Apes On Film: 2022 Gift Giving Guide

Posted on: Nov 29th, 2022 By:

by Anthony Taylor
Contributing Writer

 

Welcome to Apes on Film! This column exists to scratch your retro-film-in-high-definition itch. We’ll be reviewing new releases of vintage cinema and television on disc of all genres, finding gems and letting you know the skinny on what to avoid. Here at Apes on Film, our aim is to uncover the best in retro film. As we dig for artifacts, we’ll do our best not to bury our reputation. What will we find out here? Our destiny.

If you have a retro cinema and television buff in your life, consider yourself lucky! Finding gifts for them just got a whole lot easier thanks to our handy Gift Giving Guide. Below are our deep dive (and shallow end) choices for the greatest gifts released in 2022 for lovers of physical media. All titles are in Blu-Ray or 4K format unless otherwise noted.

Get the popcorn ready and Happy Holidays!

 

MULTI-DISC/TITLE SETS

Dr. Phibes Double Feature [THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES/DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN] – Kino Lorber: It’s impossible not to love the kitschy fun of director Robert Fuest’s Phibes movies. Vincent Price chews scenery like bubble gum, and the Art Deco styling is gorgeous. It’s hard to hate a film whose tagline was “Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Ugly.” Both films come on a single disc, so it’s not stuffed with extra features, but definitely bargain-priced.

The Incredibly Strange Films Of Ray Dennis Steckler Collector’s Set – Severin: Twenty – COUNT ‘EM! – Twenty films by the master of cheap ass, WTF? cinema, Ray Dennis Steckler! Most well-known for THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES!!?, Steckler’s films were always startlingly tapped into the contextual zeitgeist of the times. Absurd, yes – consequential, no doubt; he created some of the best cinema to make out to at drive-in screenings. Severin’s box set is fantastically featured, with new HD scans of the films, hours of bonus features and a book about the filmmaker. Get it!

Night Gallery (Season 3) – Kino Lorber: Return to the landscape of darkness with Rod Serling! Kino’s Season 3 Blu-ray set is filled to the top with classic episodes like “The Girl With The Hungry Eyes,” “Fright Night,” and “Something In The Woodwork,” as well as those amazing commentaries by the team that did the first two season sets and other supplements. Go all-in with this final offering of the early 1970’s television terror!

The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Series – Amazon Exclusive Collector’s Edition – Shout! Factory: They rebuilt him… in BLU-RAY! Thirty-three (that’s NOT a typo!) discs of all the bionic goodness you remember form the classic 1970’s television series! All the episodes plus the three TV movies that launched the series and the reunion movies, The Bionic Woman crossover episodes, as well as hours of bonus content and behind the scenes featurettes. A full ninety-two hours of Steve Austin and friends! It’s honestly a mind-blowing package of amazing high-definition entertainment, and I can’t believe there’s anyone on the planet over the age of 35 that wouldn’t be thrilled to get this in their stocking!

 

SINGLE TITLE/DISC GIFTS

 ARMY OF DARKNESS [Limited Edition Steelbook] – Shout! Factory: “This is my BOOMSTICK!” Another fun title that should be in every media Library. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell can do no wrong in this third installment of the EVIL DEAD franchise, and arguably the funniest. This four-disc set has every cut of the film imaginable (including a brand new 4K scan of the theatrical cut) as well as a full slate of supplementary features, all wrapped up in an attractive steelbook case. Just accept that if your special film fan doesn’t have this package, they need it.

THE GREAT ESCAPE 4K UHD – Kino Lorber: The classic. Director John Sturges’ WWII P.O.W. odyssey features possibly the greatest cast in the history of war movies (THE LONGEST DAY excepted) and just about every line of dialog is quotable. Steve McQueen is the coolest as the Cooler King, and performs the most memorable motorcycle jump in cinema history. This 2-disc set includes the film on 4K, a well as a bonus Blu-ray disc of extras and featurettes. Essential.

