17 New Releases to Watch at Home This Week on Blu-ray/DVD

By  · Published on October 27th, 2015

Welcome back to This Week In Discs!

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Edgar Allan Poe’s Black Cats (Arrow Video)

In Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, an uninspired writer living a life of lazy cruelty becomes the main suspect in a series of murders, but is he the killer or just an abusive prick? In The Black Cat, the residents of small rural town begin falling prey to a series of not-so accidental deaths.

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” has been the basis of numerous adaptations, some more literal than others, but this pairing offers an Italian perspective from two of the country’s genre masters, Sergio Martino and Lucio Fulci. Martino’s works Poe’s tale into a giallo complete with a shadowy killer, vicious murders, and a sexualized environment, and it benefits further from a supporting turn by the always lovely Edwige Fenech. Fulci’s film, by contrast, takes a more supernatural approach in its loose adaptation as it features a devilish cat very clearly to blame for the mayhem. Both films are visually attractive thrillers, and Arrow Video’s brand new 2K restorations are beautiful to behold. They’ll (most likely) be released individually in the near future, but fans should make a point of picking up this limited edition box set both for its slick production and the color booklet within.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: 2K restorations, booklet (limited edition only), interviews, making of, visual essay, reversible sleeves, commentary, featurettes]

Army of Darkness (Scream Factory)

Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) has fought evil before, but his last battle with the undead has left him stranded in medieval times. The locals view him ‐ and his car, shotgun, clothes, and chainsaw for a hand ‐ as a magical oddity, but their bigger threat is a legion of the undead working its way toward their destruction. Once again Ash steps up to save the day, and maybe, just maybe, he’ll even manage to get the girl this time.

Sam Raimi closes out his Evil Dead trilogy with a film that ramps up the playful goofiness and humorous antics to extreme degrees, and what it lacks in tree rapes in makes up for in stop-motion armies of evil. It’s ridiculous from beginning to end, and both Raimi and his star know it ‐ they’re having so much fun that it’s almost impossible not to follow suit while watching. The film has already seen several home video iterations, but Scream Factory’s release appears to be the definitive word on the subject. (There’s a minor glitch regarding the theatrical cut, but they’re making replacement discs available.) Multiple versions of the film along with a wealth of extras both old and new make this a comprehensive and enormously entertaining release.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Four versions of film, commentary, making of, deleted scenes, featurettes, behind the scenes]

The Gift

Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have moved to Los Angeles to start fresh with his new job. They’re still settling in when Gordo (Joel Edgerton, who also writes/directs) introduces himself as a classmate of Simon’s. He just wants to be friends, and as he writes in a note for Simon ‐ he wants to “let bygones be bygones.” Robyn sees a loneliness in Gordo and a kindness in his gifts, but Simon moves quickly from annoyance to anger at the uninvited visitor’s attention. He’s unaware of any past conflicts, and he suspects that Gordo’s daytime visits are due mostly to a fixation on Robyn. She disagrees, but as the days pass she can’t shake the feeling that her time alone at home is occurring with someone else in the house.

There are actually two gifts here for moviegoers ‐ a trio of strong performances in a genre film, and the rare psychological thriller that succeeds in mining emotional and mental terrors without having to resort to clichéd scares or acts of physical brutality. Edgerton does toss in a pair of jump scares, but they work in their simplicity and don’t damage the tension-filled atmosphere that the film is so carefully constructing. The joy here is that Edgerton’s script isn’t interested in following the normal narrative of what comes next. The anguish and suffering he has in store are more interested in emotional scarring than drawing blood, and that ultimately makes for a more affecting and satisfying thriller.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes, commentary]

My Fair Lady

Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) is a sassy, spunky, uncouth young woman who finds herself the subject of a challenge when she meets Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison). He thinks he can train this commoner into behaving ‐ and more importantly, speaking ‐ like a true lady and member of upper-crust society, but as their time together reveals the beginning of a friendship it also discovers the truth that there’s more to a proper person than their accent.

