1994’s ‘Cemetery Man’ Among Horror Titles Due on Disc May 28 From Severin and MVD

A slew of horror films including Cemetery Man (1994) and the drama The Devil’s Honey (1986) are due on 4K Ultra HD Disc and Blu-ray Disc May 28 from Severin Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

Cemetery Man, an Italian horror film from director Michele Soavi, is available both on Blu-ray Disc and fully restored on 4K Ultra HD for the first time. In the film, Rupert Everett stars as cemetery watchman Francesco Dellamorte, tasked with dispatching the recently deceased when they rise from their graves. But when he falls in love with a beautiful young widow (Anna Falchi), will his resurrected lust for life become greater than his bond with death? François Hadji-Lazaro (The City of Lost Children) co-stars in the erotic romantic existential black comedy zombie gorefest, with a Soavi-approved 4K scan from the Cinecittà negative and more than three hours of special features, including new interviews with Soavi and Everett. Special features also include audio commentary by Soavi and screenwriter Gianni Romoli, an interview with actress Anna Falchi, and an archival making-of featurette.

Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker (1981), available on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD, is a violent, psychosexual grindhouse shocker directed by a veteran of “I Love Lucy” and starring a frequently shirtless former teen idol. Jimmy McNichol stars as an orphaned high-school student raised by his strangely overprotective aunt (Susan Tyrrell of Fat City fame) who becomes implicated in a grisly murder investigated by a psychotic police detective (Bo Svenson of Inglorious Bastards). Emmy nominee Julia Duffy (“Newhart”) and Bill Paxton (in one of his first film roles) co-star in this former DPP 39 Video Nasty — also known as Night Warning — with a new HD scan from the original camera negative and six hours of new and archival special features. Extras include audio commentary with McNichol; audio commentary with co-writer/producer Steve Breimer and co-writer Alan Jay Glueckman, moderated by Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson; audio commentary with co-producer and unit production manager Eugene Mazzola; “Extreme Prejudice,” an interview with Svenson; “Point and Shoot,” an interview with director of photography Robbie Greenberg; “Family Dynamics,” an interview with editor Ted Nicolaou; cast and crew interviews with actors McNichol, Susan Tyrrell and Steve Eastin, make-up artist Allan A. Apone, and producer Steve Breimer; the trailer; and a TV spot.

Available on 4K Ultra HD for the first time is Cathy’s Curse (1977) with the director’s cut and American ‘R’-rated release versions. In the film in 1947, a young girl is roasted alive in a car accident. Thirty years later, her grown brother returns to their childhood home with his mentally unstable wife and sweet daughter Cathy. When the dead aunt’s vengeful spirit possesses the child, it unleashes an unnerving nightmare of creepy mediums, demonic dolls, and plenty of sick ’70s foul-mouthed moppet mayhem. Both versions are scanned in 4K from the recently discovered negatives with more than two hours of special features. Extras include audio commentary by Fangoria contributor Brian Collins and filmmaker Simon Barrett (U.S. cut only); “Tricks and Treats,” an interview with director Eddy Matalon; “Cathy’s Daddy — Alan Scarfe Remembers Cathy’s Curse“; “Cathy & Mum,” an interview with actress Randi Allen and costume designer Joyce Allen; an introduction to the Cinematic Void/American Cinematheque screening by Brian Collins; theatrical trailers; and a booklet by Simon Barrett and Brian Collins.

Director Sergio Martino (All the Colors of the Dark) combines a monster reptile with an all-star Euro-cult cast for an Italian jungle carnage movie in The Great Alligator (1979), available on Blu-ray and on 4K Ultra HD for the first time. In the film, at the opening of a tropical resort, a photographer (Claudio Cassinelli of Slave of the Cannibal God), an anthropologist (Barbara Bach of The Spy Who Loved Me) and an arrogant hotelier (Mel Ferrer of Eaten Alive!) are besieged by hostile natives, obnoxious tourists and a gargantuan river beast that intends to devour them all. Romano Puppo (Robowar), Richard Johnson (Zombie) and Silvia Collatina (The House by the Cemetery) co-star in the film newly scanned in 4K from the original negative. Extras include “Down by the River,” an interview with director Sergio Martino; “Minou,” an interview with actress Silvia Collatina; “Beware of the Gator,” an interview with camera operator Claudio Morabito; “Later Alligator,” an interview with production designer Antonello Geleng; “Underwater,” an interview with underwater camera operator Gianlorenzo Battaglia; “3 Friends and an Alligator,” a discussion with cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando, production designer Antonello Geleng and special effects supervisor Paolo Ricci; “Paradise House: Christianity and the Natural World in The Great Alligator,” a video essay By Lee Gambin, author of Massacred by Mother Nature; “Alligator Land,” in which Antonello Geleng shares original production drawings; and the trailer.

