Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Special Blu-Rays for Your Cinephile

 

The Criterion Collection updated their DVD of Paul Schrader’s (Taxi DriverMishima to Blu-ray and, typical of Criterion, it’s a stunning set. The film is about the famous Japanese author Yukio Mishima (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) on the last day of his life right before he committed public ritual suicide, or seppuku.

  • On the Blu-ray: New, restored 4K digital transfer of the director’s cut, supervised and approved by director Paul Schrader and cinematographer John Bailey, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • On the DVD: High-definition digital transfer of the director’s cut, supervised and approved by director Paul Schrader and cinematographer John Bailey
  • Two alternate English narrations, including one by actor Roy Scheider
  • Audio commentary from 2006 featuring Schrader and producer Alan Poul
  • Interviews from 2007 and 2008 with Bailey, producers Tom Luddy and Mata Yamamoto, composer Philip Glass, and production designer Eiko Ishioka
  • Interviews from 2008 with Yukio Mishima biographer John Nathan and friend Donald Richie
  • Audio interview from 2008 with coscreenwriter Chieko Schrader
  • Interview excerpt from 1966 featuring Mishima talking about writing
  • The Strange Case of Yukio Mishima, a documentary from 1985 about the author
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kevin Jackson, a piece on the film’s censorship in Japan, and photographs of Ishioka’s sets
    Cover by Neil Kellerhouse

A set my wife got me for Father’s Day this year is Arrow Video’s 4K restoration of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes. Hills is no easy watch, but it is a slab of savage American art, just a few steps down from Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which it shares a production designer and some props with). Like Criterion, Arrow brings the quality and collectibility to DVDs and Blu-Rays.

  • Brand new 4K restoration of the film, supervised by producer Peter Locke and viewable with both original and alternate endings
  • Original mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary with actors Michael Berryman, Janus Blythe, Susan Lanier and Martin Speer
  • Brand new audio commentary by academic Mikel J. Koven
  • Audio commentary with Wes Craven and Peter Locke
  • Looking Back on The Hills Have Eyes – making-of documentary featuring interviews with Craven, Locke, actors Michael Berryman, Dee Wallace, Janus Blythe, Robert Houston, Susan Lanier and director of photography Eric Saarinen
  • Brand new interview with actor Martin Speer
  • The Desert Sessions – brand new interview with composer Don Peake
  • Never-before-seen outtakes
  • Alternate ending
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Image Gallery
  • Original Screenplay (DVD-ROM Content)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper

My full review is pending, but I’d be irresponsible to not recommend Blue Underground’s new 3 disc 4K restoration of Bill Lustig’s 1980 splatter masterpiece Maniac. Starring Joe Spinell (The Godfather) and Caroline Munro (The Satanic Rites of Dracula), Maniac follows Frank Zito (Spinell), a sort of Big Apple Norman Bates who suffers from delusions and likes to…decorate mannequins. Special effects by Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th 1 and 4), who also makes a cameo in the greatest head explosion this side of Scanners.

 

  • Audio Commentary #1 with Co-Producer/Director William Lustig and Co-Producer Andrew W. Garroni
  • Audio Commentary #2 with Co-Producer/Director William Lustig, Special Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Savini, Editor Lorenzo Marinelli, and Joe Spinell’s Assistant Luke Walter
  • Anna and the Killer – Interview with Star Caroline Munro
  • The Death Dealer – Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Savini
  • Dark Notes – Interview with Composer Jay Chattaway
  • Maniac Men – Interview with Songwriters Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2 Promo Reel
  • The Joe Spinell Story
  • MANIAC Publicity
  • MANIAC Controversy
  • And the complete original score on disc 3

 

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