Sunday, August 10, 2014

12 Horror Films in Need of a DVD / Blu-Ray Release

12 Horror Films in Need of a DVD or Blu-Ray Release:

In this day and age, with as many entertainment options as there are, it's hard to believe that so many films have fallen through the cracks. And that's what my post is all about - shedding light on those films that have kind of been forgotten about and hoping that enough interest is stirred in that it might result in either a DVD or Blu-Ray presentation of that film.

My criteria was pretty simple: To pick films that have never, officially, been given a DVD or Blu-Ray release in the US. With that said, I didn't want to go with the obvious picks. You have films like Massacre at Central High or Funeral Home that already have a cult fan base surrounding those films demanding a DVD or Blu-Ray release. I, also, wanted to make sure I presented a variety of films ranging from the 70's, 80's, 90's and even the 00's from a variety of genres such as supernatural, slasher, monster movie, vampire film, psychological thriller, zombies and even horror comedy! Hopefully, this will be part one in an ongoing series. So, instead of wasting more time, let's get right into things.....


The Forgotten One
Starring: Kristy McNichol, Terry O'Quinn, Elisabeth Brooks
Plot Synopsis: A recently widowed writer moves into a Victorian house that is supposedly haunted. Although he is attracted to his pretty next-door neighbor, he finds himself being seduced by the spirit of a woman who had been murdered in his house 100 years previously.

This is a film that would heavily benefit from a DVD or Blu-Ray presentation as the dark colors, in the VHS version, made the film murky and hard to see at times. The film's score was given a limited edition release a few years ago, now it's time for a DVD or Blu-Ray presentation!

Starring in the film is Kristy McNichol. For me, personally, McNichol showed a maturity and understanding of complex emotions that was unparalleled in other actresses that were in her age range. The Forgotten One was one of McNichol's final film roles before she left Hollywood for good. Also co-starring is Elisabeth Brooks, who made an undeniable impression in her feature length film debut of The Howling. This was also one of her final film roles, as well, before succumbing to cancer in 1997. 


Curse III: Blood Sacrifice
Starring: Christopher Lee, Jenilee Harrison, Gavin Hood
Plot Synopsis: In 1950s Africa, a tribal magician calls up a demon to kill Europeans.

Part of why I like Curse III is that it reminds me of an old school monster movie transplanted into modern times. In addition to delivering suspense, the film also has a message and wisely keeps the creature off screen, until the last act, allowing the creature to make more of an impact.

In addition to starring horror legend Christopher Lee, Gavin Hood co-stars. Hood went on to direct X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ender's Gamer, Tsotsi, and Rendition (2007).

PS: Curse III was airing on Pay Per View as recently as 2012.


The Babysitter
Starring: Patty Duke, William Shatner, Stephanie Zimbalist, John Houseman, Kenneth Tigar
Directed By: Peter Medak
Plot Synopsis: Overprotective mother Liz Benedict meets 18 year-old orphan Joanna Redwine and hires her as house help and live-in companion to rambunctious daughter Tara. Liz's husband Jeff isn't too thrilled with the arrangement, and his fears soon prove justified when Joanna begins to manipulate everyone and to slowly destroy the family. Meanwhile next-door neighbor Dr. Linquist investigates and discovers Joanna has a disturbing past.

In addition to its noteworthy cast, The Babysitter was director Peter Medak's first film following the success of The Changeling. The film, itself, is simply OK, but with that cast and that director, this film, undoubtedly, holds a certain curio factor for horror fans out there.


Honeymoon (Lune de Miel)
Starring: Nathalie Baye, John Shea, Richard Berry 
Plot Synopsis: A Frenchwoman, in Manhattan, in danger of being deported, because of her relationship with a recently arrested drug offender, enters into a marriage of convenience with a stranger that is arranged through an agency. But even though the two are not supposed to even meet, her new husband starts taking his faux wedding vows entirely too seriously.

One of the things that has always stood out to me about was Honeymoon, was the film's atmosphere. The film tangibly creates this world in which an innocent woman is stuck in a world that's foreign to her, in a desperate situation, that becomes even more desperate when her supposed to be unseen husband takes a morbid interest in her. Feelings of panic, confusion, isolation and desperation come across authentically. 


Dance of the Damned
Starring: Starr Andreeff, Cyril O'Reilly, Maria Ford
Directed By: Katt Shea
Plot Synopsis: A vampire follows his instincts to a strip joint where he focuses in on one of the performers. He picks her for his meal because she is contemplating suicide, but he wants to share her life before taking it, and during the course of the evening they discuss their differences, their fears, and their lifestyles. As the moment of truth approaches, the woman becomes less sure that she wants to die.