Finally, available on 4K Ultra HD for the first time is The Devil’s Honey (1986). Director Lucio Fulci takes on the erotic thriller genre and unleashes an onslaught of glossy depravity. Brett Halsey (Demonia), Corinne Cléry (The Story of O) and Blanca Marsillach (Flesh+Blood) star, and Stefano Madia (Body Count), Bernard Seray (Hell of the Living Dead) and Fulci himself co-star in this classic ’80s thriller (also known as Dangerous Obsession) about a young woman who abducts a doctor she holds responsible for the death of her boyfriend and subjects him to unspeakable acts. The film is scanned in 4K from the original negative. Extras include “Sax, Lies and Videotape,” a new interview with actress Blanca Marsillach; an archival audio interview with director Lucio Fulci by Michele Romagnoli; “The Devil’s Halsey,” an interview with actor Brett Halsey; “Wild Flower,” an interview with actress Corinne Cléry; “Producing Honey,” an interview with producer Vincenzo Salviani; “The Devil’s Sax,” an interview with composer Claudio Natili; Stephen Thrower, author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, on The Devil’s Honey; “Fulci’s Honey,” an audio essay by Troy Howarth, author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films; an alternate opening; and the trailer.

‘The Talisman’ Among Westerns, Adventure on Tap May 7 on DVD From VCI and MVD

The Western The Talisman (1966), the Western compilation When Cowboys Were King Collection 2 (1930s) and the adventure Trail of the Royal Mounted (1931) are due on DVD May 7 from VCI Entertainment and MVD Entertainment Group.

In The Talisman, upon the aftermath of a wagon train massacre, two people are awakened by a raging thunderstorm, only to find they are the sole survivors of the mayhem. One is a Cheyenne warrior, the other a young white girl, both arch enemies in the present wars over territory and land. Upon discovering the girl is still alive, the warrior raises his knife to finish her off, but stops when he sees a Thunderbird appear in the sky above them. Feeling this is a sign he is to keep her alive and be her protector, the warrior takes on the task. The grateful girl accepts his help, but is still determined to reach her intended destination, which is to be united with her fiancée. When they cross paths with a group of white mountain men who promise to take her to her people, the warrior reluctantly lets her go with them, giving her his amulet, a Talisman, to protect her. But once she is out of the watchful eye of her Cheyenne protector, the poor girl soon finds that her newly found champions have nefarious intentions. Luckily, her protector is still nearby and senses something has gone awry. Written, produced and directed by John Carr (Fugitive Lovers, Death Wish Club), the film stars Ned Romero (“Star Trek”), Richard Thies (“Route 66”), Ray Browne (“The Avengers,” 1961), Jerald Cormier (Terror Circus) and Linda Hawkins.

In Trail of the Royal Mounted, a 10-chapter serial making its DVD debut, Jack Logan is the heir to half of a map to a hidden Indian mine. The trader and villain Jean Gregg sends his chief henchman Mack to make life difficult for Jack. Jack is aided in his quest by the heirs to the other half of the map: Helen Holt and her younger brother Billy, and by a uniformed mystery man known as “The Mystery Trooper.” The serial stars Robert Frazer (The Vampire Bat), Blanche Mehaffey (The Battling Orioles) and Al Ferguson (The Three Musketeers).