STAR TREK I: The Motion Picture 4K UHD – The Director’s Edition Complete Adventure – Paramount: Excuse me while I hyperventilate a bit… WOW! What a set for the all-too-often- maligned first Star Trek film! The director’s cut, the theatrical cut, a bonus disc jam packed with new and legacy special features, poster, photos, stickers, booklet, and more. It’s enough to make one gambol about like a Muppet. STAR TREK: TMP is a better film than most remember, and totally worth all the hoopla associated with the brand new remaster in this package. Boldly go get it now!

HIGHLANDER (Collector’s Edition) – Studio Canal: There can be ONLY ONE! The 80’s classic fantasy to end all fantasies, director Russell Mulcahy and writer Gregory Widen created an entirely new immortal breed to populate a franchise that included multiple films and television series, and an upcoming remake starring Henry Cavill, so yeah… maybe more than one. Studio Canal’s set includes a poster, a comic book, buttons, photos, and two discs full of immortals dueling with swords to the amazing music of Queen. How can you go wrong?

 

I could go on for pages and pages. We’re living in a jet stream of great releases and film fans should be very happy about that. Check out our previous and future columns for more recommendations and HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM APE CITY!

 

 

Anthony Taylor is not only the Minister of Science, but also Defender of the Faith. His reviews and articles have appeared in magazines such as Screem, Fangoria, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Retro Fan, SFX, Video WatcH*Dog, and many more.

 

 Ape caricature art by Richard Smith.

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APES ON FILM: 2021 Gift Giving Guide

Posted on: Dec 6th, 2021 By:

by Anthony Taylor
Contributing Writer

Welcome to Apes on Film! This column exists to scratch your retro-film-in-high-definition itch. We’ll be reviewing new releases of vintage cinema and television on disc of all genres, finding gems and letting you know the skinny on what to avoid. Here at Apes on Film, our aim is to uncover the best in retro film. As we dig for artifacts, we’ll do our best not to bury our reputation. What will we find out here? Our destiny.

If you have a retro cinema and television buff in your life, consider yourself lucky! Finding gifts for them just got a whole lot easier thanks to our handy gift giving guide. Below are our deep dive (and shallow end) choices for the greatest gifts released in 2021 for lovers of physical media. All titles are in Blu Ray or 4K format unless otherwise noted. Get the popcorn ready and Happy Holidays!

 

Apes on Film also appears on Nerd Alert News. Check them out HERE!

 

MULTI-DISC/TITLE SETS

KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER (THE COMPLETE SERIES) – Kino Lorber: Yep, the whole Kolchak television series shebang in one beautiful set. Jammed full of great commentaries and special features and sourced from new 2K masters, this premium presentation is on the level of Kino’s OUTER LIMITS sets from 2018, and it should be – it features many of the same commentators. With new cover art by Mark Maddox (check out his ATLRetro Kool Kat interview here), how can you go wrong? Poke around Kino’s website and you’ll also find the original two Kolchak television movies, THE NIGHT STALKER and THE NIGHT STRANGLER. Collect them all!

THE EUROCRYPT OF CHRISTOPHER LEE – Severin Films: Ever wonder what Christopher Lee Was up to between all those Dracula movies he made for Hammer Films? Wonder no longer! Thanks to Severin, this box set collects a smorgasbord of five of these Lee classics – the 1964 gothic shocker CRYPT OF THE VAMPIRE; the 1964 cult hit CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD co-starring an unknown Donald Sutherland; 1962’s celebrated SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE DEADLY NECKLACE; 1967’s lurid favorite THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM and the rarely-seen 1963 oddity CHALLENGE THE DEVIL – with the 24 surviving episodes of the 1971 Film Polski anthology series THEATRE MACABRE hosted by Lee, all remastered from original negative materials with over 10 hours of trailers, rare promos, audio commentaries & vintage interviews, plus the CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD soundtrack and an all-new 88-page book by Lee biographer Jonathan Rigby.

