by Ben Redder
New Release Tuesday! This week we’ve got stacks of vintage Euro-crime, still more stacks of little-seen horror classics, ultra-rare underground queer films, the late Melvin Van Peebles on Criterion, and so much more.
13 WASHINGTON SQUARE (1928, Blu-ray)
A romantic comedy in which a meddling aristocratic mother tries to stop her son from eloping with a grocer’s daughter. So Mrs. De Peyster dons a working class disguise and goes on a mission with her maid to track down the lovers and block their illicit vows. But instead she crosses paths with a charismatic thief named Pyecroft who has plans to rob De Peyster’s home. All of them end up at her home on 13 Washington Square where their lies hilariously come to light.
ATLANTIS (2019, DVD)
In 2025 Eastern Ukraine, Sergiy is a former soldier who is having trouble adapting to his new reality. He meets Katya while she’s on a humanitarian mission dedicated to exhuming the past. A prize-winner at the Venice Film Festival and Ukraine’s official selection for the 2021 Academy Awards, Atlantis is a gorgeous and visionary sci-fi drama.
AUNTIE LEE’S MEAT PIES (1992, Blu-ray)
Auntie Lee and her quartet of voluptuous “nieces” are known for making the tastiest meat pies around, all from Auntie’s top secret recipe which calls for a most unusual type of meat: human. In order to acquire the juiciest flesh, the girls employ their lusty charms; luring unsuspecting male strangers into a carnal – and deadly – trap, in which they’re chopped, quartered, and minced. Everything is going just peachy for Auntie’s little family, despite the occasional misbehavings of Larry, their “simple” helper, but when the girls lure a freaked out rock group over to have for dinner, things run the risk of getting out of control. And what about the perpetually snooping Police Chief Koal?
BLOOD CONSCIOUS (2021, DVD)
Kevin and his older sister plan to vacation at their parent’s lakeside cottage during the off-season; the area is unsurprisingly quiet and things seem normal, until they discover their parents have been murdered and the killer is still nearby.
CHARLATAN (2020, DVD)
Few true stories tread the thin line between good and evil as precariously as that of Jan Mikolášek, a 20th century Czech herbal healer whose great success masked the grimmest of secrets. Mikolášek won fame and fortune treating celebrities of the interwar, Nazi, and Communist eras with his uncanny knack for “urinary diagnosis”. But his passion for healing welled up form the same source as a lust for cruelty, sadism, and an incapacity for love that only one person could ever quell – his assistant, František. As a show trial threatens to pry open these secrets and undo him, Jan’s dichotomies are put to a final test, with the fate of his life’s only love in the balance. A personal tale as replete with twists as the century itself, and a reflection on the price one pays for single-mindedly following one’s calling.
We just got in a Region B blu-ray of CONVOYEUR, a.k.a. CASH TRUCK, the 2004 French film that Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham recently remade as WRATH OF MAN. This will require a region free blu-ray player, but so far that’s the only way we’ve been able to find it with English subtitles.
The film follows Alexandre (Albert Dupontel), a new hire at a low rent armored car service. As he goes through his training and gets the hang of the job we start to see that he’s undercover at the company – not to set up a robbery, but to investigate one that happened in the past, in which his son was killed and his life was ruined. Though it’s a grim and ultimately violent story, it also has the feel of a dry workplace comedy as he befriends or feuds with the various eccentrics at the company.
Ritchie’s version is also very good, but not redundant since it takes the basic premise in a very different direction. While Statham of course plays an elite killing machine pretending to be normal, Dupontel’s character actually is a regular guy feeling his way through a dangerous world. The original version sticks to Alexandre’s perspective, never switching to the thieves, for a more intimate story. And it has the advantage of a very charismatic second lead in Jean Dujardin (who would win an Oscar for THE ARTIST 7 years later).
You can find CONVOYEUR in our WISH LIST section (a 7-day rental).
CRAZY ABOUT YOU (2019, DVD)
Dumped by his girlfriend and sponsored by media scoundrel Brian King, desolate Jake walks all-but-naked up Western Australia’s coast for charity, in the hope his gesture will win back Jasmine, until he meets mesmerizing backpacker Valerie.
