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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist For 2016!

Wishlist 2016Its been another wonderful year in the world of Blu-ray with a good chunk of titles coming off my wishlist and into my Blu-ray collection.  In the past year I retired the somewhat weekly rendition of this column in favor of it being annual.  It would have been nice to keep the weekly one going, but honestly, I just don’t have the time anymore to devote to it.  If you follow my work, you’ll know this site keeps me very busy as has my blog and my new podcast (Cult Cinema Cavalcade).  This was just another thing.  But I love speculation and thinking about what isn’t on the format that needs to be.  And its that time again for another list going in.  A list, that I had to alter last week, as Arrow Video were my heroes and announced they will be releasing Pam Grier’s Sheba, Baby in February 2016, marking her 4 best solo outings to be available on Blu-ray.  Without further adieu, lets dig in and see what transpired in the past year and what I’d like to see happen in the next. 

First, lets take a look at what we’ve crossed off the list in 2015.

Wish fulfilled

Sleepaway Camp II & III (Scream Factory; June 9, 2015) – I was very excited for these, and surprised they even got Collector’s Edition treatment.

Young & Innocent (Network; January 15, 2015) & Jamaica Inn (Cohen Media Group; May 12, 2015) – I’m always down for more Hitchcock, even is Jamaica Inn is less than ideal.  Young & Innocent would make for a good Criterion down the line, but UK distributor Network got this one out.

Tales From Crypt Presents Demon Knight & Bordello Of Blood (Scream Factory; October 20, 2015) – Okay, so yes, I had the TV series on my wishlist last year, but I think this films can count/suffice.  And they got glorious Collector’s Editions with an all-timer retrospective documentary on Bordello of Blood worth owning.

Munich (Universal; May 5, 2015) – Finally, one of Spielberg’s best makes the jump. This was on the original wishlist too!

Coffy (Arrow Video & Olive Films; April 20 & June 9, 2015) – Blacksploitation started finally getting love this year on Blu-ray.  I highly recommend the Arrow Video release of Coffy over the Olive Films one as it has interview with Pam Grier and the director (and is a whole lot better release in general).  But, if you’re not region-free, Olive Films disc has a solid presentation with no extras.

Showdown In Little Tokyo (Warner Archive; July 21, 2015) – I was shocked when this was announced, but incredibly glad.  Warner Archive started taking some steps forward this year in terms of more interesting releases that weren’t just old noir and 60s films.

Jackie Chan’s First Strike (Warner Bros; October 6, 2015) – No, its not the Hong Kong cut, but its at least something.  I already liked this film to begin with anyway and haven’t seen that other cut, so I take this as a win!

Gallipoli (Fox; April 15, 2015) – Seems fitting that Australia is the country that debuted this right?  I haven’t imported this one yet, but its on the list.

Return To Oz (Disney Movie Club Exclusive; April 14, 2015) – I had to buy this one second hand off of an eBay seller as I’m not in the Disney Movie Club.  But, I didn’t pay anything too steep and having this demented cult classic on Blu-ray was worth it.

Deadly Prey (Olive Films, Slasher // Video; November 17, 2015) – I never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever thought this would happen.  Color me shocked.  Yeah, its not truly a high def mastered experience here, but it made the jump and I’m absolutely satisfied with it.  I’d rather own this for 10 bucks than pay out the ass for a worn down used VHS of it.

Son of Frankenstein & Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (Elephant Films; October 21, 2015) – These were released in France and I’ve not seen any feedback on them yet.  However, I’m holding off as I’ve read that Universal has put the remaining Frankenstein sequels into 4K restoration, which may result in a Frankenstein Legacy Blu-ray set next year.  I’ll hold on and see if that happens (which would excite the living hell out of me).

That’s everything we’ve wished for an that’s come true.  Now we’ll move on to the main attraction – the 2016 Wishlist!  As always, these titles must not be available already anywhere else in the world.  So while you may think, “Hey, I wish for Bride of ReAnimator”…did you know you can already find it (Region Free Discs, albeit) in other countries?  Now, onto the list!  As always, we go alphabetical.  16 titles I’d like to see hit Blu-ray in 2016!

