Recent fantasy and horror on disk

The arrival of wandering friar Fray Angel (Jorge Rivero) triggers violence and madness in Gonzalo Suárez’s Beatriz (1976)

A couple of new releases and a pair of slightly older disks offer a range of fantasy and horror from Julian Duvivier’s made-in-Hollywood anthology Flesh and Fantasy (1943) to three movies from Spain in the early ’70s in Vinegar Syndrome’s Villages of the Damned box set, from the inventive low-budget sci-fi of Yedidya Gorsetman’s Empathy, Inc. (2018) to Ben Wheatley’s folk-horror-tinged pandemic movie In the Earth (2021),

Carl Franklin’s One False Move (1992): Criterion Blu-ray review

Fantasia (Cynda Williams) just wants to get home to see her child in Carl Franklin's One False Move (1992)

One False Move (1992), a slow-burn character study of small-time criminals and a small-town cop punctuated by disturbing burst of violence, gave Tom Paxton his best role and launched the careers of director Carl Franklin and writer-actor Billy Bob Thornton. This low-budget independent production gets an impressive restoration from the Criterion Collection in a dual-format 4K UHD/Blu-ray release.

Murder, robbery and paranormal activity: three new releases

Bank robber Milan (Johnny Hallyday) seems weary of his life choices in Patrice Leconte's Man on the Train (2002)

Three recent releases spanning nine decades offer radically different viewing experiences, from James Whale’s pre-Code courtroom drama The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933), rife with bourgeois misogyny, to Patrice Leconte’s Man on the Train (2002), steeped in existential weariness, to Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s Something in the Dirt (2022), in which the residents of a nondescript Los Angeles apartment discover a portal to cosmic horror.

Winter viewing 1: Vinegar Syndrome

Detective Linda Masterson (Cynthia Rothrock) investigates a killer martial artist in Kelly Makin's Tiger Claws (1991)

A long cold winter, a working-from-home schedule and pandemic-induced malaise means I’ve been watching a lot of undemanding genre movies over the past few months. One of my primary sources in the past couple of years has been Vinegar Syndrome, a company whose dedication to unearthing obscure, often forgotten genre movies equals my own passion for watching them. Although by no means a complete account of my VS viewing, here are brief notes on two dozen titles.

Year End 2021

The Count (Udo Kier) is worried about his blood supply in Paul Morrissey's Blood for Dracula (1974)

It’s been a good year for movies on disk, with a remarkable range of releases from many companies which are devoting considerable resources to rediscovering, restoring and preserving movies in numerous genres. Ranging across nationalities and spanning cinema history, there was plenty to divert attention from a real world which has become so depressing and exhausting.

Blasts from the past

Two Mexican westerns from Vinegar Syndrome

Robots “R” Us

Video Nasties, Part 3

Miguel Llansó’s trash aesthetic

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