THE DAMNED (1969, Blu-ray / DVD)
The most savagely subversive film by the iconoclastic auteur Luchino Visconti employs the mechanics of deliriously stylized melodrama to portray Nazism’s total corruption of the soul. In the wake of Hitler’s ascent to power, the wealthy industrialist von Essenbeck family and their associates—including the scheming social climber Friedrich, the conniving matriarch Sophie, and the cruelly deviant heir Martin—descend into a self-destructive spiral of decadence, greed, perversion, and all-consuming hatred as they vie for power, over the family business and over one another. The heightened performances and Visconti’s luridly expressionistic use of Technicolor conjure a garish world of decaying opulence in which one family’s downfall comes to stand for the moral rot of a nation.
A DAY OF JUDGMENT (Blu-ray)
From Earl Owensby Studios – the South’s biggest producer/distributor of ‘70s/’80s regional horror and exploitation hits – comes what may be the most obscure and bizarre slasher movie of the entire godless genre: In a 1930s small town rife with lust, corruption and sin, a mysterious figure wielding a scythe arrives to cut an unholy swath of murder, madness and moralizing that may lead straight to Hell.
DEATH SCREAMS (Blu-ray)
Released on US VHS as House of Death (and on UK DVD with the reels in the wrong order), this film oozes early ’80s regional slasher charm from its every pore, boasting an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink final reel featuring slashed throats, bisected bodies and exploding heads. At long last arriving on Blu-ray and lovingly restored from the only-known existing 35mm print, this little-seen slasher classic is ready to carve its way into the bleeding hearts of horror fans everywhere!
DIM VALLEY (2020, DVD)
A curmudgeonly biologist and his slacker graduate students muddle their way through a summer research project. Deep in the Appalachian woods, they encounter a group of mystical backpackers who disrupt their lives in beautiful and surprising ways. Part hilarious stoner comedy and part transcendental meditation on mysticism and love, A Dim Valley is a delightful ethereal journey into the cycle of love.
THE EQUALIZER – SEASON 1 (2021, DVD)
The series centers around Robyn McCall, an enigmatic woman in New York City and single mother to teenage daughter Delilah, with a mysterious background who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn, acting as a guardian angel and a defender for those who cannot defend themselves while pursuing her own redemption.
FAST & FURIOUS SERIES (2001-2017, 4K / Blu-ray)
Revisit all of the illegal street racing, heists, spies and betrayal in the first eight chapters of the two decades long series of action movies, now in stunning 4K! Watch as an all-star cast put pedal to the metal in pursuit of justice and survival as they race from L.A. to Tokyo, Rio to London, and Cuba to New York City. Packed with full-throttle action and jaw-dropping stunts, these eight turbo-charged thrill rides place you behind the wheel of the most explosive film franchise in history!
FIRST DATE (2021, DVD)
Conned into buying a shady ’65 Chrysler, shy teen Mike’s eagerly anticipated first date with the girl next door, Kelsey, implodes as he finds himself targeted by criminals, cops and a crazy cat lady. A night fueled by desire, bullets and burning rubber makes any other first date seem like a walk in the park.
THE FOREVER PURGE (2021, Blu-ray / DVD)
In this fifth installment of the Purge series of films, Adela and her husband, Juan, live in Texas, where he works as a ranch hand for the wealthy Tucker family. Juan impresses the Tucker patriarch, Caleb, but that fuels the jealous anger of his son, Dylan. On the morning after the Purge, a masked gang of killers attacks the Tuckers, forcing both families to band together and fight back as the country spirals into chaos.
THE FOURTH VICTIM (1971, Blu-ray / DVD)
In this rarely-seen but always-surprising giallo – made between A QUIET PLACE TO KILL and KNIFE OF ICE – Carroll Baker stars as the new bride of a wealthy British playboy whose three previous wives met with suspiciously accidental deaths.
A FULL DAY’S WORK AKA UNE JOURNEE BIEN REMPLIE (1973, Blu-ray / DVD)
In this black-as-night French-Italian comedy, Jacques Dufilho plays a father who has carefully planned the execution of the nine jurors who sent his son to the gallows. Dressed in black, on a black motorcycle with his elderly mother in the sidecar, the vengeful man calmly and methodically does away with each of the nine in the span of a single day—before the police or anyone else can stop him.
