George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn Is the Pick of the Week

I’ve loved movies for as long as I can remember. My mother tells the story of the first time I went to the cinema. I was maybe five or six years old at the time. I saw in the front row with my brother and cousins, but I kept walking back to where my mom was exclaiming how excited I was and how magical being at the moves felt. I no longer sit in the front row but movies are still magic. I’ve written plenty of times in these pages about how I’m also a big fan of horror films. That love can be traced back to George A. Romero and Night of the Living Dead.

I first saw it as a young teenager. I was just beginning to discover cinema outside of blockbusters and family films. I’d previously avoided older movies and certainly had no interest in black and white films. It must have ran on TCM or some other cable channel. I remember it coming on and my mother telling me how she’d seen it at the drive-in years ago and that it had scared the living daylights out of her. Scary sounded good so I let it run despite its age and lack of color. Almost immediately, I was hooked. When Johnny teases his sister at the graveyard with “They’re coming to get you, Barbara,” I knew it was a film like I’d never seen before. I was both scared and fascinated. For the rest of the movie, I was completely immersed.

Romero went on to make many more movies, including two more in his beloved zombie trilogy (which later became a series as he made three other Living Dead films much later in his career). I’ve seen the original Living Dead trilogy plus Land of the Dead and maybe Creepshow (I’m pretty sure I caught it at a way too early an age, but my memory is decidedly sparse) so there is a pretty big hole in this horror lover’s heart that needs to be filled by George A Romero.

Lucky for me, the old reliable Arrow Video company is ready to help fill that hole right up. This week they are releasing a trilogy of Romero films – There’s Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch, and The Crazies – which were made between Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. They are brilliantly calling it Between Night and Dawn and filling it with their usual high-definition restorations with loads of extras. Sounds like a perfect Halloween gift to me.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Atomic Blonde: Charlize Theron stars in this stylish spy thriller set in Berlin just before the wall falls.

Wind River: Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen take time off from their team-up with the Avengers to perform in this thriller about a murder that takes place on an Indian Reservation. Read David Wangberg’s review.

Preacher: Season Two: The first season of this AMC drama based upon the graphic novel by Gareth Ennis was mostly just prologue. The comic is all about our heroes (a preacher imbued with psychic powers from his accidental possession of a baby spawned by the unnatural coupling of an angel and a demon, his girl and a vampire) taking a road trip to find God and give Him a piece of their mind. Season One basically set all that up leading up to the events of the comic. I’ve not yet seen Season Two but I’m excited to see if they do the comic justice.

Le Samouri (Criterion Collection): Ultra cool gangster flick from France about a meticulous hitman on the run after a witness sees him kill a nightclub owner.

Kedi: A documentary about the city of Istanbul told through the eyes of the thousands of cats that roam its streets. I guess we’ve gone from cute cat videos on YouTube to full on documentaries about them. The trailers make it look really cute.

The Paul Naschy Collection II: Hunchback of the Morgue / Devil’s Possessed / The Werewolf and the Yeti / Exorcism / A Dragonfly for Each Corpse: Another cool looking collection from the master of Spanish horror.

Hellraiser (Limited Edition Steelbook): Arrow Video’s release of Clive Barker’s classic horror comes with a new 2k transfer and loads of extras.

Doctor Who: The Complete Tenth Season: They drive me crazy with these releases. For several seasons now, they’ve broken Doctor Who seasons into two parts and initially sold them in separate Blu-ray releases. When one season is only ten episodes long, it seems ridiculous to have to buy two sets to get it all. Months later, they will then release the entire season in one boxed set but by that point the two seperate sets are actually much cheaper even though they contain exactly the same stuff. Eventually, this set will go down in price but I hate having to wait so long to get a complete season of one of my favorite shows.

Amityville: The Awkakening: Bella Thorne, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Kurtwood Smith star as yet another family who move into the Amityville house and get spooked by ghosts.

Nightkill: Pretty terrible thriller starring Robert Mitchum and Jaclyn Smith which I reviewed.

Black Sabbath: The End – Live in Birmingham: Concert video of Sabbath’s last concert ever (or at least until they need more money).

Pearl Jam: Let’s Play Two: Concert video celebrating a couple of Pearl Jam show’s at Wrigley Field in 2016 that just happened to coincide with the Cubs World Series run.

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary: The “definitive” film about the sax player.

Mat Brewster

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