Blu-ray Today: Shocker, Gotham and the Mad Max of Vampires


Shocker – Aww, damn. It’s the week after Wes Craven’s death, and we coincidentally commemorate it with a deluxe edition of what I consider his most awful film? What can you do.

Long before he was a director with the biggest “I wish I were a war hero” boner ever, Peter Berg was an actor, playing the dorky teen lead in this rather transparent attempt by Craven to create a new slasher icon in Horace Pinker – a convict who gets electricity powers after being executed in the electric chair. (Ernest Goes to Jail is the better cinematic telling of this story). That Mitch Pileggi plays Pinker is hilarious in retrospect to X-Files fans. Craven wanted to prove he could create a scary killer, as Freddy had become more comedic by then – fittingly, Pinker’s one apparent laugh line (“Finger lickin’ good!” after he bites a guy in the lip) isn’t very funny.

Perhaps most notable is that a metal supergroup was assembled to record the title song, featuring (per Wikipedia) “Paul Stanley and producer Desmond Child both on vocals, Vivian Campbell and Guy Mann-Dude on guitars, Whitesnake’s Rudy Sarzo on bass guitar, and Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee on drums. Also backing vocals by Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Kane Roberts.”

If you disagree, and like the movie, you’ll be glad to know it comes loaded with extras, including a featurette on the music, commentaries by Craven and the crew, vintage interviews, new interviews (none from Berg, sadly), storyboards and more. But despite the fact that the movie had to be cut several times to get an R-rating, you do not get any kind of new unrated version..

Gotham: Season 1 – This deserves more than a small blurb. Tune in tomorrow, as I’ve something special planned.

The Editor – This tale of an injured film editor with wooden fingers who may or may not be framed for murder is a Canadian parody of ’70s Italian giallo thrillers from the likes of Dario Argento and Mario Bava, starring Paz de la Huerta, Laurence Harvey and Udo Kier. Say no more; I’m sold.

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust – English Language Version – Seems it was only last week I was lamenting that the other movie was coming out and this was not, so yay! But no Japanese language option = boo. Though most of the voice-acting is good in this anime about a post-apocalyptic half-vampire and a female bounty hunter on the trail of a kidnapped girl, I did have an issue with Michael McShane doing a whiny redneck-ish voice as D’s talking hand. The phrase “DON’T talk to the hand” comes to mind, as he’s almost the Jar Jar of the film. But overall it’s a beautiful piece, stunning in its visuals and heartbreaking in the way the ending brings home the impact of immortality. I’m torn between calling this a must-see and suggesting you hold out for a Japanese version.

The Man Who Wasn’t There – It’s funny to me that I could remember the throwaway bits about UFOs from this black-and-white Coen brothers film than I could about the plot itself, in which barber Billy Bob Thornton becomes involved in a blackmailing scheme that turns to murder, with his pregnant wife taking the fall and killing herself in jail. The rest of it is kind of meandering, honestly – it’s one of my least favorite Coen films, but I also used to feel that way about Lebowski, and it grew the hell on me as it did most people. The disc includes a commentary with Thornton and the Coens, an interview with D.P. Roger Deakins, deleted scenes and more.

Supernatural: Season 10 – I’ll be honest – I really don’t know a damned thing about this show, except that it seems to have a large female fanbase. I would assume that by season 10, everybody knows if they want to buy the set or not.

Friday the 13th Double Features – If you don’t want the whole box set, every Jason Voorhees flick is now coming out in packages of two, including a pairing of Freddy vs. Jason with the Friday the 13th remake. If you like any one of them I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be down for all the rest, but just in case…

Those are my highlights for the week, though there are a lot of rereleases coming too, including Appleseed, The Day After Tomorrow, and The Happening (a.k.a. Mark Wahlberg Talks to Plants). What’s on your list?