GIRLS SCHOOL SCREAMERS (1984, Blu-ray, DVD)
At an exclusive all-girls college, a group of chronically misbehaving students are “rewarded” for their bad behavior by being assigned with the task of cleaning a magnificent old mansion (with a deadly past) in preparation for its grand re-opening by the school. But when the girls discover – and use – a dusty old Ouija board, they accidentally revive a terrifying evil spirit, which begins dispatching them by cleaver, hook, car, and more. Can they put an end to the carnage before none are left alive?
GRAY LADY DOWN (1978, Blu-ray)
Aging, respected Captain Paul Blanchard is on his final submarine tour before promotion to command of a submarine squadron. Surfaced and returning to port, the submarine is struck by a Norwegian freighter en route to New York in heavy fog. With the engine room flooded and its main propulsion disabled, the Neptune sinks to a canyon ledge above the ocean floor. A US Navy rescue force arrives on the scene, but the Neptune is subsequently rolled by a gravity slide to a greater angle that does not allow the Navy’s rescue vehicle to complete its work. A small experimental submersible, Snark, is brought in to assist with the rescue. Snark is very capable, but run by a U.S. Navy officer misfit, Captain Don Gates. The tiny submersible is the only hope for a rescue.
HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923, Blu-ray)
In 15th-century Paris, Jehan, the evil brother of the archdeacon, lusts after a Gypsy named Esmeralda and commands the hunchback Quasimodo to capture her. Military captain Phoebus also loves Esmeralda and rescues her, but the Gypsy is not unsympathetic to Quasimodo’s condition, and an unlikely bond forms between them. After vengeful Jehan frames Esmeralda for the attempted murder of Phoebus, Quasimodo’s feelings are put to the test.
HUNTER WILL GET YOU AKA L’ALPAGUEUR (1976, Blu-ray / DVD)
Screen legend Jean-Paul Belmondo (RIP) is “L’Alpagueur,” a tough-as-nails mercenary named Roger Pilard who does what the police are unable to do—for a price, of course. After busting a drug-trafficking ring in Rotterdam, Pilard is put on the trail of “L’Épervier” (“The Hawk”), a ruthless thief who employs petty criminals to help him rob banks and then murders them. One of these criminals narrowly escapes death, but is captured and put in prison. Pilard, adopting a false identity, arranges to be placed in the same cell. There he learns how to track down “The Hawk,” who, in the meantime, has carried out a final act of vengeance. Will the hunter get his hawk?
ILLUSTRIOUS CORPSES AKA CADAVERI ECCELLENTI (1976, Blu-ray / DVD)
From Francesco Rosi comes the politically charged crime thriller Illustrious Corpses (aka The Context). Cinema icon Lino Ventura stars as Inspector Rogas, a detective assigned to investigate the mysterious murders of some Supreme Court judges. During the investigation he discovers a conspiracy that involves the Italian Communist Party.
INTERNATIONAL LADY (1941, DVD)
With Britain in the thick of World War II, and America on the verge, air power is vital to the cause of freedom. But when a ring of saboteurs is thought to be interfering with the flow of American airplanes to the U.K., FBI agent Tim Hanley and his Scotland Yard counterpart Reggie Oliver are called upon to work together to expose the Nazi threat to liberty. Hanley and Oliver’s suspicions soon fall upon Carla Nillson, a stunningly beautiful singer who is believed to be the principal agent responsible for passing along vital Allied secrets to the Axis “higher-ups”. As he trails Carla from London to Lisbon, and then to New York, Tim desperately wants to believe in her innocence… particularly since he’s fallen in love!
LOURDES (2021, DVD)
A stunningly beautiful mountainous village in the Southwest foothills of the Pyrenees went from a sleepy scenic town to a sacred wonder after 1858, when a 14-year-old peasant girl claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in a remote grotto. Today, the town is second only to Paris in the number of annual visitors (6 million), part venerated shrine, part Disneyland (shops selling bottled holy water and Virgin Mary- related tchotchkes). Vast processions of people seeking a miracle fuel a small army of care-givers who accompany them. These pilgrims are a surprising cross-section of humanity, including accident victims, the terminally ill, an overweight and bullied teenager, even a contingent of aging Paris prostitutes.
