Out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week: Four more MST3K classics, plus hauntings at a real live haunted house, life getting even more onerous for some newly minted young superheroes, and a very-long-haired Wolverine.
Putting together an MST3K volume is like brokering an arms accord. You have to provide just the right kinds of concessions to all the stakeholders--Joel fans, Mike fans, Gypsy fans, fans who like skits where they sing goofy songs, shorts fans--and if you don't get the mix just right the latest box set will just sit on the shelves, rebuked by one and all. Because the fact is, many of us are all those fans. We all love MST3K in its enturety, and each DVD set has to be a microcosm of the show to make us tryly happy. Personally, I want Mike and Joel. Too much Mike makes me agitated; too much Joel makes me lethargic; and you love Pearl just up to the point that you don't anymore. Anyway, Shout! Factory has a very interesting mix in volume 24: For Sandy Frank aficionados, the complete Fugitive Alien saga, plus a Russo-Finnish acid trip, a Santo Mexican wrestling flick, and extra shorts--plus features that are actually about things you might want to know.
Formats: DVD (4 discs).
The story: Features Fugitive Alien (310), Fugitive Alien 2: Star Force (318), The Sword and the Dragon (617), and Samson vs. the Vampire Women (624).
Starring: Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson.
Directed by: Kevin Murphy.
Features: MST3K Shorts: Snow Thrills & A Date With Your Family; Introductions by Japanese cinema historian August Ragone; You Asked For It: Sandy Frank Speaks!; MST Hour Wraps; Life After MST3K: Frank Conniff; Lucha Gringo: K. Gordon Murray Meets Santo; And as usual, four exclusive Mini-Posters by artist Steve Vance.
This Asylum thriller attempts to exploit the real-life legend of hauntings at Whaley House in San Diego. You'd think that just going and staring at the house for 90 minutes might be more entertaining, but word is this one is a high-water mark for Asylum.
Formats: Blu-Ray and DVD.
The story: A tour guide at a notorious haunted house gets more than she bargained for during an unauthorized ghost-hunting session with friends.
Starring: Lynn Lowry, Leigh Davis, Arielle Brachfeld, Stephanie Greco, Carolina Groppa, Alex Arleo, Graham Denman, Howard McNair, Jason Owley.
Directed by: Jose Prendes.
Features: Director's Commentary; Making Of Featurette; True Ghost Stories; Lynn Lowry, Cult Icon Featurette; Director's Video Diary; Trailer.
This great UK series is one of the better explorations of superpowers as avatar for self identity.
Formats: DVD (2 discs).
The story: Kelly, Nathan, Curtis, Alisha and Simon are five unruly teenagers forced to do community service as payback for their crimes. But when a freak electrical storm hits their town, strange things begin to happen to them that are way out of their control. In fact, they have no idea that they've actually turned into superheroes, each with a power they didn't choose or want--a power which reveals each of their deepest, darkest insecurities. But while they just want to finish their community service and get through the challenges of everyday teenage life--relationships, friendships, parents and sex--fate has another task in store for them: they must save their town from the evil that has descended upon it. If you think life's tough for your average superhero, it's even tougher when you've got a curfew.
Starring: Matthew McNulty, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Iwan Rheon, Joseph Gilgun.
Created by: Howard Overman.
Features: Making of Misfits; Cast and Crew Interviews; Simon's Films; exclusive Misfits t-shirt with every DVD.
The anime reenvisioning of Marvel characters continues with this series based around Logan, aka Wolverine.
Formats: DVD (2 discs).
The story: This series pays homage to Frank Miller’s legendary Wolverine graphic novel from the 1980’s. The series begins when Mariko, the love of Logan’s life, is forced back to Japan by her crime-lord father, Shingen. Logan vows to get her back at any cost. He is plunged into a chaotic world of corruption and violence, forcing him to team up with young assassin, Yukio, to battle their way through the Japanese criminal underworld.
Starring: Milo Ventimiglia, Troy Baker, J.B. Blanc, Steven Blum, Crispin Freeman, Kyle Hebert.
Directed by: Jamie Simone.
Features: The Marvel Anime Universe: Wolverine Reborn; The Ferocious Anti-Hero Wolverine Defined; Wolverine Meets X-Men.