Blu-ray Today: Italy Escapes From New York and Makes Evil the Dead


Ghosthouse/Witchery – released in Italy as the third and fourth installment of the Evil Dead series for marketing reasons (House II and The Horror Show were also released as part of the alleged same franchise), these two movies have little in common beyond the loose premise of victims in a house. In Ghosthouse, a haunted clown doll is the primary evil, while Witchery pits David Hasselhoff against the wrath of an evil witch. I pity the hag.

Vanilla Sky – It has been a long time since I saw Cameron Crowe’s out-of-character, dreamscape flick about Tom Cruise believing he’s somebody else. This Blu-rya finally includes as an option the original ending, which apparently has similar exposition but more depth. As I don’t remember much beyond “It was all a dream,” this matters little to me. But if it matters to you, there’s a director’s commentary, deleted scenes, interview with Paul McCartney about the theme song and more. Spoiler: Xenu did it.

Last Knights – Yet another movie about the 47 Ronin legend with even less key Japanese players than the Keanu Reeves take. Morgan Freeman, Cilve Owen, Ayelet Zurer and Shoreh Aghdashloo collaborate for a paycheck to once again tell the tale of righteous rebellion in 18th century Japan.

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Criterion Collection) – A strangely surreal Czech fairy tale about witchcraft and vampirism. I never heard of it before today, but it sounds intriguing.

The Bronx Warriors/Escape From the Bronx/The New Barbarians – Three Italian exploitation flicks from director Enzo G. Castellari. The first two are part of a series, in which the Bronx has bene abandoned to anarchy and street gangs; New Barbarians is set in a more explicitly post-nuclear future. All three owe a huge debt to Escape From New York, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 for keeping the torch alive.

1990 and 2000 have passed without these terrible futures happening – but we’re still a couple years away from the 2017 of The New Barbarians, so who knows?

The Decline of Western Civilization Collection – Before Penelope Spheeris made Wayne’s World and The Beverly Hillbillies, she directed this trilogy of films about how punk and metal were going to take over the entire nation. Rock out with your cock out to these documentaries from the days when music could still actually mean rebellion. Then wonder if it was the real life, or just fantasy.

That’s all I got this week. Anything to add?