Laserblast, March 30: Sherlock Holmes, Alice In Wonderland, I Sell the Dead

SHERLOCK HOLMES is the big genre film laserblasting its way into video stores on March 30. Although the genres in this case are primarily mystery and action-adventure, the film follows in the tradition of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, flirting with an allegedly supernatural villain who claims he will return to life after being executed. The trailers made this one seem like a buddy movie, emphasizing raucous rowdiness over ratiocination, yet enough of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s concept for the great sleuth survives to make this one worthwhile for Holmes fans. You can now check it out on DVD and in a combo pack containing a Blu-ray disc, a DVD, anda digital copy for your computer/iPod.
The other theatrical release making its home video debut is I SELL THE DEAD, which appeared in a handful of art house engagements last year. This episodic horror-comedy doesn’t quite hold together for its entire length, but it is a good-natured throwback to the old-fashioned, atmospheric approach, with echoes of Universal and Hammer, mixed with enough modern mayhem to create an amusing off-kilter vibe. Now on DVD and Blu-ray.
Arriving a bit late to cash in on the theatrical release  of the live-action Tim Burton film, ALICE IN WONDERLAND re-emerges from the Disney vaults, this time in a 2-disc special “un-anniversary edition.” Although well loved, this is not necessarily Disney animation at its finest. Still the brand-new bonus features should be worth checking out.
VAMPYRES is a ’70s Euro-trash item about lesbian vampires that promises “chilling atmosphere, shocking bloodshed, and…torrid sexuality.” Somehow, I doubt it will be as found as it sounds.
So obscure it doesn’t even qualify as a cult film is GIRLY (shortened in America from the British original: MUMSY, NANNY, SONNY, AND GIRLY). The title sounds like a sexploitation, and the marketing suggests horror, but this is really a quirky black comedy about a brother and sister who lure men back to their home, where adults Mumsy and Nanny cluck with approval over their “games,” which have lethal consequences for their guests. Director Freddy Francis (who helmed some enjoyable horror films for Hammer and Amicus in the ’60s and ’70s) considered this one of his best efforts, but it’s hard to see why. Although initially intriguing, the eccentric English humor goes only so far toward sustaining interest, and the plot (vaguely similar to THE BEGUILED with Clint Eastwood) needs stronger characters or more engaging performances to prop it up.

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