Alone In the Dark

Alone In The Dark (1982)

No, no, no…stop it.  This is not the Christian Slater/Tara Reid/Uwe Boll failure.  Long before that film and game it was adapted from existed, there was a chilling little slasher from New Line Cinema starring Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau and Jack Palance.  Yes, two of those names you don’t associate with the genre, but it all the more helps.  Director Jack Sholder (A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2, The Hidden) emits chills and suspense in a film about four psychopathic murderers that get free of the hospital and go to stalk their doctor’s home.

Bananas

Bananas (1971)

While maybe some of the humor and events are dated, I still think much could ring true today.  Plus, this is just some fun out and out comedy from Woody Allen.  There is a hilarious bit where his character has a dream that he’s being carried on a cross and it winds up in this whole parallel parking joke that had me in stitches the first time I saw the film in one of my film criticism courses.  I think we are void of a lot of the director’s early works and Twilight Time seems to be the only distributor that cares about getting it out there.

Bringing Out The Dead

Bringing Out The Dead (1999)

Everyone talks about the year 1999 as being on of cinema’s best, but rarely does it get mentioned that one of cinema’s best directors had a film that year too.  This one was trashed upon release and I’ve never understood.  The Martin Scorsese/Nicolas Cage drama about a third shift New York City paramedic ambulance driver is truly one of both the director and actor’s underappreciated and underrated films.

Critters

Critters (1986)

We could either do the first film on Blu-ray or just do a set with all four on 1-2 discs.  Either way, we go freakin’ GHOULIES & GHOULIES II on Blu-ray this year, we could at least get the best of the movies that came in the wake of Gremlins.  The first Critters actually features some nifty costume and set design when it comes to the science fiction elements in the film.  And yea, these aren’t scary anymore (Were they then?), but they’re at least fun when watching with friends.

Fantastic Four

The Fantastic Four (1994)

Hear me out.  This would make for a fantastic collector’s item.  Someone like Shout! Factory or Arrow Video would do a number on this.  First off, this never meant to be seen film could finally be officially seen with all the clarity in video and audio you needed.  You can see the film, but its in a crummy VHS bootleg form.  Most importantly, there’s a great story to be told with this movie that would garner what I imagine to be an outstanding retrospective documentary on the bonus features.  I would pay a pretty penny to see a well done officially released version of this film.  If you want to compare it to the recent film that came out this year, I would actually own this one in my collection proudly!

Invasion USA

Invasion USA (1985)

With the successful and much talked about Cannon Films documentary making the rounds in 2015, its a shame this masterpiece did not come to fruition.  Its Chuck Norris’ finest hour and would have made for the most spectacular of Blu-ray holiday releases had someone just pulled that damn trigger.  I mean, we got Firewalker this year…but no Invasion USA?  C’mon!  Don’t agree with me?  Not sure of this?  Need some convincing?  Watch the trailer!

Jungle Fever

Jungle Fever (1991)

Great filmmakers should have their catalog represented on ever format from their best to their worst.  This isn’t Spike’s worst at all.  It features some of Wesley’s Snipes best dramatic work and has unusual character actor turns from Halle Berry and Samuel L Jackson before their careers really took off.  And that Stevie Wonder soundtrack will be stuck in your head for days.

The Keep

The Keep (1983)

Hard to find cult classics are becoming a rare thing now thanks to accessibility.  This is one of the last remaining, more commercial, ones.  Michael Mann hates this film and its likely him who is keeping us from seeing it again or in good quality on a new format.  But, he needs to let it go.  This film has fans, and has enough to warrant some type of release.  Plus, some collectors will just buy it out of rarity.  Who knows?  Maybe the film will be reanalyzed with a much more positive acceptance.

Kill Baby Kill

Kill Baby, Kill (1966)

Mario Bava’s works are getting love and appreciation on the Blu-ray format from various independent distributors.  And the format is doing his catalog (and other Italian directors) wonders.  Each film shows a beauty and visualization that’s never really shown through before.  Kill Baby, Kill is a notable mark in his filmography that isn’t yet on the format yet.  It’s also Martin Scorsese’s favorite of all Bava’s films.

Martin

Martin (1977)

Of all George Romero’s films, Dead movies included, this may be his very best.  And this one always has the least chance of making it onward to new formats.  Which is a real shame.  I mean, we got Knightriders even.  This unique vampire tale is a beautiful one and a film I’d really like see a release that features heavy discussion on it through either interviews or commentary.  Lionsgate was the last US distributor to have the rights, but who knows if they are interested in catalog genre stuff anymore.