Director George Cukor’s lengthy musical may have a simple story at its core, but it’s presented and delivered with such buoyant energy and humor as to be an effortless delight. Hepburn and Harrison are both spectacularly bright and electric here, and the songs manage to be both catchy and integral. It’s an enormously fun film, but the even greater joy comes from Paramount’s new 4K restoration which looks and sounds absolutely stunning. Robert A. Harris repeats the magical feat of restoration he previously accomplished on the now equally gorgeous Spartacus, and it’s a marvel. The disc comes loaded with special features as well and is a must-own for fans of the film or musicals in general.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurettes, interviews, excerpts]

Seconds [UK]

Arthur Hamilton is bored. He’s no longer interested in his life or his wife, and his apathy is clear to everyone around him. A mysterious phone call from a man claiming to be a deceased friend sees him offered the chance at starting over again, and after a brief hesitation he agrees. He goes to bed an old man and awakes as Rock Hudson, but a new life with everything he ever wanted comes with its own unexpected costs.

John Frankenheimer’s mid-’60s dramatic thriller explores a theme touched upon in numerous films (including the recent Self/less), but rather than play it as an action picture Frankenheimer instead chose to focus on the more intimate aspects of the tale. Happiness can be elusive, sadness can be oppressive, and trying to hide your true self is a surefire route to the latter. Eureka Entertainment’s new Blu-ray offers a 4K restoration transfer.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentaries, interviews]

7 Chinese Brothers

Larry (Jason Schwartzman) works a dead-end job when he’s not hanging out with his elderly grandmother, drug connection, or dog Arrow, but when he meets a young woman at a Jiffy Lube a world of new opportunities opens up before him. This is an affable slacker comedy that lives and dies on Schwartzman’s shoulders. If you’re onboard with his low-key sarcasm than you’ll have casual fun with the film, but if not the pacing and ineffectual story turns may leave you wanting far more.

[DVD extras: None]

Bloody Knuckles

Travis writes and illustrates an underground comic called Vulgarian Invasion that gleefully and graphically crosses ever boundary of good taste. One of his targets doesn’t take all that kindly to being mocked in its pages and exacts revenge by chopping Travis’ hand off, but the appendage returns to wreak some bloody havoc of its own. This Canadian import offers up some gore and some laughs, but while neither are present in abundance the film’s 86 minute running time makes for an easy enough watch. What it lacks in polish it makes up for in its desire to offend ever possible sensibility.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, short films]

Dark Blue

Los Angeles is a tinderbox as the city awaits the verdict in the Rodney King trial, but the tension isn’t enough to dissuade some of L.A.’s finest from continuing their abusive, racist ways. Sergeant Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) is both one of the best and one of the worst, but as a case he’s working takes some dark turns he begins to doubt his own methods. A David Ayer script based on a James Ellroy story guarantees some hard-hitting police drama, and director Ron Shelton helps deliver much of it. It’s a solid film with a killer performance from Russell, but Ayer covers the same ground in a far more entertaining way with the more recent Street Kings.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors

Five men, strangers, share a train car for what they expect to be an uneventful ride, but the trip takes a turn into darkness when a sixth joins them. The newcomer is a mysterious man named Dr. Schreck (Peter Cushing) ‐ translates to Dr. Terror, something he understandably doesn’t use on his business cards ‐ and he proceeds to tell their fortunes with his tarot cards. It’s not good news though as each fortune sees the men enduring a nightmare. Odd titling aside ‐ shouldn’t it be Train of Horrors? ‐ this is a fun little anthology featuring a solid mix of supernatural threats including werewolves, sentient vines, disembodied hands and more. Cushing is joined by Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland, and Michael Gough for what amounts to a Twilight Zone-like collection with hints of EC Comics for flavor.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

The Horror Network

A woman alone at home fears something is watching her. A young man reveals his fears and so much more to a psychiatrist. A deaf girl is terrorized by an unknown man on her way home from school. A childhood trauma bleeds over years later. A man does terrible things to his neighbor. Five tales of horror are collected here, and while they’re of decidedly mixed nature it’s worth noting that they’re utterly uninterested in displaying a sense of humor. The first two are fairly bland while the last is an amateurish shockfest with a ridiculously simple stinger, but shorts three and four are pretty damn solid. The latter in particular is utterly horrific, and while I don’t fully understand it the imagery is intense and terrifically creepy.

