October 28, 2009

Night of the Creeps

Also this week: Dead Snow, The Children, Orphan, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Monty Python: Almost the Truth, Plastic Man

Horror Highlights of the Week

Night of the Creeps (Sony) It took a little longer than forever, but Fred Dekker’s 1986 homage to drive-in drivel sees the non-bootleg light of day just in time for your annual Halloween movie-thon. A clever concoction of sci-fi, horror and screwball romance featuring brain-eating extraterrestrials is the no-brainer highlight in this week’s crop of home-video horror. Keeners are encouraged to go double-Dekker with the director’s kid-friendly and equally precious The Monster Squad. Also available on Blu-ray, this release boasts a visual upgrade that’s nothing short of revelatory to those brought up in the VHS Dark Age. Extras: director’s cut, commentaries, making-of, featurettes, deleted scenes. 

Dead Snow (E1) Plenty of guts, goofs and tributes to superior gore-comedy precursors are showcased in this rather overrated rehash, which pits a group of Norwegian vacationers against a legion of undead Nazis. Believe it or not, this ain’t the first of its kind; that honour goes to 1977 Nazi-sploitation flick Shock Waves. Extras: ein making-of, drei featurettes.

The Children (Alliance) Getting offed by your own brood — now there’s a horror premise rife with perturbed paranoia. Unfortunately, this low-rent creepshow coasts on its thinly innovative, ultimately one-note design rather than putting forward anything other than creepy-cute toddlers, intolerable adults and nasty gore. Sadly, that’s more than what most horror offers nowadays. Extras: making-of, mini-featurettes galore, deleted scenes.

Orphan (Warner) Being offed by your adopted offspring is considerably less unsettling, but here’s a bleak vision that manages to produce a few campy thrills. From nightmarish opening sequence to Freudian finale, this is stylish pop trash at its best and worst, and as far as killer kiddies go, a halfway decent companion piece to The Bad Seed. Extras: deleted scenes, not-so-chilling alternate ending.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Warner) Those who don’t qualify this 1971 singalong classic as a genuine horror film need only reconsider that freaked-out ferry ride, the most psychedelically disturbing sequence in any so-called children’s film. Don’t even mention Oompa Loompas. I’m too scared to eat chocolate ever again. Blu-ray extras: collectable booklet, commentary, featurettes, more.

Also Available (For Wimps) 

Monty Python: Almost the Truth (Eagle Rock Entertainment) A devilishly daunting six-parter commemorating the ensemble’s 40th anniversary goes to exhaustive lengths to cover every nook and cranny of its seminal subjects. From horses’-mouth anecdotes to ageless excerpts, this is one scarily detailed doc, and a must-see for any self-respecting enthusiast. Extras: extended interviews, outtakes, picture gallery.

Plastic Man: The Complete Collection (Warner) Take a ride in the Plastijet with our limber Justice Leaguer and his crime-fighting entourage as they spar with awesomely named villains (Disco Mummy!) over the course of 35 un-scary animated episodes from the vintage-chic series. Extras: retrospective featurette, unaired pilot.