When I was a young teen, I used to daydream about the day when I’d turn 16 and could take myself to see R-rated movies (or rent them at the video store). My parents were not ridiculously strict with these things. I’d seen plenty of R-rated movies but those were mostly action movies. In my family, like many American families, violence on the screen was okay for us young ones to watch. We could get away with a certain amount of cursing in movies, but sex and nudity were big no-nos. On the occasions my mother was out of town, my father relaxed the rules a bit and we’d rent some silly R-rated comedies or maybe a slasher film, but those occasions were few and far between.
Our little town was blessed with a wonderful little local video store that kept all sorts of oddities in stock, and I’d browse the shelves desperately waiting for the day when I could take home the tantalizing bizarre flicks my parents would never let me rent. I’m not talking about porn here, just loads of b-movies, gore cinema, and films that studios like Troma were putting out at the time. When I finally did get my driver’s license, I spent many a late night with one of those rentals under my bed, awaiting the time when the parents would go to bed so I could watch them.
It was during this glorious period of my life that I first saw Re-animator. It was so full of everything I delighted in - sex, gore, twisted humor - that I loved it immediately. It was the rare bad movie that subjugated, then elevated its own genre. It left such an impression that even though I haven’t seen it in decades I still hold it dear.
I did see the sequel, Bride of Re-Animator (with its pitch-perfect tag line “Date, Mate, Re-animate”) but I honestly have no memory of it other than it was slightly disappointing. And yet, I am still overly excited about Arrow Video's release of the film. They do such a fantastic job putting out incredible versions of (often) terrible films that I cannot wait to see what they can do with this one.
It comes with their usual painstakingly put-together, high-def transfer, plus an assortment of extras, and contains both the R-rated and Unrated versions of the film. Pick it this week, I most certainly do.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Justice League vs Teen Titans: Right on the heels of Batman v Superman in the theatre comes this straight-to-video, animated release from the DC Universe. I am by no means an expert on comic books and even less of one on DC comics. I’ve not seen all the live-action movies much less read all the comics or seen all the animated stories. My understanding is that DC has now released 25 original animated films, of which I’ve seen exactly zero. Still, I’m trying to become a bigger and bigger fan and this looks fun.
Only Angels Have Wings (Criterion Collection): Howard Hawks directed Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, and Rita Hayworth in this classic film about a group of pilots who fly cargo planes over the Andes. I’ve always wanted to see it and Criterion gives the best chances.
Heroes Reborn: I loved the first season of Heroes, but like nearly everybody, felt the second season really dropped in quality and I stopped paying attention after that. I’d like to think that the creators found a way to get back to the magic of the first season, but I have my doubts. Still, I really do enjoy these new Event Series that the studios are doing now. Allows us to revisit old series and find new ones without the commitment of 20-plus episodes and multiple seasons.
The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun: French remake of a French flick from the '70s. I know nothing about it but that title gets me interested.
The Forest: Good premise, bad movie. How they can set a movie in a suicide forest filled with angry ghosts, get Natalie Dormer to star in it, and still make it dull is beyond me, but they did. Read my full review here.