This is not Halloween, obviously. Nevertheless, movies from Halloween, even some with “Halloween” right in the name, land on Blu-ray and Ultra HD in the middle of January. One of them was a pretty big box office hit.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Halloween – Do you enjoy any of the sequels to the Halloween franchise started by John Carpenter’s classic slasher? Well, screw you! So say director David Gordon Green and screenwriter Danny McBride (the same pair responsible for the inane stoner comedy Your Highness). Their new, unimaginatively-titled reboot-quel connects directly to the 1978 original and throws away all seven of the other movies that followed, as well as the two previous Rob Zombie reboots. Jamie Lee Curtis, who was killed off in Halloween: Resurrection, returns as an older, Sarah Connor-ier Laurie Strode, who has prepared a long time for the evil Michael Myers to come after her again. By and large, fans ate this up to enormous box office and great word-of-mouth. It made more money in its opening weekend than any prior Halloween movie grossed in total. Not everyone was so enamored with it (in fact, I know a lot of people who weren’t), but it can still be expected to sell very well on home video. To that end, it’s available on Blu-ray and Ultra HD. Best Buy has a SteelBook for the latter.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween – I don’t recall the 2015 Goosebumps movie being especially beloved or even a huge money-maker, but apparently it did well enough to drag Jack Black back for another round of R.L. Stine-inspired zaniness. Coming right on the heels of Black’s similarly-themed The House with a Clock in Its Walls, the Goosebumps sequel was largely met with a shrug from audiences.
Once Upon a Deadpool – Last summer’s R-rated Deadpool 2 promised right at the beginning that it was secretly a family film at heart. Proving the point, Fox released a re-edited, family-friendly version “In Glorious PG-13” at Christmastime. This was all done with tongue firmly in cheek, of course. Critics and fans were both divided as to whether the tame version added enough new material to justify its existence as anything beyond a one-off joke. It went in and out of theaters in a blink and is now making a quick turnaround to home video. This may wind up being for Deadpool completists only.
The Old Man & the Gun – In what may be the screen legend’s final performance (if his threats of retiring hold true), Robert Redford stars in a bio-pic about an aging career criminal who conducted a remarkably successful bank robbery spree in the 1970s without ever firing his gun. David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, A Ghost Story) directs. Critics were largely charmed by it.
Madeline’s Madeline – In what sounds like a theater troupe version of Black Swan, a young actress loses her grip on reality and sanity after joining a theatrical workshop. Molly Parker and Miranda July play some of the adults pushing her to madness (which is kind of how I felt watching July’s The Future). Buzz from the festival circuit was very strong.
Poop Talk – It’s all there in the title. Doctors, scientists, and a bunch of comedians (including Kumail Nanjiani, Rob Corddry, and Nicole Byer) are interviewed for a documentary talking about that unspeakably filthy thing that all of us do most every day.
The new Halloween and Goosebumps 2 both look to scare up some sales on Ultra HD as well as regular Blu-ray.
Upgraded to 4k for the first time is Sylvester Stallone’s dopey but fun 1993 mountaineering thriller Cliffhanger.
Criterion adds a little more Hitchcock to its collection with the director’s masterful 1946 romantic thriller Notorious.
Brian De Palma certainly had Hitchcock on his mind in 1979 when he made Obsession. The very blatant riff on Vertigo stars Cliff Robertson, Geneviève Bujold, and John Lithgow. Arrow Video put out a Blu-ray of this in the UK a few years back. Scream Factory has the American rights.
Also new from Scream Factory are the 1981 horror parody Saturday the 14th and the 1987 schlockfest Howling III.
Warner Archive has its eyes on The Prize, a 1963 Paul Newman thriller about fraud, murder, and conspiracies at the Nobel Prize awards.
Just three short years since it underperformed in theaters and was largely forgotten afterward, Arrow Video resurrects Guillermo del Toro’s Gothic horror drama Crimson Peak in a new Limited Edition package. The label presumably hopes that the director’s recent Oscar win will inspire some fans to re-evaluate one of his lesser-loved works.
After that, Arrow also unearths the colorfully-named 1970 giallo The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion.
Mill Creek introduces its new “VHS Retro Look” line with a couple of titles new to Blu-ray (the 1982 Chuck Norris actioner Silent Rage and the 1989 John Candy detective comedy Who’s Harry Crumb?) and a bunch more previously released by different labels (the 1981 slasher Happy Birthday to Me, the 1983 sci-fi fantasy Krull, the gross 1984 sex comedy Hardbodies, and the 1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger dud Last Action Hero). They’re all very attractively priced at less than $10 each right now.
Truth be told, I’ve never been much of a fan of the Halloween franchise and am not particularly excited for the new one. I’d watch it if I came across it on cable, but that’s as much of a commitment as I’ll offer.
Notorious is one of my favorite Hitchcocks, so that’s a must-buy. I also have some interest in Obsession, and would give both Madeline’s Madeline and The Old Man & the Gun rentals.
Does anything obsess you this week?