LUCKY LUCIANO (1973, Blu-ray / DVD)
Director Francesco Rosi and star Gian Maria Volontè paint a brilliant, epic portrait of notorious Mafia boss Charles “Lucky” Luciano. In 1946, after serving time for the murder of his colleagues in crime, Luciano was pardoned and sent back to his homeland of Sicilia. Rather than changing his life around, it was here that he became one of the most powerful leaders of crime the world has ever known.
MELVIN VAN PEEBLES: ESSENTIAL FILMS (1967-2003, Blu-ray)
Director, writer, composer, actor, and one-man creative revolutionary Melvin Van Peebles jolted American independent cinema to new life with his explosive stylistic energy and unfiltered expression of Black consciousness. Though he undeniably altered the course of film history with the anarchic SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSSS SONG, that pop-culture bombshell is just one piece of a remarkably varied career that has also encompassed forays into European art cinema (THE STORY OF A THREE DAY PASS), mainstream Hollywood comedy (WATERMELON MAN), and Broadway musicals (DON’T PLAY US CHEAP). Each facet of Van Peebles’s renegade genius is on display in this collection of four films, a tribute to a transformative artist whose caustic social observation, radical formal innovation, and uncompromising vision established a new cinematic model for Black creative independence. Also included in the set is BAADASSSSS!, a chronicle of the production of Sweet Sweetback made by Van Peebles’s son Mario Van Peebles—and starring the younger Van Peebles as Melvin.
MEMPHIS ‘69: THE 1969 MEMPHIS COUNTRY BLUES FESTIVAL (2019, DVD)
Never-seen footage from the legendary Memphis Country Blues Festival – served up here in the fourth year of the event, at a time when both interest in blues and particularly southern blues was running strong – which led the festival to have the largest lineup of its career! The footage here is all color, and features rare performances that haven’t been seen since the event way back in 1969 – not just blues, as the set also features Stax Records artists Rufus Thomas and The Bar-Kays – next to more blues-based artists who include Son Thomas, Bukka White, Piano Red, Furry Lewis, Rev Robert Wilkins, Sleepy John Estes, and Mississippi Fred McDowell! There’s also a few surprises along the way – appearances by John Fahey, Insect Trust, John D Loudermilk, Johnny Winter, and The Salem Harmonizers – plus the legendary Memphis psych act Moloch.
MIDNIGHT (1982, Blu-ray)
A decade after co-writing NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, writer/director John Russo gathered members of George Romero’s Pittsburgh crews to film a new shocker fueled by equal parts grisly grindhouse jolts and ‘80s satanic panic: Fleeing her pervy alcoholic stepfather, a hitchhiking teen is abducted by a family of crazed homicidal rednecks for an ordeal of graphic butchery, shag carpet and devil worship. Released in some US markets as BACKWOODS MASSACRE and seized in the UK as a Section 3 ‘Video Nasty’.
MOMENT BY MOMENT (1978, DVD)
Huge news for those of us with Travolta fever: his steamy 1978 May/December romantic melodrama co-starring Lily Tomlin (and directed by Tomlin’s longtime partner and eventual wife, Jane Wagner) has finally hit the shelves! See Travolta and Tomlin sporting matching feathered hairstyles and loose-fitting denim button-downs while lounging in Tomlin’s luxury beach house or strolling along the seashore, all in glorious HD. Trisha Rawlings, a lonely, middle-aged Beverly Hills socialite, meets Vick “Strip” Harrison, a suave young drifter. Their initial flirtation turns into a passionate relationship despite their age and class differences.
MYSTERIES OF MENTAL ILLNESS (2021, DVD)
Explore the evolution in understanding, and the dramatic attempts across generations, to unravel the difficult questions surrounding mental illness people have grappled with throughout history: What causes it? And how is it best treated?
