NORTH POLE - Shout! Factory is a pop culture gem from the people who original ran Rhino Records during its glory period. While the DVD market over the last decade has died down, Shout! Factory has come up with ways to excite those who haven’t sold out to the streaming concept. Mostly through putting out complete sets of great cult TV shows. Seeing how this is the 10th anniversary of Shout! Factory, let’s just give a rundown of the Top 10 DVD/Blu-ray sets you ought to have from them in your collection.
10. Many Loves of Dobie Gillis: The Complete Series brings us all the fun of a love struck high school and his beatnik pal.
9. Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection picks up where Rhino left off on the legendary TV movie series. Shout! Factory has been surprising fans with their amazing bonus features that dare to explore every aspect of the series. They’ve been able to release quite a few films that fans thought would only exist as VHS tapes made off the Comedy Channel.
8. Get A Life: The Complete Series is Chris Elliot’s groundbreaking show about a man who just wants to stay a paperboy.
7. Max Headroom: The Complete Series takes us a few minutes into the future.
6. The Ernie Kovacs Collection is two volumes of the TV pioneer who took comedy into the video age.
5. Scream Factory is the horror genre line that ought to be considered the National Registry of scares. They’ve brought out Blu-rays of Cat People, Night of the Comet and…
4. Roger Corman’s Cult Classics series did a fine job of reviving all the low budget thrills from the Oscar honored producer. The Blu-ray of Rock N Roll High School brings the Ramones into your living room.
3. Steve Martin the Television Stuff takes us back to the time when he was a Wild and Crazy Guy.
2. The Sarah Silverman Show: The Complete Series is a fine case of a show without a mute button.
1. The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series was the show that made a lot of people fall in love with HBO comedies.
SCREAM FACTORY SNOWY FESTS
The Beast Within is a deep fried Southern horror film that drips with a lot of sweat. A couple get their car stuck in the Mississippi mud. On their walk to safety, they get attacked by a beast. She gets pregnant from the rapist, but keeps the kid. Seventeen years later her son has a major medical issues. Except the family doesn’t know the true extent of their son’s condition. He’s got a monster lurking inside him. He won’t be stopped. There’s rather gross special effects when the kid transforms to expose his true self. There’s quit e a few familiar faces on the screen including L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong, Luke Askew and Ronny Cox. Screenwriter Tom Holland would later go on to write and direct Fright Night and Child’s Play. Space Age Bachelor Pad legend Les Baxter composed the score. Bonus features include a commentary track with Holland and a second one with director Philippe Mora and actor Paul Clemens.
Crawlspace reminds us once more that If Klaus Kinski is in your building, you might want to move. Who would agree to live in his building? Turns out some women just don’t recognize the situation. Or maybe he just has a great move in deal. Klaus doesn’t merely collect the rent. He has set up a bunch of crawl spaces so he can sneak around and see exactly what his tenants are doing. This is some brilliant over the top ’80s horror. Kinski gleams as he doesn’t have to be restrained in the frame. The best bonus feature is “Please Kill Mr. Kinski.” This is director David Schmoeller’s documentary about how things got out of control on the set. There’s plenty of video footage from the set. It’s as entertaining as the film. There was a plot to kill Kinski for the insurance money. Schmoeller also has a commentary track. There’s an interview with make-up artist John Vulich.
4 Cult Movie Marathon: Volume One is a quadruple feature containing Invasion of the Bee Girls!, The Devil’s 8, Unholy Rollers and Vicious Lips. Bee Girls is a great flick about female research scientists who get a buzz about their work. They are going around killing their male counterparts. The film stars former Price Is Right model Anitra Ford. The Devil’s 8 is a Dirty Dozen plot reworking. A fed agent busts six guys out of prison so they can be his operatives in a fight against moonshiners. Fabian gets to toughen up his image. Unholy Rollers is the star of the set. Claudia Jennings is a gal who finds a taste of fame in the world of roller derby. However she learns the hard way that just because she’s loved on the track, she can’t be replaced. Can she keep her ego in check? The film had to have a few of the songs replaced. Vicious Lips is a strange flick from Albert Pyun (Captain America). An all -girl band from outer space comes to Earth to be in a talent show. It’s almost a film that seems like a sequel to Liquid Sky. The mix is fine although Unholy Roller is the reason to relish the collection.
4 Cult Movie Marathon: Volume Two presents the foursome of Angels From Hell, Chatter-Box, The Naked Cage and Savage Island. Angels From Hell is a biker flick about the creation of the biggest, baddest motorcycle gang ever put together. Can they make the law fear their outlaw ways? He uses his skills learned in Vietnam to ramp things up. Chatter-Box is about a woman who finds herself speaking from her va-jay-jay. She becomes a disco sensation with her new singing voice. This is a raunchy comedy from 1977. The big star of the film is Rip Taylor. The Naked Cage is another trip inside the women’s prison. Two cellmates clash until they team up during a hot prison riot. Savage Island is a film that sliced up Hotel Paradise and Escape From Hell with a few new minutes starring Linda Blair (The Exorcist). It’s cheesy fun. This is just a nice collection of battered grindhouse cans.
