Monday, 4 June 2018

Film Viewing 2018 (Part 3)

As I watch so many films on blu-ray, DVD and at the cinema each year, this year I've decided to chronicle my viewing habits here on my blog and share some of the films I'm rediscovering after many years, re-watching because I love them, or experiencing them for the first time.

Part 3 is a horror special...

Phenomena / Creepers  (1985)

I first saw this film in its 83 minute US cut re-titled as Creepers. It wouldn't be until a decade later when I finally saw the 110 minute International cut under it's original title Phenomena.

This time around I watched it in its full 116 minute Italian cut which, although a little slow in places, is my preferred version. I do have to admit, the much shorter US version does give it a nice shlocky B-movie feel that is quite fun and reminds me a little of the cheap horror films I used to rent from the local video shop.

In all 3 cuts, the film is fun, gruesome and just plain weird. My 3rd favourite Dario Argento film.

Videodrome   (1983)

I cannot begin to describe how much I love Videodrome - a film I watch at least once a year, and this is my 2018 viewing.

Despite now owning it on blu-ray in a totally uncut print (for the first time in the UK) I can't help but feel that we're missing out on that slightly uneasy feeling one used to get when handling a VHS copy of the film. After all, the whole concept of the film is that VHS tapes are dangerous, the signals that are recorded on them can physically alter you and the reality around you.

For all those who own a region free player, I suggest picking up the US Criterion Collection release as the packaging rather ingeniously makes the set look like a VHS tape

Zombie Flesh Eaters   (1979)

I first saw this movie on the Cult Classic Frightener VHS release, the one that claimed on the cover that it was the "Extreme Version!!" and "Includes Material Banned Since 1983!!". Yet, despite all it's boasts, it still wasn't the completely uncut version (it was missing around 27 seconds).

Although Anchor Bay released it uncut in 2005, I wouldn't get to see a full uncut print until the release of Arrow's 2-disc blu-ray.

Deep Red   (1975)

Back in school I had a friend who was obsessed with Dario Argento - Deep Red in particular. He would endlessly sing its praises, and describe his favourite scenes in lurid detail.

My first viewing of this film was in the early 1990s on that very friend's VHS copy - released on the Redemption Films label. On the back it stated "This is the complete Italian Version. Contains footage never before released in the UK."

Despite it's bold claims I'm still not sure if it was completely uncut (labels such as Redemption and VipCo tended to bend the truth by using words like "complete" or "such-and-such version" to give the impression that the print they had was uncut).

I still remain unsure as to which is my favourite Argento film, this or Susperia.

In the Mouth of Madness   (1995)

Arguably John Carpenters last great film (the jury is still out on Vampires).

The final film in his Apocalypse Trilogy (along with The Thing and Prince of Darkness), the film takes its cues from the works of H.P. Lovecraft and (to an extent) Edgar Allen Poe.

This is the Carpenter film I've seen the least as it's rarely been released over here. I was at university when I first saw this - my room mate had it on the Entertainment In Video label VHS.

This film is crying out for a good extras-heavy blu-ray release over here in the UK.

Psycho II   (1983)

The only film on today's blog that I was introduced to via late night television rather than VHS.

A favourite of mine growing up. I even recorded it off the television so I could watch it at my leisure.

To be honest, even watching it at a young age the film seemed quite tame (I always assumed it had been heavily cut for TV) but that doesn't seem the case as it still seems tame now - even so the blu-ray release still has an '18' certificate.

Not the most cinematic of films - it actually feels like a big budget TV movie (probably down to the fact that it was originally planned as such, but was decided to make it a theatrical release not long after filming began)

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