‘Fear,’ ‘The Fan,’ ‘Problem Child’ Due on Blu-ray March 7 in ‘Retro VHS’ Collection From Mill Creek

Mill Creek Entertainment March 7 will release three titles in its “Retro VHS” collection: Fear (1996), The Fan (1996) and Problem Child (1990).

The dramatic thriller Fear follows Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon), who is always dreamed of being swept away by someone special — someone strong, sexy and sensitive who would care for her more than anything else in the world. Her boyfriend David (Mark Wahlburg) is all that and more: a modern-day knight who charms and seduces her, body and soul. But her perfect boyfriend is not all he seems to be. His sweet facade masks a savage, dark side that will soon transform Nicole’s dream into a nightmare.

In the action film The Fan, when the San Francisco Giants pay center fielder Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes) $40 million to lead their team to the World Series, no one is happier or more supportive than No. 1 fan Gil Renard (Robert De Niro). So, when Rayburn becomes mired in the worst slump of his career, the obsessed Renard decides to stop at nothing to help his idol regain his former glory — not even murder.

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In the comedy Problem Child, when 7-year-old Junior comes into their lives, the Healys hope he will brighten their days. But Junior is more mischievous than they could have imagined as he turns ordinary days into full-scale comic nightmares.

‘Tourist Trap’ VHS Retro Box Blu-ray-DVD Combo Pack Coming Nov. 24 From MVD

The horror film Tourist Trap is coming in a VHS retro big box collection Blu-ray plus DVD combo pack Nov. 24, including a blister-packed, retro-style action figure, from MVD Entertainment Group and Full Moon Features.

In the 1979 film, every year young people disappear. An eerie and deserted wax museum, Slausen’s Lost Oasis, is the site for spine-tingling terror where four unsuspecting young travelers (including Tanya Roberts from “Charlie’s Angels”) are lured into a very deadly tourist trap. Slausen (Chuck Connors) is the reclusive and bizarre owner of this attraction, which is actually more like a macabre chamber of horrors.

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Extras include a director’s commentary, rare trailers and an interview with director David Schmoeller (Puppet Master).

The film also stars Jocelyn Jones (Lee Daniel’s The Butler), Jon Van Ness (The Natural) and, in an early appearance, scream queen Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead).

‘Roxanne,’ ‘The New Kids’ and ‘True Believer’ Among Titles Joining Mill Creek’s Retro VHS Blu-ray Series

Mill Creek Entertainment Aug. 13 will release four more Blu-ray Disc titles in its Retro VHS collection: Roxanne, The New Kids, True Believer and White Line Fever.

The Retro VHS collection features packaging that recalls the glory days of VHS and video stores.

Inspired by Cyrano de Bergerac, Roxanne (1987) stars Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah in the comic story of Fire Chief C.D. Bales (Martin), who is sensitive about his remarkably long nose. He becomes the ghost-writer of a love letter to the beautiful, intelligent astronomer Roxanne (Hannah), who finds herself attracted to C.D.’s imported professional firefighter Chris (Rick Rossovich).

The New Kids (1985) stars Lori Loughlin (“Full House”), long before she was accused in the college cheating scandal, as Abby McWilliams, who attracts the unwanted attention of teenage psychopath Eddie Dutra (James Spader, “The Blacklist”). Turned down for a date, Eddie destroys Abby’s home, vandalizes her uncle’s car and nearly stomps her brother to death. But it’s only when he kidnaps Abby from the school dance, that Eddie shows his true feelings. Fueled by cocaine and armed with a shotgun, Eddie’s lust turns to uncontrollable rage, as he takes Abby on a date from hell from the director of Friday the 13th.

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In the courtroom drama True Believer (1989), James Woods goes up against corruption and conspiracy at the highest levels of New York City law enforcement. Woods is Eddie Dodd, once an acclaimed civil rights attorney of the 1960s, but now an embittered cynic who makes a living defending drug-dealing low-lifes. Dodd’s passion for justice is rekindled when an idealistic young associate (Robert Downey Jr.) urges him to re-open an eight-year-old murder case involving a young prisoner serving life in Sing Sing for a gang initiation killing.

White Line Fever (1975) follows a young Air Force veteran, Carrol Jo Hummer (Jan-Michael Vincent, “Airwolf”), who starts a business as the owner-operator of a diesel truck. With his bride, Jerri (Kay Lenz), he sets off to Tucson, Ariz., where his old friend Duane (Slim Pickens), the manager of a trucking company, gets him a job. But after Carrol Jo realizes he will be carrying illegal cargo and refuses the assignment, he’s beaten by a band of gangsters working for an organized group of criminals headed by Cutler (Don Porter). When Carrol Jo’s commitment to staying honest results in even further violent retribution from the trucking syndicate, he has no choice but to team up with other independent truckers to break Cutler’s stranglehold and uphold the rights of the decent working man.

