Halloween DVD sets to satisfy all viewers | Features | Creative Loafing Charlotte
Pin It
Submit to Reddit

Halloween DVD sets to satisfy all viewers 

Yes, it's Halloween, meaning it's that time of year to fire up the DVD player and commence your own hand-picked monster movie marathon. Here, then, are several new releases that offer appropriate fare for that coolest of all holidays. And to insure no one gets left out, the following items target different demographics, so everyone can take part in the macabre merriment!


Appropriate Audience: For fans of old-fashioned movie monsters.

The Deal: Working through the Hammer Studios titles in its inventory, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released a box set containing four 1960s-era terror tales produced by the influential British studio renowned for its atmospheric horror flicks.

The Films: Genre superstars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee star in The Gorgon (1964), in which a village is threatened by the title monstrosity, a snake-haired woman whose gaze can turn people into stone. The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964) centers on the path of destruction forged by a mummy seeking revenge on those who desecrated his resting grounds. Scream of Fear offers a supporting role to Lee in this thriller about a wheelchair-confined woman (Susan Strasberg) who perhaps is being driven to insanity by those around her. And Lee also turns up in The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), in which the frail doctor (Paul Massie) takes a serum that turns him into a dashing killer (also Massie).

Extra Features: The only bonuses are the theatrical trailers for all four films.

Also Of Note: This is the third "Icons" set presented thus far by Sony. This past June, the DVD outlet served up Icons of Adventure Collection, featuring four nonhorror flicks originally released by Hammer Studios, while two years ago, it debuted the four-movie collection Icons of Horror: Boris Karloff.

Retail Price: $24.96


Appropriate Audience: For fans of psychological thrillers.

The Deal: Universal Studios Home Entertainment has elected to re-release three Hitchcock classics as the latest installments in its distinguished "Legacy Series" line. All films are sold separately.

The Films: Do these four-star masterpieces really need descriptions? Psycho (1960) features Anthony Perkins as twitchy Norman Bates, Janet Leigh taking the most famous shower in film history, that superbly filmed encounter between Martin Balsam's investigator and "Mother," and, of course, Bernard Herrmann's one-of-a-kind score. Vertigo (1958), which feels like a different movie upon each viewing, finds detective James Stewart obsessing over the blonde (Kim Novak) he's been hired to follow. And Rear Window (1954) is the Master's sly commentary on the voyeuristic nature of cinema, with photographer Stewart spying on his neighbors and possibly witnessing a murder.

Extra Features: All bonuses from previous editions of these three films have been held over (including making-of documentaries, production notes and theatrical trailers), but there's ample new material as well. Psycho extras include audio commentary by Hitchcock scholar and author Stephen Rebello (Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho); excerpts from Francois Truffaut's 1962 audio interview with Hitchcock; and "Lamb to the Slaughter," arguably the most famous episode from the long-running TV anthology show Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Vertigo extras include audio commentary by director William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and a piece examining Hitchcock's frequent collaborators, including composer Bernard Herrmann and title creator Saul Bass. Rear Window extras include audio commentary by author John Fawell (Hitchcock's Rear Window: The Well-Made Film) and a feature on the use of sound in Hitchcock's films.

Also Of Note: In other Hitchcock news, MGM has just released the eight-title set Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection; look for a review in an upcoming installment of CL's View from the Couch column.

Retail Price: $26.98 each.


Appropriate Audience: For MiSTies and anyone else with an appreciation for turkey cinema.

The Deal: From its newly acquired library of MST3K episodes (many of which have never been released on DVD), Shout! Factory has brought together four beloved shows for this anniversary set.

The Films: First Spaceship on Venus (movie made in 1960; featured on MST3K in 1990), the only one of the four hosted by Joel Hodgson rather than Mike Nelson (as a Hodgson fan, thumbs down on the 1-3 split), is the dubbed version of an expensive East German film about astronauts discovering life in outer space. Laserblast (1978; 1996) centers on a geeky teen whose discovery of an alien weapon transforms him into a murderous mutant. Werewolf (1996; 1998) finds an archaeologist using the skeletal remains of a wolf man to turn other people into lycanthropes. And Future War (1997; 1999) examines the skirmish between alien cyborgs, dinosaurs they employ as trackers, and the humans they use as slaves.

Extra Features: Disc bonuses include the three-part feature The History of MST3K and theatrical trailers. The nifty box set also includes four lobby cards (basically, a faux-poster for each film, with Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo integrated into the action) and a Crow figurine.

Also Of Note: Shout! Factory promises more MST3K box sets in the future. In the meantime, be sure to check out the countless episodes previously released on DVD by Rhino. Allow me to heartily recommend Mitchell, Eegah! and the immortal Manos: The Hands of Fate.

Retail Price: $69.99.


Appropriate Audience: For families.

The Deal: The 1966 animated classic is accorded a seasonal re-release.

The Film: On Halloween, Charlie Brown gets rocks in his trick or treat bag, Snoopy (in his World War I flying ace guise) battles the Red Baron, and Linus waits up all night for the Great Pumpkin to appear in his "sincere" pumpkin patch.

Extra Features: Bonuses include a making-of featurette and an additional 'toon, 1981's It's Magic, Charlie Brown.

Also Of Note: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown can also be found in a new box set: The Peanuts Holiday Collection ($44.76). Charles Schulz's lovable kids cover all the celebratory bases in Warner Home Video's three-DVD (plus one CD) set that also includes 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas and 1973's A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

Retail Price: $19.98


Appropriate Audience: For film buffs who like their horror diluted with comedy.

The Deal: The enormously popular comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made 28 of their 36 feature films at Universal. All 28 have been gathered for this handsome box set, but for now, we're only interested in the eight titles showcasing spooky shenanigans.

The Films: The audience favorite Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) is also the most critically acclaimed of all their pictures (and deservedly so), as the boys are forced to save themselves from the Frankenstein monster (Glenn Strange), the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.) and Dracula (Bela Lugosi). Hold That Ghost (1941) and The Time of Their Lives (1946) find the team mixed up in supernatural adventures. Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1953) and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) are self-explanatory. And while not horror films per se, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949) and Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953) deserve honorary mention -- the first because it stars the horror legend, the second because it marks the only time the comics appeared in a sci-fi flick.

Extra Features: Among the extras is 2000's Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters, a half-hour special examining the lads' horror-comedy hybrids.

Also Of Note: After you check out the Halloween-friendly titles, pop in The Naughty Nineties (1945); it features the team's immortal "Who's On First?" routine.

Retail Price: $119.98.


Pin It
Submit to Reddit


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

More by Matt Brunson


More »

Search Events

Creative Loafing Charlotte Pick

Recover - CBD Roll On by Leef Organics

5% Bitcoin back
Roll-on relief by Leef Organics is a unique roller ball that includes cold-pressed, broad-spectrum whole plant CBD blended with wild crafted herbs, all on a mission to bring relief. Click for product details.
Earn bitcoin for shopping with Creative Loafing Charlotte

© 2019 Womack Digital, LLC
Powered by Foundation