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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: The Munsters, Army of Darkness, Paranormal Activity, Lost Highway, Disturbing Behavior and more

Now that it’s mid-October, there’s a heavy horror/spooky focus in the home video world. There’s only one major new release this week (and it’s a doozy!), but there are some outstanding catalog releases to get you through the Halloween season. Read on for more info!

The Munsters

I didn’t think Rob Zombie could make a worse movie than Halloween 2 – which I consider not only the worst Halloween movie, but also one of the worst movies ever made – but here he comes with The Munsters to prove me wrong. I generally try not to completely savage movies in my reviews; I feel like most films have either a redeeming quality or an audience out there for them. However, The Munsters is legitimately so bad that there’s nothing good I can say about it. The movie looks like it was shot on a set made by high school drama students (although that might be insulting to drama students everywhere), the script is terrible and unfunny, the performances are uniformly bad, and the whole time you’re watching it you’re thinking to yourself, “Is this a joke? Like, is this entire movie just a humongous prank?” The only good thing I can say about it is that it’s like car-wreck moviegoing; it’s terrible and awful, but you can’t look away once you start watching it because you just want to see if it can possibly remain that bad the entire way through. Well, guess what? It does. Universal Studios has called this film a “reboot” of the Munsters franchise, but I can’t see it rebooting anything, because there’s no possible way people will want more of this. Avoid at all costs.

Paranormal Activity: The Ultimate Chills Collection

Say what you will about the Paranormal Activity films, the franchise was incredibly profitable for Paramount Studios. Starting off with an ultra-low-budget standalone film, the studio widely capitalized on its breakout success by creating multiple sequels, but the true brilliance was that they retained the aesthetic and budget of the original film, making each one a massive profit-maker for them. Now, personally, I quite enjoy the franchise, especially the first four films. They’re effectively creepy found footage films about a house and a family being plagued by a vengeful ghostly/demonic spirit. This new eight-disc box set collects all seven films, including the home video debut of Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin, the 2021 entry that has been a Paramount+ exclusive up until now (and which I’m sure will be released as a solo title eventually.) There’s also an eighth disc with a feature-length documentary called Unknown Dimension: The Story of Paranormal Activity, which gives us a nice look at the creation of the original film and the follow ups. Additionally, the box set gives you theatrical and unrated cuts for each film in the series (except the latest one), digital copies of each movie, the Blu-ray 3D version of PA: The Ghost Dimension, plus a sticker, all in one cool box set, that is being listed as a limited-edition release. A great binge watch for the Halloween holiday season!

Scream 2 (4K Ultra HD Steelbook)

Making its solo 4K Ultra HD debut, Scream 2 comes to home video in a gorgeous Steelbook release. Now, I’m a huge fan of the Scream franchise, and while Scream 2 does have some major flaws (largely in the killing of one particular character who never should have been killed), it’s still a great slasher film. I mean, it’s hard to follow-up one of the most successful horror films of all time, especially one that revolutionizes the horror genre, so of course Scream 2 suffers in direct comparison to the first film. However, it’s still a lot of fun and features the requisite deconstruction of horror sequels. This new 4K Ultra HD release sees the film get a solid A/V upgrade, more in the visual end of the spectrum than the audio. The imagery is sharp and crisp, colors have nice pop to them, and the shadow delineation is high quality enough to make the many nighttime scenes much easier to see than ever before. The surround soundtrack does give your speakers enough to work with, but it’s not the most immersive soundscape I’ve ever heard. Still, along with the sharp-looking steelbook case and the digital copy, this is a great release for fans of the franchise.

Army of Darkness (4K Ultra HD Steelbook)

Over the years, I had long considered myself a big Evil Dead franchise fan. And while I do somewhat enjoy all of the films in the franchise, I had an epiphany a few years back: really, more than anything else, I’m an Army of Darkness fan. This was the first movie I saw in the trilogy, and it’s a movie I’ve watched over and over again in the years since. And while I do enjoy the original Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, it’s Army of Darkness that really brings me joy and is my go-to watch when I’m in the mood for something Evil Dead-related. It’s a near-perfect horror comedy, and while it has always been a cult classic like the first two and never broke through to mainstream success, it’s a film I really love. Now it comes to home video on 4K Ultra HD for the first time, and as a bonus, it comes in a great-looking Steelbook case. Army of Darkness is easily the highest-budgeted of the three Evil Dead movies, but it’s still a low-budget film and the 4K Ultra HD upgrade doesn’t change that. However, the film looks and sounds better than ever, with brighter colors, deeper blacks, better shadow delineation, and some solid discrete sound effects in your speakers. Now, there is no shortage of Army of Darkness releases from Shout Factory over the last several years, but with the 4K upgrade, some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen on a steelbook, and copious extra features, this is a great release for fans.

Lost Highway

The Criterion Collection hits on what seems like an obvious inclusion to their line-up with David Lynch’s Lost Highway. For as late in Lynch’s career as this movie comes, it’s somehow one of his least mainstream works, and that’s saying a lot. This 1997 oddity is a mystery/noir/science fiction(?) mash-up – I mean, I think, but who really knows? – starring Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette. It involves a husband and wife, mysterious videotapes that might reveal the future, and Lynch’s typical lack of a cohesive storyline. I suppose there are musings on identity and reality to be found here, but it’s honestly a bit baffling for me. Maybe if I watch the film five or six times I’ll get it more, but sadly I don’t enjoy it enough to watch it more than once. As part of the Criterion Collection, the film has been restored and remastered (and is available on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD), meaning it looks and sounds better than ever. The extra features include a feature-length 1997 archival documentary, interviews with the cast, essays, and more. It’s a great release for Lynch fans, I’m just not one of them.

Walker: Season Two

As a huge fan of Supernatural, obviously I was interested to see where Jared Padalecki would end up when the show ended its epic 15-season run. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect it to be on a reboot of Chuck Norris’s well-loved Walker, Texas Ranger show. But here we are, and while Walker isn’t the kind of show I would normally gravitate towards, I wanted to give it a chance. The show sees Padalecki as Walker (who is a Texas Ranger) who returns to Austin and tries to reconnect with his children while pairing up with a new partner and looking into the death of his wife. The show definitely puts more focus on the drama and the family aspect of the show than Norris’s vehicle did, but there’s still time for action and wrangling criminals. While I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show, I have to admit, I did get wrapped up in it, especially as we moved into the second season. Padalecki is always a likable lead, and the supporting cast features a lot of familiar faces that I like. It’s an easy show to watch, and I think people will enjoy it.

Krypto the Superdog: The Complete Series

Predating streaming services, where content is king, the Cartoon Network brought us two seasons of animated adventures of Superman’s dog way back in 2005. Traditionally animated, Krypto the Superdog was an action-adventure comedy series that was effectively superheroics with superpets, so it’s no surprise that the entire series is being rereleased to coincide with the big screen offering DC League of Superpets (also starring Krypto) hitting home video screens. I have fond memories of this series, watching it on DVD with my kids, who were born after the show had already left airwaves. The show focuses on Krypto and his human friend Kevin, and we get appearances by other superpets like Streaky the Supercat. The show had a fun vibe, with adventure and villains and comedy and cute characters, and I found it a lot of fun. Now, you can relive the show in its entirety with Krypto the Superdog: The Complete Series, a 5-disc set that collects all 39 episodes from the shows too-short two seasons. Definitely worth a revisit for fans, and a great way to introduce younger kids to more Krypto fun.

Disturbing Behavior

In the wake of the success of 1996’s horror/comedy juggernaut Scream, there was a fresh new wave of teen horror films that came out. While many of them were slashers like 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer and became big hits, one of the more forgotten films of the era is 1998’s Disturbing Behavior, starring James Marsden, Katie Holmes, and Nick Stahl. Sort of a broody high school update on The Stepford Wives, the movie follows a handful of unruly teenagers in Cradle Bay, Washington, where former troublemakers are suddenly becoming upstanding citizens. Well, of course, something is up, and it’s up to these moody-yet-attractive teenagers to figure out what it is. The film was never a big hit, and to be fair, it isn’t one of the best films of the era. But, revisiting it for the first time in two decades, it is still a fun movie and a snapshot of a time when horror was reinventing itself in the wake of a new paradigm in the genre. This new Blu-ray release of Disturbing Behavior is part of MVD’s Rewind Collection, which includes some nice extra features, reversible artwork, and a mini poster. It’s a fun flick to revisit with a nice new release to do so with.

