Yesterday’s installment of the weekly Laserblast column (courtesy of the redoubtable Peter McGarvey) focused on reviews of three upcoming DVD releases, crowding out mention of this week’s home video happenings. Hence, we offer this follow-up addendum, to give mention to the many titles now available on DVD and/or Blu-ray for your viewing pleasure. Prehistoric adventure 10,000 B.C.arrives in both formats; now you can enjoy the sights, the sounds -if not the smells – of those cave men fending off sabertooth tigers and other ferocious mammals. THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES is available in four versions: Full Screeen DVD, Widescreen DVD, Two-Disc, Special Edition DVD, and Blu-ray disc.
So much for recent blockbusters. The week is replete with older titles of interest. One of these is not actually a horror film but a bio-pic: MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES, which features the great James Cagney playing Lon Chaney, the silent actor known for his multitude of different appearances on screen, often playing hideous deformed characters (THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA). This is a solid movie, but there is a strange irony about it: Cagney was probably a better actor than Chaney, but when it comes time for him to recreate Chaney’s most famous scenes (e.g., the unmasking of the Phantom), he falls short. Perhaps the makeup was to blame. In the days before the makeup union put a stop to that kind of thing, Chaney did his own makeup; his techniques may have been crude (even by the standards of the 1950s), but they were more effective than those used in MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES.
THE EYE 3 is another old title reaching stores today. Actually, come to think of it, it’s a “new” title; only the film is old. You see, this is actually THE EYE 10, which has been available on Region 1 DVD for some time (we reviewed it here). In case you are confused by the title: this is the third EYE film from the Pang Brothers, who wrote and directed the excellent THE EYE and its sequel THE EYE 2. Faced with the prospect of a second sequel, they chose to skip “Eye 3,” leap-frogging to “The Eye 10.” The story justifies this by illustrating 10 methods for making contact with the dead (the first two of which were seen in the previous two films). Adding to the confusion, the film is also known as THE EYE: INFINITY. And as if that were not bad enough, IMD lists Hong Kong Producer Tsui Hark as being at work on developing a film called THE EYE 3.
Fans of THE INVADERS (the recent DVD release of which we reviewed here) may be curious to see the series’ star Roy Thinnes make a JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN. This is a live-action science-fiction film from Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the team responsible for puppet TV shows like THUNDERBIRDS. Strangely, the special effects are not really upgraded for the feature film format or for the fact that there are real actors in the movie: the miniatures are colorful and cool, but not convincing. The story has Thinnes as an astronaut who inadvertenly lands on a duplicate Earth (which we never see because the sun blocks our view of it), complete with duplicate people. The tone is a bit odd, with the sci-fi spaceships evoking memories of the THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO, while the storyline includes assassination and intrigue not entirely appropriate for a kiddie flick.
As for the rest of the week’s releases:
- Cult horror film SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES arrives on DVD
- XANADU comes out in a “Magical Musica Edition,” with a complimentary soundtrack CD.
- The Navarre Corporation offers two compilation box sets: Advantage Easter Horror and Advantage: Sci-Fi-Athon, each of which is packed with obscure titles of interest to completists and hardcore collectors only.
- And for those who are aware – let alone remember – that there was a GINGERBREAD MAN, now theres’ GINGERBRAD MAN 2.