Every week we will be bringing you some highlights of the new Blu-ray and 4K UHD releases coming to home media. We won’t feature every release because there may be more than you think. Especially true if you are normally just used to what you see in Best Buy or Target on your trips. For a full list of releases please take a look at our coming soon release list. For now, kick back and see what releases we here at TNM think you should take a look at. We’ll also note which of those we already have reviews for or any upcoming. These are the New Blu-ray Releases for the Week of 1/30/18.
One of The Nerd Mentality’s (and most Blu-ray fans) favorite distributors is Arrow Video. They usually put out great films in a nice overall package. This week we have two re-releases of previous limited editions. Both Re-Animator and The Hills Have Eyes are much-loved classics to many. If you missed out on the limited editions or didn’t want to pay for the extra packaging these will be the ones to get as they are still loaded with a ton of features and extras.
Arrow Academy has two new Italian films gracing the US market this week. First up is Viva L’Italia, a film by Roberto Rossellini. Commissioned by the Italian government Rossellini shot this film documentary style so the viewer would be transported back in time. Restored from the original negative this will be the first time this film has ever had a North American release. Also this week we have The Witches. Dino De Laurentiis brought together the talents of five celebrated Italian directors for an anthology film. Their brief was simple: to direct an episode in which Silvana Mangano plays a witch. We also just received both of these films for upcoming reviews, so keep an eye out for those right here on The Nerd Mentality.
Most anyone reading this list probably knows the name Criterion. They are one of the most well-regarded distributors and usually do an excellent job with their restorations and features. This week they have two early 1930’s films coming out. Both feature newly restored high-definition transfers and uncompressed mono audio.
Kameradschaft (1931) When a coal mine collapses on the frontier between Germany and France, trapping a team of French miners inside, workers on both sides of the border spring into action, putting aside national prejudices and wartime grudges to launch a dangerous rescue operation. Director G. W. Pabst brings a claustrophobic realism to this ticking-clock scenario, using realistic sets and sound design to create the maze of soot-choked shafts where the miners struggle for survival. A gripping disaster film and a stirring plea for international cooperation, Kameradschaft cemented Pabst’s status as one of the most morally engaged and formally dexterous filmmakers of his time.
Westfront 1918 (1930) G. W. Pabst brought the war movie into a new era with his first sound film, a mercilessly realistic depiction of the nightmare that scarred a generation, in the director’s native Germany and beyond. Digging into the trenches with four infantrymen stationed in France in the final months of World War I, Pabst illustrates the harrowing ordeals of battle with unprecedented naturalism, as the men are worn away in body and spirit by firefights, shelling, and the disillusion that greets them on the home front. Long unavailable, the newly restored Westfront 1918 is a visceral, sobering antiwar statement that is as urgent today as when it was made.
Our friends over at Lionsgate are once again releasing all sorts of different things. Their regular line is releasing Boo 2! A Madea Halloween along with Last Flag Flying. Their Vestron Video line, another TNM favorite, has a couple new releases this week also with Class of 1999 and Ken Russell’s Gothic. You can use our Vestron tag for more info on the transfers and what the features will entail. We will also be having reviews of all four of these films coming soon.
This has been a big week for TNM favorite releases and a lot of money will have been spent on Blu-rays. Quite a few of us have impressive Vinegar Syndrome collections. This week not only do they have their three or so normal releases, but they have two re-releases that had limited special editions last year. On top of that, they even put out a couple five film collections celebrating their fifth year in business. These contain films that they had HD restorations made but weren’t viable to make Blu-rays over just DVDs.
Director AC Stephen’s most accomplished film, Fugitive Girls is a quickly paced hybrid of action and sexploitation, which co-stars the beautiful Rene Bond and Tallie Cochran and featuring a typically jaw-dropping screenplay from Ed Wood (who also appears in the film!). Long available only in poor quality bootlegs or heavily censored versions, Vinegar Syndrome brings this drive-in classic to Blu-ray totally uncut and uncensored and newly restored from its camera negative.
Director Jamaa Fanaka’s breakout action hit, Penitentiary, remains one of the seminal late period ‘Blaxploitation’ films. Gritty, violent, and maddeningly entertaining, Vinegar Syndrome presents the Blu-ray debut of this genre film classic, newly restored in 4k from its original 35mm camera negative and filled with both all new and archival interviews with its cast and crew.
Directed by Paul Aratow (China Girl) and starring prolific stage performer Larry Hankin, as well as erotic film stars Paul Thomas and Clair Dia, Lucifer’s Women is a slow burn study in satanic obsession, with black mass scenes supervised by Anton LaVey (founder of the Church of Satan). Never released on home video and long assumed lost, Vinegar Syndrome is proud to present the home video debut to this forgotten shocker, newly restored from recently unearthed negative elements. Also included is an all-new restoration of Al Adamson’s schizoid reworking of the film, titled Doctor Dracula.
Director Michel Levesque’s (Werewolves on Wheels) much sought after and over the top women-in-prison thriller, Sweet Sugar, is an action and violence packed exploitation classic, filled with blood, nudity, and a barrage of absurd twists. Long available in poor quality video transfers, Vinegar Syndrome is proud to bring Sweet Sugar to Blu-ray, newly restored from its 35mm interpositive.
Barely given a release outside of Russia, Red Mob played an important role in post-USSR Russian cinema, with much of its cast and crew continuing on to create the highly-successful NIGHT WATCH duology. Vinegar Syndrome proudly presents Red Mob on Blu-ray for the first time anywhere in the world, newly restored from its 35mm Interpositive in both its Russian and slightly extended American version.