DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD
What do you get if you combine Thanksgiving, American TV star Louise Lasser (“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”), killer 80s synths and some of the most gruesome special effects in all of slasher history courtesy of Ed French. Why, it’s “Blood Rage” (1983) of course! Todd and Terry seem like sweet kids — that is, until one of them takes an axe to face of a fellow patron at the local drive-in. Todd is blamed for the bloody crime and institutionalized, whilst twin brother Terry goes free. Ten years later, as the family gather around the table for a Thanksgiving meal, the news comes in that Todd has escaped — and he’s heading their way. But has the killer twin in fact been in their midst all along? One thing’s for sure, there WILL be blood … Filmed in 1983 at the tail-end of the slasher golden era but not released until 1987, “Blood Rage” (also re-cut and released to theatres as “Nightmare at Shadow Woods”) has been lovingly restored from the original vault materials for its first ever appearance on Blu-ray and DVD. New 2K restoration from original vault materials of three versions of the film: “Blood Rage,” the original “hard” version, completely uncut and uncensored in a Blu-ray/DVD world premiere; the R-rated “Nightmare at Shadow Woods” 1987 re-cut, and a third “composite” cut combining all the footage from both “Blood Rage” and “Nightmare at Shadow Woods.” From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group … at the other ends of the cinematic spectrum — but no less freaky — is “Burroughs: The Movie” (1983). Made up of intimate, revelatory footage of the singular author and poet filmed over the course of five years, Howard Brookner’s 1983 documentary about William S. Burroughs was for decades mainly the stuff of legend; that changed when Aaron Brookner, the late director’s nephew, discovered a print of it in 2011 and spearheaded a restoration. Now viewers can enjoy the invigorating candidness of “Burroughs: The Movie,” a one-of-a-kind nonfiction portrait that was brought to life with the help of a remarkable crew of friends, including Jim Jarmusch and Tom DiCillo, and that features on-screen appearances by fellow artists of Burroughs’s including Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Huncke, Patti Smith and Terry Southern. New, high-definition digital restoration, on DVD, Blu-ray Disc from The Criterion Collection.
Stephen King surely must have watched “The Car” (1977) before writing (and directing) “Maximum Overdrive” and then “Christine.” In the film, starring James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, Elizabeth Thompson, Ronny Cox and R.G. Armstrong, the peaceful tranquility of a small Western town is disturbed when a murderous car wreaks havoc by viciously mowing down innocent victims. The new sheriff, Wade Parent (Brolin), may be the only one who can stop this menace in its tracks. But what Wade Parent doesn’t realize is that the driver of this indestructible vehicle is far more dangerous than any man … because it is driven by pure evil. “The Car” makes its Blu-ray debut this week from Scream Factory … In the mid-1970s, writer-producer-director-actor Frederick R. Friedel went to North Carolina to film a pair of enigmatic yet startling low-budget thrillers — “Axe” and “Kidnapped Coed” — only to see them both presumed lost to shady dealings, sudden tragedies, moral outrage and drive-in oblivion. In “Axe,” depraved killers on the run hold a young woman and her invalid grandfather hostage in an isolated farmhouse. In “Kidnapped Coed,” the teenage daughter of a wealthy family forms a perverse relationship with her abductor. Once thought doomed to drive-in obscurity, fans and grindhouse historians have begun to compare Freidel’s films to those of David Lynch and Terrence Malick, and now the complete story behind this strange journey can finally be told. Severin Films is presenting both features restored from their original negatives, plus “Bloody Brothers,” Friedel’s recut of the two features as one twisted crime epic, loaded with bonus features that reveal the startling saga behind the casts, crews, disastrous fate and surprising rediscovery of these nearly forgotten grindhouse/arthouse classics — the ultimate look at one of the most fascinating sagas in indie exploitation history. “Axe/Kidnapped Coed” arrives on DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Severin Films/CAV Distributing) … From director Massimo Dallamano, cinematographer on both “A Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More,” comes “What Have You Done to Solange?” (1975), a giallo classic and the debut feature of actress Camille Keaton (“I Spit on Your Grave”). A sexually sadistic killer is preying on the girls of St. Mary’s school. Student Elizabeth witnessed one of the murders, but her hazy recollections of a knife-wielding figure in black do nothing to further the police’s investigations. Why is the killer choosing these young women? And what does it have to do with a girl named Solange? The film features all the hallmarks of classic gialli — the amateur detective, the black-gloved killer — as well as a lush score from Ennio Morricone. New 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.
There’s two important documentaries coming to Blu-ray this week, both from Synapse Films/CAV Distributing: “Triumph of the Will (2015 Remaster)” (1935). Leni Riefenstahl’s classic piece of historical filmmaking, filmed during the 1934 Nazi Party Rally in Nuremberg, Germany, is considered by many to be one of the most important films ever made. Realized by Paul Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, this film was created to influence all of Germany to support the power of the Nazi Party. Historically significant and, at times, a horrifyingly manipulative exercise in propaganda for the Nazi regime, “Triumph of the Will” continues to be controversial 80 years after its original release and has been banned in Germany for many decades. Until her death in 2003, Riefenstahl was under fire for her personal relationship with Adolph Hitler, spending her life haunted by the shadow of the Nazi Party. This all-new remastered version is derived from a new 2K scan, digitally corrected and restored under the supervision of film historian and preservationist Robert A. Harris … “Stalingrad” (2003), a high-definition presentation of the original three-part 2003 mini-series. The Eastern Front experienced the viciousness of World War II on a scale of unimaginable horror and brutality. The bloodiest and most savage fighting took place in Stalingrad between August 1942 and February 1943. Stalin’s city on the Volga had military significance for Hitler, as it carried the name of his enemy and therefore had to be destroyed. The ensuing battle sealed the fates of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians, marked the turning point of World War II, and was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. This three-part documentary by award-winning documentary filmmakers Sebastian Dehnhardt, Christian Deick and Jorg Mullner presents both the German and Russian perspective, contains rare footage shot by soldiers during the siege, and reveals new historical facts with moving eyewitness accounts and confessions from some of Stalingrad’s last survivors. The Russian archives opened their doors to the filmmakers, granting exclusive access to a wealth of previously unreleased material. Originally broadcast in both Germany and Russia in slightly truncated editions, this Blu-ray contains all three “Stalingrad” documentaries including “The Attack” (54 min.), “The Kessel” (56 min.) and “The Doom” (55 min.) in their original uncut, English dubbed versions.