‘Mallrats,’ ‘The Last Starfighter’ Among Releases Coming to Blu-ray in October From Arrow and MVD

Kevin Smith’s Mallrats, The Last Starfighter and the horror film The Deeper You Dig are among the titles coming to Blu-ray Disc in October from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Oct. 6 comes The Deeper You Dig (2019), which follows a mother, daughter and stranger as they deal with the aftermath of a roadside accident. The film is a family affair written and directed by husband and wife tandem John Adams and Toby Poser, who also start alongside daughter Zelda. The limited-edition release also comes with The Hatred, a previously made feature film by the Adams family. Bonus features include a reversible sleeve featuring two exclusive choices of artwork; a double-sided fold-out poster; a limited edition illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Neil Mitchell; audio commentary by writers/directors/stars Toby Poser and John Adams; “At Home with the Adams Family,” an exclusive, in-depth interview with the trio of filmmakers responsible for The Deeper You Dig; “It’s in the Blood: The Family in the Horror Genre,” an exclusive visual essay by critic Anton Bitel exploring the theme of family in The Deeper You Dig and the Adams family’s broader filmography; a special effects breakdown with commentary by Trey Lindsay; a FrightFest TV interview with the Adams family; Hellbender music videos; the theatrical trailer; and an image gallery.

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Due Oct. 13 is Kevin Smith’s cult classic Mallrats (1995), a comedy about a pair of recently dumped best friends seeking refuge at their local mall. The new release includes new restorations for both the theatrical and extended cuts approved by Smith and cinematographer David Klein. Bonus features include a newly assembled TV cut of the film featuring hilarious overdubbing to cover up profanity with an intro by Smith; a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Philip Kemp; a fold out poster featuring replica blueprints for “Operation Drive-by” and “Operation Dark Knight”; audio commentary with Smith, producer Scott Mosier, archivist Vincent Pereira, and actors Jason Lee, Ben Affleck and Jason Mewes; a new introduction to the film by Smith; “My Mallrat Memories,” an all-new interview with Smith; a newly filmed tribute to producer Jim Jacks by Smith; a new interview with Mewes; a new interview with cinematographer Klein; “Hollywood of the North,” a newly produced animated making-of documentary featuring Minnesota crew members who worked on the film; Smith and Vincent Pereira discussing deleted scenes and sequences originally cut from the film; outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage; cast interviews from the original set; “Erection of an Epic: The Making of Mallrats,” an archival retrospective with cast and crew looking at the making of and release of the film; a 10th anniversary archival Q&A with Smith; “Build Me Up Buttercup” music video; stills galleries; the theatrical trailer; a stills gallery of the comic books featured in the film’s opening sequence; and Easter eggs.

Also coming Oct. 13 is Kôji Shima’s 1956 classic Warning From Space. The first Japanese science-fiction film to be shot in color, it’s the story of giant starfish-like aliens that land in Tokyo. It’s the film’s first-ever HD release in America and includes a newly restored English dub. Extras include a new commentary by Stuart Galbraith IV, author of Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo!; theatrical trailers; image galleries; a reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin; and, for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring an essay on artist Taro Okamoto by Japanese art historian Nick West and an essay on the production of the American edit of the film by David Cairns.

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Coming Oct. 27 is the serial killer film Cold Light of Day (1989), a fictionalized story about one of Britain’s most brutal serial killers, Dennis Nilsen. The limited-edition release includes a new 2K restoration approved by the film’s director Fhiona-Louise. Bonus features include a new audio commentary with writer/director Fhiona-Louise; a new audio commentary with film historians/writers Dean Brandum and Andrew Nette; a newly-filmed interview with actor Martin Byrne-Quinn; a newly filmed interview with actor Steve Munroe; an original Cold Light of Day promo film made to raise financing for the feature; the re-release trailer; two short films starring director Fhiona-Louise and photographed by Star Wars DP David Tattershall, newly restored in HD, Metropolis Apocalypse (1988) and Sleepwalker (1993); a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx; a limited-edition, die-cut O-card; and a limited-edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jo Botting and a look at how the press reported Dennis Nilsen’s real-life crimes by Jeff Billington.