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In When Cowboys Were King Collection 2, VCI has put together a second offering of four films, starring some of the most popular cowboy stars of the 1930s, when cowboys were the kings of the Saturday matinee. Titles in this collection include: Rogue of the Range (1936) starring Johnny Mack Brown, Silver Spurs (1936), Stranger From Arizona (1938) and Spirit of the West (1932) starring Hoot Gibson. Special features include “Carrying the mail — Wally Wales”; the “Cisco Kid” color TV episode “Railroad Land Rush”; and “The Winning of the West —Battle of Adobe Walls.”

Hardware Wars

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/7/24;
MVD;
Comedy;
$14.95 DVD, $19.95 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Scott Mathews, Cindy Furgatch, Jeff Hale, Bob Knickerbocker, Frank Robertson, Ernie Fosselius, Paul Frees.

The success of Star Wars in 1977 came with it no shortage of imitators, hangers on and parodies. One of the first spoofs of the film, and still one of the best, was the 13-minute Hardware Wars from writer-director Ernie Fosselius released in 1978.

Structured as a trailer for a not-so-epic sci-fi film, Hardware Wars’ central premise pokes fun at the propensity for filmmakers to turn everyday objects into futuristic movie props. Fosselius dispenses with the pretense and just uses the everyday objects as spaceships and equipment. The Millennium Falcon is just an iron; the cantina is a singles bar; the Death Star is a waffle maker; lightsabers are simple flashlights; the planet it destroys is just a basketball on a string, literally named Basketball; that famed princess hairdo is just cinnamon buns attached to the sides of her head; and everyone’s favorite little droid is played by a vacuum cleaner.

More-typical parody elements poking fun at names and similarities to other movies are here as well. Aping the plot of Star Wars, the story involves the droids Artie Deco (the vacuum) and 4-Q-2 (the C-3PO stand-in who is just a guy dressed like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz) bringing the message of Princess Anne-Droid’s pleas for help to Fluke Starbucker and Augie “Ben” Doggie, last of the Red-Eye Knights. They team with pilots Ham Salad and Chewchilla the Wookiee Monster (an orange version of Cookie Monster from “Sesame Street,” presaging Jim Henson’s later involvement with the original “Star Wars” trilogy) to rescue the princess from the clutches of the evil Darph Nader (who no one can understand because he wears a welder’s mask).

The short was filmed in four days with an $8,000 budget. Cheapness is the film’s virtue; in a shot of the droids roaming the desert planet, Fosselius doesn’t even bother cutting around a random woman cleaning up her picnic in the background. Even the strings attached to the “ships” are completely intact.

And yet Hardware Wars sports an air of credibility thanks to a soundtrack consisting of Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” and narration by the legendary Paul Frees (who younger audiences will recognize as the voice of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion).

The film attained a cult status, which helped ensure its legacy. George Lucas in 1999 called it his favorite of the “Star Wars” parodies, and Rian Johnson paid homage to it in 2017’s The Last Jedi with a shot of a steam iron angled to resemble a landing spaceship.

For the MVD Rewind Collection edition, the granddaddy of the “Star Wars” parodies has been beautifully transferred to HD in all its cheap glory. Hardware Wars was originally transferred to HD in 2012, but MVD found that version to be too dark and commissioned Vinegar Syndrome to create a new 2K transfer from a 16mm reversal release print, which is thought the be the last surviving original element of the film. The presentation brags that no effort has been made to clean up the scratches and dirt from the film, which preserves its low-budget ’70s indie quality. While the new transfer is presented as the main feature, the darker 2012 transfer is also included as an extra at the request of Fosselius.

The disc also includes two additional Fosselius spoofs, each running a bit more than 20 minutes. The first is Porklips Now, a 1980 spoof of Apocalypse Now that involves a BBQ enthusiast venturing into Chinatown to track down a rogue butcher who has been manipulating the meat market. Then there’s Plan 9.1 From Outer Space, which hilariously uses puppets to re-create scenes from Ed Wood’s 1959 “worst movie ever made” Plan 9 From Outer Space, with the actual audio from the original film.

Also included is something called “Hardware Wars Saves Christmas,” a six-minute reworking of the film into a holiday storybook involving Santa Claus.

A one-minute “Awards Reel” shows off some of the trophies Hardware Wars has won over the years.

