Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DVD or Die

Back in 2005, I launched an attempt at a general blog in lieu of, oh, seeking medication for acute depression, and I fitfully attempted to cover a wide range of topics, but clearly enjoyed talking about the kinds of things that are our stock in trade here at The Jar. I spent some time dredging up those old posts, and re-discovered that one of my recurring themes was some periodic pissing and moaning about movies that weren't available on DVD. Don't talk to me about music rights or questions of ownership; we are about to close out the first decade of the 21st Century, and there is no reason why movies that had theatrical releases in my lifetime can't find their way onto pristine little discs that are oh so convenient and more or less permanent. Yes, all the bells and whistles of commentary tracks and deleted scenes are nice, but I just want the damn movies in proper aspect ratio and unedited! Dagnabbit!


I found an early posting on that blog in which I listed 20 movies - irrespective of quality - that I very much wanted to see on DVD. They were...

The Uninvited*
The Monolith Monsters
The Day of the Triffids*
My Blood Runs Cold
Two on a Guillotine*
The Nanny
Let's Scare Jessica to Death
The Mephisto Waltz
The Possession of Joel Delany
The Other
Tales from the Crypt
The Vault of Horror**
The Manitou
Silent Scream
The Burning
Night of the Creeps
Santa Sangre*

Now, I'm guessing, gentle reader, that you can figure out what the asterisks mean. Those are movies that, four years later, remain unreleased in the DVD format (Region One). (The Vault of Horror gets a double asterisk - yes, it was released, but in an edited version - curses!) Fourteen out of the twenty are now (or soon) available, or a success rate of 70%.

That ain't too shabby.

I also went on to write a series of essays on more films that were DVD in absentia, and the Saul Bass-directed Phase IV was among those. Now, at the time I was inspired by the release of the giant rabbit picture Night of the Lepus to undertake the list, and I now find myself similarly inspired by the impending releases of Rituals and Silent Scream to do this again. I'll be writing some essays in the future about these and other AWOL films, but for now, let me offer up this list of cinematic holy grails (with either trailers or select scenes), and hope that 70% of these will be coming our way by 2013! (And watch for the full-length essays on these and many other MIA DVDs.)

So, out of this roll call (and there are a number of films I couldn't find trailers for), which would be on your wish list?

The Uninvited

The Mad Magician

The Quatermass Xperiment (The Creeping Unknown)

The Beast of Hollow Mountain

It Conquered the World

The Amazing Colossal Man

Curucu, Beast of the Amazon

The Cyclops

Invasion of the Saucer Men

The 27th Day

The Colossus of New York

The Brain Eaters

The World, the Flesh and the Devil

Caltiki, The Immortal Monster

The Human Vapor

Burn Witch Burn (Night of the Eagle)

The Day of the Triffids

Diary of a Madman

These Are the Damned

Crack in the World

Dr. Terror's House of Horrors

The Wild Wild Planet

Picture Mommy Dead

Queen of Blood

Island of Terror


The Frozen Dead

Goke - Bodysnatcher from Hell

The Power

The Green Slime

House of Dark Shadows / Night of Dark Shadows

The Devils

Blood on Satan's Claw

Hands of the Ripper

Willard / Ben

Vampire Circus

Twins of Evil

Terror in the Wax Museum


The Town that Dreaded Sundown

The Incredible Melting Man

The Evil



Without Warning

The Awakening

New Year's Evil

Deadly Blessing

Galaxy of Terror

Night School

Blood Beach

Still of the Night

Deadly Eyes (Rats)


The Boogens



The Keep


The Lift

The Kindred

The Offspring

Jack's Back

The Ambulance


Jeff Allard said...

Wow - it just goes to show how many deserving films are still not on DVD! Lots of great stuff here, although I'm totally surprised to see that Parents is already on DVD. I love that movie and had no idea it'd been released!

senski said...

I just adore Parents, and wish that Bob Balaban had done a few more in the genre other than My Boyfriend's Back. And it's a shame that people will look at it now and just tsk tsk over the craziness in Quaid's real life...


senski said...

PS - I had some serious nightmares over that arm coming out of the garbage disposal scene!

I Like Horror Movies said...

Excellent question.. what do I miss on DVD.. SCANNERS 2 would be fun, SANTA SANGRE and DAY OF THE BEAST are musts, and I would love to see TWINS OF EVIL as well. BAD RONALD just received treatment in the Warner Bros Archives, which I think is a genius releasing method. Will have to brain storm and get back to you with more missing titles!

kindertrauma said...

This almost reads like a list of my favorite movies! The Evil, Deadly Blessing, Still of the Night, Burn witch burn, etc...

Here is some good news though...

The offspring is available on dvd under the title "From a whisper to a scream"...


senski said...

Yes! As soon as I clicked on that link and saw the artwork, I knew I had seen that before. (I recall it even made it to some theaters under that title.) Thanks, KT! It's winging its way to me even as we speak!

Isn't The Evil just a trip? Esp. when Victor Buono shows up as the Devil?

Speaking of Burn Witch...I gotta get my girdle in gear and write that review of Conjure Wife...I'm gonna use that to kick off a new feature - The Essential Bookshelf (as soon as I can come up with a catchier title than that!)