Sunday, December 16, 2007

VW's Favorite DVDs of 2007: Shane M. Dallmann

The following list by VW contributor, filmmaker (THE FLESH EATERS) and horror host (REMO D's MANOR OF MAYHEM) Shane M. Dallmann is presented in alphabetical order:

ANGEL-A (Sony, pictured) and ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES (Weinstein)
After too long a hiatus, Luc Besson returned to the director's chair twice, serving up both a charming, black-and-white adult fairy tale... and a children's film far more capable of entertaining its target audience than the critics could force themselves to acknowledge (expecting NIKITA from ARTHUR or something)?

COOL McCOOL (BCI)
The complete run of a fantastically funny 60s animation favorite, supplemented to the hilt courtesy of Wally Wingert and the one and only Chuck McCann.

CRANK (Lionsgate)
Make all the "short attention span" jokes you like--this was a wild, constantly inventive time at the movies, and the DVD is every bit as freewheeling. Profundity: zero. Entertainment: off the hook.

THE DUNGEON OF DR. DRECK (Sub Rosa)
Made by horror hosts for fellow hosts and their fans: Dr. Dreck and Moaner the Zombie Cheerleader show how they took over their local airwaves -- and how the powers that be tried to stop them. A true story? You decide... but it's irresistible fun.

FLASH GORDON: SAVIOUR OF THE UNIVERSE EDITION (Universal)
Give Dino his due: for all the strange casting and character revampings, this is one of the most wondrously colorful, infectious and dazzling space operas ever mounted, and it's never looked or sounded better than it does here.

THE PAUL NASCHY COLLECTION (VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES, NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF, EXORCISM, HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB; BCI/Deimos)
Long overdue but well worth the wait -- beautifully restored, thoroughly annotated special editions of key works from the filmography of one of the most important genre figures.

PUSS 'N BOOTS (Ryko)
Aka THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PUSS 'N BOOTS. Probably the best buried animated treasure to surface this year, and not just because of the excellent early Miyazaki work seen during the climax -- both the long-unseen U.S. version and the new-to-the-States Japanese original get the royal treatment.

STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS (Screen Media)
Nobody dared give it a proper theatrical release, but Jeff Burr's grim World War II tale is one of the most daring, compelling and genre-informed treatments of the theme yet attempted.

TWIN PEAKS: DEFINITIVE GOLD BOX COLLECTION (Paramount)
To quote Lee Strasberg in BOARDWALK (1979): "Do you have a lifetime for me to explain it to you?"

VINCENT PRICE: THE SCREAM GREATS COLLECTION (MGM)
The restoration of WITCHFINDER GENERAL is significant enough. Surround it with six other VP favorites (including both PHIBES films and THEATER OF BLOOD) and you've got an unbeatable package, case closed.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: The CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS 30th Anniversay "Exhumed Edition" will qualify once VCI substitutes the defective print (accidentally released and promptly recalled) with the real thing thanks to the commentary and supplements alone. The BLACK CHRISTMAS remake belongs in this category as well, if only for offering us a last look at Bob Clark in action).

I would have mentioned the Classic Media GODZILLA restorations here, but I'm quite annoyed at the company for shoehorning the previously unreleased ALL MONSTERS ATTACK/GODZILLA'S REVENGE and TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA special editions as "exclusives" in a comprehensive (and pricey) box set rather than offer them separately (so far). I'll also hold out for the theatrical edition of GRINDHOUSE before I praise the separated entries.

William Friedkin's BUG was one of the best films of the year, but I don't have the DVD yet. HOSTEL PART II deserves a mention on the strength of its commentaries and supplements and the wealth of Italian horror history they have to offer.

And finally, I don't dare list my PERSONAL favorite DVD of the year in the Top Ten, but I'm quite pleased with the way my first effort in the field of audio commentary/interview went in BCI's DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE (which also contains what would turn out to be the final interview of the late Nicholas Worth).

Coming later today: A Baker's Dozen from VW contributor-writer-cartoonist Stephen R. Bissette... and an overview of some choice Region 2 imports from VW contributor-novelist-audio commentator Kim Newman.

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