In Dance of the Damned, Director Katt Shea takes an offbeat approach to the vampire genre as she explores how two lonely souls find something in each other. For the vampire character, he sees humans as something more than cattle. For the film's suicidal stripper, she discovers that life is something worth fighting for. Executive Producer Roger Corman seemed so impressed, with this film, that he remade it three years later in the infinitely inferior To Sleep with a Vampire.

Back in the 90's, Dance of the Damned used to air regularly on TV and was available in most video rental stores, but with the advert of DVD, the film fell into obscurity. For me, personally, it's surprising that this film has made it out onto DVD yet, considering that MGM supposedly owns the rights to the film. At the very least, the film is worthy of inclusion in MGM's Vault Collection, a series of films that are manufactured, on demand, whenever purchased by customers. 


The Supernaturals
Starring: Nichelle Nichols, Maxwell Caulfield, Talia Balsam, LeVar Burton, Scott Jacoby, Bobby Di Cicco
Plot Synopsis: Nichelle Nichols is an army sergeant who leads her platoon into the woods of the deep south on a training exercise. Unfortunately, it is the site where a bunch of Yankee soldiers murdered a town of confederates. The corpses of the dead soldiers rise up to wreak revenge.

With that cast, that premise and that artwork, The Supernaturals seems like it couldn't miss, but boy does it ever! This is one of those films that horror fans need to see, for themselves, as an exercise in how to botch a film with so many promising elements. In all honesty, I have to say that this is one of the biggest misfires that the horror genre has ever produced, period!

With that aside, this is a film that screams for a deluxe DVD or Blu-Ray presentation, because I want to know what was going on, through the minds, of all of the various people involved with this production in creating this film.



The Club (1994)
Starring: J.H. Wyman, Kim Coates, Andrea Roth, Rino Romano, Zach Ward, Matthew Ferguson
Written By: Robert C. Cooper
Plot Synopsis: Time stops at midnight at the Senior Prom for five students, one murderous counselor, and John. They must find the courage to face themselves or, when time starts again, they may find that they are joining John's Club. All you have to do is commit murder... or suicide.

Back in 1994, Imperial Home Entertainment was close to closing its doors for good. As a result, The Club was dumped onto the market with little press and little fanfare. To this day, The Club is one of those films that seems to have been truly forgotten about. However, when you take a closer look at the credentials of those involved with the film, the majority of them went on to have pretty good careers, especially in TV. 

Writer Robert C. Cooper was the Co-Creator, Writer & Executive Producer of the various Stargate incarnations that aired on TV. The score was co-composed by Paul Zaza who worked on such cult favorites as Prom Night 1-4, Popcorn, My Bloody Valentine (1981), & Porky's. Special Effects Makeup Artist Fran├žois Dagenais worked on various incarnations in the Saw franchise.

On the acting front, leading man, J.H. Wyman, went on to work behind the camera, not only Writing & Executive Producing The Mexican (starring Julia Roberts & Brad Pitt), but he was also the Executive Producer of the cult favorite Fringe. Andrea Roth had a leading role in the hit series Rescue Me, Matthew Ferguson starred in the TV version of La Femme Nikita, Rino Romano voiced Bruce Wayne in The Batman and co-stars Kim Coates and Zach Ward each have over 100 film & television appearances a piece.

With people that are clearly talented and driven involved in this production, it's no wonder that this film has always stood out to me ever since I was a kid. In addition to delivering on the elements that horror audiences crave, the film also brought something more considered to the teens in peril sub-genre of horror by also taking a look into peer pressure, abuse, suicide, facing ones fears, etc. This is a film that deserves to be rediscovered on either DVD or Blu-Ray.


Trilogy of Terror II
Starring: Lysette Anthony, Matt Clark, Geoffrey Lewis, Richard Fitzpatrick, 
Plot Synopsis: Three tales of terror: in "The Graveyard Rats" lovers murder the woman's older husband and encounter horror when they attempt to rob his grave; "Bobby" is the story of a woman who summons her son back from the dead; and in "He Who Kills" an African doll goes on a murderous rampage.

Originally airing on the USA Network as a made for TV Halloween special, this is one of the many films produced for USA that is in desperate need of a DVD or Blu-Ray release. However, this one deserves a bit more consideration when you take into account the film's cast and the fact that it is a sequel to a well regarded cult film. Also, I wouldn't mind of second round of Aztec doll mayhem!