NEVER GONNA SNOW AGAIN (2021, DVD)
On a gray, foggy morning outside a large Polish city, a masseur from the East named Zhenia enters the lives of the wealthy residents of a gated community. With his hypnotic presence and quasi-magical abilities, he is able to get a residence permit and starts plying his trade. The well-to-do residents in their cookie-cutter suburban homes seemingly have it all, but they all suffer from an inner sadness, some unexplained longing. The attractive and mysterious newcomer’s hands heal, and Zhenia’s eyes seem to penetrate their souls. To them, his Russian accent sounds like a song from the past, a memory of simpler times. The latest from writer/director Malgorzata Szumowska and her longtime collaborator Michal Englert is an unclassifiable meditation on class, immigration, and global warming shot through with Lynchian touches of the otherworldly and moments of sober beauty and unexpected humor.
NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935, Blu-ray)
The legendary Marx Brothers run amuck in the world of opera when Otis B. Driftwood meets aspiring singer Ricardo, who is determined to win the love of fellow performer Rosa. Aided by Fiorello and Tomasso, Otis attempts to unite the young couple, but faces opposition from the preening star Lassparri, who also has his sights on Rosa. Traveling from Italy to New York, Otis and friends rally to try and win the day.
POISON IDEA: LEGACY OF DYSFUNCTION (2017, DVD)
No Violence!? No Sex! Very Little Drugs!! A tale so unthreatening you could almost bring your child! From producer/director Mike Lastra comes the story of punk done right. Featuring live concert performances, lots of rare photos, and interviews with band members.
SEVEN DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS AKA MODERATO CANTABILE (1960, Blu-ray / DVD)
Screen legends Jeanne Moreau and Jean-Paul Belmondo (RIP) star in this mesmerizing drama from the brilliant mind of Marguerite Duras. Moreau, who won the award for Best Actress at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival, is Anne Desbarèdes, a wealthy, bored housewife who believes she has witnessed a murder in a quayside bistro. Rushing to the scene of the crime, she strikes up a conversation with Chauvin, an employee of her husband who also saw the crime. The troubled woman continues to return to the café, increasingly identifying herself with the murder victim and becoming obsessed with Chauvin.
SIBYL (2019, DVD)
After contemplation, Sibyl wants to rekindle the passion she has for writing. As she ponders her options, she takes on a patient named Margot, an aspiring actress with a multitude of troubles under her belt. The details that Margot supplies Sibyl with are the ultimate temptation and soon become the focus of her writing career. As she becomes more and more obsessed with the details of the actress’ life, Sibyl finds herself being pulled into Margot’s chaotic lifestyle.
SILVER QUEEN (DVD)
In this lively frontier drama, 1870’s New York socialite Coralie Adams heads west to San Francisco and puts her card-playing skills to good use, winning enough money to pay off her late father’s gambling debts and open her own gaming hall. While she may be lucky in cards, however, Rosalie could wind up unlucky in love if she chooses caddish ex-fiancé Gerald over good-hearted card shark James.
SOROS (2019, DVD)
Billionaire activist George Soros is one of the most influential and controversial figures of our time. Famous for betting against the Bank of England in 1992 and making a billion dollars in one day, he is maligned by ideologues on both the left and the right for daring to tackle the world’s problems and putting his money behind his fight – from free elections and freedom of the press to civil rights for minorities. With unprecedented access to the man and his inner circle, American director Jesse Dylan follows Soros across the globe and pulls back the curtain on his personal history, private wealth, and public activism. Soros reveals a complicated genius whose experience as a Jew during the Holocaust gave rise to a lifelong crusade against authoritarianism and hate.
SPARKS BROTHERS (Blu-ray)
Filmmaker Edgar Wright takes his first step into the world of non-fiction to explore how one rock band can be successful, underrated, hugely influential and criminally overlooked — all at the same time. A musical odyssey exploring five weird and wonderful decades with brothers Ron and Russell Mael, celebrating the inspiring legacy of Sparks — your favorite band’s favorite band. Features commentary from celebrity fans Flea, Jane Wiedlin, Beck, Jack Antonoff, Jason Schwartzman, Neil Gaiman and more.
STORY OF A WOMAN (1970, Blu-ray)
A Swedish girl studying to be a concert pianist in Rome falls in love with a medical student. When she discovers the student is married to an older woman, she heads home to Sweden and marries an American diplomat. The diplomat is assigned to Rome.