The remaining bonus materials consist of standard-definition holdovers from a 2002 Hardware Wars DVD release.

First is a 10-minute “Director’s Cut” of Hardware Wars consisting of raw footage and outtakes, clearly assembled to mimic a “work print” version of the film to great effect. Then there’s an 11-minute foreign re-edit of the film.

Next up is a six-minute tongue-in-cheek 1978 “Creature Features” interview with Fosselius, who bills himself as a “Video Laugh Specialist” and says he’s mostly there to promote Hardware Wars collectibles, lampooning the “Star Wars” merchandising trend (beating Spaceballs to the punch by about 10 years). The best is the soundtrack album The Sounds of Space, which has nothing on it because sound doesn’t travel in space.

Also amusing is a video titled “Hardware Wars Prequel Featurette,” which turns out to be a five-minute “Antiques Roadshow” spoof in which an elderly lady has discovered a rare film print of Hardware Wars, which the appraiser claims was the original inspiration for Star Wars, but now has no value aside from some of the stickers on the outside of the canister.

A Fosselius commentary also carries over from the DVD. In it, the director feigns not remembering anything about the production, but when seeing how cheap it looks, assumes the people he paid to do the special effects ripped him off.

Not included from that earlier DVD is a five-minute retrospective with producer Michael Wiese, speaking at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. That DVD also included galleries of set photos and a copy of the shooting script that have not been reproduced for the new MVD edition.

Also not included is the 1997 “Special Edition” version of Hardware Wars that, as with the “Star Wars” special editions of the original trilogy that year, updated the visual effects with anachronistic CGI.

Action-Adventure ‘Sabotage’ Due on Blu-ray May 7 From MVD

The action adventure Sabotage will be released on Blu-ray Disc May 7 from MVD Entertainment Group in its MVD Rewind collection.

In the 1996 film, Colonel Michael Bishop’s (Mark Dacascos, John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum) last mission went horribly wrong — destroyed from within, sabotaged. His was the only body dragged from the ashes of a black operation that never happened. After years of recovery, Bishop thought he had escaped the Black Ops and he began a successful new life as a bodyguard to the rich and famous. He was the best, with skills most men died learning. But his past caught up with him. His clients began to die violently, at the same shadowy hand that conspired against his Black Op unit. Now he must go own one last mission to destroy the faceless men that run an army that doesn’t exist. From director Tibor Takács (The Gate), the film also stars Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), Tony Todd (Candyman) and Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves).

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Special features include a new interview with actor Mark Dacascos; a new interview with actor Tony Todd; a Mark Dacascos trailer reel; double-sided artwork; and a collectible mini-poster.

‘An All Star Salute to Lee Greenwood’ Due on Blu-ray and DVD May 3 From MVD

MVD Entertainment Group will release An All Star Salute to Lee Greenwood on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 3.

The program, from executive producers Kim Greenwood and Lee Greenwood, brings together musicians from various genres to honor international country music star Lee Greenwood, a Grammy award-winning artist who has topped the Billboard chart 7 times and achieved 20 top 10 singles.

The film features performances by Lee Greenwood, Dustin Lynch, Lee Brice, Michael Ray, Michael W. Smith plus The Isaacs, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tracy Lawrence, Big & Rich, Jamey Johnson, Gavin DeGraw, Scott Stapp of Creed, Crystal Gayle, Sam Moore plus T. Graham Brown, Larry Gatlin plus Debby Boone, Mark Wills, Home Free, The Frontmen, and Ty Herndon plus Janie Fricke.

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Throughout his career, Greenwood has earned multiple CMA and ACM Awards, a Grammy Award for Top Male Vocal Performance on “I.O.U,” in 1985, and a multitude of other award nominations. His discography includes 22 studio albums, seven compilation albums, seven No. 1 hits, and 38 singles including songs such as “It Turns Me Inside Out,” “Ring on Her Finger Time on Her Hands,” “She’s Lyin’,” “I Don’t Mind the Thorns If You’re the Rose,” “Dixie Road,” “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,” “Going Going Gone” and “You Got a Good Love Comin’,” among others. His hit “God Bless the U.S.A.” has been in the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001 and 2003), giving it the distinction of being the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat. It reached the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart shortly after 9/11. Known for his stand-out patriotism and support of the U.S. military, Greenwood has been honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s National Patriot’s Award and entertained troops on more than 30 USO Tours.

