Blu-ray Today: Zombie Apocalypse, Nuclear War...and Legends of Oz

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, DVDs, Movies, TV
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 8:00 am

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The Walking Dead Season 4 - It's getting to where the quality of the shows themselves really don't matter so much when it comes to Blu-ray sales, as the McFarlane packaging alone is almost worth the cost. Last year it was floating heads in fishtanks (mine have grown an impressive layer of mold); this year, it's a tree zombie whose head and arm move when you pull the discs out, making it more articulated than most classic Spawn figures.

The show itself was iffier this season once it got rid of the Governor - the solo episodes are less fun, and the new characters en route to Washington haven't made much of an impression. Here's hoping Terminus itself will be more compelling than the build-up to it.



On the Beach - If you didn't know better, you could look at the romantic, Gone With the Wind-esque cover art, think of the seaside, and imagine this were a great love story...rather than one of the first major Hollywood productions to deal with the reality of nuclear war, with survivors (among them Fred Astaire and Gregory Peck) living out their last days in Australia before the radiation cloud covering other parts of the globe hits them too. More conspicuous in its goals is the recent Aftermath, with its radiation mask poster - in this one, atomically scorched marauders effectively become zombies, attacking slightly healthier survivors holed up in a basement. Yes, one of them is John Connor himself, Edward Furlong, but from what I hear he does not save the future this time.

Sons of Anarchy: Season 6 - I've had people swear to me that I will change my tune on Charlie Hunnam's acting ability if I ever sit down and watch this show, as opposed to the various movies I've seen him be dead weight in. Could be...and when I have the time, I'll try to go in with an open mind. In the meantime, I hope they recast Pacific Rim 2.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return - A bizarre-looking CG sequel to The Wizard of Oz that doesn't seem to be based on any specific L. Frank Baum book, features music by Bryan Adams and bombed disastrously at the box office. The best thing about it, as far as I can tell, is it brought Patrick Stewart to Comic-Con for the first time, where fans asked him questions about gay sex.

The Double - Normally known as a comedic actor, Richard Ayoade goes behind the camera to adapt a more serious Dostoevsky novella about a man (Jess Eisenberg) who gets a coworker that looks exactly like him, and behaves in a completely opposite (and disturbing) manner.

The Legend of Hell House - Four psychic investigators, including pre-Ian McDiarmid Emperor Palpatine Clive Revill and Roddy McDowall, investigate a haunted house to try to disprove the existence of life after death. Directed by John Hough, who would go on to make Disney horror like The Watcher in the Woods and the Witch Mountain films.

The Possession of Michael King - An exorcism movie with a new twist: an atheist filmmaker challenges various occultists to do their worst to him so he can film it all and prove the supernatural is nothing but a myth. It turns out to not be such a good idea.

Jersey Shore Massacre - Executive producer "J-Woww" takes a stab at self-parody (and perhaps a touch of self-loathing) as characters loosely based on her and her TV castmates get killed one by one. Sadly, it looks just as contrived as the actual Jersey Shore.

The Musketeers - I did not know there was a recent BBC version of this tale. Now I do.

Those are my top picks this week. So what did I miss?

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