32 Days of Halloween X, Day 7: Cry of the Banshee!

Cry of the Banshee

Hello.  Day 7 of the tenth year of 32 Days of Halloween plows forward. For tonight’s main event, we’ve got 1970’s Cry of the Banshee.

But first, a double helping of classic Twilight Zone.  First, I picked “One for the Angels” because Halloween, like most everything, is improved by more Ed Wynn. Here he’s trying to outwit Death. Good luck with that. Then we have TZ irregular Bill Mumy playing a kid with a very special phone in “Long Distance Call.”

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By | 2017-10-06T23:14:37+00:00 October 6th, 2017|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween X, Day 6: The Amazing Transparent Man!

Amazing Transparent Man

 

Day 6 of 32 Days of Halloween is upon us. Soon, we shall confront The Amazing Transparent Man.  But before then…it’s time for a Peter Lorre twofer.

First up, a bit from the Disneyland TV show where Walt Disney introduces Kirk Douglas to introduce Peter Lorre to talk about working with a giant squid.  That’s of course from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea…and this is apparently a bonus bit from the DVD entitled “Monsters of the Deep.”  This is not only gold because you get to see the subtle humor that Lorre can bring to the table, but you also see the now-centenarian Douglas back when he was just a lad.

Then we head over to What’s My Line for a bit showcasing how one has to get around having an extremely recognizable voice.

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By | 2017-10-06T00:25:41+00:00 October 5th, 2017|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween X, Day 5: The Snow Creature!

Snow Creature (1954)

 

Hello.  And welcome back for a fifth day of this 32 Days of Halloween insanity. We’ll get to The Snow Creature in a moment, but let’s take a moment first to enjoy a couple of things.

Christopher Lee reads for you from Hammers Presents Dracula, a release from 1974.  Don’t panic when you hear the first voice…that’s Bill Mitchell, apparently.  And then, if you, like me, didn’t get a chance to find a place where Guillermo Del Toro’s At Home With Monsters exhibition was happening, then you will appreciate our next video.  If you did catch it, then…well, I hate you.  In a very friendly way, of course.  Regardless, that video…someone posted a walkthrough featuring lots of the awesome stuff that Del Toro just has, you know, because he can.

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By | 2017-10-04T20:44:52+00:00 October 4th, 2017|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

Headsup: That’s Life… Being a Drunk, Being a Girl, Being a Ninja

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first four titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.

 

Shameless Season 7 Blu-rayA remake of the British series of the same name, Shameless is a comedy-drama series that follows the misadventures of alcoholic single father Frank Gallagher (Oscar nominee William H. Macy) and his six children. In Season Seven, Frank wakes up from being in a coma for the past month only to realize that no one came looking for him when he went missing (having been tossed into the Chicago river). Things aren’t calm for the rest of the clan either, as they deal with relationship and job problems, the challenges of single parenthood and post-rehab life, and important decisions such as whether to get circumcised and if starting a topless maid service is a savvy business decision. Now out on DVD and Blu-ray is Shameless: The Complete Seventh Season, featuring all twelve episodes of Season Seven. Special features include two new featurettes, “Growing Up Shameless” (where Emma Kenney and Ethan Cutkosky discuss their amusing real-life journey growing up on the set of Shameless) and “The Shameless Politics of Frank” (which examines Frank’s politics while drunk and sober), along with some unaired scenes.  The season is available digitally on Amazon (which includes “The Shameless Politics of Frank”) and on iTunes (which includes both featurettes) for $29.99, but the cheaper option on this one would definitely be to get it in disc format—on Amazon you can currently snag the DVD for $22.99 and the Blu-ray for $27.99.

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By | 2017-10-04T20:13:17+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

32 Days of Halloween X Begins Here! (Holy Crap!)

Jason X

September 30th is upon us. And you thought it was dead. You thought the stake was in its heart, that you cut off its head and stuffed a Kenny G CD into its mouth…but you should know better. It cannot stay dead. And sooner or later, when you least expect it (despite the fact you own a calendar), it will rise again. Thus: 32 Days of Halloween X. Our tenth year celebrating the best goddamn holiday anywhere. Yes, even better than National Coffee Day. How is that possible, you ask? Because everyday is National Coffee Day. So coffee is a given. Like breathing. Which brings me back to where I started: the thing that should not be, and the thing that doesn’t need to breathe. Namely: this festival.

We begin in a random vein (ha!) with some Oingo Boingo, a band that just feels Halloweeny even when they’re not playing a strictly Halloweeny song…but they are playing it on Halloween. So it all works. Also, I think Danny Elfman is 65% water and 25% Halloween. Anyway, here’s “Clowns of Death” from their Farewell concert back in 1995.

