Daylight savings time started recently, and this month's Blastr's Blu-ray Roundup hopes to catch you up on that lost hour with a thorough recap of a daring dozen new and upcoming HD releases. March offers a tantalizing batch representing the holy trinity of geeky movies and TV specials plucked from the fields of sci-fi, fantasy and supernatural horror. From Syfy's admirable adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End and Guillermo del Toro's creepy Crimson Peak to Disney's animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Vin Diesel bagging demonic hags in The Last Witch Hunter and Luke Evans' vampiric origin saga, Dracula Untold, it's a bright and bountiful spread to help renew your belief in the many blessings of repeated home viewings.
Spring into this fresh bouquet of Blu-ray titles to plant inside your player and tell us which ones you're itching for.
CHILDHOOD'S END (2015)
Syfy's three-part miniseries based on Arthur C. Clarke's tragic tale of the cosmic Overlords missed the mark on some levels, but was an ambitious undertaking that should be applauded. Aired over a three-night period in December, the classic sci-fi novel was given a serious adaptation that was painfully slow out of the gate but built to a heartbreaking, poignant finale. And Charles Dance's devilishly wild Karellen costume and makeup are well worth the price of admission. This two-disc HD release is delivered with creator interviews and three sections of deleted scenes for The Overlords, The Deceivers and The Children.
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN (2015)
Mary Shelley might be raging over her grave in anger at this latest Hollywood adaptation of her gothic horror tale, but this Frankenfilm has a lot to offer, including solid performances from Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy and Charles Dance, and an innovative screenplay by Max Brooks (World War Z). This time out, the timeless story is directed by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin, Push) and told from the dark and twisted perspective of Radcliffe's Igor character. The new 2:39:1 widescreen transfer is matched with English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and strapped down with the 7-part behind-the-scenes featurette, The Making of Victor Frankenstein, Production Design, Production Photography and Behind-The-Scenes Still Galleries, director audio commentary and theatrical trailer. Give your collection a jolt of terror from the lurid lab of Victor Frankenstein.
CRIMSON PEAK (2015)
Guillermo del Toro delivers an old-fashioned haunted house film with stylish touches and creepy modern effects and the lavish home theater edition is a frighfully-good HD offering. Last Halloween season's ghost flick starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam scares up a killer complement of extras and bonus features including: I Remember Crimson Peak: A series of interviews with director Guillermo del Toro and his cast, A Living Thing, A Primer on Gothic Romance, Crimson Phantoms: Del Toro’s approach to make-up effects discussed by award-winning effects house DDT and Hand Tailored Gothic: Costume designer Kate Hawley unravels her collaboration with Del Toro and reveals the symbolism constantly at play in the wardrobe’s design. Allerdale Hall never looked so inviting!
VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1995)
John Carpenter directed this eerie remake of the British sci-fi horror film from 1960 with many of his signature touches, but lacking in any real innovations of its own to separate it from the original. Nevertheless, it's a must-have for any Carpenter fan and this new HD version from Scream Factory is boldly boxed with new featurettes and commentaries, including: It Takes A Village: The Making Of Village Of The Damned Featuring Interviews With Director John Carpenter, Producer Sandy King, Actors Michael Paré, Peter Jason, Karen Kahn, Meredith Salenger and The Walking Dead's make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero, Horror's Hallowed Grounds – Revisiting The Locations Of The Film, The Go To Guy: Peter Jason On John Carpenter, and vintage inteviews with John Carpenter, Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Mark Hamill and Wolf Rilla, director of the original Village of the Damned, theatrical trailers, TV spots and a behind-the-scenes still gallery. Beautifully presented for your eyeballs' pleasure in a crystal-clear 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) format with DTS Master Audio 5.1.
THE BOY (2016)
Fresh off its January theatrical run, this unsettling little horror movie stars The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohen as Greta, an American nanny sent to a remote English village to care for a couple's living-doll son. This bizarre babysitting job doesn't come out until May 10, but could be a worthy addition to your horror collection with its old-fashioned scares and unexpected twists. The film was directed by William Brent Bell, who delivered the paranormal cop thriller, The Devil Inside. No announcement of bonus features or extras at this time.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2 (1986)
It took twelve years to get a sequel to Tobe Hooper's original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where in today's impatient market it would have been twleve minutes. Leatherface is gassing up his chainsaw and sprinting back into infamy with the 2-disc HD Collector's Edition starring Dennis Hopper as renegade ranger, Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright. More of a horror comedy than a traditional slaughter fest, this Scream Factory release coming April 10 features a new 2K HD Scan from the interpositive film element, audio commentary with Director Of Photography Richard Kooris, director Tobe Hooper and actors Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams and Special Effects Makeup Creator Tom Savini, extended outtakes from It Runs In The Family featuring L.M. Kit Carson And Lou Perryman, behind-The-Scenes footage compilation from Tom Savini's Archives, Alternate Opening Credit Sequence, Deleted Scenes, Still Galleries – Posters And Lobby Cards, Behind-The-Scenes photos, theatrical trailers, TV spots and more. The buzz is back!!
