Criterion’s new Blu-ray of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) affords this scrappy, independent production the high degree of respect it has earned not only as one of the key American films of the 1960s, but as a work which almost single-handedly redefined the horror genre.
Severin Films recent Blu-ray special edition of Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman’s Jack the Ripper (1959) is ambitious but compromised; the atmospheric horror film is presented in three different versions, all of which have serious issues with the transfers (print damage in one case and incorrect aspect ratios in the other two). More satisfying, technically and creatively, is Severin’s Blu-ray edition of Richard Stanley’s typically idiosyncratic documentary The Otherworld (2013).
Some recent Twilight Time releases showcase the value of melodrama as social critique and character study.
Some comments about the past year’s DVD and Blu-ray releases.
By turns funny and frightening, gripping and frustrating, David Lynch’s revival of Twin Peaks is a prodigiously inventive television epic.
Very brief comments on several dozen disks viewed over the past few months.
Two Italian classics – Mario Bava’s Kill, Baby … Kill! (1966) and Pupi Avati’s Zeder (1983) – and an imaginative new movie – David Lowery’s A Ghost Story (2017) – offer differing thematic takes on survival after death.
Big budgets don’t necessarily guarantee success in genre filmmaking; in fact, the bigger the budget the more likely a genre movie will be met with derision which is often undeserved.
Darren Aronofsky’s mother! (2017) is a religious allegory disguised as a horrific comedy of social unease. Original and completely unhinged, it features an excellent cast and audacious imagery which has been unsettling and confusing audiences and critics.
More notes on recent viewing, from a sadistic thriller to emotionally resonant anime, from a literary adaptation to two investigations of racism in America.