Finally, also on Oct. 27, comes Nick Castle’s The Last StarfighterReleased in 1984, The Last Starfighter follows gamer Alex Rogan who thinks he’s just playing another game until he finds himself transported to another planet where he learns the game was actually a recruitment effort. The Last Starfighter lands with a new 4K scan. Bonus features include a new audio commentary with Mike White of “The Last Projection Booth” podcast; an archival audio commentary with director Nick Castle and production designer Ron Cobb; the “Heroes of the Screen” archival featurette; the “Crossing the Frontier: The Making of The Last Starfighter” archival four-part documentary; image galleries; theatrical and teaser trailers; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Ferguson; a limited edition reversible poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork; and a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Amanda Reyes and sci-fi author Greg Bear’s never-before-published Omni magazine article on Digital Productions, the company responsible for the CGI in The Last Starfighter.

Fandango Celebrates 45th Anniversary of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Fandango is celebrating the 45th anniversary of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show Sept. 26 with a curated playlist, movie sale, and video on the history of 20th century midnight movies.

Throughout the weekend, The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be on sale for digital purchase at $7.99 on both FandangoNow and on Vudu, Fandango’s transactional VOD services.

Fandango is taking a deep dive into the history of 20th century midnight movies with a celebratory trivia video entitled “Do the Time Warp.”

Also, FandangoNow has curated a special collection of cult classics.

Also this weekend, Fandango is launching a regular monthly feature devoted to “Staff Picks.”

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“Some 45 years ago, Rocky Horror made an everlasting impact on the moviegoing experience, creating a demand for cult films with avid audience participation,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis. “While many of us wish we could celebrate the anniversary in full style at the theater, it’s always a film worth cheering on, so let’s do the time warp again from home.”

You Don’t Nomi

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 7/21/20;
RLJ;
Documentary:
$27.97 DVD, $28.97 Blu-ray;
Not rated.

In general there are two types of movies that might have documentaries made about them generations after their release — the all-time classics, and the notoriously bad ones that now enjoy a certain cult status.

The subject of You Don’t Nomi falls decidedly in the latter category — director Paul Verhoeven’s 1995 bomb Showgirls. The punny title derives from the name of the main character, Nomi Malone — the amped up stripper with attitude played by Elizabeth Berkley in an attempt to shed her straight-laced reputation playing “Jessie” on “Saved by the Bell.”

The highly absorbing documentary isn’t so much an examination of the making of the film as it is a critical re-evaluation of it after a generation of reflection. To wit, how a pair of the most in-demand filmmakers in Hollywood in the early 1990s — Verhoeven and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, could produce the film the Razzies declared the worst of the decade, and whether it was the critical community that got it wrong.

The documentary seems to come down on the side that the critical drubbing was fair, but misplaced. Any critic can rip apart a bad film; the talented ones can appreciate the art of true dreck.

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Director Jeffrey McHale cleverly juxtaposes some of the more outlandish scenes of Showgirls with similar scenes from other films spanning Verhoeven’s career, painting the portrait of a gifted satirist poking fun at his own audience for their desire for sex and violence. Showgirls, then, fits the Verhoeven milleu to a T — an over-the-top indictment of the culture of fame. After coming over from Europe, Verhoeven made a splash in Hollywood with popular sci-fi actioners such as 1987’s Robocop and 1990’s Total Recall, before veering into the realms of sex and noir with 1992’s Basic Instinct and Showgirls. Judging from the clips, the latter two are more in line with the sensibilities of Verhoeven’s European films.

