The Blu-ray Crypt – Oct. 1

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Amityville Trilogy blu art

The Amityville Horror Trilogy Box Set

Scream Factory releases a horror trifecta with The Amityville Horror Trilogy box set this week and I’m rather happy to add this to my collection. I’m a big fan of the original film starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder and it looks a lot better here than it did previously on Blu-ray. The other two films are brand new to the high-def format, with Amityville 3-D actually available on a Blu-ray 3D disc! I watched all three of these films over the weekend with my girlfriend and we had some fun enjoying each one.

The Amityville Horror has always captivated me. It may not be a perfect film but I’m fascinated by the based on a true story aspect of it. The more I find out about the Amityville story the less I believe in the story of the Lutz family but I still like to indulge in believing that it may have happened. The house in the movie is one of the most iconic houses in the horror genre and Lalo Schifrin’s score is one of my favorites. Amityville II: The Possession is the weirdest entry in the trilogy but it has its qualities. The movie plays out like a bit of the original tossed together with The Exorcist and a dash of incest to make the viewer uncomfortable. While I find it to be a little more cheesy than the original at times, the movie does make for a worthy entry in the franchise. Plus, the face peeling/melting scene at the end is pretty fricking sweet. Amityville 3-D ends up being my least favorite of the trilogy, essentially feeling like a made for TV movie. There are a few fun things sprinkled throughout but it’s pretty light on the scares. It does feature a young Meg Ryan and Lori Loughlin (of Full House fame) though.

Scream Factory and Red Shirt Pictures have provided quite a bit of features for this set. There is a pretty fun interview for the first film with James Brolin and Margot Kidder as they discuss working on the movie and how they got involved in the production. The meat and potatoes of the bonus features on this set are for Amityville II and features interviews with director Damiano Damiani, writer Tommy Lee Wallace, actors Rutanya Alda, Diane Franklin and Andrew Prine. The interview with Tommy Lee Wallace was particularly interesting as he discussed how he came aboard the film and how the fans’ reaction has reinvigorated his love of making movies. There is one other interview on the disc with Alexandra Holzer (daughter of Hans Holzer, the writer of the book upon which the film is based) that is kind of interesting but goes on for a little too long. For Amityville 3-D, there is an interview with actress Candy Clark talking about the movie and paranormal phenomena. The Amityville 3-D disc contains the movie in both 2D and 3D versions. I’m not sure I can recommend the 3D so much though as it strains the eyes immensely. There are times where it works and looks pretty good but there are other times where there seems to be a halo around people or objects that makes it hard to look at. I’m not sure if this is an issue inherent in the source material or not but I can see it turning people off of the 3D option.

All in all, this is a pretty great box set for Scream Factory and is essential for fans of the Amityville Horror franchise.

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This Is The End

This Is The End was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I realize I may be alone there as everyone seemed to consider the movie to be one of the funniest comedies of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I found This Is The End to be pretty hilarious and it even had me gasping for breath a few times from how much I was laughing at it. However, once I left the theater, the movie left me with an empty feeling. I’m not sure if it was just the mood I was in that day or if the movie fails to stay with me once it’s over. I’m curious to find out by giving the movie a re-watch and see if it grabs me more the second time around. I’d still recommend the film to others for all the really funny jokes in the movie and to see this group of actors play around with their public images.

The Blu-ray contains a large amount of extras that include an audio commentary with directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, five featurettes on the making of the movie and the meta nature of the film, the original short Jay & Seth vs. The Apocalypse, the making of The Making of Pineapple Express 2 as shown in the movie, a gag reel and deleted scenes.

Wizard of Oz 3D Box set blu art

The Wizard of Oz 3D

This Amazon exclusive of the 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of The Wizard of Oz looks like a beast of a box set. This five-disc set includes Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and Ultraviolet versions of the film that are newly remastered from an 8K scan of the original Technicolor camera negative. It also features exclusive collectible memorabilia that includes a 75th Anniversary journal, a Sparkle Ruby Slippers Globe, a 3-piece Noble Collection enamel pin set, a map of Oz and a 48-page hardcover book. This edition also contains a brand new documentary, The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is a candid overview of how a troubled production overcame the odds to become an integral part of American culture. It features contributions from historians John Fricke and Sam Wasson, composers Stephen Schwartz and Marc Shaiman, critics Leonard Maltin and Michael Sragow, Bert Lahr’s son John as well as revealing interview clips with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Buddy Ebsen, Margaret Hamilton and Mervyn LeRoy, among others. This new edition also contains all previously released bonus content.