‘Excess Baggage,’ ‘Jury Duty’ Among Titles Joining Mill Creek’s Retro Line June 4

Four new Blu-ray releases with retro VHS style artwork recalling the video store era are coming from Mill Creek Entertainment June 4.

New to the Retro VHS line, launched last year, are Opportunity Knocks, Jury Duty, Excess Baggage and Double Team at $14.98 each.

Dana Carvey and Robert Loggia star in Opportunity Knocks, about two con men who hide out in a house while the owner is away and concoct a house-sitting ruse when the owner’s family shows up. Jury Duty features 90s video store mainstay Pauly Shore and Tia Carrere in a comedy about a jobless man who joins a murder trial jury for the free room and board. Excess Baggage stars Alicia Silverstone as a teenager who fakes her kidnapping but ends up actually kidnapped. And Double Team features action icon Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman and Mickey Rourke in story of an escape from a penal colony.

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“Stars like Alicia Silverstone, Pauly Shore, Dana Carvey and Jean-Claude Van Damme are the epitome of the 90s and their movies are so iconic of the era,” said Barrett Evans, VP of marketing for Mill Creek Entertainment, in a statement. “There has been such a tremendous response from our previous VHS-style releases that we wanted to continue this line-look but give it a bit of an upgrade for these films from the 90s.”

Each release features an o-sleeve resembling a VHS cover with a partial view of a tape along the side.  The artwork in the Blu-ray wrap features alternate key art.  In addition to the genre stickers and varying “remember to rewind” messages, the 90s-era sleeves also depict colored VHS tapes, indicative of the 90s.

Capturing the Spirit of ’80s Cinema

Given how many kids of the 1970s and 1980s are creating the movies and TV shows of today, it’s no surprise that retro is in. And that includes making new products look like they were released a long time ago.

For example, shopping at Barnes & Noble I came across a behind-the-scenes book for the Netflix ’80s nostalgia-fest “Stranger Things.” The book was purposely made to look like it had been worn down by the ravages of 30 years on shelves, and even included a transparent plastic book cover not unlike what one would have found in their school library. The book looked so beaten up that its makers felt the need to include a sticker on the cover to tell potential buyers that it was meant to look like that.

On the video side of things, ’80s retro is covered by three simple letters: VHS. It would be futile for any studio trying to capture the spirit of the early days of home video without evoking the memory of video stores and VHS tapes.

Going back to “Stranger Things,” Netflix has released Blu-rays of the two seasons of the series (as Target exclusives) with packaging meant to resemble old hardshell VHS cases you’d get at a rental store.

The MVD Rewind Collection brings ’70s and ’80s cult hits to Blu-ray using box art meant to evoke a VHS box, complete with faux stickers with messages like “Be Kind Rewind.”

Even non-movies are getting the VHS nostalgia treatment. The Disney Store is selling journals and handbags designed to resemble the classic clamshell VHS cases for its animated movies such as The Lion King and Aladdin.

Now Mill Creek is getting into the game with box art that makes it look as if the VHS is slipping out of its case. The effect comes via a slipcover that takes advantage of the relative wider dimensions of the Blu-ray compared with VHS, to basically put authentic-looking VHS art on one side of the cover, with the simulated tape on the other.

Since it’s just a slipcover it’s mostly just an optical illusion, but it looks cool. The Blu-ray itself is a standard case with non VHS-styled poster art. In some cases the Blu-ray appears to be a previously released standard Mill Creek release repackaged in the retro VHS case to give it some eye-catching pizazz.

The first batch of six films includes Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Action Hero, Chuck Norris’ Silent Rage, John Candy’s Who’s Harry Crumb?, the fantasy epic Krull, the horror movie Happy Birthday to Me and the erotic comedy Hardbodies.

These are bare-bones releases without bonus features, but for most of them it’s enough just to have them on Blu-ray. What Chuck Norris fan isn’t going to want to put Silent Rage on their shelf?

In a precursor to “Walker, Texas Ranger,” Norris plays a small-town Texas sheriff taking on a serial killer.

Who’s Harry Crumb? was a great vehicle for John Candy, in which he played a goofball detective in the Inspector Clouseau mold who bumbled through cases and solved them through luck and blind chance.

And of course there’s Last Action Hero, a movie that was in many ways ahead of its time in how it deconstructed the action genre and pointed a satirical lens at Hollywood in a way mid-’90s audiences might not have been ready to embrace. Or, maybe its earnestness and meta-humor mark it as more clever than good, though it does feature appearances from future “Game of Thrones” star Charles Dance as the bad guy, and Ian McKellen as the grim reaper.

The Retro VHS Blu-rays were originally released as Walmart exclusives in October but are getting a wide release Jan. 15. They carry a list price of $14.98.