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By | 2017-09-30T18:55:59+00:00 September 30th, 2017|32 Days of Halloween|0 Comments

Headsup: The Vietnam War

Vietnam War Ken Burns Blu-RayAn epic documentary a decade in the making, The Vietnam War is the latest work by Ken Burns and Lynn Novik which takes a 360-degree look at the conflict that would cost the lives of millions and create one of the defining periods of the twentieth century.  The film features digitally remastered footage sourced from all over the world (some of which has rarely been seen since it was originally shot)  as well as accounts from over ninety witnesses from both sides, including both political proponents and opponents and combatants from either side of the battle line in Vietnam.  Filling out the picture of the devastating epoch are television broadcasts, pictures from some of the period’s most acclaimed photojournalists, clips of home movies, and audio recordings of conversations from the political administrations of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon.

Permanently intertwined with the events of the period was, of course, the music of the day.  The documentary features over one hundred and twenty evocative songs from the era, including music from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Simon & Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Otis Redding, Santana, Joni Mitchell, and others.  No work would have Ken Burns’ stamp of approval without an epic score, and this one is no different—-in addition to music from the era of the Vietnam War, the film features original music composed (and recorded) by Academy Award-winning composers Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor along with pieces by David Cieri and Doug Wamble.  It also boasts some new music arranged by Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who also recorded it along with the Silk Road Ensemble.

The Vietnam War is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, which includes all ten parts of the series presented this month on PBS as well as over one hundred minutes of additional footage (adding up to around eighteen hours total across ten discs).  Extras featured on these collections include a 45-minute preview program, a couple of featurettes on the present lives of two of the interview participants, and some additional bonus content.  If you’re a big fan but missed seeing it this time around on PBS, you will have another chance to see the documentary for free starting October 3rd (when the series will re-air on a weekly basis through November 28th).  However, if you don’t want to risk missing one of the ten installments or if you want to be able to take a mental break without sacrificing the opportunity to see it in its entirety (this is really heavy stuff, after all), you may want to consider getting the series in disc form and watching at your leisure.  If you think one of the disc sets might be right for you, you can grab the DVD and Blu-ray on Amazon (for $59.16 and $74.29, respectively).  The Vietnam War: An Intimate History (a companion book to the series authored by the film’s writer Geoffrey C. Ward) is available on Amazon as well.

By | 2017-09-26T11:34:11+00:00 September 26th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Gut Punches and Belly Laughs

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first three titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.

Arrow Season 4 Blu-RayArrow (the CW series based on the DC Comics character The Green Arrow) follows Oliver Queen, a billionaire playboy who has a double life as a masked vigilante protecting the city from criminals. In Season Five, Oliver has the additional responsibility of being the newly appointed mayor, and he must learn to fight his enemies both day and night. In addition, with Team Green Arrow down to just himself and Felicity (and with Damien Darhk’s defeat at the end of Season Four), a new wave of inexperienced vigilantes has come to light. As he tries to maneuver around the would-be-heroes, Oliver must also face a dangerous new adversary, all while trying to reconcile his dual roles as public leader and masked protector of the city.  Out now is Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season, available on DVD and Blu-ray.  The set includes all twenty three episodes of the fifth season along with a fair collection of bonus features.  Included in the extras are the DC superhero crossover event with Supergirl and The Flash along with three featurettes (“The New Team Arrow”, “Allied: The Invasion Complex (Arrow)” and “Returning to the Roots of Arrow: Prometheus”).  Also included are the 2016 Arrow Comic Con panel along with some deleted scenes and a gag reel.  Those who prefer streaming can get the season digitally on both Amazon and iTunes for $29.99 (Amazon includes the Comic Con panel while iTunes offers that as well as the three featurettes).  If you want to hold out for one of the disc formats (along with the complete host of extras), you can snag the DVD and Blu-ray on Amazon (for $32.99 and $36.99, respectively).

Lethal Weapon Season 1 Blu-RayIf you like buddy cop action-comedies, you may be a fan of the new series Lethal Weapon (Warner Brothers’ television reboot of the film franchise of the same name).  The show follows the story of by-the-book veteran LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) who is partnered with impulsive Navy SEAL-turned-police officer Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford), who has joined the LAPD after the death of his wife and their unborn baby. With lots of emotional baggage and clashing styles of operation, Murtaugh and Riggs must learn how to navigate car chases, shootouts, explosions, and other sticky situations, all while figuring out how to avoid killing each other in the process. Available now is Lethal Weapon: The Complete First Season, which features all eighteen episodes from the show’s inaugural season along with some extras.  Bonus features include an extended (uncensored) version of the pilot episode, a featurette about reimagining the story of the classic films (“Reloading Lethal Weapon”), some deleted scenes, and a gag reel.  Those who want the digital version can get it on Amazon and on iTunes for $24.99. (Be aware that bonus features are pretty sparse on both of these options, though– iTunes features the extended version of the pilot, a two-minute trailer, and a tw0-minute “behind-the-scenes” featurette, and Amazon only has the extended pilot and the trailer).  The hard copy versions are out today on Amazon— as of this writing the DVD is going for $29.24 and the Blu-ray for $28.85 (yes, the Blu-ray is currently lower than the DVD).  Even with the scarcity of bonus features on the streaming options, it’s also good to note that all you get extras-wise by opting for the disc format (apart from the deleted scenes and gag reel) is the “Reloading Lethal Weapon” featurette, so it’s up to you to decide if you think it merits the $4 difference in price.