SPACE: 1999 THE COMPLETE SERIES (ULTIMATE EDITION) – Imprint Television: Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s (and Fred Frieberger’s) most popular television series in the United States by far, Space: 1999 is often a love it or hate it proposition for science fiction fans. I’ve always been enamored by its thoughtful, almost poetic ruminations on man’s place in the galaxy during Series 1, and the colorful, action oriented and more humorous pace of Series 2. There are a few clunkers throughout, but the Andersons and cast managed to create quite a few modern classics with this series, and the gorgeous photography and special effects throughout are a major draw. This set collects both series as well as nearly all of the special features from earlier releases, as well as the four completion films released to television in the 1980s! If you’re a fan of the show, this is a must-have set. Though this set is Australian, it is region-free and will play on US Blu-ray players. [Full disclosure: I wrote questions for the Barbara Bain and Nick Tate interviews included, and created commentaries for two episodes on this set.]

THE MONSTER COLLECTION – Doppelgänger Releasing: If your film lover has a curiosity about the making of his or her favorites, this set is a great addition to their menagerie. Featuring two documentaries by filmmakers Gilles Penso and Alexandre PoncetCREATURE DESIGNERS: THE FRANKENSTEIN COMPLEX and PHIL TIPPETT: MAD DREAMS AND MONSTERS this set offers up secrets behind special effects make-up, stop-motion animation and a plethora of other cinematic techniques by masters such as Tippett, Rick Baker, Guillermo del Toro, Greg Nicotero, and many more. Seminal information presented in an entertaining package, and highly recommended.

GAMERA: THE HEISEI ERA – Arrow Video: Go ahead, make fun – but the Gamera movies released from 1995 to 2006 are great! This set collects GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE, GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF THE LEGION, GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS, and GAMERA THE BRAVE.  Directors Shûsuke Kaneko and Ryuta Tasaki, writer Kazunori Itô and SFX director Shinji Higuchi hit it out of the park with this quadrilogy! If your cinema buff enjoys kaiju from the Showa era, they’ll enjoy these films, guaranteed. Sourced from 4K restorations and featuring a whole slew of turtle-riffic extras, you’re guaranteed to get a smile and a BIG thank you when they open this.

 

SINGLE TITLE/DISC GIFTS

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY – Kino Lorber: Is this the greatest western ever made? If not, it’s sure up there. Find out for yourself with Kino’s 4KUHD/Blu-ray package, jam packed full of extras. “There are two kinds of people in this world; people with loaded guns, and people who buy this disc. You… buy this disc.”

THE STING – Universal Home Entertainment: Since we’re talking about greatest movies of their genre anyway, why not grab THE STING in 4K UHD and Blu-ray while you’re grabbing? Again, with the plethora of bonus features and even a download code. I think this is one of the best written, directed, and acted movies ever; you know I’m buying this.

BLOOD FOR DRACULA – Severin Films: Paul Morrissey’s take on the classic tale puts Udo Kier in the cape and sets him off to Italy in search of the blood of virgins. Over the top? Sure, but still worth watching in 4K or Blu-ray, one again easy to do since both are included here as well as a soundtrack CD and much, much more.

THE VAMPIRE LOVERS – Shout! Factory: And now on to vampires who couldn’t care less about your sexual history as long as you’re willing! Shout! Factory brings us a new Blu-ray package of Hammer Films’ sexy, fang- filled romps. Sourced from a new 4K scan, this disc is also bursting at the seams with extras. A classic of lesbian vampirism, and Ingrid Pitt is radiant.

 

Folks, I could go on for pages and pages. We’re living in a jet stream of great releases and film fans should be very happy about that. Check out my previous and future columns for more recommendations and HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM APE CITY!

 

 

Anthony Taylor is not only the Minister of Science, but also Defender of the Faith. His reviews and articles have appeared in magazines such as Screem, Fangoria, Famous Monsters of Filmland, SFX, Video*WatcHDog, and more.

 

*Art Credit: Anthony Taylor as Dr. Zaius caricature by Richard Smith

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