• Rock! Shock! Pop!'s Best DVD & Blu-ray Releases Of 2019!

    2019 has come and gone and once again, we here at Rock! Shock! Pop! have been lucky enough to review a lot of the really great releases that have come out in the last twelve months. Continuing the tradition started a few years ago, it’s once again time to look back at the best of the best.

    So without further ado, here are our favorite titles that we were able to write up this year, ranked in no particular order and based on the ever important mix of entertainment value and quality of the release itself.

    Rock! Shock! Pop’s Top 25 Releases Of 2019:

    Movies don’t get much more macho than Umberto Lenzi’s The Tough Ones! Sure, the movie might be a little light on plot and story but it’s got so many unforgettable characters and bad ass set pieces inside that you don’t mind so much. Grindhouse Releasing has done a beautiful job bringing this to Blu-ray. The transfer is gorgeous, the audio rock solid and the extras cover more ground than anyone could have ever hoped for. All in all, a fantastic package that comes highly recommended!

    10 To Midnight is a surprisingly nihilistic thriller but so too is it very well made. Bronson is in top form here and he’s supported by a strong cast and some great character actors. Thompson keeps the pacing tight and the exploitation elements very strong and the whole thing is anchored by a very strong score and some impressive cinematography. Shout! Factory has done an excellent job bringing this to Blu-ray with a great looking transfer and a host of new extras. Highly recommended!

    Viy is a seriously weird film but it’s also a very effective one. It’s unique, creative and at times, quite eerie. Severin has done a nice job bringing this one to Blu-ray with a fine presentation and a nice array of extra features as well.

    If it’s maybe not a masterpiece Rituals is still a damn good movie with some great performances and memorable set pieces. It’s tense, it’s exciting, and it’s just generally quite well made. Scorpion Releasing’s Blu-ray debut for the film offers up substantially improved presentation and carries over all of the extras from the older DVD release.

    It’s been a long wait for fans, but the Street Fighter films are now finally available on Blu-ray. They remain some of Chiba’s most entertaining and enjoyable pictures, offering up plenty of bone-crushing, ball-ripping action, insane characters, quirky humor and solid suspense and Shout! Factory has done a nice job giving them their high definition debut. More extras are always welcome, of course, but the interview with the man himself is well done as is the shorter piece with Sholder. The trailers and still galleries are also appreciated. All in all, a really solid release for a fantastic set of films.

    The Sister Street Fighter Collection offers plenty of top-notch action and exploitation! The first film is the best of the bunch but the sequels are all worthwhile and plenty entertaining as well. Arrow has done a nice job bringing these to Blu-ray, with solid transfers and a decent array of extra features.

    With their re-release of New York Ripper Blue Underground gives one of Lucio Fulci’s most notorious films a reference quality transfer, fine audio and a massive assortment of extra features that document the film’s history and cultural significance. The movie itself holds up well, it’s a shocking and sleazy giallo featuring some killer location work, a strong cast and some unforgettable set pieces.

    Spookies is a mess, but it’s a fun mess with some great atmosphere, memorable characters and genuinely impressive effects work. Vinegar Syndrome has done an amazing job bringing this one back and giving the film its high definition debut. The presentation is miles above anything we’ve seen before and the extras are as plentiful as they are interesting.

    Hard Ticket To Hawaii is one of the late, great Andy Sidaris’ best films and Mill Creed has given it a very nice Blu-ray presentation. Sure, the story might seem like it was written by a twelve year old boy who just discovered his first Playboy magazine but God damn if it isn’t a blast and a half to watch.

    Mad Dog Morgan is an excellent a film, a rough and tumble look at a dark period in Australian history and one of its most colorful characters highlighted by a fantastic performance from Dennis Hopper. Umbrella Entertainment has done a great job debuting this Ozploitation classic on Blu-ray, presenting the film in very nice shape and on a disc positively loaded with top quality extra features.

    Keoma is a pretty fun way to kill eighty-minutes or so. The movie is nicely paced and feature some pretty enjoyable performances. It isn’t deep and it shows its age, but there’s plenty of entertainment value here. Arrow Video’s Blu-ray looks and sounds very good and it’s loaded with extras as well.

    Mondo Macabro’s Blu-ray release of The Bushwhacker and The Ravager offers up two seriously demented roughies in high definition for the first time anywhere on the planet. Both films deliver pretty much exactly what you’d expect, and exactly what you want – sex, violence and sleazy aplenty! The fact that these are now on Blu-ray is kind of mindboggling, but hey, who are we to look a gift horse in the mouth? Highly recommended for those who can appreciate low budget trash epic obscurities and with an affinity for bad taste!

