October 14, 2009

Drag Me to Hell

Also this week: Happy Birthday to Me, Land of the Lost, Friday, The Stepfather, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Jackass: The Lost Tapes

Highlight of the Week

Drag Me to Hell (Universal) Welcome back, Raimi! After what felt like a lifetime (seven years, FYI) of Spider-Man, zom-com originator Sam Raimi returns to form with an ecstatically off-the-rails ghost story. Alison Lohman stands in for Bruce Campbell to endure the non-stop torments of a dead gypsy’s hex and the director/co-writer’s wicked sense of humour. Maggots, a talking sacrificial goat and buckets of ick are on the menu in this frolicking, often-frightening genre-coaster ride that fans have been jonesing for since the horror heyday of Evil Dead II. Extras: rated and unrated cuts, 14 highly amusing production diaries. 

Also Available 

Happy Birthday to Me (Anchor Bay) Kids growing up in the VHS epoch were often scarred by box art even more haunting than the films they represented. Take this giallo-influenced, early ’80s slasher featuring a shish kebab being plunged into a dude’s wide-open mouth and a tagline that read: “Six of the most bizarre deaths you will ever see!” Years later, the mystery is debunked and the reality is a minor letdown. You will not witness six of the most bizarre deaths you will ever see, but you will watch a man swallow a shish kebab skewer. Moderately bizarre, I suppose. Extras: purist-friendly mono track, snazzy trailer. 

Land of the Lost (Universal) Honest, this Sid and Marty Kroft–series revamp isn’t nearly as ghastly as you’d guess. With sort-of-credible CGI dinos, retro lizardmen, hip set designs and hot/cold improv from the likes of Will Ferrell and Danny McBride, I may even go so far as endorsing this as a solid rental. That goes double if you’re baked. Extras: director’s commentary. 

Friday (Alliance) This fairly clever South Central send-up has aged reasonably well, with Ice Cube and the perma-irritating Chris Tucker co-starring as two front-porch slackers who get blazed and into trouble. Notable as being the first in a long, arduous line of hip-hop stoner-coms, this is the pick of the lacklustre litter. Extras: new director’s cut, making-of, Q&A, fricky fricky fresh music vidz. 

The Stepfather (Shout! Factory) Just in time to coincide with the theatrical release of the shitty-looking reboot, this more-than-just-an-’80s-camp-classic finally makes it to DVD. As any self-respecting horror fan already knows, Lost’s Terry O’Quinn adds new meaning to the phrase “home wrecker” in this stylish and suspenseful cult gem that’s indeed based on a true crime. Extras: commentary with director Joseph Rubin, all-new retrospective featurette.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Paramount) Ten years on, the movie rocks more than it shocks, but this Blu-ray’s a no-brainer for Trey Parker and Matt Stone diehards who dug the duo’s drunk commentaries for Orgasmo and Cannibal! The Musical. In this regrettably sober track, expect biting observations that Paramount has kindly kept intact. Extras: all-new commentary, Brian Boitano music vid. 

Jackass: The Lost Tapes (Paramount) You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll hurl. Okay, so I jacked that line from a Wayne’s World poster. But that doesn’t mean you won’t simultaneously do all of the above, or at least the latter two — particularly during the “Vomelet” segment. Extras: episode intros and outros.