This week in home video brings a handful of horror classics to Blu-Ray. First up is Dark Sky’s 40th anniversary edition of Tobe Hooper’s grungy classic “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” which took the new level of realism in horror of George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” and cranked up the intensity to 11, bringing an unrelenting mood of panic and fear to a not-so-unrecognizable backwoods setting. Even the years of terrible remakes can’t dilute its power. It’d make an interesting double feature with this week’s other big horror release, Criterion’s long-awaited release of David Lynch’s “Eraserhead.” Where Hooper’s film makes a nightmare into reality, Lynch’s cult milestone takes mundane fears (pregnancy, fatherhood, domesticity) and turns them into a surreal living nightmare.
If you can’t take horror, it’d be best to stay away from some of the other gory films making their way to Blu-Ray, like the slasher “Silent Night, Deadly Night” or Paul Verhoeven’s violent Middle Ages movie “Flesh + Blood.” A better bet might be a funnier movie about ghouls, “Ghostbusters,” which is receiving a 30th anniversary Blu-Ray release just in time for the theatrical re-release of the film. “Ghostbusters II” is also making its Blu-Ray debut, for what it’s worth (not much).
New releases on DVD and Blu-Ray are headlined by a pair of summer smashes, one big and loud, one small and weepy. Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” was one of the most exhilarating blockbusters in ages, a film that had time for awe amidst all the destruction, while “The Fault in Our Stars” took an idea that sounded unbearably sappy on paper (teenagers with cancer fall in love) and made it a genuinely sweet, humane little tearjerker. Arthouse fans, meanwhile, might want to check out the Singaporean family film “Ilo Ilo,” the belated Blu-Ray release of Alexander Sokurov’s “Faust,” or “The German Doctor,” about Nazi war criminal Joseph Mengele hiding out in Argentina.
More thoughts from the Criticwire Network:
A.A. Dowd, The A.V. Club
Patrick Gamble, CineVue
“‘Faust’ contains all of Sokurov’s trademark filming techniques. His use of post-sync dubbing and anamorphic distortions create an almost dreamlike state, at times mesmerizing whilst at other extremely confusing…’Faust’s’ feel and tone recalls numerous gothic tragedies, whilst the sumptuous use of sulphuric tones and gold tinged lighting perfectly heightens the film’s more intensely emotional scenes.” Read more.
Joe Bendel, Libertas Film Magazine
Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
“Already it has become the water-cooler topic for this unusually classy summer picture: Is there enough Godzilla in ‘Godzilla?’ Folks, there is. There is just enough. For one thing, Godzilla’s not the only creature wreaking havoc in Japan and America. For another, there’s such a thing as pacing oneself, if one is a Godzilla movie. While it does indeed take close to an hour for the prehistoric being to get his first full-on, gangway-world-get-off-of-my-runway close-up, director Gareth Edwards lays the expository groundwork nicely and hands the audience what it craves in the second half.” Read more.