Another segment hilariously shines the light on Berkley’s performance, tracing its roots back to her “Saved by the Bell” days and the infamous episode in which Jessie gets hooked on “caffeine” pills (since network censors at the time wouldn’t let a Saturday morning kids show depict characters using speed). Jessie, like Nomi, has an interest in dance, and one critic can’t help but see the constantly topless Nomi as something of an inversion of the budding feminist Jessie.

Another critic takes it a step further, and ties Jessie’s pill-popping days directly to the legacy of Nomi, claiming Showgirls is the completion of an all-time camp trilogy that includes 1967’s Valley of the Dolls (the dolls of the title being a euphemism for pills) and 1981’s Mommie Dearest.

Like Mommie Dearest and other cult classics such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Showgirls has become a staple of midnight showings and audience-participation screenings. One critic prominently featured in the movie is David Schmader, who has made such a career out of re-interpreting Showgirls as a camp classic that his recorded commentary appears on the actual Showgirls DVD and Blu-ray.

The film even spawned a parody stage musical, with the actress playing Nomi having cut her teeth as Jessie in an earlier “Saved by the Bell” stage farce.

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To his credit, Verhoeven always seemed to embrace the film’s campy reputation, becoming the first filmmaker to actually show up to accept a Golden Raspberry award (Showgirls won a then-record seven Razzies for the 1995 film year, including Worst Picture and Worst Director).

Showgirls still ranks as the highest-grossing ‘NC-17’-rated film, at just over $20 million, and its cult following has made it a top-seller for MGM on home video. But overt sexual content wasn’t apparently what Hollywood wanted from Verhoeven, who revisited the sci-fi genre with his next two films — 1997’s Starship Troopers and 2000’s Hollow Man — before returning to Europe.

1980s Cult Classics ‘Malibu Express’ and ‘Hard Ticket to Hawaii’ Coming to Blu-ray April 16 from Mill Creek

Two 1980s cult classics from Malibu Bay Films’ “bullets, bombs and babes” series — Malibu Express and Hard Ticket to Hawaii — are coming to Blu-ray Disc April 16 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

These late-night cable TV mainstays will be available in high definition widescreen for the first time as individual Blu-ray releases with special features at $19.98 each.

Filmmaker Andy Sidaris was a pioneer in sports television production with his direction of hundreds of live events ranging from nationally televised games to Olympic programs which earned him seven Emmy awards. In the mid-1980s, Sidaris with his wife Arlene produced twelve films affectionately referred to as the “bullets, bombs and babes” series. The trademark of these action and humor-packed movies was casting models as the gun-toting secret agents tracking down muscle-bound bad guys also armed with heavy artillery. This formula of beautiful people in exotic locations with big production values and even bigger explosions set these films apart from other after-hours fare.

“I’m extremely excited to be working with the Mill Creek Entertainment team to present our films fully restored in pristine high definition,” said Arlene Sidaris, owner of Malibu Bay Films and producer of the films her late husband Andy wrote and directed, in a statement. “It’s incredible that after nearly 35 years since Malibu Express was produced, viewers will finally be able to see these movies like never before. The widescreen presentation and the new 4K transfers are stunning, offering a whole new viewing experience for fans old and new.”

Malibu Express stars Darby Hinton as millionaire Cody Abilene, who is hired to investigate an illicit computer company that is selling secrets to the Russians. He finds himself entangled in a web of intrigue, murder, fast cars, a cameo by Regis Philbin and a bevy of beautiful women including Sybil Danning, Lynda Wiesmeier, Barbara Edwards and Kimberly McArthur.

Hard Ticket to Hawaii stars Dona Speir and Hope Marie Carlton as two sexy undercover agents who discover a cache of diamonds while operating their inter-island cargo service.  Not only do they have to thwart the smuggler’s henchmen, they also must face an unrelenting, horrifying and deadly mutant snake. Buffed-up muscle men Ronn Moss and Harold Diamond bring their blazing bazookas to the beach in this action-adventure.