Scars of Dracula

Scars of Dracula (1970)

Unpopular opinion among the Hammer crowd; I thoroughly enjoy this Dracula entry.  Its one of my favorites even.  Yeah, it goes a little off base from things, but it really entertaining.  This one features much more gore and brutality than before.  An oddity, its both a sequel and a reboot of sorts to the series.  Christopher Lee actually has stuff to do here and the finale is excellent.  Hammer stuff is slowly coming out, and Warner releases 4 & 5 of this series this year…leaving this one to be the next in line.  I’m hoping they move forward and do this one instead of going back to Horror & Brides which have been available in other countries.  I really could care less is AD 1972 and Satanic Rites ever went to Blu-ray (Well, before Scars that is, I am a completist 95% of the time).

Staying Alive

Staying Alive (1983)

Yes, there was a sequel to Saturday Night Fever.  Yes, it was written and directed by Sylvester Stallone.  Yes, it was terrible.  But, oh my was this one dumpster fire worth watching burn.  The character dialogue, actions and all sorts of things in this movie are downright hilarious.  The soundtrack returns the Bee Gees here for an unmemorable affair.  Also, in a movie focused on dancing, the choreography, costumes and numbers couldn’t at all be more ridiculous and horrendous.  But, there’s 1 big reason this should be on Blu-ray…

Frank Stallone

You guessed it.  Frank Stallone.

Street Fighter

The Street Fighter (1974)

Sonny Chiba’s glory days really don’t have any presence on the Blu-ray format.  The guy was a big deal, carrying the metaphorical torch passed to him from Bruce Lee in terms of kung-fu films.  Sonny’s films took things a bit more brutal and much more exploitative.  His signature series is his Street Fighter one, which were a much bigger deal just a decade or so ago and seem to have been forgotten.  I remember seeing commercials on TV and on rental tapes about ordering the complete Street Fighter collection on VHS.  These are an awesome watch and I really would love to see them cleaned up and remastered for the format.  Make a limited box set and charge a little more, I and many others I’m sure would be down.

Supergirl

Supergirl (1984)

It has always bugged the crap out of me that whenever a Superman “Complete Collection” set comes out that this movie is always left in the dust like it didn’t happen.  This is an interesting piece of film history and one that is highly entertaining for many of the wrong reasons.  I also happen to adore it.  For that, I’d much rather have this in a set than Superman III or IV.  On DVD, they released a really full deluxe version with three cuts of the film and bonus features, but never went forth on Blu-ray at the many opportunities its had.  Well, now there is one.  There’s a much talked about hit show featuring the character on television and people could be curious to check out what came before.  Make it happen, Warner Bros.  Make it happen on Blu-ray!

Trancers III

Trancers III (1992)

This series is one of the best things Full Moon Features has ever done outside of Stuart Gordon movies.  I’ve got nothing but love for the first three films in this low budget science fiction series.  I was surprised how fun the first film was and even surprised more that the second and third entries were good enough and entertaining.  They’ve released the first two films and should go ahead and just crank out the third one.  As far as I’m concerned, they can stop after that as the remaining entries are abysmal.  Its the last one with Helen Hunt and her role isn’t too big here, but the film still succeeds in being good low budget straight to video entertainment.

Wrong Man

The Wrong Man (1956)

It wouldn’t be a wishlist without the mention of Alfred Hitchcock.  The last two years’ output has been rather minimal, but hopefully we can see more in 2016.  The Wrong Man features his other collaboration with Vera Miles and is about an innocent man who gets mistaken for a criminal.  Its based on a true story, with an outstanding facial performance by Henry Fonda.  The ending of this film is visually legendary, and aside from cinematography, Fonda’s face sells it.  This, along with countless others (I Confess, Stage Fright) need to make the Blu-ray jump very badly.

And that’s it for the 2015 edition of the Wishlist.  Hopefully these titles and ones I’ve had on previous lists finally see the light of Blu-ray next year (*COUGH* PHANTASM BOX SET *COUGH*).  I have a blast doing this every year and look forward to it.  I appreciate your time reading these as well.  What are some titles you’re hoping hit Blu-ray in 2016?

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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