Big Bang Theory Season 10 Blu-RayStarring the highest paid television actors in the U.S., The Big Bang Theory is about to premiere its eleventh season and is still going strong.  Based around a quartet of endearing geniuses and their love interests living and working in Pasadena, CA, the show has garnered huge ratings (and huge profits) for Warner Brothers and CBS over the past decade.  Season Ten sees the characters shifting living situations, rebooting a wedding, and gearing up for the arrival of the show’s first baby.  A love letter to all manifestations of science, comics, fantasy, and general nerd-dom, the explosion of this (aptly-named) show’s popularity is a big part of the reason many now say we live in the Age of the Geeks.  Out now on DVD and Blu-ray is The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Tenth Season, which includes all twenty four episodes of Season Ten along with a handful of extras.  Leading the list of bonus content are four featurettes: “#JustAskBBT”, “Mad Props”, “The Ever-Expanding Universe of the Big Bang Theory”, and “Who’s the Baby Now?”.  Extras also include coverage of the 2016 The Big Bang Theory Comic Con panel (I’m surprised that crowd even let them leave) and a gag reel.  It’s a little sad that on this one they didn’t do some sort of commentary or additional interviews (especially considering the show has featured brilliant guest stars such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and many others).  Even without that, if you’re one of the fans that made up this season’s average nineteen million viewers, you’re probably looking to get the season regardless.  If that’s the case, you can get the season on disc on Amazon (where the DVD is currently $28.99 and the Blu-ray is $32.98).  Things get really interesting when you consider going the streaming route, though– Amazon offers the season digitally for $29.99 (which includes the Comic Con panel), but iTunes is the clear winner, offering all the bonus features except the gag reel for only $9.99.  At basically one-third the price of getting it on DVD with almost no loss of content, I’d say the iTunes option is the way to go.

Best of Carol Burnett ShowOn September 11, 1967, a variety show (created almost solely due to a contractual obligation the network owed its young star) aired for the first time on CBS, and television would never be the same.  Fifty years later, The Carol Burnett Show still enjoys its place as the gold standard of variety shows, earned over an eleven-year run so popular that many joked that “CBS Network” really stood for “Carol Burnett Show Network”.   As a celebration of the show’s fiftieth anniversary, Time Life is releasing The Best of the Carol Burnett Show, which features sixteen episodes (some of which have not been seen since their original airing).  Classic sketches such as “Mrs. Wiggins,” “The Family,” and “The Stomach Turns” are included along with commercial and movie parodies, along with appearances from guest stars such as Rock Hudson, Rita Hayworth, and Liza Minnelli (among many others).  Fans will be glad to know that included in the list of episodes are the series pilot (featuring Jim Nabors) and the double-length series finale (who will ever forget Carol tearing up as she sang I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together in her charwoman rags to close out the show?).  Also included on the disc are some exclusive new bonus features, including never-before-seen bloopers, a new interview with Carol Burnett about her time on the show, and two featurettes created especially for this release (“Eleven Years of Laughter on The Carol Burnett Show” and “The End of Eleven Years: Saying So Long”).

The collection will be available on October 3 with a suggested retail price of $59.95 for the six-disc set.  Releasing at the same time will be two other configurations— a four-disc set (exclusively available through Wal-Mart, priced at $39.95 suggested retail) and a single DVD ($12.95 suggested retail).  Mega fans will also be excited to hear that on December 3rd CBS is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark show with its airing of The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special, featuring some members of the original cast along with guest stars such as Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, and others.

Laugh-In Season 1 DVDAnother show celebrating its golden anniversary this year is Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, the iconic and groundbreaking show of the late 60s/early 70s that set the stage for decades of comedy television to follow.  Originally airing as a stand-alone special on September 9, 1967, the show was such a success that it was turned into a series, replacing The Man From U.N.C.L.E in the Monday night time slot on NBC.  Hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, the show would start the careers of stars such as Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, and Richard Dawson (among others).  As part of the celebration of its 50th anniversary, Laugh-In: The Complete First Season is now available on DVD, which showcases the first fourteen episodes of the show’s run (featuring guest stars Pamela Austen, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Gary Owens and others) as well as bonus content including the pilot episode from 1967, highlights from the 25th anniversary cast reunion, bloopers, and a new interview with creator and executive producer George Schlatter.  The set is currently available on Amazon for $14.89.

For those who are super-duper fans, Time Life is also currently offering up the entire series of Laugh-In as a box set, including all 140 episodes (over half of which have never before been released on any format) along with a bonus DVD, which features some of the extras mentioned above as well as interviews with Lily Tomlin, Dick Martin, Gary Owens, Ruth Buzzi, and others.  The set also includes Laugh-In Memories, a 32-page collectible booklet with archival photos, jokes and one-liners from the show, notes from George Schlatter, and other fun tidbits.  The Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Series set is currently available through Time Life and retails for $249.95.

By | 2017-09-26T21:09:34+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments