WEIRD HORIZON FOR THE WEEK OF 9/18/09

A look at what’s weird in theaters, on hot-off-the-presses DVDs, and on more distant horizons…

Trailers of new release movies are generally available on the official site links.

SPECIAL EVENTS:

The Wizard of Oz (1939) – 70th Anniversary Hi-Def Event:  Finally, flying monkeys in high definition!  This remastered re-release of the fantasy classic, with bonus features, is playing on Wednesday, September 23 only, in theaters across the country (click here for the list).  Definitely an event.

SCREENINGS (NEW YORK CITY; TEMPE, AZ.):

Devil Girl (2007):  This low budget “hallucinatory” horror road-trip features strippers, a drug-addled clown, and a literal devil girl.  It’s getting a token release at the Times Square Art Theater in New York City tonight only, and at a single theater in Tempe, Arizona tonight and tomorrow night (Sep 18-19); scheduled to arrive on DVD in early November.  Devil Girl official site.

NEW ON DVD:

An American Werewolf in London (1981):  This werewolf black comedy is more offbeat than weird, but on release it was was a trailblazer in the modern horror/comedy genre, and the film has a definite cult following who may be interested in a new, remastered special edition release. Buy from Amazon.

Army of Darkness: Screwhead Edition (1992): Read our capsule review of the third entry in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy here.   It appears Anchor Bay’s contract to distribute Army is up, necessitating a new release from Universal.  Unfortunately, this means that the excellent bonus features on the Anchor Bay release are now out of print, and this new release is sparse on extras, with no commentary.  The Screwhead edition does include an alternate ending and the new featurette “Creating the Deadites,” but it rabid fans believe this release must have been created by a bunch of primitive screwheads.  Completists can buy from Amazon.

Deadgirl (2009):  Controversial, provocative fable about horny high-school boys who discover the plastic-wrapped body of a naked woman in an abandoned mental hospital; is she dead, alive, or neither, and what will they do about it?  It appears to be an extreme allegory on the objectification of women; many audience members were reported to have walked out of theatrical screenings due to the (ahem) “strong” scenes. Buy from Amazon.

Grace (2009):  Indie horror about a mother whose baby is born undead; first time feature director Paul Solet expanded Grace to a full length movie from an award-winning short that Fangoria called “superbly bizarre.” Buy from Amazon.

John Carpenter: Master of Fear:  Four of sometimes cult director John (Dark Star; Big Trouble in Little China) Carpenter’s lesser horror efforts collected in a single budget set.  Includes The Thing (1982), the jewel of the set, along with Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988), and the mediocre 1995 remake of The Village of the Damned.  The four movies are on two discs, so extras are unlikely. Buy from Amazon.

Phantasm II (1988): Reggie Banister and Angus Scrimm return in this belated sequel to Phantasm (read entry), already certified as one of the 366 best weird movies ever made.  Dedicated Phanatics seem to love it, but most mainstream reviewers were unkind; at any rate, this long out-of-print film definitely deserves a revival. Buy from Amazon

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

An American Werewolf in London (1981):  See the DVD listing above. Buy blu-ray from Amazon.

Army of Darkness (1992):  See the DVD listing above. Buy Blu-ray from Amazon.

Hero [Ying xiong] (2002):  Beautiful looking, poetic epic martial arts film with a Rashomon-style storyline.  It became an international crossover hit, and is available on this standalone release and a bundled release (see below). Buy from Amazon.

The Ultimate Force of Four:  Another budget blu-ray bundle of some of the more renowned wuxia films: Iron Monkey (1993),  Legend of the Drunken Master (1994), Hero (2002) (see above), and The Blind Swordsman Zatoichi (2003).  A nice selection of films to start a collection in this genre. Buy from Amazon.

NEW FREE (LEGITIMATE RELEASE) ON YOUTUBE:

Fear X (2003):  Danish thriller with John Turturro, mysterious visions, and an ambiguous ending.  Watch free on YouTube.

BMC: B-MOVIE CLASSICS:

Even more free online viewing experiences, courtesy of the American Movie Classics cable channel.  The main drawback is low picture quality, and the fact that a lot of these are public domain movies that could be viewed elsewhere commercial free.  Selected titles are listed below, or you can browse all the selections here.

Carnival of Souls (1962): We’ve certified this sublimely creepy low-budget wonder about a church organist out-of-sync with reality as one of the 366 best weird movies of all time (read entry); here’s another way to watch it.  Watch Carnival of Souls free.

Dark Star (1974):  John Carpenter’s sci-fi spoof feature debut.  Watch Dark Star free.

The Prisoner (1967): Not a b-movie, and in fact not a movie; this is the existential/surreal BBC spy series starring Patrick McGoohan as a “retired” secret agent (known only as “Number Six”) trapped (for undisclosed reasons) in a village on an remote island patrolled by deadly balloons.   The bizarre final episode blew everyone’s minds in 1967, when minds were hard to blow indeed.  Watch The Prisoner free.

What are you looking forward to? If you have any weird movie leads that I have overlooked, feel free to leave them in the COMMENTS section.

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