    The Blood On Satan’s Claw is a well-executed film with a solid cast, a nice look and feel to it, and an ending that will really get under your skin. The performances are strong, especially from Hayden, and it’s quite a strong piece of folk horror. Severin’s Blu-ray release is impressive, presenting the film in a great transfer and on a disc loaded with extra features.

    Blood Lake is eighty-two-minutes of low-fi, low budget, high quality hijinks! If you like your 80’s slasher films with healthy doses of waterskiing, drinking games and mouthy pre-teen kids then you owe it to yourself to check this one out. AGFA and Bleeding Skull earn full marks for rescuing this obscurity from oblivion and not only do they give it a more than respectable presentation but they’ve loaded it with extras as well. 80’s SOV horror isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve got a taste for it then jump right in – Camp Blood delivers!

    Fleshpot On 42nd Street is one of Andy Milligan’s best pictures, an obviously personal work filled with interesting characters and featuring some genuinely good performances. It’s also a fascinating time capsule of early 70’s New York City and an intriguing look at the seedy side of life in the big city. Vinegar Syndrome’s presentation is, in a word, excellent. The commentary is a nice addition as well but it’s the quality of the restoration here that really makes this one essential.

    The Devil’s Nightmare works really well, a sleazy slice of gothic horror ripe with atmosphere and tension made all the more appealing by the presence of Ms. Blanc. Mondo Macabro brings this one to Blu-ray in grand style with a great presentation and lots of extras too.

    Arrow's Blu-ray boxed set release of Blood Hunger: The Films Of José Larraz serves as a fine tribute to the director, offering up three of his key films in excellent shape and loaded with extras. The films themselves are intriguing, often blending sex and horror in interesting ways and with a deliberate artistic bent. These won't appeal to the mainstream but if you can appreciate the director's distinct blending of genres and penchant for telling strange stories, you'll likely find a whole lot to appreciate about this set. Should that be the case, consider this release highly recommended.

    Kino Lorber is to be commended for bringing the three sixties era Fantômas films to English-friendly Blu-ray with their release of the Fantômas Three Film Collection! While the set isn’t stacked with extras, Lucas’ commentary is very good the audio and video presentations are quite strong. The movies themselves are a ridiculous amount of weird, pulpy fun. Insanely entertaining stuff!

    A Bucket Of Blood is not only a rare horror comedy done right, but it’s one of Dick Miller’s finest moments in front of the camera. Corman directs the picture with a quick pace and some nice style while Miller makes the most of this leading role, stealing every scene he’s in and delivering an iconic performance. Olive Films has done an excellent job with the presentation of the feature and stacked the disc with a host of interesting extra features.

    Alice, Sweet Alice is an interesting and effective thriller with some decent performances, solid twists and an unusual but intriguing vibe to it – essential viewing for horror fans. Arrow Video has done an excellent job bringing this one to Blu-ray with a great presentation and an impressive array of extra features.

    Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release of The Devil Rides Out offers a top shelf Hammer Horror picture in great shape, offering the original U.S. version alongside the ‘updated’ Studio Canal version with fine audio and a host of extras old and new. The movie itself holds up remarkably well, and this package does a great job not just with the presentation of the film but also in documenting its history and significance.

    Eegah was an unlikely candidate for a 4k restoration but here it is, looking great and with some nice extra features as well. The movie itself is a ridiculous amount of ultra-hokey fun, very much a product of its time and a fantastic time capsule of early sixties goofiness. Lots of fun to be had here!

    The Candy Snatchers is a tight, sleazy little thriller. It’s really well-made and features some great performances. It’s dark and twisted, but seriously engaging throughout. Vinegar Syndrome has done an excellent job bringing the film to Blu-ray with an excellent presentation and some great exclusive extra features.

    The Fly Collection is a pretty impressive achievement. Shout! Factory has gathered together all five films from the series and presenting them in nice shape and not only carrying over the massive trove of existing extras from previous releases but throwing in a whole lot of very interesting new material as well. The movies themselves vary in quality from genuine classic to oddly entertaining but they’re all worth seeing.

    Emanuelle In America is a Eurotrash cinema classic, an unabashed work of pure, undiluted exploitation that pulls no punches. It’s also very nicely shot and features a solid cast that jump right in with both feet. Mondo Macabro has done a great job bringing this one to Blu-ray completely uncut with some solid extra features and in a very nice presentation.