STRAIT-JACKET (1964, Blu-ray)
Though still mentally shaky, convicted axe-murderess Lucy Harbin is released from the asylum where she was sent 20 years ago for slaying her unfaithful husband. Lucy goes to stay at her brother’s farm and reconnect with her grown daughter, Carol, who saw her mother chop her father to pieces as a tot. Carol helps Lucy regain her old glamorous look — but suspects that history might be repeating itself when anyone who angers her mother turns up hacked to death.
TOUGH GUYS DON’T DANCE (Blu-ray)
The last feature film directed by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Norman Mailer is a wild, labyrinthian, neo-noir black comedy featuring one of the greatest moments in the history of overacting, courtesy of star Ryan O”Neal. After a two week bender, Tim Madden awakens one morning from his drunken state, only to discover everything in his life seems amiss. There’s a fresh tattoo on his arm, his car is covered in blood, his girlfriend is in bed with the town sheriff, but worst of all, there’s a woman’s severed head in his weed stash. Sensing a setup and in desperate need to clear his name, Tim begins an investigation, with the help of his dying father, that soon begins to expose an ever stranger web of corruption, greed, blackmail, and violence woven into every aspect of the small coastal community of Provincetown.
TWIST (2021, DVD)
A Dickens classic brought thrillingly up to date in the teeming heartland of modern London, where a group of street smart young hustlers plan the heist of the century for the ultimate payday. This action-fueled crime-thriller set in contemporary London follows the journey of Twist, a gifted graffiti artist trying to find his way after the loss of his mother. Lured into a street gang headed by the paternal Fagin, Twist is attracted to the lifestyle — and to Red, an alluring member of Fagin’s crew. But when an art theft goes wrong, Twist’s moral code is tested as he’s caught between Fagin, the police, and a loose-cannon enforcer.
THE VIGIL (2019, Blu-ray / DVD)
A supernatural horror film steeped in ancient Jewish lore and demonology, set over the course of a single evening in Brooklyn’s Hasidic Borough Park neighborhood. Low on funds and having recently left his insular religious community, Yakov reluctantly accepts an offer from his former rabbi and confidante to take on the responsibility of an overnight “shomer,” fulfilling the Jewish practice of watching over the body of a deceased community member. Shortly after arriving at the dilapidated house of the recently departed to sit the vigil, Yakov begins to realize that something is very, very wrong.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? AND THE FILMS OF THE GAY GIRLS RIDING CLUB (1962-1972, Blu-ray)
Spearheaded by filmmaker Ray Harrison, the Gay Girls Riding Club (GGRC) took California’s 1960s underground gay scene by storm with drag spoofs of classic Hollywood films. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? AND THE FILMS OF THE GAY GIRLS RIDING CLUB collects the joyous, ambitious, and wig-filled GGRC films on home video for the first time ever. From WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, shot only a few months after the release of WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, to ALL ABOUT ALICE, the GGRC’s feature-length roast of ALL ABOUT EVE, these pioneering DIY movies are essential snapshots of mid-century drag culture that would feel right at home with the dreamy work of Mike and George Kuchar. AGFA, in partnership with the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, is thrilled to present these overlooked chapters of queer cinema — preserved from the only known 16mm film elements in existence.
WHITSTABLE PEARL (2021, DVD)
With her son grown, single mum Pearl pursues her lifelong dream and starts a private detective agency, which she runs from her family restaurant in the coastal town of Whitstable. Drawn by her caring nature, locals soon flock to her with all kinds of cases. But when a friend dies suspiciously, Pearl finds herself in conflict with gruff new cop in town DCI Mike McGuire.
YOUNG AND WILLING (1943, DVD)
A troupe of ambitious young actors—three men and three women—reside in the same apartment. But it’s all perfectly innocent, of course, as they’re hoping to get their big break by auditioning for eccentric producer Arthur Kenny who lives in the apartment directly below. Perpetually broke, the struggling performers’ accommodations are being paid for by the father of Dottie Coburn; who is unaware of his daughter’s potentially scandalous and risqué living arrangement, however, he’s quickly brought up to speed by her visiting school chum Muriel Foster. To save their reputation and launch their career, our determined sextet of thespians resort to every bit of subterfuge to convince Dottie’s father of her innocence and producer Kenny that they’re worth taking a chance on!