‘The Day of the Beast,’ Rosie Perez Starrer ‘Perdita Durango’ Among Titles Coming to 4K and Blu-ray Disc March 30 From MVD and Severin

Coming to disc March 30 from MVD Entertainment Group and Severin Films are Perdita Durango (1997), The Day of the Beast (1995), Nosferatu in Venice (1988) and A Scream in the Streets (1973).

Writer-director Álex de la Iglesia’s Perdita Durango and The Day of the Beast are restored on 4K Ultra HD (in combo pack with Blu-ray) and Blu-ray Disc for the first time in America.

For his English-language debut with Perdita Durango, de la Iglesia chose novelist Barry Gifford’s prequel to Wild at Heart featuring the titular sociopath priestess. But when the U.S. distributor saw the finished film, they slashed more than 10 minutes of gleefully profane sex and violence and dumped it under the title Dance With the Devil. Severin is now presenting the complete director’s cut starring Oscar nominee Rosie Perez and Academy Award winner Javier Bardem in a violent love story filled with human sacrifices, kidnapping, murder and fetus trafficking with the dogged DEA agent (James Gandolfini) on the trail of it all. Don Stroud (Django Unchained), Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight), Alex Cox (Repo Man) and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins co-star in the film with music by Simon Boswell. Special features include “On the Border,” an interview with de la Iglesia; “Writing Perdita Durango,” an interview with writer Barry Gifford; an appraisal by film scholar Dr. Rebekah McKendry; “Narcosatanicos: Perdita Durango and the Matamoros Cult,” an interview with Abraham Castillo Flores and Cauldron of Blood author Jim Schutze; “Canciones de Amor Maldito: The Music of Perdita Durango,” an interview with composer Simon Boswell; “Shooting Perdita Durango,” an interview with director of photography Flavio Labiano; and trailers.

In between his cult hit debut Accion Mutante and Perdita Durango, de la Iglesia delivered the international horror comedy smash The Day of the Beast, which won six Goya Awards, including Best Director. In the film, when a rogue priest (Álex Angulo of Pan’s Labyrinth) discovers the exact date The Antichrist will be born, he enlists a Death Metal record store clerk (Santiago Segura of Killer Barbys) and a cheesy TV psychic (Armando De Razza) for an urban spree to prevent the Apocalypse by summoning Satan himself. Terele Pávez (800 Bullets) co-stars. Special features include “Heirs of the Beast,” a feature length documentary by Diego López and David Pizarro on the making and cultural impact of the film; “Antichrist Superstar,” an interview with director Alex de la Iglesia; “The Man Who Saved the World,” an interview with actor Armando De Razza; “Beauty and the Beast,” an interview with actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta; “Shooting the Beast,” an interview with director of photography Flavio Martínez Labiano; “Mirindas Asesinas,” a 1990 short film by Alex de la Iglesia; and trailers.

Nosferatu in Venice (1988) and A Scream in the Streets (1973) are coming out on Blu-ray for the first time ever March 30 scanned in 2K from the original negatives.

What was intended to be an unofficial sequel to Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu, Nosferatu in Venice instead became one of the most notoriously fascinating productions in EuroCult history. Klaus Kinski stars as the legendary vampire resurrected in modern-day Venice with an insatiable hunger for warm blood and rough sex. Donald Pleasence and Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer co-star in this shocker that features music by Oscar winner Vangelis (Chariots of Fire) and employed five different directors, including Mario Caiano (Nightmare Castle), Luigi Cozzi (Paganini Horror), writer-producer Augusto Caminito and reportedly Kinski himself. Special features include “Creation is Violent,” a new feature-length documentary on Kinski’s Final Years; “Creation is Violent Outtakes: – Nothing Bad Can Happen – Gypsies Should Be Played by Real Gypsies!”; and a trailer.

