This year has seen some gorgeous (and sometimes pricey) box sets hit the market and if you have a cinephile on your Christmas list, I’ve got some slam dunk suggestions for you here.
Blood Hunger: The Films of Jose Larraz
I’ll admit, the films of Jose Ramon Larraz was a complete blind spot to me, but this is a good year to discover this Spanish director’s body of work. Not only did we get the gorgeous box set below, but his 1980s slasher, Edge of the Axe is also getting a stand-alone special edition from Arrow Video. As usual, Arrow did an amazing job with Blood Hunger, which features three films – an erotic Giallo Whirlpool; an erotic lesbian vampire film, Vampyres; and just a good ole’ erotic film, The Coming of Sin. Stylish and unexpected, Larraz’s films should appeal both to fans of other Spanish filmmakers like Jess Franco and Amando de Ossorrio and to fans of Italian horror/gialli. The picture and sound on these films are impeccable and there’s a slew of extras to boot.
You can order Blood Hunger: The Films of Jose Larraz here.
The Fly Collection
Hands down, one of my all-time favourite films is David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of The Fly. It’s a perfect synthesis of horror and science fiction with practical effects that still look both amazing and stomach-churning today. That filmed spawned a gory, entertaining sequel, but we should never overlook the original three films, the first two starring Vincent Price and introducing us to the iconic Fly headed tragic story. The third film deviated a bit from the original story and has been underseen since it was released in the 60s. Now Scream Factory has brought together all five films for the first time in a gorgeous set loaded with extras. I’m dying to have this one for myself!
You can order The Fly Collection here.
Phantasm Sphere Collection
Well Go USA.
Though it’s been delayed, it looks like this gorgeous and definitive 40th-anniversary collection, complete with a replica sphere, is finally ready to order. The set is scheduled to feature a new sound mix for Phantasm and a new scan for Phantasm II, as well as a feature-length documentary for RaVager. The dream-like, reality-bending saga of an ice cream man and his dead friend’s little brother taking on The Tall Man and his army of rabid Jawas and grave diggers is one of horror’s most unique and intriguing franchises, spanning decades, but always guided by the steady hand of creator Don Coscarelli.
You can order the Phantasm Sphere Collection here.
The Omen Collection
The son of Satan is back, in boxed form! Last October saw the release of this five-disc set which featured the classic original, its three sequels and the 2000’s remake. The first film, starring Gregory Peck, is an unimpeachable genre classic. It’s such a great character-driven and grounded film that takes a sudden left step into Hammer territory for a shining and brazen moment. The sequels are lesser films to some extent, but part three stars Sam Neil, so don’t overlook them. The remake was significantly better than I’d heard, with some really nice gore moments.
You can order The Omen Collection here.