Laserblast: Doomsday arrives at home

Click to purchase DOOMSDAY on DVDThis is a heavy-duty week for home-video releases. As usual, there are only one or two new titles making their debut, but Hollywood has become so adept at recycling old material that they could serve as a useful model for the environmental movement: numerous golden oldies make return engagements this week, their resurrection justified by director’s cuts, multi-packing, or new technology, with titles previously released on DVD now appearing on Blu-ray disc and/or on DVDs offering bonus “Digital Copies” that you can download onto your PC.
The most interesting newbie is DOOMSDAY, writer-director Neil Marshall’s homage to post-apocalyptic action-thrillers of the MAD MAX variety. Perhaps because of its derivative nature (plus a promotional campaign that did little to excite fans), the film under-performed at the box office this year, in spite of the fact that it is actually quite entertaining. It may not be a great movie (it is less intense that Marshall’s two horror films, DOG SOLDIERS and THE DESCENT), but it captures the disreputable fun of the grindhouse much more effectively than the overblown Tarantino-Rodriguez flick did. On home video, the previously R-rated DOOMSDAY is available on Blu-ray and on DVD (the later in widescreen and full screen versions). (We interviewed Marshall when the film hit theatres; you can read it here.)
The week’s other new title is LOST BOYS: THE TRIBE, a direct-to-video sequel to the 1987 hit about teen-age vampires. I’m not sure anyone was really looking for a sequel, but cult completists might be tickled by the fact that the cast reunites the two Corey’s (Feldman and Haim). Other than that, you’re welcome to it. The film is available in three forms: Blu-ray, DVD, and uncut DVD.
Much more interesting is the director’s cut of DARK CITY, which arrives on Blu-ray and DVD. This excellent film had long been marred by New Line Cinema’s decision, over director Alex Proyas’ objections, on including a narration at the beginning that basically reveals the entire plot, destroying the mystery instantly instead of allowing the audience to uncover it along with protagonist John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell). Proyas himself denounced this decision at a revival screening of the film in Hollywood, thus:

I think every director dreams of giving away his entire movie in a stupid voice over. […] I believe there’s a certain cult of turning the soundtrack off until you see Keifer Sutherland at the beginning of the movie, and I think that really rocks, actually.

Now at last, fans will be spared having to reach for their remote-control volume buttons. (You can read the entire question-and-answer session with Proyas and co-writer David S. Goyer here.)
Other previously released titles making a reappearance include a deluge of DVD’s offering bonus Digital Copies: THE MESSENGERS, HOSTEL PART II, BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE, RISE: BLOOD HUNTER, THE DARK CRYSTAL, LABYRINTH, and WIND CHILD. You can find these discs on this page in the online store.
Navarre Corporation offers two more of their “Advantage” collections. Typically, they are loaded with obscure and/or public domain titles:

  • Monsters Gone Wild  includes THE MONSTER WALKS; SHE BEAST (the debut film from Michael Reeves [WITCHFINDER GENERAL], starring Barbara Steele); THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE; THE GIANT GILA MONSTER; and ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES.
  • Ultimate Vampire Collection offers VAMPIRE STAKES; VULTURE EYE; ABOMINATION, SLAVES OF THE VAMPIRE WOLF; THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA (Christopher Lee’s last appearance as Count Dracula, opposite Peter Cushing’s Van Helsin); and FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD (the debut horror film from Amando De Ossorio, who went on to direct TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD.

As for the rest of this week’s releases, there is a bunch of television stuff here: MASTERS OF HORROR Season Two Box set; DARK SHADOWS: The Beginning, Volume 5; WITCHBLADE – The Complete Series; and STAR GATE – CONTINUUM arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and in a “Blu-ray Sci-Fi Bundle” with SUNSHINE and ALIEN VS. PREDATOR.
All of these titles are available below, or you can click here to access them in the Cinefantastique Online Store.

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