My Two Cents

Blu-ray News – People Under the Stairs, Masterworks of Avant-garde Film & more, plus Christopher Lee & Ron Moody RIP

June 11, 2015 - 3:00 pm   |   by
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We’re starting the day with sad news I’m afraid. The legendary British actors Sir Christopher Lee and Ron Moody have both passed away today.

Lee made his name early, playing Count Dracula and other characters for Hammer Films. His Wikipedia page lists appearances in some 206 films, not to mention numerous TV, stage, and even video game roles. Over the years, he’s played Death, both Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, Frankenstein’s Creature, Fu Manchu, Lord Summerisle, and King Haggard. Bond fans will surely remember him as the villain Francisco Scaramanga from The Man with the Golden Gun. Younger Star Wars prequel fans were likely introduced to him as Count Dooku. Of course, his last great role was the wizard Saruman the White in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. But Lee lived an adventurous life beyond stage and screen as well. He apparently hunted Nazis during world war II as a member of Churchill’s so-called “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” He even recorded a symphonic metal concept album called Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross. Now that’s a helluva life. You can read more here via The Telegraph and The New York Times.  Lee was 93.  [Read on here…]

Meanwhile, Ron Moody also served in WWII as an RAF radar technician, and was also a novelist and composer. He’s perhaps best known as Fagin on stage and in Carol Reed’s Oliver! (1968), though other roles included appearances in such films as Murder Most Foul (1964), David Copperfield (1969), Mel Brooks’ The Twelve Chairs (1970), Unidentified Flying Oddball (1979), and A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995). Moody was 91. You can read more here via The New York Times as well.

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In announcement news today, Scream Factory has set The People Under the Stairs: Collector’s Edition for Blu-ray release on 8/11. Extras will include audio commentary with writer/director Wes Craven, a second commentary with actors Brandon Adams, A.J. Langer, Sean Whalen, and Yan Birch, 4 interview featurettes (including House Mother, What Lies Beneath, House of Horrors, and Settling the Score), behind-the-scenes footage, a vintage “making of” featurettes, galleries of storyboards and production stills, TV spots, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

Lionsgate has set Last Knights for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/30, followed by ’71 on DVD on 7/7.

Alchemy will release Dawn Patrol on DVD on 7/14.

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Also, Flicker Alley has informed us that their upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release of Masterworks of American Avant-garde Experimental Film 1920-1970 has been delayed to 9/29 from its originally announced 7/28 street date. Says producer David Shepard:

“Curator Bruce Posner and I are proud of this release with films we greatly admire, premiering in beautiful HD transfers with outstanding music scores. That said, we’ve encountered a couple of last-minute wrinkles which may result in a couple of alterations to the set’s contents. To accommodate the artists involved and to give us enough time to make sure everything is in order, we’ve delayed the publication for six weeks until September 29th. We regret the delay; this project has been in the works for a very long time, but we feel it will be even better when released on its new publication date.”

No problem – we’ll take better over fast any day.

Finally, here at The Bits today, our own Tim Salmons has a new Pick-Ups column this week featuring reviews of five new and recent Scream Factory Blu-ray releases, including Scarecrows, the Class of 1984: Collector’s Edition, From a Whisper to a Scream, the Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers – Collector’s Edition, and the Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland Collector’s Edition. Enjoy!

Stay tuned…

Bill Hunt


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