Greetings and Happy Halloween HorrorSexy readers! Last May I kicked off this new column with hopes of shedding light on genre releases that either have not yet made the leap to Blu-ray (or DVD for that matter) or have gotten a substandard Blu-ray release. My goal is to create awareness, so that some (or all!) of these films may finally get the TLC they deserve!
Last time I focused my efforts on THE BRAIN, BLOOD BEACH, and GODZILLA 1985 and unfortunately they are still out of print in the United States. It saddens me that we still have to rely on bootlegs and imports to enjoy these titles: Won’t someone think of the fans?!
If anything changes in regards to their availability, I’ll be sure to let you know. For the time being though, lets move forward and focus on another group of criminally unavailable genre films that deserve to be in our Blu-ray collections.
Rated R / Color / 96 minutes
Directed by William Fruet
Countries of Origin: Canada & The United States
Status: Out of Print
Formats: VHS, Bootleg DVD-R, Region Free DVD.
Current Rights Holder: When BLUE MONKEY came out on VHS back in the 80s, it was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Since then Columbia has merged with Tri-Star Pictures (forming Columbia/Tri-Star), which has since been bought by Sony Pictures. So unless all of the rights have reverted back to Mithras Ltd., Sony still has the distribution rights to this title.
The Plot: An old man is sent to the hospital after being bitten by an insect that was hiding in an exotic flower. The bite from the myserious insect has two effects: First, it transfers a parasite into his body that eventually spews forth from his mouth. Secondly, it infects him with an insanely contagious disease that literally liquifies people from the inside out!
The hospital is quarantined by the military, people are dropping like flies, and then things get even worse when a giant insect is added into the mix! Starring Steve Railsback as a detective that’s dropped into this insane scenario, BLUE MONKEY is an oft-forgotten creature feature that deserves more love!
Desired Blu-ray Specs & Extras: For starters, a full restoration of BLUE MONKEY from original film elements! No one has seen it in its original aspect ratio since it’s initial theatrical release nearly three decades ago, so seeing it in widescreen in HD would be one hell of a treat!
That’s already asking a lot, but I’m going to go a bit further and ask for these extras: Audio commentary by Director William Fruet (and/or star Steve Railsback), the original theatrical trailer, a “Making-Of” featurette, and, if possible, interviews with the screenwriters (George Goldsmith, Chris Koseluk), director, and leads.
I read somewhere long ago that the original idea was to have an ape-like creature on the loose in the hospital (hence the film’s title), so it’d be cool to get more background on the original idea behind the film!
Unrated / Color / 97 – 104 minutes
Directed by Peter Jackson
Country of Origin: New Zealand
Status: Out of print.
Formats: VHS, DVD, imported DVD, bootleg DVD-R, Blu-ray.
Current Rights Holder: Lionsgate released the “Unrated” (i.e. 97 minute) cut of DEAD-ALIVE in October of 2011. Shortly thereafter, it went out of print, so I’m guessing that Lionsgate’s distribution rights (which they got when they merged with TriMark/VidMark) lapsed.
The Plot: A “Sumatran Rat-Monkey” is sold to a New Zealand zoo, where it ends up taking a bite out of a domineering mother named Vera Cosgrove. Her son Lionel tends to her wound, until she dies…. and comes back as a bloodthirsty zombie! Lionel can’t part from his “mum,” so he keeps her sedated in the basement, though time and again she escapes, and makes living a normal life nearly impossible.
By the end of the film, Lionel literally mows through an army of the undead with a lawnmower, stands up to his domineering mother, and finds true love, all while drenched in copious amounts of blood & guts! DEAD-ALIVE is one of the goriest films ever made: Peter Jackson finds inventive ways to destroy the human body, and douses the screen with gallons of gore to hilarious effect! DEAD-ALIVE must be seen to be believed, and it’s a crime that it’s not widely available!
Desired Specs & Extras: Honestly, the transfer on the Lionsgate Blu-ray wasn’t too bad, especially when compared to previous releases in other formats. So even if the audio and video from this release wasn’t given a full upgrade, I’d be OK with that. However, this is not the complete version of the film, as its original run time is 104 minutes. So right off the bat, this release would have to offer (at least) two different cuts of the film!
As for extras, anything would be welcome seeing as how all other releases have been bare bones. Cast & crew interviews, behind-the-scenes featurettes (particularly involving the effects), the original theatrical trailer, and a director’s commentary with Peter Jackson would be the bare minimum that DEAD-ALIVE fans deserve!
Rated R / Color / 95 minutes
Directed by Russell Mulcahy
Country of Origin: Australia
Status: Available on DVD in the U.S. Also available on imported DVD and/or Blu-ray.
Formats: VHS, DVD, bootleg DVD-R, imported DVD & Blu-ray.
Current Rights Holder: Warner Bros. They brought the film out in a bare bones DVD release in November 2009 as part of the “Warner Archives Collection.”
The Plot: If GRIZZLY was “JAWS with paws,” then RAZORBACK is “JAWS with hooves!” After his wife disappears in the Australian outback, Carl heads to the “Land Down Under” to find out what happened to her. He eventually discovers that she was devoured by a monstrous Razorback (i.e. a bad-ass boar) that has been terrorizing the locals, and has a climactic struggle with the beast at the end of the film.
RAZORBACK is kind of an artsy “nature strikes back” flick that takes full advantage of its shooting locations. There are some really trippy moments in it, particularly during a long sequence where Carl gets lost in the Australian Outback, and hallucinates all manner of crazy things.
As an added bonus, the animatronic boar is extremely bad-ass, and the film’s soundtrack (composed by Iva Davies) is appropriately eerie and haunting! If you get the chance to see this Russell Mulcahy classic, don’t miss out!
Desired Specs & Extras: The Warner Bros. DVD release was a huge step up from RAZORBACK’S VHS days (it’s in widescreen!), but the time has come to upgrade! I want a fully restored 2K presentation of this film, with (if possible) a new 5.1 audio mix!
As for extras, I’d like a director’s commentary, deleted scenes, the original theatrical trailer, cast & crew interviews, a poster & still gallery, and perhaps some making-of/behind-the-scenes featurettes. And heck, as an added bonus, why not toss in the film’s soundtrack while you’re at it Warner Bros.? Yeah this would end up being a pricy release, but us RAZORBACK fans deserve it!
Well, that’s all I’ve got for you now gang, so tune in next time for another trio of genre films that should be out in deluxe Blu-ray editions! Also, if any of the films mentioned here, or in previous posts, become available on high-def physical media, you can be sure that I’ll let you know! See you next time, and have a happy and safe Halloween!