Holiday Gift Guide 2019: Criterion Collection and Scream Factory Blu-rays

For film buffs or all sorts, this year brought some very cool reissues of classic movies that deserve the souped-up treatment. Here’s a selection of just a few that deserve a place under the tree (or Hanukah bush):

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Until the End of the World
1991
Criterion Collection

At long last, Wim Wenders’ ultimate road movie hits Blu-ray in its director’s cut format. I’ve made my way through this classic and it was well worth the nearly 30-year wait to see all four and a half hours of Wenders’ vision.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New 4K digital restoration, commissioned by the Wim Wenders Foundation and supervised by director Wim Wenders, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New introduction by Wenders
  • New interview with Wenders about the film’s soundtrack
  • New conversation between Wenders and musician David Byrne
  • Japanese behind-the-scenes program detailing the creation of the film’s high-definition sequences
  • Interview with Wenders from 2001
  • Up-Down Under Roma, a 1993 interview with Wenders on his experiences in Australia
  • The Song, a 1991 short film by Uli M Schueppel detailing the recording of “(I’ll Love You) Till the End of the World” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: Essays by critics Bilge Ebiri and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky on the film and its soundtrack

You can order Until the End of the World here.

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Night of the Living Dead
1968
Criterion Collection

Around Halloween 2018 I went to the theatre to see the newly remastered version of Night of the Living Dead, and I was genuinely blown away by just how scary the film still is. Any horror fan needs this new version in their collection.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director George A. Romero, coscreenwriter John A. Russo, sound engineer Gary R. Streiner, and producer Russell W. Streiner
  • New restoration of the monaural soundtrack, supervised by Romero and Gary Streiner and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray
  • Night of Anubis, a never-before-presented work-print edit of the film
  • New program featuring filmmakers Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, and Robert Rodriguez
  • Never-before-seen 16 mm dailies reel
  • New program featuring Russo on the commercial and industrial-film production company where key Night of the Living Dead filmmakers got their start
  • Two audio commentaries from 1994 featuring Romero, Russo, producer Karl Hardman, actor Judith O’Dea, and others
  • Archival interviews with Romero and actors Duane Jones and Judith Ridley
  • New programs about the film’s style and score
  • New interview program about the direction of ghouls, featuring members of the cast and crew
  • New interviews with Gary Streiner and Russell Streiner
  • Newsreels from 1967
  • Trailer, radio spots, and TV spots
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Stuart Klawans

You can order Night of the Living Dead here.

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Dracula
1979
Scream Factory/Shout Factory

True story – the first Dracula I ever encountered was Frank Langella’s’ take. I was sleeping over at my dad’s house and he, my stepmom and I were cuddled in bed their big bed watching a network broadcast. I was the only one who stayed awake for the ending. I was also probably five or six and I still remember it vividly.

Bonus Features

DISC ONE: DESATURATED COLOR TIMING

  • NEW Introduction By Director John Badham
  • NEW King Of My Kind – An Interview With John Badham
  • NEW What Sad Music – An Interview With Writer W.D. Richter
  • NEW Dracula’s Guest – An Interview With Camera Assistant Jim Alloway
  • NEW Interview With Editor John Bloom
  • NEW Interview With Make-Up Artist Peter Robb-King
  • NEW Interview With Hair Stylist Colin Jamison
  • NEW Interview With Assistant Director Anthony Waye
  • NEW Interview With Production Manager Hugh Harlow
  • Audio Commentary With Director John Badham
  • The Revamping Of Dracula Featurette

DISC TWO: ORIGINAL THEATRICAL COLOR TIMING

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Best Available Original Film Elements
  • NEW Introduction By Director John Badham
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Film Historian/Filmmaker Constantine Nasr
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Radio Spots
  • Still Gallery

You can order Dracula here.BTILCCE_BR_Cover_72dpi.pngBig Trouble in Little China
1986
Scream Factory/Shout Factory

Shout/Scream Factory has been doing simply outstanding jobs rereleasing the majority of John Carpenter’s catalogue, and this classic from 1986 is no different. Carpenter and Kurt Russell always had a special relationship that remains on display here.

Bonus Features

DISC ONE: THE FILM

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Producer Larry Franco
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Special Effects Artist Steve Johnson, Moderated By filmmaker Anthony C. Ferrante
  • Audio Commentary With Director John Carpenter And Actor Kurt Russell
  • Isolated Score
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Vintage Audio Interview With John Carpenter
  • Electronic Press Kit – Interviews And Profiles
  • Gag Reel
  • Music Video
  • Deleted And Extended Scenes
  • Extended Ending
  • Photo Galleries – Movie Stills, Posters, Lobby cards, Publicity Photos, And Behind-the-scenes Photos

DISC TWO: BONUS FEATURES

  • NEW You’re The Hero – An Interview With Actor Dennis Dun
  • NEW The Soul Of Lo Pan – An Interview With Actor James Hong
  • NEW Able To Be Myself – An Interview With Actor Donald Li
  • NEW The Tao Of Thunder – An Interview With Actor Carter Wong
  • NEW The Tao Of Rain – An Interview With Actor Peter Kwong
  • NEW The Hatchet Man Speaks – An Interview With Actor Al Leong
  • NEW Damn Wiley Prescott – An Interview With Writer W.D. Richter
  • NEW It Was A Western Ghost Story – An Interview With Writer Gary Goldman
  • NEW The Poetry Of Motion – An Interview With Associate Producer/Martial Arts Choreographer James Lew
  • NEW Into The Mystic Night – An Interview With The Coupe De Ville’s Member Nick Castle
  • NEW Since We Were Kids – An Interview With Second Unit Director/The Coupe De Ville’s Member Tommy Lee Wallace
  • NEW Love And Art – A Conversation With Movie Poster Artist Drew Struzan
  • Return To Little China – An Interview With Director John Carpenter
  • Being Jack Burton – An Interview With Actor Kurt Russell
  • Carpenter And I – An Interview With Director Of Photography Dean Cundey
  • Producing Big Trouble – An Interview With Producer Larry Franco
  • Staging Big Trouble – An Interview With Stuntman Jeff Imada
  • Interview With Visual Effects Artist Richard Edlund
  • Vintage Featurette

You can order Big Trouble in Little China here.

 

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John Carpenter’s Vampires
1998
Scream Factory/Shout Factory

I reviewed this Blu-ray a few months back; you can check that out here. Again, the work of John Carpenter is done right with this new collector’s edition.

Bonus Features

  • NEW Time To Kill Some Vampires – An Interview With Composer/Director John Carpenter, Producer Sandy King Carpenter, And Cinematographer Garry B. Kibbe
  • NEW Jack The Slayer – An Interview With Actor James Woods
  • NEW The First Vampire – An Interview With Actor Thomas Ian Griffith
  • NEW Raising The Stakes – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Greg Nicotero
  • NEW Padre – An Interview With Actor Tim Guinee
  • Audio Commentary By Composer/Director John Carpenter
  • Isolated Score
  • Vintage Making Of Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

You can order John Carpenter’s Vampires here.

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