As we batten down the hatches for another year of sequels, remakes, and cash-ins (alongside some admittedly promising films), it's easy to get discouraged about new releases these days. However, for the old school movie fans out there, the home video market still has some tricks up its sleeve. Over the past weeks, quite a few exiting Blu-Ray releases of classic and cult movies have been announced, so we thought we'd count down some of our most anticipated titles...
Release Date: May 19
Distributor: Olive Films
Olive Films has released an impressive catalog of classics and oddities over the years, and their A/V presentations have been quite solid as well. With that in mind, their announcement about It! The Terror from Beyond Space makes me very happy. A claustrophobic and suspenseful sci-fi gem that inspired Alien and had a lasting effect on John Carpenter, It!'s gonna be awesome on Blu-Ray! (I'm almost not ashamed of that joke.)
Release Date: June 16
Distributor: Shout Factory (Scream Factory label)
It warms my heart that companies like Shout Factory exist, companies who will think nothing of paring an Italian killer octopus movie with a Danish prehistoric monster flick in order to give both a proper, crystal-clear HD release. If I had to be honest though, I'm mostly excited for Tentacles. Between that fabulous Stelvio Cipriani soundtrack, Bo Hopkins dispatching a pair of trained killer whales to fight a giant octopus, and John Huston being John Huston, what's not to love?
Release Date: June 9
Distributor: Timeless Media Group
Although it remains to be seen how well Timeless Media Group will do with the HD transfer of the series, I'm absolutely delighted to see Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds getting a Blu-Ray release. What's even more exciting (at least to me) is the label at the top of the set's artwork that reads "The Gerry Anderson Collection," hinting that there will be more titles to follow. Does this mean a sparkling new HD release of UFO or Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons or maybe the long-awaited second season of Space: 1999? Only time will tell, mes amis...
Release Date: June 23
I am absolutely overjoyed that the UK's finest cult label, Arrow Video, has started releasing titles in the US. Plus, more stuff from one of my favorite directors, Luigi Cozzi (Starcrash, Hercules), is always a great thing. It'll be cool to see his gory and stylish 1980 follow-up to Alien getting the Arrow treatment (that cover art is rockin', by the way).
Release Date: April 7
This was a pleasantly unexpected announcement from Universal. Gerry Anderson's impressively mounted and conceptually fascinating sci-fi flick has been on my to-own list for a while, and a proper Blu-Ray release would be a great addition to my collection. I must say that I'm a little apprehensive, however. Universal's been pretty hit-or-miss with the HD transfers for their catalog titles over the years, and their disappointing release of The Andromeda Strain (a sci-fi classic from roughly the same vintage as Journey) doesn't bode well. Fingers crossed!
Release Date: April 21
Distributor: Shout Factory
Yes. Yes. Yes. The Blu-Ray format needs all the early John Carpenter it can get, and a collector's edition of this 1981 classic is well-deserved and much-needed. The new cover looks way cool, a new 2K transfer has been confirmed, and Shout Factory's published list of extras is mouth-watering to say the least.
Release Date: April (Specific Date TBA)
Distributor: (freaking) Twilight Time
Our love/hate relationship with Twilight Time continues... This company has made its name putting out very solid but over-priced and under-produced limited editions of movies we love. On the downside, their snobbishly elitist business model will probably never change, but their dedication to releasing awesome movies hasn't wavered either. John Boorman's Zardoz is a visually stunning film, and it will probably look and sound great on Blu-Ray (we'll most likely get an isolated score as a bonus too!). Floating heads, psychic hippies, mustaches both real and Sharpied, awe-inspiring location filming, and meme-making costume design, all in glorious high-definition. Sounds good to me!
Release Date: May 5
Distributor: Maiden Japan
A sci-fi techno thriller from Mamoru Oshii that deserves to stand toe-to-toe with the best of Tom Clancy's works. The beautifully realized world of the film will look amazing on Blu-Ray, and we can only hope that its sequel (which somehow managed to be even better than the first one) will be just around the corner.
Release Date: April 28
Distributor: Discotek Media
After lots of exciting news and whispered promises, we've finally been given a release date for the Blu-Ray release of one of my favorite films of all time. Discotek deserves a medal for all the wonderful things they've put out over the years, and this might just be their crowning achievement.
Release Date: Unknown (Tentatively September)
Aw, yeah! Whether you prefer the gritty sci-fi adventure thrills of the black-and-white first season or the goofy and imaginative color years, Lost in Space is an unforgettable gem of 1960s TV programming, and Billy Mumy has confirmed that a Blu-Ray is in the works! Not a ton is known about the release in terms of distribution or specific release dates, but we have been told that it will be remastered from the original negatives in the original aspect ratio with a host of new extras. Unbelievable! As a huge Irwin Allen fan, I'm holding out hope that a similar fate will befall Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in the near future, but it's admittedly a faint glimmer. In the meantime, this is joyous news, and hopefully more concrete info about this release will follow soon. You can follow the progress of this project here.