The Couch Potato Report – October 31st, 2009
This week The Couch Potato Report peels some classic and new movies that will thrill and chill you this Halloweekend!!
Today is the one day of the when almost all of us love to be scared…and so, I have put together a list of new and old releases to tell you about.
And all of them are also available to watch, shiver, shake, scream, love and enjoy in high definition on Blu-ray!!
So let’s get to it, with a three disc set that features one of the greatest scary movies of all time!!
THE HANNIBAL LECTER COLLECTION, featuring THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS!!
In addition to this now-classic five time Academy Award winning film, this three disc set also includes the mildily interesting 2001 Ridley Scott film HANNIBAL where Julianne Moore took over for Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, and the 1986 Michael Mann film MANHUNTER.
It is in that latter film where we first met Hannibal Lecter.
I have always thought that MANHUNTER was a very good film, and still do. HANNIBAL is a movi ethat has some great moments, but it is ultimately a let down.
Neither of those movies come with any special features on the Blu-ray anthology THE HANNIBAL LECTER COLLECTION, but there is a wealth of bonus materials on the disc for THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS…and truth be told, that film is the main reason this set is worth owning or renting.
Eighteen years later, this film about a young FBI cadet who begins talking with a manipulative, imprisoned serial killer to gain his insight in order to catch another killer who remains on the loose, is still an incredible piece of work!
The year before THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS won their five Oscars, another horror film was a winner on Hollywood’s biggest night.
In 1990, Kathy Bates won Best Actress for her role in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s MISERY.
This movie remains one of the creepiest of all-time…and I love it!!
James Caan plays Paul Sheldon, a famous novelist who is “rescued” from a car crash by an obsessed fan.
Kathy Bates is Annie Wilkes.
MISERY is such a classic suspence film, that it is easy to forget that it was directed by Rob Reiner, who gave us the classic comedies THIS IS SPINAL TAP, THE PRINCESS BRIDE and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY…yet it was.
MISERY will still make you cringe…and scare you.
And on Halloween…I say enjoy!!
Now, if slasher films are more to your cinematic liking for thrills, chills, and scares, there are some of them new to blu-ray as well this all hallow’s eve.
And one of the most clever films ever made in that genre remains the 1988 film CHILD’S PLAY.
Chucky is the name of the doll in this film, a doll that comes to life when the soul of a serial killer is transferred to it.
A young boy named Andy receives Chucky as a birthday present, and eventually gets the blame when Chucky seeks revenge on those who conspried against him when he was alive.
I know, it sounds idiotic, but it works…if you like this sort of film.
And I do!
CHILD’S PLAY remains a very interesting horror flick. The character of Chucky is still so popular that sequels have been coming out ever since, but none of them are as good as the original!!
If you like this sort of film.
From an entertaining film in the slasher horror genre, lets go to three now that aren’t as good…although, I still don’t mind the first one in the series…it isn’t great, but it’s alright.
When the first WRONG TURN movie came out back in 2003, the cast featuring Canadian actress Emmanuelle Chriqui from ENTOURAGE, Eliza Dushku of television’s DOLLHOUSE and Jeremy Sisto – who now co-stars on LAW & ORDER, was enough to get an audience to see it.
And the story of some people who get trapped in the woods and hunted down by cannibalistic, inbred mountain men, offered some thrills and chills, but not enough for the film to be recommended to anyone who wasn’t a fan of Emmanuelle Chriqui or Eliza Dushku.
Sadly, neither Emmanuelle or Eliza are in the sequels, and I doubt they could have saved them anyway.
WRONG TURN 2 – DEAD END and WRONG TURN 3 – LEFT FOR DEAD are just bad slasher films with uninteresting characters, nothing for the viewer to invest in, and too much of the mountain men.
I know some people might get some enjoyment out of the various ways people cease to exist in these films, but they don’t seem to strive to be anything other than medicore, and so that is what they are.
From the WRONG TURN series, lets move now to a 1986 film that is not only new on Blu-ray, it is also brand new to DVD!
For some reason, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS had never come out on DVD until now.
And while it is not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, it is a very entertaining horror film, that is also spoof of the horror, zombie and alien invasion genres.
If you didn’t see NIGHT OF THE CREEPS when it first came out, or soon thereafter on video, I don’t think you’ll like it as it is very dated to the 80s.
BUT, if you remember it from your youth, when you and your friends used to get together on or around Halloween to sit and watch horror films, like I do, then maybe it will bring back some good memories.
Of either the film, or your friends.
This next horror film I have for you starts off slow and dramatic, and then gets disturbing, and disgusting, and gross.
If you like slow and methodical Japanese horror films, then you must see AUDITION!!
Takashi Miike is the director of this movie about a widower who agrees to have a friend offer women the chance to audition for him.
But the role the women are auditioning for is not for a movie, but to become the widower’s new wife.
Then, the women who he likes, turns out to be the exact opposite of what she appears to be.
AUDITION is a movie that gets so disturbing by the end, that some people won’t be able to finish it.
I won’t call it a classic film…but I will give it marks for being clever.
And I said clever, not cleaver!
If you fancy a classic literary tale this Halloweekend, you be better served to read the book of MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN, however there are several cinematic options as well…specifically the Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 version, starring Robert De Niro as The Creature.
While I admire this movie, and lik ethe cast that also includes Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter, Aidan Quinn, Ian Holm and John Cleese, I always found Branagh’s version of this immortal story to be stiff. It looks good, sounds good, is stylish, acted well, and all of that…but the end result is nothing special.
However, I know that there are people who do love and admire this version of MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN, and so now you have it to enjoy, in glorious high definition !!
Another film from the mid-ninties that I always found a bit stiff and I never cared for it is THE CRAFT.
Witches are big this time of year, so perhaps your coven will gather around a television tonight to watch this 1996 movie about teenage witches who conjure up various spells and curses against those who even slightly anger them.
The cast of THE CRAFT includes Canadian actress Neve Campbell, who I will always be a huge fan of, and Robin Tunney who currently stars on the TV show THE MENTALLIST, and it isn’t the worst film I have ever seen, I have just never liked it.
But then again, I am not a teenage witch, so maybe I’m not supposed to.
Finally this week is the newest of all the films…TRICK R TREAT was just released on DVD and Blu-ray, although it was originally slated to come out in October of 2007.
TRICK R TREAT take the Creepshow/Tales from the Crypt approach to telling stories with four interwoven tales that all take place on Halloween.
TRICK R TREAT features lots of unexpected twists and turns, and I liked that part of it, but there is some bad here…so while I can’t fully recommend it…I think it is a pretty good rental for a day like today.
TRICK R TREAT, THE CRAFT, MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN, WRONG TURNS 01-02-03, AUDITION, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, CHILD’S PLAY, MISERY and THE HANNIBAL LECTER COLLECTION with MANNHUNTER, THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and HANNIBAL are all available on Blu-ray and DVD for your Halloween viewing “pleasure”.
Coming up tomorrow morning on the next Couch Potato Report
Since today was all about Halloween releases, I will tell you about the newest releases available, including Atom Egoyan’s latest ADORATION, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA – THE PLAN, ICE AGE – DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS, and THE BLU RAY BEACON shines it’s light on the 40th Anniversary Edition of EASY RIDER.
I’m Dan Reynish. I’ll have more on those, and some other releases, in less than twenty-four hours, tomorrow morning at around 8:45 am
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next time on The Couch!
The Couch Potato Report – October 31st, 2009