Videomatica’s Top Ten Blu-ray

1 HERBERT WEST HAS A GOOD HEAD ON HIS SHOULDERS… AND ANOTHER ONE ON HIS DESK.

One of the most wildly popular horror movies of all-time, Stuart Gordon s enduring splatter-comedy classic Re-Animator returns to Blu-ray in a stunning restoration packed with special features!

When medical student Dean Cain advertises for a roommate, he soon finds one in the form of Dr. Herbert West. Initially a little eccentric, it some becomes clear that West entertains some seriously outlandish theories specifically, the possibility of re-animating the dead. It s not long before Dean finds himself under West s influence, and embroiled in a serious of ghoulish experiments which threaten to go wildly out of control…

Based on H.P. Lovecraft s classic terror tale Herbert West Reanimator and featuring a standout performance from Jeffrey Combs as the deliciously deranged West, Re-Animator remains the ground-zero of 80s splatter mayhem and one of the genre s finest hours.

2 When a massive, gilled monster emerges from the deep and tears through the city, the government scrambles to save its citizens. A rag-tag team of volunteers cuts through a web of red tape to uncover the monster’s weakness and its mysterious ties to a foreign superpower. But time is not on their side—the greatest catastrophe to ever befall the world is about to evolve right before their very eyes.

A rebirth for both Godzilla and Hideaki Anno: A match made in kaiju heaven. –OTAKU USA Magazine

A reboot that is unquestionably Godzilla. –Jay Hawkinson, BLOODY DISGUSTING

3 Andrei Tarkovsky s final Soviet feature is a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic postapocalyptic landscape, and a rarefied cinematic experience like no other. A hired guide the Stalker leads a writer and a scientist into the heart of the Zone, the restricted site of a long-ago disaster, where the three men eventually zero in on the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one s most deeply held desires. Adapting a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Tarkovsky created an immersive world with a wealth of material detail and a sense of organic atmosphere. A religious allegory, a reflection of contemporaneous political anxieties, a meditation on film itself Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings.
4 After over a decade in the wilderness following his firing from Nikkatsu for Branded to Kill (1967), maverick director Seijun Suzuki returned with a vengeance with his critically-praised tryptic of cryptic supernatural dramas set during the liberal enlightenment of Japan s Taisho Era (1912-26).

In the multiple Japanese Academy Award-winning Zigeunerweisen (1980), two intellectuals and former colleagues from military academy involve their wives in a series of dangerous sexual games. In Kageroza (1981), a playwright is drawn like a moth to a flame to a mysterious beauty who might be a ghost, while Yumeji (1991) imagines the real-life painter-poet Takehisa Yumeji s encounter with a beautiful widow with a dark past.

Presented together on Blu-ray for the first time outside of Japan, the films in the Taisho Trilogy are considered Suzuki s masterpieces in his homeland. Presenting a dramatic turn from more his familiar tales of cops, gangsters and unruly youth, these surrealistic psychological puzzles drip with a lush exoticism, distinctively capturing the pandemonium of a bygone age of decadence and excess, when Western ideas, fashions, technologies and art fused into everyday aspect of Japanese life.

5
With the lacerating love story Sid & Nancy, Alex Cox reimagines the crash-and-burn affair between punk s most notorious self-destructive poster children: Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen brought to visceral life by brilliant performances from Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. Cox turns his anarchic filmmaking style on the explosive energy of the London punk scene and the degenerate streets of seventies New York, making for an eviscerating depiction of excess and addiction. Through the lens of cinematographer Roger Deakins, the imagery goes from swooning to grimy, and the film s bleakness is balanced with surreal humor and genuine tenderness, making for an affecting, music-fueled vision of doomed love.
6 Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and characters from the classic comics come to their aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.
7 Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with ALIEN: COVENANT. The crew of the ship Covenant uncovers a threat beyond their imagination and must attempt a harrowing escape.