Amazon has this set available with an exclusive 4GB Wicked Witch of the East Flash Drive. However, if you don’t want to splurge for this $80 set, then you have a couple options as the 75th Anniversary release is also available as a two-disc Blu-ray + Blu-ray 3D combo and a standard 2D Blu-ray.

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Fright Night 2: New Blood

By day Gerri Dandridge is a sexy professor, but by night she transforms into a real-life vampire with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. So when a group of high school students travel abroad to study in Romania, they find themselves ensnared in Gerri’s chilling web of lust and terror. Charley and “Evil” Ed must stop Gerri from drinking and bathing in the blood of a “new moon virgin,” which just so happens to be Charley’s ex-girlfriend, Amy. They enlist help from Peter Vincent, the vampire hunting host of a reality show called “Fright Night,” to drive a stake through Gerri’s plan and save Amy from a fate far worse than death.

So this “sequel” is a reboot of the 2011 remake of the 1984 classic. Yea. I’m not sure I see the point in rebooting a remake, especially with a direct-to-video budget and cast just two years after the remake, especially since there is no where to go with this “new” direction except down. The movie looks pretty terrible and only reinforces the fact that the original is awesome. I’d say skip this one and watch the original Fright Night.

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The Croods

The Croods is a prehistoric comedy adventure that follows the world’s first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures — and their outlook is changed forever. The Croods features the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke and Cloris Leachman. Despite a fun-sounding voice cast, The Croods never enticed me into the theater and I still don’t really feel the need to see it now that it is on Blu-ray. Did you see The Croods? Am I missing out on a really fun movie? If so, let me know and maybe I’ll take you up on your recommendation.

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The Frozen Ground

When teenage prostitute Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens, Sucker Punch) is found by police officers – beaten and pleading for her life – in an Alaskan motel room, everyone is quick to dismiss her version of events. However, US state trooper Sgt. Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage, Bad Lieutenant), soon comes to believe that Cindy is the only surviving victim of a local serial killer, responsible for a series of murders of young women in the past decade. Lacking the support of his department, Halcombe must find Cindy, gain her trust and form an unlikely partnership in order to track down the man who still wants to kill her.

Nicolas Cage butting heads with John Cusack seems like it could go either way but the trailer for The Frozen Ground doesn’t look half bad. This might be a good one to try out on a rainy day.

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The Little Mermaid

Walt Disney Home Entertainment is releasing The Little Mermaid on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Disney’s 28th animated feature makes its debut backed by a full video and audio restoration and comes in both 2D and 3D Diamond Editions of various combinations, including ones that come with the DVD and a Digital Copy. This release contains new HD special features that include an all-new music video, The Real Little Mermaid: Live Action Reference Model, Part of Her World: Jodi Benson’s Voyage to New Fantasyland, Howard’s Lecture (a spotlight on Howard Ashman, a writer and lyricist), and a quick featurette Deleted Character: Harold the Merma. The Diamond Edition also contains classic DVD bonus features from its previous SD release.

I grew up with The Little Mermaid but I’m not sure it’s something I have much desire to watch now as an adult. Perhaps, there will be a reason someday for me to revisit it but I’m still waiting for Disney to release Aladdin on Blu-ray, which is one of the few Disney animated movies I’d be eager to watch again (Beauty and the Beast is pretty awesome too, but I already own that).

More titles released today:

Jack Irish

Dead Before Dawn 3D

13/13/13

100 Bloody Acres

Penny Dreadful

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

House of Wax 3D (1953)

Glee: The Complete Fourth Season

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First Season

Volcano

The Monster Club

Stuck on You

Language of a Broken Heart

Vital Signs

The Medusa Touch

Torn Curtain

The Big Parade

From Here to Eternity

by Ben McBride

Follow Ben on @monsterpopcorn

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