Hollywood Gothique
The Vault

Laserblast: Children of Men

Video store shelves are crowded with genre titles this week, thanks to the release of CHILDREN OF MEN and the After Dark Horror films. All of these titles are definitely worth seeing, and you probably will want to add at least a few of them to your permanent DVD collection.

Although it did not click with audiences in theatres (thanks at least in part to indifferent handling by its distributor), CHILDREN OF MEN is the best genre film to have come out last year – and one of the best films, period. On DVD, it is now availalbe in Widescreen (pictured above), Full Screen, and HD DVD (which actually features a combo of HD and Standard DVD, so you can watch it even if you don’t have an HD player yet). Audio is available in English and French, along with subtitles in both languages.

The DVD features include:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Possibility of Hope
  • “Children of Men” comments by Slavoj Zizek
  • Under Attack
  • Theo & Julian
  • Futuristic Design
  • Visual Effects: Creating the Baby
  • Picture-in-Picture interviews with director Alfonso Guaron and cast and crew
  • Info and Commercials from the advertising world portrayed in the film’s 2007 setting.

The After Dark Horror Festival consisted of a package of eight independent films released to theatres nationwide on one weekend last year. Of these, seven are now out on DVD (the eighth, THE ABANDONED, will be released separately). You can purchase all seven available titles in the box set pictured below, or you can pick them up individually.

THE GRAVEDANCERS on DVD features English audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0) and English and Spanish subtitles. Bonus features include audio commentary by director Mike Mendez and composer Joe Bashara; “A Grave Undertaking” featurette; “Making the Ghosts” featurette; deleted scenes with optinal commentary; original trailer with optional commentary; and storyboard galleries.

The UNREST DVD offers the film in English (Dolbby Digital 5.1 and 2.0) with English and Spanish subtitles, with an audio commentary by director Jason Todd Ipson and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

THE HAMILTONS on DVD features English (Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0) audio with English and Spanish subtitles, along with commentary by co-writers and co-directors The Butcher Brothers and actor Cory Knauf, plus deleted scenes and bloopers.

The PENNY DREADFUL DVD presents the film with the same technical features (English audio, English and Spanish subtitles), plus director audio commentary, a music video, and more.

The REINCARNATION DVD has a slightly different set of features, because of the film’s Japanese origins. You still get English and Spanish subtitles, but the audio is available in Japanese. There is a “Making of REINCARNATION” featurette; deleted scenes with optional commentary; and an interview with director Takashi Shimizu (known to American fans for helming THE GRUDGE and THE GRUDGE 2).

The DARK RIDE DVD provides the same audio and subtitle options as the other After Dark films, plus audio commentary by director Craig Singer and producer Chris M Williams; “Ticket to Ride” featurette; “Behind the Mask” featurette; deleted scenes; a storyboard montage; and trailers.

The WICKED LITTLE THINGS DVD also has English and Spanish subtitles and English audio in Dolby Digital (5.1 and 2.0). The disc also includes an audio commentary by director J.S. Cardone and actor Lori Heuring.


As if this were not enough, several other fantasy and horror titles are hitting store shelves this week.

PUMPKINHEAD: ASHES TO ASHES, which made its debut on Showtime last October, is now on DVD. As far as sequels go this one is not bad. It benefits from the return of Lance Henriksen (reprising his role from the first film, seen here as a ghost warning a new character from repeating his mistake) and the presence of the always wonderful Doug Bradley (Pinhead in the HELLRAISER films), playing the villain of the piece. The scares are pretty well done; unfortunately, the CGI effects are sometimes lacking, as when the titular creature is leaping up and down buildings, looking like a videogame character.

HUNDRA is an unfortunately neglected action-adventure flick, with a nice sense of humor, about a barbarian chick played by Lauren Landon (the unfortunate actress killed by music producer Phil Spector a few years ago). The movie is modestly budgeted, but it offers lots of entertainment, and it has just the right sense of humor. It got virtually no theatrical release, but it’s much better than more high-profile titles with similar subject matter, like RED SONJA. The DVD features commentary by Landon and director Matt Cimber, a making-of featurette, a comic book, cast-and-crew bios, and a bonus soundtrack CD with the music by Ennio Morricone (limited to the first 5,000 copies).

And wrapping things up: There is an unrated version of TURISTAS. There is a “Final Cut” of DUST DEVIL, the cult horror film from director Richard Stanley. THE BLUE BIRD with Shirley Temple is out. There’s something called SHUTTER flashing your way. Last but note least:  Fantastic Four – World’s Greats Heroes, Volume 1 and The Addams Family – Volume 2.