Russ Meyer’s Fanny Hill with The Phantom Gunslinger is a double feature of films produced by Albert Zugsmith (Touch of Evil). Fanny Hill adapts the classic dirty novel for the big screen. While people are used to the nudity of Russ Meyer’s later work, Fanny Hill is more bosom teasing than exposed skin. A young orphan woman must find a way to survive in the world. Her naïve nature allows her to be lured into the world of prostitution. The Phantom Gunslinger is a crazy Western with Troy Donohue as a spiritual cowboy. The film looks amazing with surreal moments. Troy has to save the town from a bunch of outlaws. The big bonus feature is an interview with Fanny Hill’s Ulli Lomell. Historian Eric Schaefer talks about the double feature.
Wakefield Poole’s Bible! dares to bring together the world of erotica with stories from the Holy Book. This is one of those strange films that a X-rated theater would book in order to prove they have religion. Wakefield Poole brings to life the kinky twists of the Good Book. He gives us a carnal version of Adam & Eve. There’s also the tale of Samson & Delilah that is more than Technicolor. The transfer brings out the ’70s colors and production design. There’s a lot of bonus features explaining so much of the production. Poole introduces the film and gives a complete audio commentary. They even have the costume tests reel.
World Series 2013 Collector’s Edition brings together all the games from this year’s Fall Classic between the Boston Redsox and the St. Louis Cardinals. This was an unexpected series victory for the Redsox. The press were still focused on the team falling apart in the previous two seasons. But none of them figured David Ortiz would be as dominate in the Fall. Now you can chart the entire progress with this boxset that contains all six games. You’ll get to stare at the weirdness of the obstruction charge. Rewatching the good games can be a rush for fans. Redsox fans might skip games 2 & 3. What’s great is the option to watch the games with the radio broadcasts instead of the Fox News crew. They also include all 11 walk off wins during the regular season. As a bonus, you also get game six of the ALCS when the Redsox took down the Detroit Tigers in a bit of an upset.
The Gene Autry Show: The Complete Television Series, Collector’s Edition brings together the singing cowboy’s series. What’s amazing is that is also stars Mr. Haney (Pat Buttram) from Green Acres as his sidekick. Gene was the clean cut cowboy with a sweet voice. He’s the reason Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is a hit. The set has all 91 episodes from its five season run. There’s also plenty of other shows that Gene produced with his company. This is a perfect boxset for fans of the oater.
The Best of The Universe is the History Channel’s H2 series about the edges of the Solar System. Think of this as a primer for Cosmos. The episodes covered in the set are “Death Stars,” “The Day the moon Was Gone,” “It Fell From Space,” “Catastrophes That Changed the Planets,” “Nemesis: The Sun’s Evil Twin,” “How the Solar System Was Made” and “Crash Landing on Mars.” The series really explores the topics with plenty of scientists.
The Best of Ancient Aliens: The Greatest Mysteries features the show that swears everything man has ever done is the work of aliens. This remains the strangest show run on the History Channel since it seems to feature a lot of people who don’t trust real history. But you get to marvel at the strangest haircuts. The episodes here include “Aliens and the Third Reich,” “Alien Tech,” “Angels and Aliens,” “Unexplained Structures,” “Aliens and Mysterious Rituals,” “Aliens and Ancient Engineers,” “Aliens, Plagues and Epidemics” and “Aliens and Lost Worlds.” It’s a good film to watch when you’re drinking green beer.
Night Train to Lisbon is Jeremy Irons in a bit of a late life romance. He’s a college professor who drops his life after a chance encounter with a Portuguese woman. He quits his job and heads to Lisbon to locate an elusive author. This is a bit of a male version of a Lifetime movie except it’s a guy who throws away his sad life in order to get his groove back. There’s a great supporting cast with Tom Courtenay, Bruno Ganz, Lena Olin, Charlotte Rampling and Christopher Lee. The big bonus feature is an Ultraviolet version of the film.
The Hunt gives Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) a chance to shine. He’s a divorced dad fighting for his kid’s custody. He thinks his life is turning around when he meets someone new. However his life gets swung around into a major nasty battle. It’s a gripping drama from director Thomas Vinterberg. In a time of superhero flicks, it’s good to see someone still has a grip on earthbound men.
Shaolin Warrior is a buttkicking tale of a wannabe monk. There’s a lot of kinetic energy is this tale of young man who wants to train at the Shaolin Temple. They don’t want him, but he does his best to prove that he is worthy of being a student. Can he really be up for their harsh training techniques.
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