November 01, 2006

Notes from a DVD Geek

by Jeremy Lassen

Another month has flown by.  Have you watched all those movies you had intended to watch?  I know I didn’t.  But I do have a few that I can recommend to you.  First up is a Lovecraftian horror film shot in the Ukraine, directed by Mariano Baino.  This is NOT a J-horror movie of similar name, and this is not your average DVD release.  The 2 disk special edition from Indy DVD label No Shame features a replica Cthulhu amulet, 48-page booklet, commentary, documentary, deleted scenes, director's intro, several short films and a bunch more.  If you don’t want to throw down for the expensive set, there’s a single disk version of the movie as well.  But it doesn’t have a Cthulhu Amulet, so you know which one you should be getting, right?

Speaking of crazy super special editions from No Shame, don’t miss The Emilio Miraglia Killer Queen Box Set.  This set features a Miraglia double feature – The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times.  Both of these rare giallo films feature scores by Bruno Nicolai and have never been available in the US in widescreen or uncut editions.  To add to the sheer craziness of this set, No Shame has packaged this up with a Red Queen action figure.  Fun stuff for the whole family!

No DVD column would be complete without mentioning a zombie film, and in this case, I want to point out Stacy to you.  In the early 21st century, teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 17 begin dying all over the world. Shortly before they die, girls succumb to NDH (Near Death Happiness), a “pre-death” state of absolute bliss and joy. Once dead, a girl comes back as a flesh-eating zombie and is nicknamed a “Stacy”.  Total over the top Japanese zombie craziness.  Don’t miss it.

For a not-quite zombie movie from France, be sure to check out cult classic They Came Back, directed by Robin Campillo: one morning, a small French city wakes up to discover thousands of recently dead people walking into town. The reason why is a mystery and there is no time to look into it. Hasty reunions - some passionate, some strained - occur with their survivors. As officials try to figure out what to do with them, the dead begin behaving in bizarre ways and it becomes apparent that the returnees are not exactly who they used to be.  This isn’t your average zombie gore fest, but it certainly makes you think about the living and the dead in different ways.

In keeping with my trend of pointing out a Takeshi Mike film every month, let me take this opportunity to point you to Full Metal Yakuza from 1997.  It was one of his earlier efforts, and features a micro-budget with laughable special effects. But it has a giant mechanized Yakuza warrior! Think of the opposite of Robocop, and you get the idea.  Cheesy non-stop-action-popcorn fun.

Coming up in the middle of the month is the cult smash cartoon Invader Zim Box.  This show is proof that lightning can strike twice. Nickelodeon once again canceled the hippest, edgiest cartoon on television.  The first time was with Ren and Stimpy.  This time, they toasted Jhonen (Jonny The Homicidal Manic) Vasquez’s surreal creation of an incompetent alien conqueror.  Now, you can get all the episodes(2.5 seasons)  in one box for less than the price of two movie tickets and a large popcorn.  Awesome!

Finally, November brings cannibalistic kung fu to your living room, with We Are Going To Eat You.  This film was Tsu Hark’s second film and features his frenetic editing style and a minimal budget.  It also features warring kung fu schools and cannibalism.  Wow.  Just when I thought life couldn’t get any better… Media Blasters releases some old school Hong Kong cannibal action.  This month, when the family gathers around the TV after Thanksgiving dinner, I suggest putting this bad boy into the DVD player!  It will be a holiday your family never forgets.  And for good measure, follow it up with Full Metal Yakuza!

Next month, I’ll try and have some Christmas ideas for you.

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