[DVD extras: Extended cut of one short]

The Human Centipede: The Complete Sequence (Scream Factory)

A mad scientist sews three people together, ass to mouth. A creepy security guard staples nearly a dozen people together, ass to mouth, and rapes one while wearing a razor-wire wrapped around his dick. A deranged warden sews a hundred inmates together, ass to mouth, and tries to convince Eric Roberts that it’s a smart, cost-saving effort. None of the films in Tom Six’s infamous trilogy are any good really although the first two each feature scenes of value ‐ the first manages an effective terror sequence in the scene where the scientist simply explains the surgery, and the second delivers a ten minute sequence that rivals any other in just how disgusting it is. Neither justifies watching the actual films though which are filled with little more than idiotic behavior and muffled screams. The first is campy, the second is brutal, and the third is played purely (and poorly) for laughs. Scream Factory’s box set is better than the films deserve.

[Blu-ray extras: Interviews, commentaries, behind the scenes, deleted scenes, featurettes]

Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects

Lt. Crowe (Charles Bronson) is a hard-assed Los Angeles cop with no patience for sex traffickers or immigrants, and his rage boils over when his teen daughter is fondled on a bus by an Asian businessman. His personal hatred crosses over into his job when a case he’s working involving an evil pimp bumps up against the abduction of a Japanese girl. Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson made for a perfect pair in the ’80s, and this is a terrifically sleazy example of their shared views, fears, and appreciation of exploitation. Terrible things happen to innocents, and only Bronson knows what has to be done.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]


Max is a dog trained to work with the US Marines in Afghanistan, but when his handler dies he’s shipped back to the States where his PTSD-fueled attitude leaves him on the cusp of being put down. He eventually bond’s with his dead handler’s younger brother, and together they solve crimes. This is ostensibly a family film, so audiences are expected to forgive certain things like shoddy CG, simplistic writing, and sketchy child acting, but the basic appeals toward “good Americans” quickly overstays its welcome. Worse, for all its pro-family commentary the end message is one in support of disrespecting your parents.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

Messenger of Death

A Mormon family is murdered ‐ women and children alike ‐ and the finger of blame wavers between two brothers with differing versions of their faith. Garret Smith (Charles Bronson) is a reporter covering the case, but he faces a series of obstacles including an insular community and corruption. Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson are paired once again, but the result is one of their least sleazy and objectionable features. Well, Mormons might object. They’re presented as more than a little reactionary, violent, and close-minded ‐ although naming Bronson’s character “Smith” is a nice touch. It’s ultimately a pretty straightforward tale of greed with a handful of generic action beats, but ’80s Bronson is still the best Bronson.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]


Aliens attack Earth in the form of video game characters they glimpsed on a videotape sent into space decades earlier, and the only people who can stop it are former childhood game champions (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage). This is a terribly unfunny film.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

The Skull [UK]

A collector (Peter Cushing) of weird, strange, and odd occult-related items becomes the proud owner of the skull of the Marquis de Sade, but it’s an item of immense power and soon terrible things begin happening around it. Robert Bloch’s short story was adapted into this attractive thriller, but the biggest pull here is seeing Cushing and Christopher Lee sharing the screen as normal, good-guy characters. Sure that shifts slightly as the skull exerts its influence, but it’s relaxed for a short while.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interview]


Bill Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the reigning champ in the boxing ring, but when tragedy strikes his life quickly spirals downward. Left with nothing and fighting for everything he soon realizes that the only place left to go is up. He sets his sights on the top once again, and with the help of an old-school trainer (Forest Whitaker) he might just reach it. Kurt Sutter’s (Sons of Anarchy) script is a perfectly serviceable, extremely obvious underdog tale that has nothing in the way of surprises, but director Antoine Fuqua delivers some energetic bouts in the ring and Gyllenhaal gives an emotional performance.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, featurette, Q&A]

The Great American Dream Machine, Mulholland Drive (Criterion), Rebels of the Neon God

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.