For fans of the legendary playwright, Mill Creek Entertainment brings together a slew of his more interesting dramas and comedies to DVD all for folks that are interested in expanding the collection. I would have loved to see “Barefoot in the Park” included in this set, but for all things considered this is a nice buffer course for new fans that can study up on the late great Neil Simon, who helped re-define films about couples and relationships for everyone.
Seven movies later, and the “Leprechaun” movie series is still alive and kicking. I fondly remember watching the original movie on a VHS rental back in 1995, and studios have found it a necessity to keep the saga of our demonic little person going. After the horrendous re-imagining of the series from 2014 that tried to turn the Leprechaun in to a faceless beast, “Leprechaun Returns” gets back to what made the original movie series so entertaining and deliciously silly. Sans Warwick Davis, the original Leprechaun, of course (he declined to star in horror films for a little while).
As a preamble I admit that I’ve never liked the “Kim Possible” animated series. I know as a Disney fan I’m supposed to love it, but I always found the series to be incredibly flat, bland, and boring. I didn’t really care for anything about it beyond Will Friedle who, at the time, was my favorite voice actor. That said, when “Kim Possible” was rebooted in to a TV movie series, I was surprised by how new and re-energized the reboot looked. Though “Kim Possible” is back, she’s returned for a whole new generation of fans that have embraced heroines fighting crime.
Dan Curtis’ “Trilogy of Terror” is a TV movie that grew so famous that it ended up being considered one of the best horror movies of its decade. Released during a time where networks were tackling TV movies with immense zeal, “Trilogy of Terror” has become a horror classic since its airing, even if I’m not a fan. It’s hard to hate, though. There’s Karen Black taking on all of the major female roles in the film, and the Zuni Fetish Doll, a movie monster who has become the quintessential horror killer doll. “Trilogy of Terror II” premiered on the USA Network in 1996 with Dan Curtis returning to direct, and while it’s not a great movie, it’s fine enough.
Sheldon Wilson’s “The Hollow” or as I refer to it “Phantoms 2: Samhain Edition,” is one of the more incomplete feeling horror films I’ve seen in a long time. Although the movie isn’t the completely worst Halloween oriented horror entry I’ve ever seen, it definitely feels like it could have stood for twenty minutes of exposition. Even when it stops the movie in its tracks to drop exposition, it still feels like the screenwriters are working on an under cooked film that never finds its footing. So much of “The Hollow” is downright unpleasant and dull, and manages to squander a potentially really cool movie monster.
Once upon a time TV movies were an event. They meant something. They were used sporadically during the year for various networks as a means of attracting big ratings. Once upon a time TV used TV movies as a means of competing with theaters, and ever since that’s become something of a lost medium. Even when I was a kid, the nineties were filled with TV movies both of the Stephen King multi-night variety, and occasional biblical epics, and or science fiction epics like “Taken,” or “Noah.” It was an interesting time. “Dead of Night” is one of the various TV movies that’s gone from TV movie to well acclaimed horror movie, and that might be because of Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson.
When Rob Lowe was originally approached about his remake of “The Bad Seed,” he commented that his film version is a drama more than a horror movie. While the original 1956 movie starring Patty McCormack was a horror movie with a dramatic tinge, by God Rob Lowe makes sure that his version of “The Bad Seed” is a drama. Even the unraveling of a parent realizing their child is a psychopath with only the goal of self preservation is painfully bent for the sake of drama, and less horror. Lowe fails, especially because the realization that their child is a psychopath with zero emotion should be a living nightmare. Not some kind of twist in a melodrama.
For the first time together on one DVD, Mill Creek assembles the “Merlin” film trilogy, which chronicles the epic beginnings and legacy of the iconic wizard who helped King Arthur in his battles against evil. “Merlin” is one of my all time favorite miniseries and appeared during a time where miniseries on basic network television was still a thing that was used to grab big ratings, and I fondly recall visiting this miniseries again and again. I enjoyed “Merlin” so much, in fact, that I bought the oversized black clamshell VHS from Blockbuster video back in late 1998 and watched it almost every weekend.