New Releases for December 6

It’s New Release Tuesday! Christmas horror, Haneke on Criterion, a whole mess of classic Shaw Brothers movies, and more!

5-25-77 (2022)

During the spring of 1977, sci-fi obsessed teenager Pat Johnson (John Francis Daley, Game Night, “Freaks and Geeks”) finds himself torn between making 8mm sequels to his favorite movies and pursuing the girl of his dreams, Linda (Emmi Chen, Normal). Desperate to help her son escape his likely future in Wadsworth, Illinois, (population 750), his mother Janet (Colleen Camp, Wayne’s World) cold-calls the editor of ‘American Cinematographer’ magazine and Pat soon finds himself on “the ultimate trip” to Hollywood, becoming the very first outsider to see the film that would change him (and movies) forever… Star Wars. But when Pat returns to his hometown existence, he struggles to choose between chasing a seemingly impossible dream and accepting the comforting familiarity of home. (DVD)

71 FRAGMENTS OF A CHRONOLOGY OF CHANCE (1994) (CRITERION)

The simultaneously random and interconnected nature of modern existence comes into harrowing focus in the despairing final installment of Michael Haneke’s trilogy. Seventy-one intricate, puzzlelike scenes survey the routines of a handful of seemingly unrelated people—including an undocumented Romanian boy living on the streets of Vienna, a couple who are desperate to adopt a child, and a college student on the edge—whose stories collide in a devastating encounter at a bank. The omnipresent drone of television news broadcasts in 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance underscores Haneke’s vision of a numb, dehumanizing world in which emotional estrangement can be punctured only by the shock of sudden violence. (BLU-RAY)

ALIENOID (2022)

For ages, aliens have kept their prisoners locked inside human bodies, but the guard in charge opens a gate through time in an attempt to prevent their escape. The portal links to 630 years in the past, where a master swordsman and others try to seize a legendary sword. Chaos and confusion ensue when travelers from the present cross paths with those from the past, and all are trying to find the mystical divine blade that holds the key to everything. (DVD)

AMSTERDAM (2022)

Written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker David O. Russell comes an original crime epic about three close friends who find themselves at the center of one of the most shocking secret plots in American history. (BLU-RAY and DVD)

ATTACK OF THE 50 FT. WOMAN (1958) (WARNER ARCHIVE)

Nancy Archer has had an alien encounter and it’s left her 50 feet tall! Now she sees the men in her life from a new angle—looking down on them—and it’s time to fight back!

In this enduring classic of 1950s science fiction, a beautiful, wealthy young woman—trapped in a loveless marriage to a philandering husband who only wants her money—exacts a terrible vengeance when exposure to radiation from an alien UFO causes her to grow into a 50-foot-tall monster. A true 1950s cult classic! (BLU-RAY)

BENNY’S VIDEO (1992) (CRITERION)

Michael Haneke turns the unflinching gaze of the camera back on itself in this provocative, profoundly disturbing study of emotional disconnection in the age of mass-media saturation. Benny (a frighteningly affectless Arno Frisch), the teenage son of wealthy, disengaged parents, finds release in the world of violent videos—an obsession that leads him to create his own monstrous work of real-life horror. Layering screens within screens and frames within the filmic frame, Benny’s Video is a coolly postmodern, metacinematic labyrinth in which the boundaries between actual and mediated violence become terrifyingly indistinguishable. (BLU-RAY)

BETTER CALL SAUL: SEASON 6 (2015)

Better Call Saul’s final season concludes the complicated journey and transformation of its compromised hero, Jimmy McGill, into criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. From the cartel to the courthouse, from Albuquerque to Omaha, season six tracks Jimmy, Saul and Gene as well as Jimmy’s complex relationship with Kim, who is in the midst of her own existential crisis. Meanwhile, Mike, Gus, Nacho and Lalo are locked into a game of cat and mouse with mortal stakes. (BLU-RAY and DVD)

BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

The college town of Bedford is receiving an unwelcome guest this Christmas. As the residents of sorority house Pi Kappa Sigma prepare for the festive season, a stranger begins to stalk the house. A series of obscene phone calls start to plague the sorority and it becomes clear that a psychopath has more than merriment on his mind. As the police try to trace the phone calls, they discover that nothing is as it seems during this Black Christmas. (BLU-RAY + 4KULTRAHD)