Videomatica comment: Terrible sequel/prequel to Alien. A terrific and fascinating spiritual sequel to Blade Runner as it’s explores the humanity and inhumanity of artificial life, and the damnation that comes with playing God. A big recommend until the classic xenomorph shows up.

8 Beneath Modern London Lives a Tribe of Once Humans. Neither Men nor Women… They are the Raw Meat of the Human Race!

When a prominent politician and a beautiful young woman vanish inside a London subway station, Scotland Yard’s Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasence of HALLOWEEN) investigates and makes a horrifying discovery. Not only did a group of 19th century tunnel workers survive a cave-in, but they lived for years in a secret underground enclave by consuming the flesh of their own dead. Now the lone descendant of this grisly tribe has surfaced, prowling the streets for fresh victims… and a new mate.

Norman Rossington (A HARD DAY’S NIGHT), David Ladd (THE WILD GEESE), Sharon Gurney (CRUCIBLE OF HORROR), and the legendary Christopher Lee (HORROR OF DRACULA) also star in this heart-stopping horror classic co-written and directed by Gary Sherman (DEAD & BURIED). Originally recut and released as RAW MEAT in the United States, now DEATH LINE has been freshly transferred and fully restored in 2K from the original uncensored camera negative and comes fully loaded with exclusive new Extras produced for this release!

9 Cobbled together with loose change by George Romero’s friends, EFFECTS is a mesmerizing D.I.Y. frightmare that no one talks about, but everyone should. A group of coked-up filmmakers — including Tom DAWN OF THE DEAD Savini, Joe DAY OF THE DEAD Pilato, and John TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: THE MOVIE Harrison — gather in Pittsburgh to make a slasher. As filming begins and accidents happen, it’s clear that something isn’t right. And no one can be trusted. Landing somewhere between SNUFF and a student film by John Carpenter, EFFECTS is a meta-enhanced takedown on the philosophy of horror that doubles as a sleazy and terrifying movie on its own.
10 In the early 1970s, Kinji Fukasaku’s five-film Battles Without Honor and Humanity series was a massive hit in Japan, and kicked off a boom in realistic, modern yakuza films based on true stories. Although Fukasaku had intended to end the series, Toei Studio convinced him to return to the director’s chair for this unconnected, follow-up trilogy of films, each starring Battles leading man Bunta Sugawara and telling separate, but fictional stories about the yakuza in different locations in Japan.

In the first film, Bunta Sugawara is Miyoshi, a low-level assassin of the Yamamori gang who is sent to jail after a bungled hit. While in stir, family member Aoki (Lone Wolf and Cub’s Tomisaburo Wakayama) attempts to seize power from the boss, and Miyoshi finds himself stuck between the two factions with no honorable way out. In the second entry, The Boss’s Head, Sugawara is Kuroda, an itinerant gambler who steps in when a hit by drug-addicted assassin Kusunoki (Tampopo’s Tsutomu Yamazaki) goes wrong, and takes the fall on behalf of the Owada family, but when the gang fails to make good on financial promises to him, Kuroda targets the family bosses with a ruthless vengeance. And in Last Days of the Boss, Sugawara plays Nozaki, a laborer who swears allegiance to a sympathetic crime boss, only to find himself elected his successor after the boss is murdered. Restrained by a gang alliance that forbids retributions against high-level members, Nozaki forms a plot to exact revenge on his rivals, but a suspicious relationship with his own sister (Chieko Matsubara from Outlaw: Gangster VIP) taints his relationship with his fellow gang members.

Making their English-language home video debut in this limited edition set, the New Battles Without Honor and Humanity films are important links between the first half of Fukasaku’s career and his later exploration of other genres. Each one is also a top-notch crime action thriller: hard-boiled, entertaining, and distinguished by Fukasaku’s directorial genius, funky musical scores by composer Toshiaki Tsushima, and the onscreen power of Toei’s greatest yakuza movie stars.

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