House: Two Stories [Blu-ray] (2-Disc Limited Edition)

Arrow Video is easily one of the best movie distributors around, and if you ask certain movie buffs collectors, they’d argue that they’re the best, period. I can’t decide as Arrow Video has been on a mission for the last few years to deliver fans some of the most unique movie titles on blu-ray and DVD, and offer them in deluxe collector’s packages that would make most cineastes hyperventilate out of sheer excitement. Arrow Video has taken it upon themselves to offer fans the two tales of “House,” two films that were big movie rental fodder in their heydays and are now brought together for what is a heavily suggested anthology. Arrow Video combines two of the true “House” movies that are—ironically—about as different from each other as the last two “House” movies.

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Kairo/Pulse (2001)

Kyoshi Kurosawa’s “Kairo” is a film dripping in terror that deliberately paces itself as a slow burning end of the world tale. Rather than an all out orgy of gore and carnage, “Pulse” eventually explodes in to something of a last gasp of humanity, and a civilization that ends in a whisper and somber whimper. “Kairo” is written as something of a two act structure where Kurosawa opts for a film that’s episode in the vein of “Pulp Fiction,” and then smashes together in the stunning climax. Much of what we see seems and feels random in many places, and events collide allowing for a cogent unfolding of events that doesn’t just make sense but feels so meticulously planned from square one. What makes “Kairo” so haunting even when the credits have drawn to a close is the way the director opts less for splatter and gore, and more for a requiem that depicts mankind as a stain and nothing more.

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Justice League Dark (2017): Limited Edition Gift Set [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

Setting aside that DC pretty much slaps Batman in to their newest film, “Justice League Dark” is actually a fun celebration of the supernatural element from DC Comics. Taking a much needed peek in to the darker universe from DC, “Justice League Dark” is an adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel, involving supernatural characters from DC who team up to take on a threat beyond the capabilities of Superman and Wonder Woman. “Justice League Dark” is a fairly well realized horror take on the DC universe that suffers, sadly, from a short run time. With a group of characters filled with such immense, and complex back stories and amazing powers, it’s sad “Justice League Dark” is only allotted a scant eighty minute run time. John Constantine alone deserves a thirty minute introduction.

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Poltergeist III (1988): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

Gary Sherman’s “Poltergeist III” is such a disappointing movie, and goes even further to stretch the mythology of the first film, so much so that I almost welcomed the loose spin off TV series from 1996. It’s very disheartening to see Carol Anne now under the care of her aunt and uncle in the big city, especially when the first and second “Poltergeist” films pushed the whole “Love” and “Family unity” themes on us so aggressively. Heather O’Rourke as Carol Anne has gone from side character to the principal heroine of the entire series, now living with her aunt and uncle in a very high class skyscraper and apartment building filled with mirrors. This, of course, allows Gary Sherman to concoct a lot of very surreal moments of horror here.

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Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

The original “Poltergeist” was like a fine tuned car that ran well and delivered all kinds of surprises. “Poltergeist II” is like an addition to said car, but it’s not a necessary addition and comes off kind of gaudy when you take a second look. It’s like someone added fins, stripes to what was an already great model in and of itself. The follow up to Tobe Hooper’s original is a childhood favorite of mine. It’s one I watched over and over on local television. While it may not make much sense as an extension of the first film, with a redundant premise, “The Other Side” is an okay sequel. That is, if you want to accept it as a sequel to the original film. It’s more an exploration of the spiritual world involved with the initial haunting from the first film, when all is said and done.

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Justice League Dark (2017)

I’m still not sure why DC commits to creating new branches of their animated universe with only a little under eighty minutes to spare. I think it wouldn’t hurt if something like “Justice League Dark” was given two hours to tell its story. Instead it rushes through just about everything possible, from prologue, set up, character introductions, villain introduction, villain back story, and the final showdown. And there’s no guarantee we’ll see a sequel any time soon, since DC and Warner are planning a live action version. So unless you’re a hardcore DC fan, you won’t get to learn a lot about folks like the Demon Etrigan or Zatanna, since we speed right through their characterizations.

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The Axe Murders of Villisca (2017)

Two teenagers involved in ghost hunting plan to go to the Villisca house where, in 1912, a family was murdered by an axe wielding maniac.  When a charming female outcast joins them, the three of them decide to go into the house after hours and do their own tour and investigation where they discover something worse than the usual for this kind of house. Written and directed by Tony E. Valenzuela based on a story by Kevin Abrams and Owens Egerton. The story is based on a true case from 1912 which is still unsolved.  To bring it to modern day settings, they use the story as a starting point for teenage ghost hunters to go investigate.

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