BUCO, IL (2021)

The extraordinary adventure of the young members of the Piedmont Speleological Group who, having already explored all the caves of Northern Italy, changed course in August 1961 and went South to explore other caves unknown to man. (DVD)

BURIAL (2022)

In the last days of WWII, a band of Allied soldiers trafficking Hitler’s remains out of Germany are ambushed by Nazi Werewolves. (DVD)

CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS (1972) (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)

Five young kinky actors and their artistic director come to a desolate and nearly forgotten burial island, complete with a morbid history of murder, curses and demons. Alan (Alan Ormsby), the brilliant but bizarre Director of the company, has brought them to this foreboding place to dabble in witchcraft; specifically to dig up a fresh corpse and use it in a ritual ceremony which is supposed to raise the dead from their graves. (BLU-RAY + 4KULTRAHD)

CLERKS III (2022)

Following a massive heart attack, Randal enlists his friends and fellow clerks Dante, Elias, Jay, and Silent Bob to make a movie immortalizing his life at the convenience store that started it all. (BLU-RAY and DVD)

CREEPSHOW: SEASON 3 (2019)

A comic book comes to life in a series of vignettes, exploring terrors ranging from murder, creatures, monsters, and delusions to the supernatural and unexplainable. You never know what will be on the next page. (DVD)

LEECH, THE (2022)

From Black Christmas to Rare Exports, there has long been a symbiotic relationship between horror and the season of good cheer. Now, writer/director Eric Pennycoff (Sadistic Intentions) continues this proud tradition with The Leech, a cautionary tale about the perils of opening your door to a stranger. Father David (Graham Skipper, Sequence Break), a Catholic priest struggling to fill the pews in his church, allows a homeless man, Terry (Jeremy Gardner, After Midnight), into his home to escape the December chill. But this simple act of kindness has unforeseen consequences when Terry’s pregnant girlfriend, Lexi (Taylor Gardner, Sadistic Intentions), also decides to crash at the parochial house. Determined to save the warring couple through the healing power of God’s love, David’s ordered existence quickly unravels as he succumbs to the wicked ways of the parasitic pair. Will he pass this apparent test of faith or resort to blood-soaked, Old Testament justice? Agonisingly intense and rib-ticklingly funny in equal measure, The Leech serves as both a festive frightmare and a microcosm of the fault lines of contemporary America. Arrow Video is proud to present this latest inductee into the Christmas horror hall of fame! (BLU-RAY)

MAD GOD (2021)

Follow The Assassin through a forbidding world of tortured souls, decrepit bunkers, and wretched monstrosities forged from the most primordial horrors of the subconscious mind. Directed by Phil Tippett (Star Wars, Jurassic Park), the world’s pre-eminent stop motion animator, every set, creature, and effigy in this macabre masterpiece is hand-crafted and painstakingly animated using traditional stop-motion techniques. (BLU-RAY and DVD)

MAGPIE MURDERS (2022)

A successful author of Agatha Christie-style novels dies under suspicious circumstances, with his last book seemingly unfinished. This leaves two mysteries: What happened to him? And how does his latest potboiler end? (DVD)

MOONCHILD (1994) (VISUAL VENGEANCE COLLECTOR’S EDITION)

In a dystopian future, political prisoner Jacob Stryker is transformed into a werewolf super soldier by government scientists. He escapes captivity and searches for his son, who may be the messiah, and joins an army of karate kicking rebellion fighters poised to overthrow the United Nations of America. Along the way, Jacob is hunted by a group of cyborg and mutant bounty hunters as he tries to forget the bomb implanted in his stomach that’s set to explode in 72 hours. A mind-boggling, sprawling, shot on video horror/ sci-fi/ action/ martial arts epic from SOV fan favorite Todd Sheets (Zombie Bloodbath, Goblin) that is one of the most ambitious and offbeat low budget movies of the VHS era. (BLU-RAY)

NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (1964) (WARNER ARCHIVE)

This Oscar-winning adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play stars Oscar winner Richard Burton (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) as an alcoholic de-frocked minister who works as a tour guide in Mexico and becomes involved with a Nantucket spinster, a hotel owner, and a seductive teenager. (BLU-RAY)

NIGHTMARE AT NOON (1988)

