From the Big Screen:
This Week’s Highlights:
With Halloween fast approaching, there’s three fabulous thrillers coming your way — from the Golden Age of Hollywood, from the decadent 1960s, and from the present:
The legendary classic “The Old Dark House” (1932), based on J.B. Priestley’s popular novel “Benighted,” was directed by James Whale in the fertile period between his “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein.” Here Whale puts a surprising spin on horror film conventions even as he is creating them, adding black humor and sexual perversity that was eye-opening in 1932. A quintessential dark and stormy night brings a group of travelers to a forbidding mansion in the Welsh countryside, where they find themselves at the mercy of the strange, and possibly dangerous, Femm family. Boris Karloff is, as always, unforgettable, here playing a mute, menacing butler. The superb cast also includes Gloria Stuart, Melvin Douglas, Charles Laughton (in his first Hollywood film), Raymond Massey and Ernest Thesiger. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from the Cohen Film Collection … The filmography of late movie maverick Herschell Gordon Lewis brims with the mad, macabre, and just downright bizarre. But perhaps the most unhinged of all his directorial efforts, and certainly the most influential, must surely be his original gore-fest “Blood Feast” (1963) — the first ever splatter movie. Dorothy Fremont is looking to throw a party unlike any other, and she gets just that when she hires the decidedly sinister Fuad Ramses to cater the event. Promising to provide her guests with an authentic Egyptian feast, Ramses promptly sets about acquiring the necessary ingredients — the body parts of nubile young women. Featuring a host of stomach-churning gore gags including the infamous tongue sequence and much more nastiness besides, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast more than lives up to its name and remains essential viewing for any self-respecting splatter fan. Stars William Kerwin, Mal Arnold and Connie Mason. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment … With his intimate supernatural drama “Personal Shopper” (2017 — France), the celebrated French filmmaker Olivier Assayas conjures a melancholy ghost story set in the world of haute couture. Starring Kristen Stewart, whose performance in Assayas’s “Clouds of Sils Maria” made her the first American actor to win a César Award, this evocative character study tells the story of a young American fashion assistant and spiritual medium who is living in Paris and searching for signs of an afterlife following the sudden death of her twin brother. A stirring depiction of grief in the form of a psychological thriller, “Personal Shopper” — which won Assayas the best director award at Cannes — is a chilling meditation on modern modes of communication and the way we mourn those we love. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, with 2K digital master, supervised by director of photography Yorick Le Saux and approved by director Olivier Assayas, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection.
From TV to DVD:
“The Carol Burnett Show: Carol’s Lost Christmas”: From 1967 to 1978, “The Carol Burnett Show” was the benchmark for primetime variety programs, bringing together the best in sketch comedy, song and dance. Carol and her cast members Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner, and later, Tim Conway and Dick Van Dyke, entertained millions of viewers with a spontaneity and go-for-broke attitude sorely lacking elsewhere. Their annual Christmas shows soon became a popular event in Burnett’s regular season schedule. Across three episodes not seen in more than 40 years, home audiences will receive the gift of non-stop laughter and entertainment: Think Santa knows who’s been naughty or nice? Jonathan Winters as St. Nick has other ideas, along with a strange collection of dolls. The old lovebirds Bert and Molly (Harvey and Carol) exchange a few choice words while they slowly rock themselves into the New Year. Carol and Vicki join the Bob Mitchell Singing Boys for a touching performance of “Do You Know How Christmas Trees are Grown?” And pitchmen Garry Moore and Durward Kirby reach out and touch the pocketbooks of parents with an array or ridiculous toys for kids. From Time Life … The English village mystery gets a contemporary spin in the hit British television series “Midsomer Murders, Series 19, Part 2” (2017) that has earned a worldwide following. Bucolic settings harbor macabre crimes and eccentric characters that are no match for DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) and his new assistant, DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix. Includes two mysteries: “Death by Persuasion”: A woman is stabbed in the neck with a quill near a Georgian re-creation event celebrating Jane Austen. “The Curse of the Ninth”: The winner of a prestigious music award is found strangled with a violin string moments before a performance. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Acorn Media … “Vera, Set 7” (2017) is a four-disc set with four episodes. Inspired by the novels of best-selling author Ann Cleeves, Oscar-nominee Brenda Blethyn returns as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, a cantankerous, but brilliant detective who solves unthinkable crimes in northeast England. “Natural Selection”: DCI Vera Stanhope investigates the mysterious death of a wildlife ranger, whose body is discovered on the shore of a remote island off the coast of Northumberland. “Dark Angel”: When the body of a drug addict is found face-down in a river, DCI Vera Stanhope is forced to unearth a case from the past in order to unmask the killer. “Broken Promise”: DCI Vera Stanhope investigates the murder of a promising university student, who falls to his death in suspicious circumstances. “The Blanket Mire”: When the body of a missing 18-year-old is discovered buried on the moors, DCI Vera Stanhope is forced to delve beyond the original enquiry and into the life and the secrets of the victim. From Acorn Media.