Happy holidays! It’s that time of year again, where our thoughts turn to the mall and what we’d grab off the shelves if we were trapped inside with hordes of blue-ish zombies waddling around just beyond the barricades.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the avid genre fan in your life or for yourself, Daily Grindhouse once again has got you covered. Hope you find something here that brings you a little joy. Be good to each other out there. Happy shopping.
GODZILLA: THE SHOWA-ERA FILMS, 1954–1975 • The Criterion Collection
This thing is a monster. Kneel and tremble.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 Movie) 7″ Action Figures • NECA
It’s stupid how happy these make me.
Said it before and I’ll keep it up. Greatest comic book series of all time.
I kept my list short because these items are pricey, but for more suggestions, check out my 2019 reading list here!
Longtime Daily Grindhouse readers will know that it took a while before the classic film JAWS found its way to the arcade, not landing a game of its own until 1987. Well, it took even longer for the film to inspire an actual board game, and it wasn’t until this year that players could actually gather around a table and go man-on-shark on an actual board. (Sure, there was this and this, but I don’t see any boards in use, do you?)
Even better than JAWS finally reaching the board game world (hell, ALLIGATOR had a board game!) is that the game itself is solid and inventive, and captures the spirit of the movies. Played with 2-4 players, one player takes control of the shark in two different scenarios, with the first having an effect on how well players are equipped for the second. The first plays a bit like Fury of Dracula or Scotland Yard, with non-shark players attempting to determine where the shark player is moving to while unsuspecting swimmers are gobbled up, while the second flips the board around and the non-shark players are now on a boat, trying to kill the shark, and depending on how well they did on the first round, the shark may have more advantages.
The history of licensed games is so spotty that it’s great to see more board game designers that genuinely love the franchises they’re inspired by involved, creating games that are both fun and loyal to the original ideas. JAWS is a definite pick-up for any shark lover in your life, and you should be playing it by the 26th.
Vinegar Syndrome gift card
An assortment of boutique home video labels — Scream Factory, Severin Films, Vinegar Syndrome, to name a few — have flourished during the past decade, resulting in a bit of a renaissance for cult movie fanatics especially. As of this writing, however, Vinegar Syndrome is the only one of this trio to offer gift cards for the trash movie degenerate in your life. While you can’t really go wrong with anything the label has released, take it from me: sometimes, enthusiasts love the thrill of choosing their preferred flavor of sleaze.
ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD Collector’s Set
My favorite film of the year (so far) looks to have one of the absolute best home video releases in recent memory. Not only will this edition sport both 4K UHD and standard Blu-ray discs, but it will also be housed in a killer package that also includes a vinyl record with two cuts from the film’s soundtrack, a Mad Magazine parody of “Bounty Law,” and a collectable poster of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.
APOCALYPSE NOW: THE FINAL CUT (4K UHD)
While it may be a little exhausting for collectors’ shelves to continually upgrade films to new formats (some of us are on at least our aixth edition of THE EVIL DEAD by now), this particular release is very much worth anyone’s while. Obviously, APOCALPYSE NOW is one of the most staggering movies ever produced, and this edition is a definitive six-disc release featuring three separate cuts of the film on both UHD and standard Blu-ray, including Coppola’s latest “Final Cut.” Even better? This set is a relative steal at its standard price (most retail outlets have it for $25 or cheaper), and even more so at Amazon’s bargain prices (it got down to as low as $10 during Black Friday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it again at that price sometime before Christmas).
A BUCKET OF BLOOD (1959)
Olive Signature’s Blu-Ray is a celebration of the breakout film of both producer/director Roger Corman and star Dick Miller, a horror comedy that sees a wannabe Beatnik become a successful artist — at a price. The disc boasts not just a pristine new transfer, but special features including the once lost prologue from the film’s German release which turned the movie into… a sequel to HOUSE OF WAX?!?
FEAR NO EVIL (1981)
Frank LaLoggia’s first film (prior to the more well-known LADY IN WHITE) is a wild potpourri of Christian mythology, demonic “evil child” movies and high schoolers run amok, and now its over-the-top explosive finale (and amazing end credit rock song) can be experienced by you at home, thanks to Scream Factory. It’ll fit snugly next to your copies of THE OMEN Collection and THE VISITOR.
