of year is simply gut-wrenching! For those of you that are avid movie-goers & watchers, prepare to become flat broke! September is a month riddled with awesome DVD releases, so put in some overtime, get a second job, sell your blood and/or your semen, because us movie nuts are about to be blitzkrieged! Also, as a disclaimer, the dates for all the movies listed below are tentative and subject to change (case in point, Tony Jaa’s "The Protector" has been pushed back another week). So please don’t take it out on me if a theatrical or DVD release suddenly changes. (I swear I had nothing to do with it!) With that out of the way, here’s my massive list of "hot picks" for September 2006:

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Now available on DVD:

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth – For some reason this entry in the series hasn’t gotten a decent (legit?) DVD release until recently. (Blame it on Paramount.) In this film, Pinhead attempts to free himself and his Cenobite friends from Hell and plans on destroying the puzzle-cube so that they can’t be sent back! In my opinion this is the last good Hellraiser sequel and should’ve ended the series, unfortunately those retarded execs and producers at Dimension films saw dollar signs and continue to drag out the adventures of Pinhead and friends to this day! The DVD for Hellraiser III is a step up from the previous (Canadian?!) release and features the movie in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Sound. The disc is also fleshed out a bit with these extras: The original Hellraiser III theatrical trailer and a featurette entitled Clive Barker: The Art of Horror.

House on Haunted Hill Double Feature – Though the original House on Haunted Hill has seen numerous DVD releases (since it is in the public domain), it’s definitely nice to have it paired with its 1999 remake. In both films, people are invited to a "haunted mansion" and whomever survives the night will receive a generous amount of money. The original is from mastermind William Castle and while it wasn’t particularly scary, it’s still fun to see good ole Vincent Price on the screen. The remake isn’t nearly as good in my opinion, and falls apart during the final act. However, there’s still several genuinely creepy scenes throughout and it features some of Hollywood’s best eye candy: Famke Janssen and Bridget Wilson! The original House has no extras, but the remake gets an audio commentary by the director as well as a few other goodies. If you don’t own or haven’t seen either of this films, then pick up this relatively cheap DVD. I doubt you’ll be disappointed!

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 10 – Rhino released yet another four-disc set of this beloved TV show! This set includes feature-length movie heckling for Godzilla vs. Megalon, Swamp Diamonds, Teenage Strangler, and The Giant Spider Invasion. This DVD set also includes the following features: The MST3K Video Jukebox (which features fifteen songs from this long-running series), a photo gallery, and a fifteen minute "Outtakes" reel. I’ve already got mine ordered, so keep these sets coming Rhino. (‘Tis a pity that they can’t release these sets by the Season… but then again, that would be damned too pricy!)

Neon Genesis: Evangelion (10th Anniversary Collection) – Nearly half a year has passed since I purchased the "Platinum Complete" edition of this anime (as well as its two feature films), and now I find that they’re bringing it out in a new eight DVD set! (Curse you ADV!) Though this seems way too overpriced, fans of the series will want to ditch their older sets and pick this up. This set contains every episode from the series as well as these "angelic" extras: "Every video extra ever created for Evangelion," a special commemorative art booklet, a limited edition 10th anniversary EVA jacket, the "Notenki Memoirs" autobiography, the "Neon Genesis: Angelic Days" manga, and apparently a lot more! While I agree that this was an exceptional anime series… I still say that the ending is immensely disappointing. Maybe if they "fixed" the final episode, I’d think about purchasing this boxed set. (Note: Wait another fifteen years and you can get the super-mega-25th-anniversary boxed set! Or wait forty years for the 50th anniversary edition! Hell, why wait that long and just pick up the 11th Anniversary Edition next year?! Am I being sarcastic? Yes I am!)

The Chuck Norris: American Hero Collection – MGM (a.k.a. Sony’s bitch) is releasing both Delta Force movies and all three Missing in Action films in this DVD set. This is probably just a ploy to clear these unwanted Chuck Norris films out of MGM’s warehouses, but if you’re a Norris fan, feel free to pick up this fairly inexpensive boxed set. (Note: The extras and features are probably the same as the previous single DVD releases of these films which means that you can expect widescreen transfers of all five films and at least a movie trailer as an extra on each disc.)