THE VINCENT PRICE COLLECTION PART III
Scream Factory's third installment of the monumental gathering of Vincent Price's most memorable movies includes five all-time classics: Master of the World (1961), Tower of London (1962), Diary of a Madman (1963), Cry of the Banshee (1970) and the low-budget TV special, An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe (1970). Due to licensing rights, not every Price film is allowed to be included in these remastered collections, but it's a respectable representation. All films contain commentaries, interviews with Roger Corman, mini-documentaries, trailers and stills.
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)
You'll be whistling Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho all the way into summer after securing this newly remastered Signature Collection release from Disney. Voted as The Greatest Animated Feature Of All Time by the American Film Institute, Walt's first charge into animated features is presented in 1080p video with lossless 7.1 audio. The bonus content is loaded with more gems than the dwarfs' sparkling mine and includes: In Walt’s Words: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – For the first time ever, hear Walt himself talk about Snow White; Iconography – Explore how this film influences pop culture, art, and fashion; Designing Disney’s First Princess – Modern day Disney artists discuss the design of Snow White and how it influenced the look of some of your favorite Disney characters; The Fairest Facts of Them All: 7 Facts You May Now Know About Snow White – Disney Channel star Sofia Carson reveals seven intriguing facts about Snow White; Snow White in Seventy Seconds – Rap along with this hip reimagining of the story and a never-seen storyboard presentation: Alternate Sequence: The Prince Meets Snow White.
DRACULA UNTOLD (2014)
Hardly the stirring heroic epic it was intended to be, this film features Luke Evans doing an inspired job chronicling Dracula's origin story, even if the plot has some serious head-scratching moments. The 2-disc Blu-ray release is fully stocked with a feature commentary by director Gary Shore and production designer Francois Audouy, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Opening, The Land of Dracula: An exclusive interactive map that takes fans deep into Dracula’s mysterious world, including Castle Dracula, Cozia Monastery, Broken Tooth Mountain and Borga Pass, documentaries including Luke Evans – Creating a Legend, Day in the Life – Luke Evans: Personal moments with the film’s star provide a glimpse into life on set, Dracula Retold: An exploration of the production, including costumes, sets and how the real history of Dracula is woven into the story, and Slaying 1000: A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Vlad’s epic battle against an army of thousands, from the script and visual effects.
DEEP RED (1975)
Italian horror master Dario Argento's Deep Red gets the deluxe treatment it so deserves in this 3-disc limited-edition beauty. For those unfamiliar with Argento's influential work, this movie is a killer place to start. Groove to the cool progressive rock tunes of Goblin and watch David Hemmings' musician character get stalked by a murderous maniac. This crimson-colored box set is limited to 5,000 copies and contains a brilliant 4k transfer of both the international cut, released as Deep Red and The Hatchet Murders (105 mins) and the director’s cut (127 mins). Stuffed with the complete 28-track original soundtrack and all wrapped up in premium packaging with an all-new exclusive booklet, 6 postcard-sized lobby card reproductions and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx. The new booklet features writing on the film by Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film and an archive piece by critic Alan Jones, illustrated with original archive stills.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)
Yeah, this came out last mont,h but we'd be damned to the wasteland if we didn't include George Miller's wild post-apocalyptic joyride on our list, especially after it scored six golden statues at this year's Academy Awards celebration. Warner's Blu-ray treatment has a monster motor of bonus treats under the hood, with a high-octane stash of deleted scenes, commentaries, interviews, TV spots, trailers and a dump of featurettes like Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road, Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels, The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa, The Tools of the Wasteland, The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome, Fury Road: Crash & Smash and more. If you have a sweet 4K TV to play this Ultra HD version, I'll be right over!
THE LAST WITCH HUNTER (2015)
Not to be confused with the infinitely more watchable, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters or the terrible Nicolas Cage movie, Season of the Witch, this decent Vin Diesel vehicle directed by Breck Eisner (The Crazies, Sahara), is perfectly suited for cheesy home entertainment. Diesel has a scene-chewing blast in the lead role here and totally turns on the testosterone as Kaulder, an immortal witch hunter on the hunt for the wicked Witch Queen. (Stop snickering!) Also starring Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie, and Michael Caine, The Last Witch Hunter is decked out in a fresh 2:40:1 widescreen HD format paired with next-generation DTS:X immersive audio. Extras include: Crafting the Magic: The Last Witch Hunter Featurette, Animated Short Films From Deviantart – The Origins of the Axe and Cross, The Last Witch Hunter Sizzle Reel / “Paint It, Black," deleted scenes and director audio commentary.