This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Will hard-working companies like Arrow, Shout Factory, Second Sight, and Powerhouse, who work hard cleaning up and shipping out all the beloved movies from our formative years in exchange for a reasonable amount of cash, ever run out of new finds to level up for fresh Blu-ray releases? Unlikely!
That 4K restoration of Rawhead Rex you always wanted? Here you go. A limited-edition copy of Xtro with three thousand hours of special features? You’re welcome. Stigmata for some reason? You got it. All a reality, all glorious. But there are still plenty of neglected films waiting in the wings.
In fact, here are 15 proposed projects currently languishing in the shadows, picked out of a very frustrated Den Of Geek head and hat…
Zero Effect was director Jake Kasdan’s promising first feature film back in 1998, and it still remains a fan favorite amongst noir dabblers.
Bill Pullman is arguably at his career best here as the damaged Daryl Zero – “the world’s most private detective” – in a story loosely based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Scandal In Bohemia, and both Zero and his long-suffering assistant Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller) really do utter some of the most memorable and heart-breaking dialogue of all time as they fumble while attempting to solve the mystery of a very bad man who’s lost his keys.
Now Kasdan is fresh off the big success of Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, couldn’t he maybe pull some strings and get his much-loved debut into an HD release we can spend some time with? We don’t think he’s forgotten it; he even tried to get a Zero Effect TV series made in 2002 with Alan Cumming in the role of Zero.
My Demon Lover
This one is a hard sell, in a lot of ways. Scott Valentine (Family Ties) plays homeless street musician Kaz, cursed (literally) with a certain affliction – every time he gets horny, he blacks out and turns into a monster. So when women start turning up dead on the city streets, mangled horribly, he starts to wonder whether he’s the one who’s doing it.
By turns a love story, a traditional slasher and a vaguely raunchy sci-fi comedy, the film didn’t make too much money when it was released in the late 80s, and went straight to video in most places.
Here’s the thing, though: it’s kind of amazing. It really held up during a recent re-watch and has some absolutely terrific practical effects, remaining one of the most bafflingly watchable horror comedies of the era. It deserves delving into, and we can imagine there are some very interesting stories behind it.
Jeff Goldblum and Cyndi Lauper (yes) are two psychics dragged along to Ecuador by Peter Falk (yes again) in search of a mystical pyramid. Julian Sands (third yes) is the bad guy. Do we need to say any more to convince you that this bonkers adventure, which somehow got made with an $18 million budget in the late 80s, is worth a watch?
Unfortunately, it’s only available here as a Spanish DVD – El Misterio de la Piramide de Oro, or “the mystery of the golden pyramid,” if you’re wondering – and in the US, as a Martini Movie. On Amazon, it’s simply represented by someone’s wonky picture of the front cover.
At a stretch, then, Vibes could be considered a lost jewel that needs the mud scraped off of it and to be restored to some sort of glory, as the Goldblum renaissance (Goldblumaissance?) continues.
Oh, did we mention the James Horner soundtrack and obligatory Cyndi Lauper tie-in single? We don’t believe we did.
Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone
Crash landing on an unfamiliar planet, a trio of gorgeous women are soon abducted by hideous cyborg, Overdog (Michael Ironside) and there’s only one man that can stop him from enjoying them in his own sweet time – the suspiciously named Wolff (Peter Strauss). Co-starring Molly Ringwald and Ernie Hudson, this Road Warrior knock-off has some innate charm, but it was originally released just a week before Return Of The Jedi, ensuring that it would forever be known as simply ‘Space-what?’
Originally shot in 3D, Spacehunter eventually made its way onto a bare bones Blu-ray in the US in 2D recently, and not very well by the looks of things. There have been plenty of complaints about the transfer from fans looking for a blast from the past, and with no extras worth mentioning, we think there’s a case for better treatment.
Ken Russell’s barmy drugs n’ sensory deprivation sci-fi horror is already out on Blu-ray! It is. It’s out on Blu-ray. But it’s rubbish. It’s rubbish. We’re talking a trailer-only menu affair, which seems like a real shame, and much less than the still-mind blowing trip deserves, perhaps more so given Lair Of The White Worm’s recent triumphant release on Blu, complete with an audio commentary from Russell ripped straight from the LaserDisc release.
Listening to the late director regaling and ranting in equal measure to his listeners about the process of making the film is absolutely worth the purchase price alone, and we’d really like to hear more tales from behind the scenes of Altered States, too.
Following five seasons of Canada’s best ever comedy series (no arguments), workaholic troupe The Kids In The Hall decided a feature film was in order to cap things off, and what a film it is. The trouble is, you can’t get it in the UK at all, and it’s still only out on DVD over in the US.
It’s time to celebrate this weird-as-hell, offensive, yet musically triumphant and near-perfect comedy film with a wonderful Blu-ray release. We hope you agree.
In The Mouth Of Madness
John Carpenter’s Lovecraftian horror flick just got a brilliant Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release through Shout Factory in the US, including a 4K scan, two commentaries featuring the director and a bunch of other bonus content. Can someone get a UK release together, please?