From cult director Nico Mastorakis (Island of Death, Hired to Kill) comes Nightmare at Noon, a hectic mashup of eco-horror and shoot ’em up full of daring stunts and explosive action! Something strange is afoot in a small remote town in Utah, as a series of sinister state experiments in the surrounding desert leads to the contamination of its water supply, transforming the residents into lethal brainless maniacs. Enter vacationing lawyer Ken Griffiths (Wings Hauser, Vice Squad), his sassy wife Cheri (Kimberly Beck) and Reilly (Bo Hopkins), the mysterious hitchhiker they pick up on the road, who find themselves thrust into the midst of this madness when they stop for a drink at the local diner. Featuring an epic score by Stanley Myers and Hans Zimmer (Inception, The Dark Knight series) and set amongst the spectacular backdrop of Arches National Park, Nightmare at Noon is a non-stop adrenaline pumping thrill ride! (BLU-RAY)

OLD MAN (2022)

Deep in the woods, a lost hiker stumbles upon the cabin of an erratic and reclusive old man. What starts off as cordial conversation soon turns dangerous as it becomes clear that one or both of them might be hiding a terrifying secret. (DVD)

PULP FICTION (1994)

Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are hitmen with a penchant for philosophical discussions. In this ultra-hip, multi-strand crime movie, their storyline is interwoven with those of their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) ; his actress wife, Mia (Uma Thurman) ; struggling boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) ; master fixer Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel) and a nervous pair of armed robbers, “Pumpkin” (Tim Roth) and “Honey Bunny” (Amanda Plummer). (BLU-RAY + 4KULTRAHD)

SEVENTH CONTINENT (1989) (CRITERION)

The day-to-day routines of a seemingly ordinary Austrian family begin to take on a sinister complexion in Michael Haneke’s chilling portrait of bourgeois anomie giving way to shocking self-destruction. Inspired by a true story, the director’s first theatrical feature finds him fully in command of his style, observing with clinical detachment the spiritual emptiness of consumer culture—and the horror that lurks beneath its placid surfaces. The Seventh Continent builds to an annihilating encounter with the televisual void that powerfully synthesizes Haneke’s ideas about the link between violence and our culture of manufactured emotion. (BLU-RAY)

SHAWSCOPE VOLUME 2

Picking up where Volume One left off, this sophomore collection of Hong Kong cinema classics draws together many of the best films from the final years of the Shaw Brothers studio, proving that while the end was nigh, these merchants of martial arts mayhem weren’t going to go out without a fight! Armed with stunning special features and ravishing new restorations, this boxset is even bigger and bolder than the last one. We begin with kung fu master Lau Kar-leung’s classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, in which Gordon Liu achieved overnight stardom as the young man who finds enlightenment on the path to vengeance; Lau and Liu followed the original with two inventive sequels, Return to the 36th Chamber and Disciples of the 36th Chamber, both included here. A genius at blending dazzling action with physical comedy, Lau plays the lead role in the hilarious Mad Monkey Kung Fu, coupled here with Lo Mar’s Five Superfighters. Next, we once again meet Chang Cheh’s basher boy band the Venom Mob in four of their best-loved team-ups: Invincible Shaolin, The Kid with the Golden Arm, Magnificent Ruffians and the all-star Ten Tigers of Kwangtung, co-starring Ti Lung and Fu Sheng. After Lau brings us perhaps his best high-kicking comedy with My Young Auntie, a playful star vehicle for his real-life muse Kara Hui, we see Shaw Brothers embracing 80s excess in our strangest double feature yet: Wong Jing’s breathtakingly wild shoot-’em up Mercenaries from Hong Kong, and Kuei Chih-hung’s spectacularly unhinged black magic meltdown The Boxer’s Omen. Last but certainly not least, Lau Kar-leung directs the last major Shaw production, Martial Arts of Shaolin, filmed in mainland China with a hot new talent named Jet Li in the lead role; it is paired in this set with The Bare-footed Kid, a reverent remake of a Chang Cheh classic with Johnnie To in the director’s chair and Lau back on choreography duties, in arguably the ultimate filmed tribute to Shaws’ everlasting cinematic legacy.

Each disc rents separately. (BLU-RAY)

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY: SEASON 4 (2017) 

Season Four of finds Captain Burnham and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery facing a threat unlike any they’ve ever encountered. With Federation and non-Federation worlds alike feeling the impact, they must confront the unknown and work together to ensure a hopeful future for all. (DVD)

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