The Ring Collection 4K UHD is the Pick of the Week

The J-Horror craze of the early 2000s hit me at exactly the right time. I grew up watching slasher flicks in the late 1980s and loved the self-aware phase it took on in the post-Scream renaissance but by the end of the 1990s, I was burned out. There are just so many teenagers you can watch get murdered by a crazed man with a machete. But J-Horror was different. It relied less on jump scares and more on mood and eeriness. It was full of ancient mythology, and an impending sense of dread. These films also came at a time when more and more films were readily available for guys like me living in small cities in the Midwest. Netflix’s DVD-by-mail program was up and running and with it more films than I could ever imagine suddenly became accessible. Streaming video wasn’t really a thing, but high-speed Internet did allow for those of us in the know to watch an even larger collection of films that I didn’t even know existed a few years prior.

Buy The Ring Collection 4K UHD

I watched all the Japanese horror and what they used to call Asian Extreme Cinema I could get my hands on. I still have vivid memories of sitting in my home office, sitting upright in my little roller chair watching Ringu late one night on my computer. I don’t scare easily, but that movie completely unnerved me. It took me a long while to get to sleep that night.

It didn’t take long for Hollywood to notice and soon theaters were inundated with American remakes of Japanese horror films. Most of them were pretty bad, or worse outright boring, but Gore Verbinski’s remake of Ringu, The Ring was pretty great. It took the best parts of the story, and that creeping eeriness, loaded it with style and Western modernity, and created something that resembled the original in the best ways, but also gave itself reasons for existing.

There was a relatively decent sequel, The Ring Two, made in 2005, and for inexplicable reasons a third film, simply titled Rings, came out in 2017. I haven’t seen that one, but everybody, and I mean everybody, says it is terrible. But that first film makes it all worthwhile. Shout Factory is putting out a new 4K UHD release of all three films with some cool-looking box art and quite a few new extras including commentaries, deleted scenes, and making-of featurettes. It would be nice if they’d release each film separately in 4K UHD as I don’t know that it’s worth the price to get those sequels along with the first one, but if you can find a sale, or you have a birthday coming up, this looks worth the purchase.

Also coming out this week that looks interesting:

Lynch/Oz: David Lynch is apparently a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz, which is maybe not as weird as that first sounds. This documentary, which is being released by Criterion so you know it has to be good, explores that relationship and how that classic film influences the director’s visual style. Read Davy’s review of the movie.

Doctor Who: The Daleks in Color: The second story of the original Classic Doctor Who series introduced its most famous villains, the Daleks. The rest is history. For reasons of their own, the BBC is releasing a new(ish) version of the story. They’ve edited down the original 175-minute story length (7 episodes at 25 minutes each) into a 75-minute (blockbuster). As the title suggests, they’ve also colorized it and added new music. I’m a bit of a purist with these things so part of me is appalled by the entire idea, and yet I have to admit the original story does lag quite a bit so I’m curious to see what they’ve done to it. And if you don’t like it this set does come with the original unedited and in black-and-white story.

The Runner: Criterion presents this Iranian film about an impoverished boy living alone on the streets making do on his wits and dreams.

Dark Water: Arrow Video is upgrading Hideo Nakata’s 2002 J-Horror film about a newly single mom slowly losing her mind in a rundown apartment complex. It isn’t as good as Ringu, which Nakata also directed, but it’s well worth checking out. Arrow has given it a new 4K transfer and filled it with extras. Read Kent Conrad’s review of the Blu-ray.

Mat Brewster

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