Dead Man’s Curve (aka The Curve)
Director Dan Rosen had received plenty of plaudits for writing The Last Supper in 1995, and proved he could not only follow it up with another winner in this thriller about two students using the suicide of their roommate to get an automatic 4.0 GPA at Harvard – a rumoured policy of the school – but deliver something even better, too.
Released by Tartan [insert wistful sigh] on DVD in the UK back in 2002, there’s still no sign of a Blu-ray release for this dark, twisty-turny thriller, which stars Matthew Lillard putting in another spectacular performance.
Indeed, there are very few Matthew Lillard performances that aren’t spectacular, and if you’re a Lillard completist (we do presume that you are) you’d likely be chuffed to bits with a lovely new Dead Man’s Curve release, along with a hefty serving of extra content.
My Science Project
It’s virtually impossible to resist any film where Fisher Stevens is at peak Fisher Stevens and this is no exception.
My Science Project was released in the hope that the magical glowing finger behind 1985’s other genre successes would also choose to bless it, but it ended up being neither a Back To The Future nor a Weird Science. It did, however, offer a solid 94 minutes of Touchstone teen sci-fi hi-jinx.
The 2016 Blu-ray (US only) did better than the DVD version, featuring an anamorphic picture at least (the DVD only managed a 4:3 for whatever mysterious reasons) but it still came with no extras, and that’s just not good enough. This deserves a decent release, along with a lovely retrospective, and to finally be treated like an 80s sci-fi curio that time will no longer forget.
The Golden Child
It’s hard to believe this staple of many a childhood, and one of the highlights of Eddie Murphy’s post-Trading Places career, hasn’t made its way to Blu-ray yet. Director Michael Ritchie, who also helmed Fletch and Wildcats, was behind this ambitious 1986 supernatural comedy endeavor. He sadly passed away in 2001, which may or may not have something to do with the film’s absence on your line-up.
Looking back with fresh eyes, is the film’s story – revolving around a social worker traveling to Tibet to save a near-mute child with mystical abilities – likely to be extremely problematic on about fourteen different levels? Absolutely, but that just makes us want it more! The ‘Charles Dance clapping’ gif can’t live forever.
The Man With Two Brains
Currently available only as a standard Blu-ray as part of Warner Bros’ Archive Collection in the US and having been allocated the most minimal amount of love in the process, we’d be overjoyed to see this odd Steve Martin comedy finally get The Works.
Since we’ve also discovered over time that co-star Kathleen Turner gives the best interviews known to god or man, the idea of getting her and Martin back together on a commentary for this one has us chomping at the bit. We suspect we’d be listening to it more than once.
Wish You Were Here
It might be hard to remember (especially if, y’know, you hadn’t been born yet) but there was a time during the late 80s where singing “UP YOUR BUM!” at the top of your voice was briefly the height of UK indie movie humor, and that was down to the homegrown success of David Leland’s Wish You Were Here.
The central character of the confused and sexually audacious Lynda was a breakout role for star Emily Lloyd, who was instantly slapped with a “next big thing” label. It didn’t end up happening for her, but this film is still an absolute winner, and could really use a little homegrown love right now to make it onto Blu.
Teen Witch is available on Blu-ray in the US, with a few scant features, including some interviews, but how about celebrating it the only way we’ll accept – fully remastered so we can see every hair crimp on Robyn Lively’s ginger head in eye-blistering clarity, and maybe a CD copy of the disturbingly addictive soundtrack, too? Do us a favor.
One of the DVD reviews for The Mutations on Amazon is entitled “Warning! Donald Pleasence!” and it’s hard to disagree.
In this warped outing, the legendary Pleasence stars as a mad scientist determined to crossbreed humans with plants. Sounds funny, actually kinda grim, and usually ends with the guinea pig being shipped off to the local circus freakshow, where they’re destined to live out the rest of their miserable existence.
It’s certainly an unpleasant oddity, all things considered, but that seems like a rather vague excuse when there have been 346 versions of Cannibal Holocaust on the loose at one point or other.
It’s time for the ultimate tribute.
My Best Friend Is A Vampire
The future’s so bright, baby-faced Robert Sean Leonard’s gotta wear shades… cuz he’s a vampire.
Only available in Europe as a Spanish release (El Vampiro Adolescente!) and released a while ago in the US on DVD as part of The Lost Collection – “the best movies you totally forgot about” – along with a trivia track, there’s nothing so delicious as the blood of a forgotten teen vampire movie, is there?
Honorable mention – V (Original Series) Complete Collection
Right, where’s the Blu-ray box set of V that we so desperately crave? It’s about time, innit?
No, we don’t want the remake, we want this one, warts and all. Chuck in all the ample extras from the DVD releases, which at one point had those cardboard covers with the plastic clip (‘member them? Good slash bad times) folded into a lovely remastered package, perhaps along with a brand-new retrospective noting the show’s impact on the alien invasion subgenre over time, and this would be a must-buy.
We can even see the packaging now, in our mind’s corrupted eye – a Visitor’s cheerful face with a lizard-revealing rip down the middle that you could slide your finger in if you wanted*.
*you probably wouldn’t, just in case it tore