Blu in Your Face: June 18th, 2013

By Luke Y. Thompson in DVDs
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

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Lifeforce - Best known as the Tobe Hooper movie with naked space vampires and Patrick Stewart, and it's been so long since I've seen it that that's about all I remember. I also remember that if I had a dollar for every time I had the following conversation...

Me: "I want to rent Lifeforce."
Dad: 'What's Lifeforce?"
Me: (sigh) "The one with the space..."
Dad: "Oh, oh, the space vampires?"
Me: "Yes."
Dad: 'Why didn't you say so?"

...I could have bought a lot more toys that summer. Anyhow, this fully loaded disc features a restored transfer, new commentaries by Hooper and makeup effects designer Nick Maley, and featurettes including an interview with nude alien bloodsucker Mathilda May.

The Howling - A New Agey retreat turns out to be full of werewolves in this satirical Joe Dante flick which spawned a franchise nobody cares about because he didn't really stick with it. Includes a 1995 commentary with Joe Dante and several cast members, and a new one with original novel author Gary Brandner. Definitely worth a look, though you can take or leave the sequels.

American Mary - Touted as part of a new wave of original and ground-breaking horror movies, this overly hyped ode to body modification - that I really wanted to like - is likely to offend grandparents but make the actual body-mod crowd yawn. A gifted medical student learns how to make money on the side by performing amputations and radical plastic surgeries; when it turns out that all her professors are evil rapists, she uses her newfound skills in more illicit ways. Boringly shot and sadly predictable, it's nowhere near as transgressive as it imagines - directors Jen and Sylvia Soska, who call themselves the Twisted Twins and had an actual fight in Mortal Kombat costumes at Fantastic Fest, need to worry more about their craft and less about their image, because there's the germ of a good idea here.

Things to Come - Wonderful 1936 sci-fi classic written by H.G. Wells that basically predicted World War II, but imagined that it would last around a century, after which we would enter a golden age of technology that would emanate from Iraq, of all places. His prognostication skills may have been a little off, but for its day this classic blockbuster was the equivalent of a modern Roland Emmerich flick but with a better screenplay.

Safety Last - You know every movie ever that has characters hanging from an elevated clock tower? This is the Harold Lloyd silent comedy they're all stealing from. Better yet, he was essentially doing all the stunts for real.

Jack the Giant Slayer - Sadly, not a good movie. Easily Bryan Singer's worst, but he may have taken it on just to do a test run for Sentinels.

Those are my picks in this week's Blu-ray crop. What are yours?

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