Favorite DVD Releases of 2007: Part IV. – Top 30 DVDs #21-30
Brian Stirner in Overlord (1975)
James Fox in Performance (1970)
Performance (Warner Home Video)
I spent a lot of time writing about Performance (1970) last year and you can find links to all my posts below:
– The British Are Coming to DVD!
– Performance: VHS vs. DVD
– James Fox: Subverting Sexual Identity & Social Class in British Cinema
Marisa Mell and Elsa Martinelli in Perversion Story (1969)
Rika Aoki in Rica (1972)
Rica 1-3 (Exploitation Digital / Media Blasters)
I hope to write a more detailed review of the Rica (1972-73) series in the future, but in the meantime please see my overview of pinky violence cinema that makes reference to the first film HERE.
Tattooed Flower Vase (1976)
Pamela Franklin in The Third Secret (1964)
The Face of Another (1966)
Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara: Pitfall / Woman In The Dunes / The Face Of Another (Criterion)
These brilliant Hiroshi Teshigahara’s films had previously been available individually on PAL Region 2 DVD from Eureka Entertainment in Britain, but Criterion released all three films on Region 1 DVD last year for the first time along with some of Teshigahara’s shorts as part of their impressive 4-disc Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara collection. Hiroshi Teshigahara is truly one of Japan’s greatest filmmakers and if you only purchase one DVD collection on my list, make it this one! The director seamlessly weaves thoughtful social commentary into his stylish avant-garde films and manages to mask their origins in science fiction and horror cinema with evocative surrealist imagery. I had previously seen Woman In The Dunes and The Face of Another, but Teshigahara ‘s short films and his masterful existential ghost story Pitfall were new to me. Seeing Pitfall for the first time last year was undoubtedly the highlight of my DVD viewing in 2007 and I hope to write about the film a bit more in the future. In the meantime, please see my lengthy review of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s The Face Of Another and my write-up about one of the film’s minor stars (Bibari Maeda) linked below:
– The Face of Another
– The Face of Bibari Maeda
Ken Ogata in Vengeance Is Mine (1979)
Vincent Price in Witchfinder General (1968)
Who Can Kill a Child? (1976)
Who Can Kill a Child? (Dark Sky Films)
Over the years I’ve read a lot about Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s Spanish thriller Who Can Kill a Child? (¿Quién puede matar un Niño?, 1976), but I finally got the opportunity to see the film when it was released on Region 1 DVD for the first time last year by Dark Sky Films. Who Can Kill a Child? did not disappoint, and I was frankly rather surprised by the film’s overt political themes, creative direction and interesting script based on a novel by the Spanish horror author Juan José Plans. Most of the film takes place on a small remote island in Spain where a British couple has decided to vacation. When they arrive at the scenic seaside village they discover that the adults have vanished and all that remains are some children whose erratic behavior hides a deeper and more sinister motive. Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s direction is really impressive at times and I liked the way he weaved political and social commentary into his script. The film opens with a disturbing montage featuring news footage gathered from all over the world of dead, starving and wounded children that is still startling some 30 years after the film was first made. The director also does a terrific job of capturing the beauty of the the Spanish coastal towns in the film, which stands out in stark contrast to the horrific themes found in Who Can Kill a Child? This unusual horror film is definitely not for everyone and I’m sure some viewers will be immediately put off by some of the violent acts in the film that feature children portraying victims as well as villains. The Dark Sky Films DVD contains a great looking uncut widescreen print of the film with two optional audio tracks (English and Spanish with subtitles) and extras include a still gallery as well as in two interesting interviews with cinematographer José Luis Alcaine and director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador.
Links to the first, second and third part of my Favorite DVD Releases of 2007 list can be found below:
– Favorite DVD Releases of 2007: Part I. – The DVD Year in Review – An Introduction
– Favorite DVD Releases of 2007: Part II. – Top 30 DVDs #1-10
– Favorite DVD Releases of 2007: Part III. – Top 30 DVDs #11-20
And that’s it folks! I hope I’ve encouraged a few people to seek out some of these terrific films. Most of them were released on DVD for the first time last year and many of them were never theatriclly released in the U.S. These important DVD releases often give western audiences the first opportunity to see these neglected films and I’m really grateful for that myself.
Naturally my list is limited by the films I’ve had the opportunity to see and some of the DVD titles that might have made my list if I had seen them include The Blood Rose (Mondo Macabro), La Jetee / Sans Soleil (Criterion), When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Criterion), Cria Cuervos (Criterion), Sweet Movie (Criterion), Killer of Sheep: The Charles Burnett Collection (New Yorker Video), etc.
It’s also worth noting that my list only contains films, but there were also some terrific TV shows released on DVD in 2007 including Land of the Giants (20th Century Fox), Jason King (Image Entertainment), The Mod Squad (Paramount) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Time Life).
Last but not least, there were also many noteworthy films re-released on DVD last year often in deluxe editions or as part of a collection such as The Mario Bava Collection Volume 1 and 2 (Starz/Anchor Bay), Stanley Kubrick – Directors Series (Warner Home Video), A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (Media Blasters/Shriek Show), Help! (Apple Corps Ltd.), Chinatown (Paramount) and Taxi Driver (Sony). I’ve haven’t had the chance to pick up any of these myself or view them, but they are well worth a look if you don’t own any of these films yet or just want to replace your previous DVDs with these superior new releases.