When A Stranger Calls (1979) – Retro VHS Style [Blu-Ray]

Fred Walton’s “When a Stranger Calls” is what happens when you take a quick but creepy, classic urban legend and pad it out in to a dull, tedious “Halloween” knock off that’s more drama than anything else. Where as John Carpenter’s slasher chiller was about babysitters being stalked by a masked maniac, “When a Stranger Calls” attempts a horror thriller centered on an actual depraved maniac and the babysitter that he is inexplicably obsessed with.

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Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

After some um—rather interesting internet ballyhoo, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is finally brought to the big screen in what is a shockingly good adaptation. Although I’d argue that the “video game movie curse” ended in 2018 (ahem–“Tomb Raider”), “Sonic the Hedgehog” does open the door for more, higher quality video game movies down the road. While I’d be hard pressed to say that “Sonic” re-invents the wheel, it also dodges a lot of video game movie pitfalls by side stepping cloying pop culture references, and paying homage to the source material.

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Fantasy Island (2020)

Director Jeff Wadlow’s (“Truth or Dare”) big screen adaptation “Fantasy Island” is a mess of a genre picture that easily one of the most tonally confused movies I’ve seen in years. Its prologue sets it up as a horror movie, then it becomes a goofy comedy about wish fulfillment, then it’s a character study about a son reconnecting with his father, the next minute it’s a torture revenge thriller, and the next it’s a movie about looking back at what could have been. None of it is remotely creepy, none of it is remotely spooky, and to top it all off, it’s all so painfully boring from beginning to end.

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My Bloody Valentine (1981): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

In 1981, every single studio in the world were looking for their own horror movie success story. Slasher movies were cheaply made, garnered a lot of money, and was often used as a means of getting a tax break or two. Canada entered the arena of holiday oriented cheaply made slasher films with “My Bloody Valentine.” Although it’s often ignored when spoken in the same breath as “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th,” it’s easily one of the best, most unnerving slashers ever made, and one that even garners a brutally underrated remake, to boot.

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The Bootleg Files: The Great Radio Comedians

BOOTLEG FILES 719: “The Great Radio Comedians” (1972 documentary featuring George Burns, Jack Benny and Edgar Bergen).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It seems to have fallen through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Unlikely.

From the late 1920s into the late 1940s, Americans relied on radio for their home entertainment. There was a wide variety of original programming to choose from, but many listeners gravitated to the weekly comedy series. Considering the heyday of the medium coincided with the grim years of the Great Depression and World War II, the comedy shows offered much-needed happy distraction from the problems and crises taking place across the country and around the world.
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Topps’ New Licensed MARS ATTACKS Card Set from SideKick Lab Funds on Kickstarter

Before the over-the-top mayhem and dark humor of Amazon’s The Boys, before the post-apocalyptic nightmare of The Walking Dead, before the sprawling space adventure of Avengers: Endgame, there was MARS ATTACKS! The original pulp sci-fi card set, released by Topps in 1962, influenced them all.

Now nearly six decades later, The Topps Company has licensed Mars Attacks to SideKick Lab, who will develop, produce, and publish a new series of Mars Attacks trading cards, which is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. This campaign was fully funded in just over an hour!

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Dark Whispers, Volume 1 (2019) [Final Girls Berlin Festival]

Megan Riakos’s anthology “Dark Whispers” touts itself as a horror film with tales directed solely by women. The last film “XX” that explored the concept was a swing a miss, so I had my doubts this time. Thankfully “Dark Whispers, Volume 1” is a very good anthology with some outstanding horror shorts that often feels episodic like “Vault of Horror” and “Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.” The gallery of female filmmakers on display here are all sharp storytellers, and bring something new and unique to the table that frighten while also evoking genuine emotions every now and then.

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