Horror Films ‘The Sect’ and ‘The Church’ Among Titles Due on Disc April 30 From Severin Films and MVD

Two horror films, The Sect and The Church; two Westerns, Hot Spur and The Scavengers; and the science-fiction fantasy Lola are due on disc April 30 from Severin Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

The Church (1989), due on 4K Ultra HD (April 30) and Blu-ray (May 7), is the second feature film — and first full collaboration with co-writer/producer/mentor Dario Argento — from writer/director Michele Soavi. In the film, in a Gothic cathedral built on the mass grave of a Teutonic purge, an ancient discovery by the new librarian releases an unholy maelstrom of madness, violence and demonic vengeance. Tomas Arana (The Sect), Feodor Chaliapin (Inferno), Hugh Quarshie (Nightbreed), Barbara Cupisti (Cemetery Man) and Asia Argento co-star in this Italian horror flick co-written by Franco Ferrini (Phenomena). The release features a Soavi-approved 4K scan from the original negative and more than three hours of special features, including new interviews with Soavi and Argento. Special features include “The Mystery of the Cathedrals,” an interview with director Michele Soavi; “Alchemical Possession,” and interview with co-screenwriter/producer Dario Argento; “The Eleventh Commandment,” an interview with co-screenwriter Franco Ferrini; “The Ghostwriter,” an interview with co-screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti; “Lotte,” an interview with actress Asia Argento; “Here Comes the Bride,” an interview with actress Antonella Vitale; “A Demon Named Evan,” an interview with actor Tomas Arana; “Father Giovanni,” an interview with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice; “Monsters And Demons,” an interview with special FX artist Sergio Stivaletti; “Holy Ground,” an interview with make-up artist Franco Casagni; “Building The Church,” an interview with set designer Antonello Geleng; “The Right-Hand Man,” an interview with assistant director Claudio Lattanzi; “Return to the Land of the Demons,” an interview with Alan Jones, author of Profondo Argento; and the trailer.

The Sect (1991), available on 4K Ultra HD (April 30) and Blu-ray (May 7), is the third feature by director Michele Soavi and his second collaboration with producer/co-writer Dario Argento. In the film, as a global satanic cabal grows in ferocity, an unwitting young schoolteacher (Kelly Curtis, sister of Jamie Lee,  in her sole genre role) is chosen to deliver the ultimate evil. Herbert Lom (Count Dracula), Mariangela Giordano (Burial Ground) and Giovanni Lombardo Radice (The House on the Edge of the Park) co-star in the film, scanned in 4K from the original negative with more than three hours of special features including new interviews with Soavi and Argento. Special features include “Sympathy for the Devil,” an interview with director Michele Soavi; “(You’re The) Devil in Disguise,” an interview with co-screenwriter/producer Dario Argento; “Catacumba,” an interview with co-screenwriter Gianni Romoli; “Cult of Personality,” an interview with actor Tomas Arana; “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” an interview with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice; “In the Shaded Area,” an interview with cinematographer Raffaele Mertes; “Four Times Argento,” an interview with composer Pino Donaggio; “Total Eclipse,” an interview with special FX artist Sergio Stivaletti; “Oh Well,” an interview with set designer Antonello Geleng; “The Birth of Evil,” an interview with film historian Fabrizio Spurio; “Into The Dark Well,” an interview with Alan Jones, author of Profondo Argento; “Catacomb in the Kitchen,” in which Michele Soavi shows his dark basement; the Italian trailer; and the U.S. release trailer.

Also due April 30 is Lola (2022) on Blu-ray Disc. It’s a science-fiction fantasy set in the year 1941, as brilliant U.K. sisters Thomasina (Emma Appleton of The Killing Kind) and Martha (Stefanie Martini of “Prime Suspect” 1973) have created a device that intercepts broadcasts from the future. Besides revealing the coming glories of rock & roll, the invention — which they call Lola — also allows them to alter the course of World War II. Will their unmaking of history provoke a lifetime of shocking consequences? Rory Fleck Byrne (This Is Going to Hurt) co-stars in the debut feature from director/co-writer Andrew Legge. Special features include audio commentary with co-writer/director Andrew Legge and producer Alan Maher; “The Making of Lola”; an outtake; the trailer; and two short films by Andrew Legge, The Girl With the Mechanical Maiden (2012) and The Unusual Inventions of Henry Cavendish (2005).