NIGHTMARE BEACH (1989)
Umberto Lenzi’s motorcycle-clad slasher has a wild production history, and the commentary track by Samm Deighan on Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray does a excellent job of attempting to untangle it. Part of a cycle of “electrocuted maniacs back for revenge” flicks made at the end of the ‘80s that includes HOUSE III, THE HORROR SHOW, and SHOCKER, NIGHTMARE BEACH is equal parts Hawaiian Tropic video, gialli, and Scooby-Doo episode, and now it can be yours.
1999 has to be one of the most stacked years in movie history, and Brian Raftery’s book is a great reflection on the making and cultural impact of some of the most notable movies of that massive year like THE MATRIX, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, THE SIXTH SENSE, ELECTION, and THE PHANTOM MENACE. It even features over 130 interviews from those directly involved in the making of the films.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Some titles stand the test of time, and with the help of third-party distributors, said movies manage to find new life with new audiences each time they’re reintroduced into the wild. John Landis’ 1981 horror-comedy, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, is one of these titles. Whether you’re considering introducing this title to someone for the first time, or upgrading someone’s previous Blu-ray, this new edition makes a great gift. This release by Arrow could very well remain the definitive word on AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, at least in terms of bonus content, and it’s a great way to introduce it to a newcomer, being that it’s the best it’s ever looked. (You can worry about the inevitable 4K UHD release later). But this release also makes a good gift for someone who already owns the title because it takes the sting off that palpable feeling of defeat all collectors call the “double-dip” – i.e., buying a movie you’ve already bought in the past. (I just bought John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN for the 12th time, so I can relate, believe me.)
Arrow’s release contains the following special features:
- New 2019 restoration from the original camera negative supervised by John Landis
- New audio commentary by Beware the Moon filmmaker Paul Davis
- Audio commentary by actors David Naughton and Griffin Dunne
- Mark of The Beast: The Legacy of the Universal Werewolf, newly produced, feature length documentary by filmmaker Daniel Griffith, featuring interviews with John Landis, David Naughton, Joe Dante and more
- An American Filmmaker in London: Newly filmed interview with John Landis in which he reflects on British cinema and his time working in Britain
- I Think He’s a Jew: The Werewolf’s Secret: New video essay by filmmaker Jon Spira (Elstree 1976) about how Landis film explores Jewish identity
- The Werewolf’s Call: Corin Hardy, director of The Hallow and The Nun, chats with writer Simon Ward about their formative experiences with Landis film
- Wares of the Wolf: New featurette in which SFX artist Dan Martin and Tim Lawes of Prop Store look at some of the original costumes and special effects artefacts from the film
- Beware the Moon: Paul Davis acclaimed, feature-length exploration of Landis film which boasts extensive cast and crew interviews
- Making An American Werewolf in London: A short archival featurette on the film s production
- An Interview with John Landis: A lengthy archival interview with the director about the film
- Make-up Artist Rick Baker on An American Werewolf in London: The legendary make-up artist discusses his work on the film
- I Walked with a Werewolf: An archival interview with Rick Baker about Universal horror and its legacy of Wolfman films
- Casting of the Hand: Archival footage from Rick Baker s workshop showing the casting of David Naughton’s hand
- Storyboards featurette
- Original trailers, teasers and TV spots
- Extensive image gallery featuring over 200 stills, posters and other ephemera
- Reversible sleeve featuring original poster art and artwork by Graham Humphreys
APOCALYPSE NOW: 40TH Anniversary (6-Disc 4K UHD, 2019)
The holidays aren’t just for the kids, but the grown-ups too – like fathers! And what father doesn’t want to bask in the memories of having gone to Vietnam and how terrible it was? With this brand new release from Lionsgate, three different cuts of the legendary APOCALYPSE NOW that legendarily nearly killed star Martin Sheen and director Francis Ford Coppola are now available on 4K UHD, with one of those cuts, dubbed “The Final Cut,” being brand new and never before seen outside of its recent theatrical run. Despite the deluxe packaging and staggering six discs of contents, the set is very competitively priced, and offers the illusion that you spent more than you actually did – which is the true meaning of the holiday season.
