It’s the RETURN OF THE KING – along with THE TWO TOWERS and THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING – on this week’s episode of the Cinefantastique Laserblast Podcast. Headlining Tuesday, June 28’s horror, fantasy, and science fiction released on home video is the new Extended Edition Blu-ray box set of LORD OF THE RINGS: THE MOTION PICTURE TRILOGY. Lawrence French, Dan Persons, and Steve Biodrowski discuss the wisdom of picking up the new set, when all of the old bonus features are once again presented on DVD (the Blu-ray discs being reserved for the feature films).
Also on the turntable this week: SEASON OF THE WITCH, the horror film starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman; THE NESTING and ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST, low-budget horror from the early 1980s; a recommendation for COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE; and another look at THE RESIDENT, the direct-to-video thriller from Hammer Films, starring Hilary Swank.
Christmas is coming: time to start shopping for the cinefantastique fan in your life. What sort of horror horror, fantasy, and science fiction titles are available to stuff into stockings with care? Well, December 7’s big home video release is Christopher Nolan’s science fiction blockbuster INCEPTION, which is available to rent or own via Video on Demand and also for purchase as a single-disc DVD or in a 3-disc Blu-ray and DVD combo pack. The film itself is overblown and not nearly as satisfying as Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT, but the visuals are technically impressive, and film fans should be interested in all the behind the scenes featurettes.
Both the DVD and the Blu-ray offer the 148-minute theatrical cut of the film. The single-disc DVD offers a handful of bonus features, under the banner “Extraction Mode,” which focus on such topics as The Inception of Inception, The Japanese Castle: The Dream is Collapsing, Constructing Paradoxical Architecture, and The Freight Train. The Blu-ray disc offers all of these plus: Ambush on the City Streets, The Tilting Bar, The Rotating Corridor, The Mountain Fortress, Simulating Zero-G, Limbo: The Look of Unconstructed Dream Space, The Fortress Explosion, The Music of Dreams, The Dream-Share.
In addition, the 3-disc set contains a second Blu-ray disc, featuring even more bonus material:
Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious
Inception: The Cobol Job
Digital Motion Comic
5.1 Inception Soundtrack (39 minutes, 10 tracks)
Conceptual Art Gallery
Promotional Art Archive
Inception Theatrical Trailers And Select Theatrical TV Spots
Project Somnacin: Confidential Files
The week’s other major new home video release in the realm of horror, fantasy, and/or science fiction is SHREK FOREVER AFTER, the rather desperate attempt by DreamWorks to squeeze another sequel out of the moribund SHREK franchise. The films is available for purchase (not for rent) via Video on Demand; it is also available as a single-disc DVD and a two-disc Blu-ray and DVD combo. Additionally, the film has been wrapped in a “Holiday Double DVD Pack” with the direct-to-video spin-off, DONKEY’S CHRISTMAS SHREKTACULAR. And of course there is the inevitable box set, available in both DVD and Blu-ray format: SHREK: THE WHOLE STORY gathers together all four SHREK films.
If the new stuff leaves you feeling unsatisfied, fear not. The Criterion Collection steps into the breach, offering another of their always superior presentations, in this case a director-approved edition of David Cronenberg’s VIDEODROME on Blu-ray. Features include:
High-definition digital transfer of the unrated version (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack)
Two audio commentaries: David Cronenberg and director of photography Mark Irwin, and actors James Woods and Deborah Harry
Camera (2000), a short film starring Videodrome’s Les Carlson, written and directed by Cronenberg
Forging the New Flesh, a new half-hour documentary featurette by filmmaker Michael Lennick about the creation of Videodrome’s video and prosthetic makeup effects
Effects Men, a new audio interview with special makeup effects creator Baker and video effects supervisor Lennick
Bootleg Video: the complete footage of Samurai Dreams and seven minutes of transmissions from “Videodrome,” presented in their original, unedited form with filmmaker commentary
Fear on Film, a 26-minute roundtable discussion from 1982 between filmmakers Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis, and Mick Garris
Original theatrical trailers and promotional featurette
Stills galleries featuring hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes production photos, special effects makeup tests, and publicity photos
A booklet featuring essays by writers Carrie Rickey, Tim Lucas, and Gary Indiana
As for the rest of the weeks DVD and Blu-ray releases, December 7 offers a special edition DVD of COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE; a new Blu-ray disc of SHORT CIRCUIT 2, the disappointing sequel to SHORT CIRCUIT; re-issues of JOHNNY MNEMONIC and IDLE HANDS on Blu-ray; and a DVDTee package of Roger Corman’s THE WASP WOMAN (you get not only a DVD of the film but also a t-shirt with the outrageous poster art emblazoned on the front, in either larger or extra large).
As always, all of these items are available in the Cinefantastique Online Store. If you want to help keep a Sense of Wonder alive on the internet, please consider making a purchase.