Best DVD/Blu-ray Releases Of 2012
2012 saw a lot of great DVD and Blu-ray releases from the indy and major studios alike – catalogue titles, new releases, some never before released on home video. There was a lot for fans to like about the last twelve months but we here at R!S!P! wanted to single out what we felt were the ten best releases we’ve been lucky enough to cover this year. So without further ado and in no particular order…
Top Ten Releases Of The Year:
The Opening Of Misty Beethoven (Distribpix) – Radley Metzger’s crowning achievement in adult cinema receives a lavish special edition DVD and Blu-ray release from Distribpix. Loaded with extras and beautifully restored, this release raised the bar for what could and should be done with vintage adult films of this quality.
The Miami Connection (Drafthouse Films) – Possibly the biggest surprise of the year was Drafthouse Films’ Blu-ray and DVD release of Y. K. Kim’s epic film of new wave orphan rockers taking on cocaine loving ninjas on motorcycles. Accompanied by a theatrical release (many dates saw Kim himself in attendance), this turned out to be one of the most ridiculously enjoyable discs of the year.
Red Scorpion (Synapse Films) – Dolph Lundgren’s seminal eighties action classic has loads of new life breathed into it by Syanpse’s special edition Blu-ray release. This is one where the extras are as important as the film and the director’s commentary and excellent interview with the film’s leading man make this one no action movie fan should be without.
Countess Perverse (Mondo Macabro) – A beautifully restored oddity from Jess Franco, this one might be more or less a retelling of The Most Dangerous Game but this time with way more nudity, including bonus taint from none other than Howard Vernon! Nobody wanted to see that but there it is in all its glory. In all seriousness though, this really is an underappreciated entry in Franco’s filmography. Hopefully this release goes some way towards changing that.
The Devils (BFI) – Ken Russell’s masterpiece may not have been granted the uncut Blu-ray release so many movie buffs wanted to see it get but the BFI did the best they could with what they had to work with. Presented in its full strength UK edition, this disc is jammed with extras that not only compliment the feature but also document its history and its importance. If only the powers that be at Warner Brothers would come to see the light…
Jaws (Universal) – Spielberg’s best movie? Yeah, it probably is and Universal rolled out the red carpet for its Blu-ray debut with a sparkling new transfer and a ton of extra features including a massive documentary and loads more. This one is still scary… and still awesome!
Ghostkeeper (Code Red) – This won’t win any awards for presentation as it’s a bit rough around the edges but Code Red did a pretty good job with what we can assume were some pretty dicey elements to bring this obscure oddity of Canadian horror to DVD for the first time anywhere. Throw in a few good extras too and this one comes up as one of the coolest and most esoteric horror releases we’ve seen these last twelve months.
Night Of The Devils (Raro Video) – Speaking of esoteric horror, Raro managed to do what a lot of Eurocult fans figured was probably impossible and that was to give the notorious Night Of The Devils an uncut Blu-ray release. This one is a bit of a slow burn after an insane start but it builds to an awesome climax and features a great cast – and on top of that Raro’s disc is pretty spiffy in its own right with a solid transfer and some cool extras.
Nightbirds (BFI) – It still seems like some sort of fever dream to see an Andy Milligan movie on Blu-ray, let alone from a ‘classy joint’ like the BFI, but here it is and in very nice shape at that. Once again the BFI offer up an obscure film and roll out the red carpet for it with a great transfer and solid extras. They also did Norman J. Warren’s Her Private Hell this year too. Check’em both out – they’re rad.
Twins Of Evil (Synapse Films) – Following their release of Vampire Circus last year, Synapse’s deluxe edition of Twins Of Evil sure was nice. The film holds up well, a pulpy slice of British horror with blood and babes galore. Toss in a feature length documentary on the film and a twenty plus minute piece on the props used in the film along with a few other pertinent odds and ends and you can see why this was one worth geeking out over.
But wait, there’s more! Those picks only relate to single film releases. What about boxed sets? And line releases? We love those too!
Lines Of The Year – We Couldn’t Pick Just One!:
Kino’s work with the Redemption Films catalogue saw domestic Blu-ray debuts for the likes of Jean Rollin and Jess Franco and even offered up a boxed set of some of Pete Walker’s films, some classic British horror like The Asphyx and plenty more. It’s safe to say that few of us thought many of these titles would make it to Blu-ray but here they are and the world is all the better for it.
Impulse Pictures’ line of Nikkatsu Erotic Cinema (let’s call them what they are - Roman Porno!) really hit its stride this year offering up not only twisted stuff like Debauchery but also comedies like I Love It From Behind! and revenge movies like Sex Hunter: Wet Target. When it comes to this line, no two sex films are alike!
The Katarina’s Nightmare Theater line from Scorpion also saw a pretty great assortment of titles hit this year, from the sleazy Canuxploitation film American Nightmare to the odd eighties slasher vibes of Mortuary to a great reissue of Don’t Answer The Phone to name only a few. With the ‘horror host’ intros and outros courtesy of the lovely Ms. Katarina Leigh Waters, this line was, above all else, a whole lot of fun.
Budget Release Of The Year:
The Daimajin Triple Feature from Mill Creek Entertainment was a pretty amazing value, offering all three films in this excellent series in fantastic condition and with a few decent extras as well – all at a ridiculously low price. Quantity and quality, that’s what we like to see – and long live the stone faced god!
There were a lot more great releases this year that couldn’t quite hit the top ten still worth mentioning, so without further ado and once again in no particular order…
Bedevilled (Well Go USA)
Cheeky (Cult Epics)
Chesty Morgan’s Bosom Buddies (Something Weird Video)
The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection (Raro Video)
The Goon (Magnolia Films)
La Orca (Camera Obscura)
Suddenly (Image Entertainment)
Savage Streets (Scorpion Releasing)
The Wild Geese (Severin Films)
They Live (Shout! Factory)