Dear Dead Delilah
Starring: Agnes Moorehead, Will Geer, Michael Ansara, Dennis Patrick
Plot Synopsis: The matriarch of a family living in an old Southern mansion finds that a killer is loose in the house, searching for a $50,000 fortune rumored to be hidden there, and murdering anyone getting in the way.

Being honest, I've never seen Dear Dead Delilah, but the film is well regarded by those that have seen it. The film marks the final film appearance of Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched) and, as such, VHS copies of the film sell for well above $40, making the film hard to obtain for those wanting to see the film, such as myself!


Unmasked Part 25
Starring: Gregory Cox, Fiona Evans
Plot Synopsis: Jackson is a lonely serial killer who is really beginning to question the point of all his killing. He is losing focus on why he started to kill in the first place. The future looks bleak until he meets a blind girl, Shelly, who begins to show him that life isn't so bad. It is all up to Jackson to decide if he's going to stop killing and start learning responsibility and think about finding a real job and starting a family.

This funny little spoof of the various slasher films that populated the 1980's makes some very knowing jabs at the genre. Aside from that, the film's plot and story were quite original for there time. 


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1980)
Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Meg Foster, James Griffith, Dick Butkus, Paul Sand
Plot Synopsis: A TV adaptation of Washington Irving's classic ghost story. Humor is the drawing card in this version, with Jeff Goldblum a nerdish Ichabod Crane, Dick Butkus an appropriately nasty Brom Bones, and Meg Foster as spirited Katrina van Tassel. Angered that Katrina has grown fond of schoolmaster Crane, Brom Bones determines to scare off the interloper by filling his head with spooky tales of a Headless Horseman. Crane pooh-poohs the legends, until one fateful ride home in the dark of night.

Most people regard the Disney version of Sleepy Hollow as the definitive telling of the Ichabod Crane, Headless Horseman story. And while I don't disagree with that, this live action retelling is certainly a worthy addition as well and, in my honest opinion, far better then Tim Burton's version of Sleepy Hollow.

Originally airing as a made for TV movie, back in 1980, with Gary Coleman & Steve Allen taking on hosting duties, this version feels like a nostalgic Valentine to Halloween with ample doses of comedy, period detail and a flair for the spooky. It also doesn't hurt that the film has an all star as well.



Revenge of the Unhappy Campers
Starring: Reuben Rox
Plot Synopsis: At an anger management camp for teenagers, someone is getting rid of the counselors and campers using very sharp instruments. By nighttime only a few are left, but who can they trust when they know one of them is the killer?

Revenge of the Unhappy Campers is possibly one of the most difficult films to obtain. The film had a small theatrical engagement. Following that, the film was released to video, but only in a small batch - 1000 copies to be exact and those 1000 copies happened to be a version that was trimmed in order to obtain an R rating from the MPAA. The film also happened to play on Pay Per View, but after that, it mysteriously vanished. 

Occasionally, a copy would pop up every once in a while on Ebay, but it's been years (...well over 5) since a copy last appeared, making this one of the hardest films to find in the slasher genre. Apparently, all of this stems from the rights owner demanding outrageous sums of money from anyone interested in releasing the film.

After years of no progress, out of the blue, director Shawnee McCormick said that she and the rights owner had worked things out and that was working on putting together a Blu-Ray presentation of the film. And not just any ordinary presentation, but at long last, a presentation of the original, uncut version! This was to coincide with a small theatrical run ....in 2012.

Now, I know for a fact that McCormick did start working on this Blu-Ray, but then absolutely nothing happened and information into what happened has been nil. For me, personally, I found the premise intriguing. It seems like McCormick tried to take some chances with the material and think outside of the box. And finally, I thought it was something to not only have another female voice in horror, but a black woman at that. I really wanted to see her take on horror! So hopefully, one of these days, this film will finally get the release that it deserves. I still got my fingers crossed on this one. 

So that's it! 12 Films that I Think Deserve a DVD or Blu-Ray Release. Agree / Disagree?!? Voice your opinion by commenting down below. --

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1 comment:

  1. Hello it's RJ from (silverscreenshadowplay.wordpress.com) and I dig your site! The slasher film "Funeral Home" has been released on a multitude of public domain releases thru the years. Yes it would be nice to see a cleaned up "Official" Blue-ray release. I dig the 80's schlock fest "Supernaturals"... it sucks that you have to while till the end to see the Zombies. Christopher Lee in "The Curse III" was also another cheese fav of mine. A pretty good list all and all! I still have most of these Horror films in my VHS collection!

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