The Western Hot Spur (1968) is due on Blu-ray Disc April 30. Having struck gold with shockumentaries such as Ecco and Mondo Bizarro, producer Bob Cresse and writer/director Lee Frost applied their distinctive sleaze aesthetic to a revenge Western they advertised as “91 minutes of Freudian fury!” Joseph Mascolo (“Days of Our Lives”), Virginia Gordon (The Animal) and John Alderman (Trader Hornee) star in this infamous Olympic International film now scanned uncut in 4K from the recently rediscovered negative, with special features from the Something Weird archive that include the 1963 Frost/Cresse stripper epic Hollywood’s World of Flesh and the 1968 short The Casting Director, starring Bob Cresse and directed by David F. Friedman. Special features include audio commentary with Vinegar Syndrome’s Joe Rubin, Severin Films’ Andrew Furtado and Bob Cresse friend/former Something Weird GM Tim Lewis; a recently discovered audio discussion on Frost/Cresse by David F. Friedman and Something Weird founder Mike Vraney; Hollywood’s World of Flesh, an early Frost/Cresse feature (64 mins); The Casting Director, a rare short starring Bob Cresse, directed By David F. Friedman; the theatrical trailer; and a teaser.

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The Western The Scavengers (1969) is due on Blu-ray April 30. One year after Hot Spur changed exploitation cinema, writer/producer Bob Cresse and director Lee Frost fused their sex and violence template with the cultural chaos of 1969. In the film, when a renegade Confederate detachment invades a frontier town, they spark a rampage of sadism, racism, violation and vengeance. John Bliss (The Think With Two Heads), Maria Lease (Love Camp 7), Bruce Kimball (Drive-in Massacre) and Uschi Digard (Supervixens) star in the film, now scanned in 4K from the original camera negative recently discovered in a Paris lab and presented in both its unrated and ‘R’-rated release versions. Special features includes audio commentary with Vinegar Syndrome’s Joe Rubin, Severin Films’ Andrew Furtado and Temple of Schlock’s Chris Poggiali (unrated version only); theatrical trailers; and the “Our Family Album” promotional program replica.

Horror Flick ‘Brain Tumor’ Available on DVD From MVD

The horror flick Brain Tumor is available on DVD from Whacked Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

In the film, routine brain surgery makes a terrifying turn when a tumor goes rogue and takes on a life of its own. It runs amok in search of its next meal. It grows bigger and bigger as it chows down on one unsavory character after another. Is Dr. Seymour Caligari aiding and abetting the beast? Will young Dash Caligari and his sweetheart Kitsi stop it before it conquers the world? Or will they become chopped liver for the tumor creature’s voracious appetite. Can they escape its grotesque sharp teeth, crushing jaws and slimy tentacles? Mayhem abounds right up to the movie’s finish.

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The film stars Bil Arscott as Dr. Caligari, Anjanette Clewis as Audrey Fulquard, Jack Mahoney as Dash Caligari, Sydney Hatton as Kitsie, Aspen Higgins as Freddy, and Matt Tucker as Father Bud.

1978 Parody ‘Hardware Wars’ Due on Blu-ray and DVD From MVD

The 1978 parody Hardware Wars will be released on DVD April 23 and on Blu-ray May 7 from MVD Entertainment Group in its MVD Rewind collection.

In the short film, Fluke Starbucker (Scott Mathews) must learn to master the power of “The Farce” with help from Artie Deco, 4-Q-2 (Frank Robertson), Princess Anne-Droid (Cindy Furgatch), Ham Salad (Bob Knickerbocker), and the rest of the Red Eye Knights.

