Seen on DVD: Torso, The Frighteners, Hellraiser

  • Michael McQuiggan
  • FilmOut Programmer, filmoutsandiego.com

Italy’s Torso has grown on me over the years and with a new Blu-ray edition, it’s won me over. Suzy Kendall stars with a bevy of beauties stalked by a killer on campus. Some retreat to a villa to escape the killings but of course are followed. Well acted and shot, violent with ample nudity, and red herrings galore, this minor giallo gem deserves a chance to be rediscovered! You can find more giallo this month at FilmOut’s Thrill-O-Rama with Dario Argento’s Suspiria.

Eden Lake was completely off my radar but I was happy I rented it. A couple on a camping trip are harassed by a group of teenagers. When an incident occurs the couple must defend themselves against the teenagers and eventually the entire town. Gritty, gory, realistic, and the end is definitely not a cop-out! This film may stay with you for days.

  • Torso (Italy) 1973, Blue Underground
  • List price: $19.98
  • Eden Lake (England) 2008, Weinstein Company
  • List price: $14.93

  • Miguel Rodriguez
  • Director, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, hifilmfest.com

There are a number of films I’d love to revive for my November Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. New re-releases include Peter Jackson’s major studio debut The Frighteners. The ghost romp got a 15th-anniversary edition on Blu-ray this year. It’s great to see Michael J. Fox gracing the screen, almost parodying his ’80s persona. The real gem, though, is Jeffrey Combs at his most neurotic as FBI agent Milton Dammers who gets “all the fruity cases.”

Another under-the-radar release comes from the wonderful SHOUT! Factory (formerly Rhino). It’s a double feature of nearly-forgotten ’70s horror: Bad Dreams and Visiting Hours. Bad Dreams features Jennifer Rubin and the always creepy Richard Lynch in a story about suicides in a psychiatric ward. Visiting Hours stars Lee Grant as a journalist stalked by Michael Ironside who takes crazy to new levels. Also starring “The Shat,” William Shatner!

  • The Frighteners
  • (New Zealand/USA) 1996, Universal
  • List price: $26.98
  • Bad Dreams/Visiting Hours (USA) 1988/1982, SHOUT! Factory
  • List price: $14.97

  • Philip Lorenzo
  • Managing director and extreme film curator, sdaff.org

Without question, Tom Holland’s classic Fright Night pays tribute to vampires, Rear Window, and the colorful hosts of late-night horror shows. A brilliant Roddy McDowall plays a character not unlike himself — a Hollywood institution who was an avid collector of movie memorabilia. The charming Chris Sarandon perfectly balances suave and horrifying as the vampire. The clever yet simple script allows the actors to enjoy the humor in every frame of this camp classic.

Clive Barker, in his directorial debut, takes viewers into a world where pleasure and pain walk the same path, where perceptions of beauty are defined by the beholder. A magic box is opened, letting in supernatural cenobites who are demented, sadomasochistic, undead humanoids. They expect the one who opens the box to live a “beautiful” life of torture. This DVD is a must-own since it takes a different path than most horror films.

  • Fright Night (USA) 1984, Sony Pictures
  • List price: $14.99
  • Hellraiser (England) 1987, Anchor Bay
  • List price: $9.98

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