- Intro by Francis Ford Coppola
- Audio Commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola
- An Interview with John Milius
- A Conversation with Martin Sheen and Francis Ford Coppola
- “Fred Roos: Casting Apocalypse” Featurette
- The Mercury Theatre on the Air: Heart of Darkness – November 6, 1938
- “The Hollow Men” Featurette
- Monkey Sampan “Lost Scene”
- Additional Scenes
- “Destruction of the Kurtz Compound” End Credits
- “The Birth of 5.1 Sound” Featurette
- “Ghost Helicopter Flyover” Sound Effects Demonstration
- “The Synthesizer Soundtrack” Article by Bob Moog
- “A Million Feet of Film: The Editing of Apocalypse Now” Featurette
- “Heard Any Good Movies Lately? The Sound Design of Apocalypse Now” Featurette
- “The Final Mix” Featurette
- “2001 Cannes Film Festival: Francis Ford Coppola” Featurette
- “PBR Streetgang” Featurette o “The Color Palette of Apocalypse Now” Featurette
- Disc Credits
- Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (with Optional Audio Commentary by Francis and Eleanor Coppola)
- NEW: Tribeca Film Festival Q and A with Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Soderbergh
- NEW: Never-Before-Seen B-Roll Footage
- NEW: Apocalypse Now Dolby featurette (HD)
- NEW: A history of APOCALYPSE NOW on Home Video (HD)
- John Milius Script Excerpt with Francis Coppola Notes (Still Gallery)
- Storyboard Collection
- Photo Archive Unit Photography, Mary Ellen Mark Photography
- Marketing Archive, 1979 Teaser Trailer, 1979 Theatrical Trailer, 1979 Radio Spots, 1979 Theatrical Program, Lobby Card and Press Kit Photos, Poster Gallery, Apocalypse Now Redux Trailer
GOOD OMENS (Blu-ray, 2019)
If there’s any one streaming program that people of all ages can enjoy, it’s definitely Amazon’s GOOD OMENS, adapted by the book by Neil Gaiman. The reason I know this is because both my mother and I recently watched it completely independently of the other, and both randomly recommended it to the other later on. This is important to note because we don’t agree on anything when it comes to entertainment (even though she adores BUBBA HO-TEP, which I will never figure out, but I don’t want to, either – I’m just so proud.) Sure, it might feel counterintuitive to buy a home video release of a show that’s ready available on Amazon Prime, but as I always say: you’d be supporting the ongoing efforts of distributors who still support physical media, and, Blu-ray almost always look better than streaming quality anyway – plus the bevy of special features exclusive to the Blu-ray release:
- Page to Screen
- Aziraphale’s World
- Bookshop Tour
- Crowley’s World
- Audio commentaries for all 6 episodes
- Good Omens trailer
- Characters of Good Omens
- The World of Good Omens
- Deleted Scenes
- Storyboard Gallery
- Concept Art Gallery
- Costume Design Gallery
- Queen compilation
- Good Omens VFX reel
EEGAH (Blu-ray, 2019)
What’s so great about EEGAH is that it’s multi-purpose: you can either get this for someone you love or hate in equal measure. This new release from the Film Detective shows off a brand new remaster of this “beloved” cult flick – but that’s not even the main selling point. The Blu-ray also includes the MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 episode during which EEGAH was, erm, “examined,” but which helped to introduce the title to a new generation. The new remaster actually looks great when considering the source material, and it’s certainly appealing to own one of MST3K’s most popular episodes (it’s the episode that birthed “watch out for snakes!”), especially being now able to own it in a single release instead of relying on the multi-volumes Shout! Factory have been releasing the last few years.
- Complete Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring EEGAH
- Joel Hodgson, creator of MST3K, gives his take on the Hall family and his evolving appreciation for the film following the 1993 episode
- Arch Hall Jr. shares personal insights on his father’s spur-of-the-moment plot idea, reveals which of his family members appear in cameos throughout the film and offers behind-the-scenes details from production
‘Tis the season to be spooky! While the holiday season is in full effect, so is my personal goal to continue on enjoying horror based items throughout the year. Here are my personal recommendations for your favorite ghoul to enjoy this holiday season.
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