Writer-director Ernie Fosselius (former member of “The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo” who went on to work on the cult classic films Spaceballs and Robocop 2) created the very first “Star Wars” parody complete with cardboard sets and visible wires (holding up ships which were various household appliances). The film was shot over four days with a budget of around $8,000. Nearly 50 years later, the original version of this classic short that George Lucas called his “favorite Star Wars parody” (in a 1999 interview on the U.K.’s “The Big Breakfast” TV show) has been restored in high definition.

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Special features include audio commentary with Fosselius; the Hardware Wars directors cut; the Hardware Wars prequel featurette; the Hardware Wars foreign version; a 1978 creature features interview with Fosselius; the “Hardware Wars Saves Christmas” featurette; an awards reel; the Hardware Wars trailer; “Porklips Now,”a  1980 parody of Apocalypse Now from Fosselius; “Plan 9.1 From Outer Space,” a 2009 parody remake of Plan 9 From Outer Space with puppets from Fosselius; reversible artwork; a collectible mini-poster; and a limited edition slipcover (first pressing only).

Italian Drama ‘Goodbye Uncle Tom’ Due on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray April 23 From MVD and Blue Underground

The controversial 1971 Italian drama Goodbye Uncle Tom will be released on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc on April 23 on MVD Entertainment Group and Blue Underground.

Written, edited, produced and directed by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi of Mondo Cane fame, this recreation of the American slave trade atrocities was both condemned as depraved exploitation and acclaimed as an unprecedented cry of Black anguish and rage. It became one of the most reviled and misunderstood films of its time. In 1971, distributors forced the filmmakers to completely re-cut the film and radically re-write its extreme narration, removing more than 13 minute of race-war politics and inserting alternate scenes — creating what would become an entirely different film — before it could be released. More than 50 years later, both versions of Goodbye Uncle Tom can be seen in new restorations, scanned in 4K 16-bit from their original negatives, with Dolby Vision HDR (on the 4K release) and newly restored DTS-HD Master Audio, and with more than five hours of extras.

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Special features include The Importance of Shocking: Gualtiero Jacopetti, a feature-length documentary by director Andrea Bettinetti; The Godfathers of Mondo, a feature-length documentary by director David Gregory; “Goodbye Cruel Mondo,” interviews with writers/directors Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, and composer Riz Ortolani; behind-the-scenes 8mm Footage with audio commentary by production manager Giampaolo Lomi; “Mondo Mercenaries,” an interview with author and academic Mark Goodall; “Abjection Under Authoritarianism,” an interview with professor Matthew J. Smith; still galleries, including Giampaolo Lomi’s behind-the-scenes photos; a bonus soundtrack CD by Riz Ortolani; and a collectible booklet with a new essay by Dan Madigan.

Comedic Nixon Tape Thriller ’18 1/2′ Available on DVD From MVD

The comedic thriller 18 1/2, a fictional story about President Richard Nixon’s tapes, was released April 9 on DVD from MVD Entertainment Group.

In the film, in 1974, a White House transcriber is thrust into the Watergate scandal when she obtains the only copy of the infamous 18½ minute gap in Nixon’s tapes.

Directed by Dan Mirvish, the comedic thriller stars Willa Fitzgerald (“The Fall of the House of Usher”), John Magaro (Past Lives), Vondie Curtis Hall (“Daredevil”), Catherine Curtin (“Stranger Things”), Richard Kind (Inside Out) and Sullivan Jones (“The Gilded Age”) with the voices of Ted Raimi (Spider-Man) as General Al Haig, Jon Cryer (“Two and Half Men”) as H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead) as President Richard Nixon.

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Special features include:

  • audio commentary from director Dan Mirvish and screenwriter Daniel Moya;
  • “Covid 18½: The Making of a Film in a Global Pandemic,”a feature-length, behind-the-scenes documentary including interviews with Willa Fitzgerald, John Magaro, Bruce Campbell, Richard Kind and more;
  • audio of full Nixon tape with Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi and Jon Cryer;
  • Lloyd Kaufman at the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, Kan.;
  • an alternate scene;
  • the theatrical release promo with director Dan Mirvish;
  • the original theatrical trailer;
  • spoiler-filled international trailer; and
  • the live audience track from the World Premiere at the Woodstock Film Festival.