This Island Earth – Years after being heckled on Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, this Universal classic finally makes its way onto DVD. In this sci-fi adventure, several of Earth’s scientists are rounded up and peacefully brought to an alien world full of huge forehead-ed aliens who keep giant insectoids as slaves. The DVD is bare bones with absolutely no extra features, however, the film itself is presented in a very clean 1.33:1 fullscreen transfer with equally good Dolby 2.0 Surround Sound. Even though there’s no extras on this DVD, its low cost (somewhere between $9.99 and $14.99 depending on where you go) makes up for it.

Trilogy of Terror (Special Edition) – Dark Sky continues giving us fans what we want with their DVD release of Trilogy of Terror (which has finally made it’s DVD debut). This made-for-TV horror anthology involves three short horror tales, the most memorable of which involves a killer Zuni fetish doll that terrorizes a woman (Karen Black!) in her apartment. The movie is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and clean Dolby Digital sound! The disc is complemented with these fantastic extras: Feature length audio commentary with star Karen Black and screenwriter William F. Nolan and two interviews ("Three Colors Black" and "Richard Matheson: Terror Scribe"). For fans of this much sought-after film, this DVD is definitely what you’ve been waiting for!

Tromeo and Juliet: 10th Anniversary Edition – (What the hell is up with all these 10th Anniversary Editions? A movie needs more than ten years to become a cult sensation worthy of multiple future DVD releases! But that’s just my opinion.) Lloyd Kaufman’s grotesque homage to William Shakespeare’s classic tale of suicidal star-crossed lovers! I got a copy of the original Troma DVD of the film not long ago (for free I might add), but now I want to chuck it in the trash and get this all new DVD release of the film. Here’s what you can expect to see on the DVD: Four audio commentaries(!) with writer James Gunn, director Lloyd Kaufman, actor Sean Gunn, film editor Frank Reynolds, and Troma staff editor Gabriel Friedman, two hours of interviews with the cast and crew, deleted scenes with optional commentary, and a slew of additional Tromatic extras! In other Troma news, keep an eye out for the new Toxic Avenger Boxed Set and the 11th Anniversary Edition of Cannibal! The Musical!

Now Playing in Theaters:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – Still doing brisk business at the box office with over four-hundred million dollars in ticket sales in the U.S. alone! If you haven’t seen the latest adventures of Jack Sparrow and friends, then do so immediately!

Pulse – Another crappy watered-down, PG-13 remake of a Japanese horror film. Critics and reviewers alike have panned this movie, but I’m sure it’ll gain a few followers upon its release on DVD when it will more than likely be sold in an "Unrated Edition." I for one have absolutely no interest in this film!

Snakes on a Plane – Samuel L. Jackson wants those motherf*#@ing snakes off his motherf*@#ing plane! Amazingly this movie was pretty fun and well done and definitely lives up to its title. I never thought I’d tell you this, but go out and see this movie! And if you have the strength, stay after the film ends and watch the music video that plays during the credits… that tune is kinda catchy.

ZOOM – Word on the street is that Zoom is a pretty good family film. Tim Allen rallies a group of super-powered kids and trains them to be at one with their powers. To give further incentive, a trailer for the upcoming CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie appears before the film.

DVDs to look for in September:

September 5th: "The Complete Toxic Avenger" (6-Disc Set), "Gojira" (2-Disc Deluxe Collector’s Edition), and "The Sister Streetfighter Collection."

September 12th: "The Great Yokai War" (2-Disc Set), "Masters of Horror: Dance of the Dead," "Mutant," and "Shadow: Dead Riot" (2-Disc Unrated Special Edition).

September 19th: "The Boris Karloff Collection" (3-disc Set), "Chucky: The Killer DVD Collection" (3-Disc Set), "The Sandman" (Special Edition), "The Tomie Collection" (5-Disc Set).

September 26th: "Dead Zone" (Collector’s Edition), "Dracula: 75th Anniversary Edition" (2-Disc Set), "Dust Devil: Final Cut," "Eaten Alive," "Frankenstein: 75th Anniversary Edition" (2-Disc Set), "Masters of Horror: Imprint," "Nightmare on Elm Street" (2-Disc Remastered Special Edition), and "Pet Sematary" (Collector’s Edition).

