Spirited Away (2001): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray/CD/Book]

With their partnership with GKids, Shout Factory has managed to obtain a remarkable chunk of Studio Ghibli’s library and have given choice titles some truly deluxe treatment. Among some of Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpieces is the incredible “Spirited Away” a film that owes a lot to “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz,” that also evokes subtle social commentary on child trafficking. In either case, “Spirited Away” is still a remarkable and stellar piece of art, with some of Miyazaki’s most memorable creations including No Face, and the Soot Sprites.

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The Wizard of Oz (1939) [4K UHD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” is and is still widely considered the definitive fantasy masterpiece that has barely aged after so many decades. Even film fans that don’t care much for older films still have a hard time turning down “The Wizard of Oz” and ignoring its indefinable charm, and sense of adventure. Victor Fleming’s “The Wizard Of Oz” remains one of the most influential and engaging masterpieces, one filled with awe, surrealism, and a healthy sense of mystery, even eighty years after its initial release.

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My Favorite Goon from the Black Lagoon

No matter how many Universal monster movies I’ve seen, and no matter how much I’ve grown to love their iterations of Dracula and Frankenstein, The Gill-Man always comes out ahead as my favorite Universal monster of all time. While Dracula and The Bride often get the spotlight and special treatment, the Gill-Man has always been the underdog with the great trilogy of horror films in his own right. He just doesn’t receive the credit he deserves, especially in modern horror where Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman are still being reworked, while he patiently waits in the wings for his turn.

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Looking Back at “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” 25 Years Later

1994 was the year to really tune into Nickelodeon. It was a time where they’d hit their stride with programming blocks like SNICK and excellent series like Rugrats, and The Secret World of Alex Mack. It was also the year that “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” premiered (October 30, 1994). Another of the many Klasky Csupo produced animated shows, “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” focused on the world of monsters that hide in our closets, under our beds, and in our toilets. It is one of the few genuinely horror-oriented animated shows that Nickelodeon has aired.

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Follow that Goblin! (1992)

This extremely rare Halloween special may deliver varying results depending on how lenient you are willing to be in production quality. The claymation here isn’t exactly top notch and the producers of “Follow That Goblin!” fill the gap with ancient computer animation that pops up every now and then. Deep down though, it’s a unique Halloween movie with a fun premise that deserves to be seen by folks that love this kind of entertainment.

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C.H.U.D. (1984)

I’ll plead guilty in admitting that I’ve never understood why “C.H.U.D.” is considered a horror classic. The title is great, as it completely lays the cards out on the table for the audience. The concept is golden, as underground mutants that eat random people in the big city is ripe for a great monster movie. But when you get down to the actual movie itself, it’s a romance drama, mixed with a political thriller, with man eating underground mutants that kind of sort of appear in the finale for a bit here and there. You go in to it expecting a creepy monster film, but what you get is “The China Syndrome.”

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The Pagemaster (1994)

When I was a kid whenever councils or committees tried to encourage kids to read, they always invented some kind of mascot, and for me it was Cap’n O. G. Readmore. Every Saturday morning after the cartoons, he’d show up to remind kids to read, and explain how much fun reading was. “The Pagemaster” has good intentions but deep down it feels disingenuous and an awful lot like a glorified Saturday Morning special turned in to a big feature. At barely eighty minutes in length, it’s a mediocre, dreary, occasionally boring film that you can’t help but feel like it could have been shown as a TV movie.

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Gremlins (1984) [4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

Joe Dante’s 1984 masterpiece “Gremlins” is that perfect hybrid of a movie and culture milestone that appeals to horror fans, and fans of Amblin and Spielberg. It influenced a whole sub-genre of monster movies, and serves a wonderful purpose as a Christmas movie and a horror movie. It’s also a perfect bit of gateway horror for blossoming fans that want to ease in to what kind of heights this genre is capable of. There are also the hallmarks of Dante’s films from the chaos and terror implanted in to the suburbs, and the always great Dick Miller.

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