From producer Harry Novak — whose Box Office International Pictures brought the world such classics as Axe, Mantis in Lace and Wham Bam Thank You, Spaceman — comes A Scream in the Streets, about a pair of L.A.P.D. detectives hunting a transvestite psychopath through a polyester jungle of massage parlor perverts, suburban sex fiends and violence-crazed cops. Directed by Carl Monson (Please Don’t Eat My Mother), the film stars Joshua Bryant (Enter the Devil), Sandy Carey (Drive-in Massacre), Linda York (Chain Gang Women) and Sharon Kelly (aka ’80s adult film superstar Colleen Brennan). Special features include “The Peeper — Two Sexy Shorts Produced From A Scream in the Streets outtakes” and a trailer.

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/12/20;
Warner;
Action;
Box Office $84.16 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material.
Stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Ewan McGregor.

The most significant aspect of the 2016 Suicide Squad movie was undoubtedly the popularity boost it gave to the character of Harley Quinn, as played by Margot Robbie. While she had always been a fan favorite, the film made her a pop culture sensation, as Harley Quinn cosplay dominated the comic book convention circuit more than ever before, and there was little doubt the character would be popping up in her own movie soon enough.

Those plans hit a bit of a snag, however, as the creative direction of the DC Comics shared movie universe began to unravel a bit following the disappointment of 2017’s Justice League. Subsequent projects would put more focus on the individual films while de-emphasizing the potential for interconnected stories.

And with that, Harley Quinn would end up fronting a loose adaptation of the “Birds of Prey” comic book that shined a spotlight on some of the female heroes of Gotham City. Being the girlfriend of the Joker, Harley was usually cast as an antagonist, but her popularity spurt resulted in her being positioned as more of an anti-hero.

As such, the film finds Harley (Robbie) having just broken up with the Joker, a change in relationship status that makes her an open target for every criminal in Gotham City with a bone to pick with her. In her efforts to establish herself as an underworld authority in her own right, and find a quiet moment to enjoy an egg sandwich, Harley finds herself protecting a teenage pickpocket (Ella Jay Basco) who stole a jewel encoded with the account numbers of a vast mafia fortune, attracting the attention of a mob boss nicknamed Black Mask (Ewan McGregor).

Along the way, and with nary a mention of Batman, Harley tussles with a hotshot cop (Rosie Perez) who treats her job like an ’80s action movie; the Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), a lounge singer with sonic powers; and Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a crossbow-wielding vigilante who seeks vengeance on the crime lords who killed her family.

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Described by one of the visual effects supervisors in the bonus materials as Pulp Fiction meets Clockwork Orange, the film seems trying to set itself up as something of a girl power version of Deadpool, intersplicing some decent action scenes with broad comedy in service of several story threads connected by narration from Harley that jumps back and forth through time. Also like Deadpool, the film tries to play in the ‘R’-rated playground, but the attempt seems more like an excuse for excess rather than anything intrinsically necessary for the characters, story or humor.

Unfortunately, in an effort to be quirky, the film was saddled with the mouthful of a title Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, which when shortened to the obvious Birds of Prey doesn’t speak much to Harley’s involvement in it. So, after the film’s initial disappointment at the box office (also not helped by limiting the audience with its ‘R’ rating), the studio tried to re-christen it Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey for marketing purposes (a move further made understandable by the fact that they couldn’t get the full name right in their own press release for the home video). They probably just should have called it Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey to begin with.

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With the coronavirus pandemic cutting the film’s box office run short, it made an early debut through digital retailers, which offered a variety of bonus features that also made their way to the Blu-ray edition.

The primary extra is the Birds Eye View Mode, a viewing option that plays the film with a mix of filmmaker commentary, pop-up trivia and picture-in-picture behind-the-scenes footage.

More behind-the-scenes details are offered in six featurettes that run a total of 42 minutes, with some repetition of material between them and with the viewing mode. Most of the emphasis is on the physical look of the film, such as the production design and the costumes. There’s also a significant amount of time devoted to the style of the characters and finding the right actors to play them. One of the more unintentionally funny clips involves Winstead heaping praise upon the talents of McGregor — who reportedly left his wife for her while they were co-starring on the “Fargo” TV show just before signing on for this movie.

Finally, there’s a two-minute gag reel that, while amusing, is hard pressed to make an impact given all the silliness that ended up in the movie.