Theatrical Films to Look for in September:

September 1st:

Crank – Jason Statham plays Chev Chelios, a hitman that’s been poisoned with an adrenaline-sapping drug. He has 24-hours to find a cure and/or get revenge on those responsible for his affliction. This is going to be a balls-to-the-wall, no-brains action fest that’ll but Statham’s Transporter films to shame… I hope. I’m definitely checking this one out!

This Film is Not Yet Rated – A documentary that strikes out against the Motion Picture Association of America and its "questionable ratings system." This film is getting a limited release, but if it’s playing near you go see it! I’d like to see someone take a crack at our country’s biggest censors!

The Wicker Man – A remake of what some call a classic mystery/thriller. Nicholas Cage stars as a police officer seeking out a missing (and allegedly dead) child. His search leads him to an island full of weirdos where he ends up as a pot roast. (Sorry if that ruins the ending for you, but if they changed that bit of it, then what’s the point of this new film?! Maybe this is how he becomes Ghost Rider?!)

September 8th:
The Covenant – This one looks fun! Renny Harlin’s latest film has an action/witchcraft plot and the previews have made it look appealing thus far. Keep on eye on this one and read up on it before you see it, even if you’re down with Renny Harlin’s other films (which include Die Hard 2 and Deep Blue Sea).

Head Trauma – Indie film about a guy that hits his head off something really hard and forgets who he is? Ok, I’m not sure of this film’s actual plot, but I’ve heard that this is a very well done psychological horror/thriller and is definitely worth a look. I’m not sure how wide its release is but it’s playing in Scranton, PA at the Endless Mountains Theater and director Lance Weiler will be on hand for a few screenings to do a quick Q&A session.

The Protector – Tony Jaa’s latest got pushed back from the last week of August for some unknown reason. (Perhaps they thought that it would hurt ticket sales for DOA: Dead or Alive?) In this one, Tony Jaa goes to Australia to battle various martial artists and Asian gangs to save his kidnaped elephants! When will the bad guys learn to stop stealing shit from Tony Jaa?!

September 15th:
Beer League – Trying to capitalize on the success of The Benchwarmers and Beerfest comes this low-budget film starring Artie Lange and…. RALPH MACCHIO?! In this flick, a slacker rallies his drunken softball buddies to play better so they don’t get kicked out of their local softball league. This one’s getting a limited release in theaters, though it probably should’ve went straight to DVD. If anyone actually sees this one, let me know how bad it was!

September 22nd:
Feast – BYAAAAH! John Gulager’s directorial debut (as seen on Project Greenlight) about people trapped in a diner by carnivorous creatures finally hits theaters… for two nights at midnight?! SON-OF-A-BITCH! That’s right, on September 22nd, and September 23rd at midnight at (I assume) select theaters, this highly anticipated film will be shown. Don’t miss it!

Fearless – Jet Li’s (supposedly) last action film. This time Jet is China’s best fighter and takes on the world’s best in a tournament. On a side note, Jet Li’s next film is Rogue, an action film where he stars alongside Jason Statham and…. wait what?! AN ACTION FILM?! JET LI’S LAST ACTION FILM WAS "FEARLESS!" WHAT GIVES?!

Jackass: Number Two – I feel a bit of guilty pleasure in saying that I want to see this ode to sado-masochistic humor. I saw a big banner that showed Wee-Man and Preston running for their lives from an army of pygmies so this has automatically become a must-see film!

A Nightmare on Elm Street – The original Wes Craven classic hits the big screen for two nights in select theaters to promote the newly remastered 2-Disc Special Edition DVD from New Line. The film will play on September 20th and 21st at 8 PM and will be followed by a reel of "Freddy’s Best Kills!" Keep an eye out for theater listings so you don’t miss out on this rare screening!

September 29th:
Zip, Nada, Nothing!

Well there you have it! There’s an amazing number of movies to look forward to, and I for one am very excited. My movie obsession should be satiated before the month is up, but I’ll be hungry like the wolf by the start of next month, because my favorite holiday is approaching rapidly, namely Halloween! (F*@K CHRISTMAS!) Candy corn by the truckload, Reese cups, snickers bars, and oodles of horror and sci-fi movies on TV, in video stores, and in theaters! So be sure to come back here to Rogue Cinema next month for your next dose of genre film releases and don’t forget to prepare yourself for Halloween!
WOOHOO! I can’t wait!