Godzilla: The Showa Era Films (1954-1975) Is the Pick of the Week

It's a big week for horror films and a terrific week for Criterion fans.
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Davy is off this week so I’m picking up my old reins and talking new Blu-ray releases.

It is Halloween week!  One of my favorite weeks of the year.  I’m a huge horror fan and boy, does this week have plenty of horror releases.  But first, we have to talk about the Criterion Collection.  Since the mid-1980s (yep, you read that right, they started making Laserdiscs in 1985), Criterion has been releasing superior editions of independent, art-house, and foreign films on home video.  For serious cinephiles, Criterion is the place to begin one's collection.

Their DVD and Blu-ray releases come with a spine number, ordering their collection from the date they release them.  Criterion fans, nerds that we are, create a certain kind of mystique around the big spine numbers and there was an enormous amount of anticipation and speculation over what Spine #1000 would be.

Well, here it is and it is glorious, and even appropriate for Halloween week - a giant Godzilla box.  Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films (1954-1975) contains 15 films from the King of Monsters (including Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the Americanized version of the original Godzilla with added in scenes starring Raymond Burr).  It is a lovely 8-disk set filled with some truly beautiful new art and all the extras and special features we’ve come to expect from Criterion.

Some people have squabbled that many of the Godzilla sequels aren’t exactly Criterion worthy (meaning intellectual, art-house, and snooty) but I’m crazy excited about it.  I’m already saving my money for the annual November sale from Barnes and Noble.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Satan’s Slave (Vinegar Syndrome):  A young girl is caught up in a devil cult run by her evil uncle and cousin.

Unmasked Part 25:  Presumably a satire of the Friday the 13th movies in which a Jason-like killer (named Jackson here) begins to question all his murderous ways.

Batman Beyond: The Complete Series: This Batman animated series was a sort-of sequel to Batman: The Animated Series.  It is set in the future where an elderly Bruce Wayne trains a new Batman to fight bad guys in Gotham.  It lasted three seasons and had a made-for0TV movie titled Return of the Joker.  This set comes with all of that plus a cool little Funko PopI doll, plus art cards, audio commentaries, and lots of making-of features.

La Marseillaise (Kino Lorber):  Jean Renoir spent a lot of time researching the French Revolution to make his film about it as accurate as possible.  This also makes it a bit more like a history class than an awesome movie, but for those interested in that bit of history, it is well worth the watching.  You can read my full review of it here.

The Blob (Shout Factory):  ‘80s remake of the ‘50s ultra-silly horror movie about a deadly blob of goo taking over the town.  I remember it fondly from my youth, should be fun to revisit.

Man of a Thousand Faces (Arrow Academy): James Cagney plays Lon Chaney in this bio-pic of the legendary actor.

An American Werewolf in London (Arrow Video):  John Landis’ classic horror comedy is getting a lovely-looking limited edition from Arrow.

Two Evil Eyes (Blue Underground):  In 1990, George Romero and Dario Argento teamed up to make this film in which they adapt two Edgar Allan Poe stories.  Its reputation isn’t great, but I’ve always wanted to see it and now is the time as Blue Underground has given it a new 4K restoration.

Ringu Collection (Ringu, Ringu 0, Rings, Ring 2, Rasen) (Arrow Video):  Hideo Nakata’s horror film about people mysteriously dying after they watch a videotape launched numerous remakes in several countries and launched the J-horror phenomenon in the late 1990s.  They made several sequels to it and at least one prequel in Japan, and Arrow now has them all boxed up in this excellent-looking set.

Watch Me When I Kill (Synapse Films): Italian giallo about a woman who witnesses a murder and is then stalked by the killer.

The Human Monster (VCI): Bela Lugosi stars in this film about a Scotland Yard detective investigating a series of deaths that might be the cause of an insurance scam.

Paganini Horror (Severin Films) When a female rock band use an infamous piece of sheet music to record their new album, they accidentally open a portal to hell.

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