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Anton van Beek  |  Apr 08, 2009  |  0 comments

The past couple of years have seen the DVD release of some great feature-length documentaries pandering to fans of exploitation films. Going to Pieces took a look at the rise and fall of the slasher genre, while the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises have both been treated to celebratory retrospective documentaries in the form of His Name Was Jason and Halloween: 25 Years of Terror.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 19, 2013  |  0 comments

Originally described by its maker as 'Beverly Hills 90210 on acid' this 1997 closer to Greg Araki's 'Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy' doesn't quite measure up to its predecessors, but remains an oddly enjoyable trash cinema curio packed with a cast list of future stars. While this DVD's anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer and Dolby 2.0 soundtrack are both perfectly serviceable, the real highlight is the new commentary by Araki and three of the cast. Packed with anecdotes about the risks of acting while stoned and salacious tales about their co-stars, it's fresh and funny from start to finish.

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 17, 2013  |  0 comments

‘This is the side of history we didn’t learn in school’ says filmmaker Oliver Stone in his introduction to this fascinating 10-part documentary series that he describes as ‘a legacy to my children and a way to understand the times I’ve lived through’. Four years in the making and written in conjunction with historian Professor Peter Kuznick, the series takes an alternate look at the key events – both domestic and foreign - that have shaped the United States over the past 100 years, from World War II up to the modern-day ‘War on Terror’.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 22, 2014  |  0 comments

The fact that more than half of the episodes produced for this BBC sci-fi anthology series were wiped hasn't stopped the BFI from putting together a seven-disc boxset worthy of such a landmark in TV drama. The 20 surviving episodes give a fascinating taste of the show's ambitions and have been digitally restored to the best possible condition. These are joined by reconstructions (full soundtracks with stills) for four of the missing eps and an incomplete version of yet another. Further goodies include commentaries on 11 episodes, extensive stills galleries and a 42-minute retrospective documentary.

Richard Holliss  |  Dec 18, 2014  |  0 comments

Not only have science fiction writers and filmmakers adopted the word ‘robot’ from Czech playwright Karel Capek’s 1920s play R.U.R, they’ve also ‘borrowed’ on numerous occasions’ science fiction writer Issac Asimov’s ingenious ‘Three Laws of Robotics’. First appearing in his 1942 story Runaround, the laws are as follows: (1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; (2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law, and (3), A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 06, 2014  |  0 comments

The brainchild of the same people responsible for the US version of The Office, Parks and Recreation takes a similar faux-documentary sitcom approach to another work environment. Only this time the focus is the parks and recreation department of the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 19, 2013  |  0 comments

It seems rather ironic that just as one label is giving Brian De Palma's early films the deluxe treatment on Blu-ray, another is unceremoniously dumping his latest film on DVD. Based on the 2010 French thriller Crime d'amour, Passion finds the filmmaker channelling his early stylistic ticks through an enjoyably twisty tale of corporate intrigue that plays out in the boardroom and the bedroom. Metrodome's DVD offers absolutely nada in the way of extras as well as a modest anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer and DD5.1 audio – so fans may want to import the French Blu-ray release instead.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  0 comments

I blame Russell Mulcahy for my curious love of killer pigs in horror. Ever since I first saw his 1984 giant boar flick Razorback I've never been one to shy away from a spot of porcine violence. Sadly, it seems that very few filmmakers share my passion for bacon-flavoured terror, and as such I've had to make do with re-watching Mullcahy's aforementioned slice of Oz-ploitation (which, I still find to be his most satisfying film... yes, even more so than Highlander), that bit in the otherwise forgetable Evilspeak where Clint Howard unleashes a horde of Satanic pigs on a naked chick having a shower and re-reading Clive Barker's wonderfully weird short story Pig Blood Blues.

Anton van Beek  |  May 16, 2014  |  0 comments

Stan Winston’s 1988 creature-feature Pumpkinhead (aka Vengeance the Demon) remains a personal favourite of this reviewer - and inot just because it gave us a fantastically realized monster. I also admire it’s inventive new twist on the ‘teens in peril‘ story and the authentic sense of place the film creates.

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 24, 2008  |  0 comments

Welcome to the world of bad cinema. A world where films about tiny killers tormenting swimsuit models are perfectly normal, and where dialogue like the following flows freely…

Richard Holliss  |  Nov 13, 2014  |  0 comments

One-off dramas were a popular source of TV entertainment during the 1960s and 1970s. Arguably some were worthier than others and surprisingly there was also a large number of fantasy related subjects broadcast. Quite a few of these can be seen again as part of the British Film Institute’s Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder season. 

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 19, 2013  |  0 comments

A companion piece of sorts to The Wicker Man, this provocative 1970 BBC Play for Today production is a creepy piece of English Gothic focusing on folk rituals in an insular village. While it was originally shot in colour, the only surviving print is an off-air black-and-white 16mm telerecording, which served as the basis for this DVD release. Regardless of this the 1.33:1 transfer seems fine on a technical basis and the lack of colour isn't really that much of an issue. Extras take the form of an interview with screenwriter James Bowen, the 1937 archival short Around the Village Green and a booklet containing essays about the main feature and the accompanying short.

Anton van Beek  |  Jul 25, 2008  |  0 comments

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of George Lucas' acclaimed sci-fi flick Star Wars. So it came as something of a surprise (to this writer, at least) that there was no sign of any cinema activity to celebrate this fact. There was no re-release of the film (not even in a 3D incarnation, something that has been rumoured as being in the works for several years now), and the all-new CG-animated Clone Wars movie is only getting its cinema release this summer.

Anton van Beek  |  Mar 27, 2013  |  0 comments

This enjoyable documentary gives a bunch of nutters the chance to explain the hidden meanings they claim to have found in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. The result is a mix of the intriguing (possibly deliberate continuity mistakes) and the insane (it's really a hidden message from Kubrick explaining how he was responsible for faking the moon-landing footage) – and if nothing else it leaves you wanting to watch The Shining again. The anamorphic 1.78:1 picture and DD 5.1 audio are both fine, if limited by the quality of the varied source material.

Team HCC  |  Feb 26, 2019  |  0 comments
Award-winning Spider-Man animated smash swings onto 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD in April, courtesy of Sony Pictures UK.