Also Available This Week on Home Video:

    • Wire Room – There’s a weird new trend in direct-to-video action movies in which we see the same actors in multiple movies with the same overall vibe or story or co-stars, released in rapid succession. For example, Kevin Dillon starred in Hot Seat just a couple of months ago, in which we saw Dillon strapped to a chair that was wired to explosives.  This new one sees Dillon as a federal agent who – once again – spends most of the film’s running time in a chair. This time around, he plays a federal agent tasked with observing a low-level criminal wrapped up in a big investigation. When the bad guys show up to take out the surveillance target, Dillon’s agent tries to talk him through surviving… without leaving his chair. And while that isn’t the worst concept for a film ever, it’s the execution that tanks it. The writing is the poor, the pacing is uneven, the action scenes are too few, and the film just never gels. Willis is barely in it (the film was made before he retired from acting, but he’s spent the last few years putting his face on the covers of movies that he only appears in for a few scenes), and while Dillon is an enjoyable actor, he’s just not given enough to do. A swing and a miss, unfortunately.
    • Marineland Carnival With the Munsters – While this new release is tied into Universal’s new Munsters reboot (reviewed above), it’s actually a really cool oddity that stands on its own and also takes me right back to my childhood. Back in the ‘60s, between the first and second seasons of the hit Munsters TV show, CBS aired this “travelogue” special. It was basically a partnership with a Sea World-esque theme park called Marineland of the Pacific that saw the cast of The Munsters — in character and costumes — travel to Marineland and explore the park. Scripted (yet loosely so), the show was a one-hour de facto “lost episode” of The Munsters that has only ever been aired once and is now released on DVD. When I was a kid, I was really into both The Munsters and Marineland, and while I’m not old enough to have ever seen this episode, pictures from it would appear occasionally in articles and TV retrospectives. So it’s really cool to finally be able to see it. Not only does it give us the Munster family in color – a rarity – it’s also a snapshot of a particular era in time. Sure, it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s a fun special. The disc also includes a full episode of The Danny Kaye Show with Fred Gwynne as Herman, other rare clips from the time, and even a new featurette with Butch Patrick. Great stuff for Munsters fans, making at least one release this week fans of the show will enjoy.
    • Frost – I’m always a sucker for survival thrillers, so I was excited to watch Frost, which sees a pregnant woman and her estranged father stranded in a car on the edge of a mountain after an icy car crash. And while the film does have some good qualities, it ultimately lost me. First of all, it has pacing issues. After some good character development, Abby is left by herself for most of the movie. That’s always a hard balancing act to pull off without the movie flagging, and it doesn’t succeed entirely here. And then there’s the ending, which is already getting a lot of people talking about it. It veers into a pretty extreme territory that I suspect will divide viewers strongly; some will love it, many more will hate it. I was not a fan, personally. Credit to lead actress Devanny Pinn, who does give a very strong performance that elevates the film, but it has too many flaws for me to consider it a success as a viewing experience.
    • Moon 66 Questions – While it sounds like it might be a documentary about whether or not the moon landing was fake, instead Moon 66 Questions is a dramatic film from Greece. This melodrama is a familial relationship film with a bit of coming-of-age drama mixed in. In it, we meet Paris and his teenage daughter Artemis. Artemis is caretaking for Paris since he has Multiple Sclerosis, but they aren’t exactly close. We see the struggles of the family, emotionally speaking, and also we learn a secret about the father that helps to close some of the gaps. The film mixes in some hallucinatory imagery as well, so this isn’t exactly a straightforward drama narrative. There are some good performances to be found here, and if you like tough family situations and don’t mind subtitles, you might get sucked into the characters’ lives here.

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