Monday, October 09, 2006

Reel Fear

New Horror Releases on DVD

“Be Prepared” was and maybe still is the motto of the Boy Scouts, and that life philosophy also applies to Halloween celebrations: It’s never too early to get a start on rounding up the perfect videos for an all-night festival of scary movies on All Hallow’s Eve.

A long list of horror flicks – variously good, bad, ugly and stupid – are just out on video, beginning with the two-disc Ultimate Edition of Tobe Hooper’s original version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Dark Sky, $29.98). It’s everything you always wanted to know about power tools, home-cured meat and more, with a new transfer from the 16mm original and a remix of the 1974 film’s soundtrack.

Hooper, cinematographer Daniel Pearl and actor Gunnar Hansen are heard on one commentary, and a second commentary features art director Robert A. Burns and three other cast members. Two documentaries, deleted scenes, outtakes, a blooper reel, theatrical trailers, and TV and radio spots are also among the DVD extras.

Also new in fright films:

Dracula: 75th Anniversary Edition (Universal, $26.98), a newly packaged double-disc version of the 1931 classic starring Bela Lugosi. It’s the third DVD release of the vampire flick, with many of the goodies from the first two packages. Available from the same studio for the same price and also celebrating a 75th anniversary with a two-DVD package is James Whale’s Frankenstein.

Frankenstein: The True Story (Universal, $19.98), the campy 1973 made-for-television movie, starring Leonard Whiting as the crazed doctor, Michael Sarrazin as the title beast and James Mason as another mad inventor with a plan for a female monster (Jane Seymour). John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson and Agnes Moorhead make cameos.

Henry II: Portrait of a Serial Killer (Dark Sky, $19.98), the 1998 second installment in the grisly adventures of the titular murderer (Neil Giuntoli), a homeless drifter who leaves a trail of blood. The lead actor, director and writer from the controversial 1990 original film didn’t return for this one.

The Stephen King Collection (Paramount, $44.99), a four-disc set with special editions of “Pet Sematary” and “The Dead Zone” (both also available individually) plus the lesser known “Graveyard Shift” and “Silver Bullet.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street: Infinifilm Special Edition (New Line, $26.98), a newly remastered version of the much-loved 1984 chiller with loads of extra features, including filmmaker commentaries, alternate endings, a “fact track,” and making-of-the-movie documentaries.

• “The Munsters: Two-Movie Fright Fest” (Universal, $19.98).

• “Madmen of Mandoras”/“Bride of the Monster” (Brentwood, $12.98)

America hasn’t cornered the market on horror, as demonstrated by the release of Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike’s unusually violent Imprint (Anchor Bay, $16.98), which gained notoriety when it was yanked from Showtime’s “Masters of Horror” series; the Mexican-made 1962 comedy Frankenstein, El Vampiro y Compania (Image, $9.99); and Bollywood Horror Collection, Vol. 1 (Mondo Macabre, $24.95), with the Indian features Bandh Darwaza and “Purana.’

Also out are the Spanish-language films Rebelion de Las Muertes and Retorno Del Hombre Loco, each $24.95 from Brentwood Home Video.

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