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BEST DVDs OF 2007
Chris Hartley (Head Honcho)
Released in both single and double disc editions, New Line's 2-disc release gives the love to fans of del Toro's beautiful film. It's great to see a foreign movie getting this type of attention in the extras department on DVD and almost everything that's included here doesn't feel like tacked-on EPK (Electronic Press Kit) material. If you're as huge a fan of this movie as I am, you need to pick it up.
The Monster Squad
What's more amazing than this cult favourite comedy/horror coming to DVD is the fact that it's been released in a 2-disc package by Lionsgate. Sure, the movie itself is a pretty slender and goofy time ("Wolfman's got nards!") but fans of the movie won't be disappointed by the breezy commentary track, great feature-length documentary "Monster Squad Forever", and other smaller additions that should bring a smile to your face.
While not having as much extras as the other discs on this list (and sporting a commentary where director Tony Maylam almost sounds embarassed for having made this), The Burning simply earns its place here by being finally released on DVD in the first place. And the fact MGM have brought it to us for the first time in its uncut form and with a good looking transfer solidifies its inclusion here.
Rob Zombie hasn't yet delivered a movie I can truly say "wow" about yet and this is probably the least of his efforts but you certainly can't deny that he loads his DVD's up with goodies. Zombie's love of the genre is evident on his commentary track and the second disc offers up tons of deleted scenes, the (better) alternate ending, and a handful of featurettes that work decently.
John Borowski's amalgamation of documentary and recreations are certainly interesting to watch (he also did H.H. Holmes: America's First Serial Killer - which I named as one of 2004's best) he also makes the supplimentary material on the DVD worth watching also. Albert Fish's disc brings us a mix of interviews with an interesting group of people (such as convicted cannibal turned artist Nico Claux), a look at the history of the electric chair, and a batch of other material that you'd never see on a mainstream DVD. Plus he sent out an autographed copy of the famous X-Ray of Fish's torso (that shows pins shoved into his stomach) to early purchasers of the disc.
Josh Pasnak (Staff Writer)
The Bava Boxes
Mario Bava is quite possibly the most unappreciated director in European horror films. Sure, the hardcore genre fans know and love the guy but I'll bet my bottom dollar that most casual horror fans have never heard of Bava nor do they understand the impact that his guy had on the genre and film history. Although many of Bava's films have been issued on DVD in one way or another, it is not until now that the definitive versions have been released. Anchor Bay has done a fantastic job restoring classics like Black Sunday, Kill Baby Kill, Black Sabbath, Bay of Blood, Lisa and the Devil and seven and a half others (House of Exorcism only counts as a half). If you are a fan of Eurohorror, you will love both boxes and let's hope for a third box with Blood and Black Lace, Planet of the Vampires, and more. A perfect companion to Tim Lucas' exhaustive Bava book that also came out this year. Lucas proves to be the ultimate authority on the man with a number of informative commentaries that are among the many extras included in the sets.
Stuart Gordon's follow-up to Re-Animator is given the deluxe treatment with this eagerly awaited special edition. This classic Lovecraft take has been cleaned up and we are treated to a stunning transfer of the unrated director's cut that looks like a new movie. It is fantastic to see Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, and Ken Foree look so clear and in widescreen glory with the slimy practical effects filling the screen. A nice group of extras round out the presentation that should have 80's horror fans jumping for joy.
It is only fitting that the best movie of the year also gets one of the best DVD treatments of the year. This two-disc package contains a variety of featurettes, a great commentary, and Guillermo del Toro's notebook of inspiration. Also included is an interview by Charlie Rose with del Toro along with his two Mexican "amigos" Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel). This is a spectacular package that enhances an amazing film.
Nosferatu (Ultimate DVD Edition)
This German classic has been released a bazillion times on crappy bargain DVD releases as it is obviously a public domain title. Noted DVD specialists Kino have taken in upon themselves to release the definitive North American release of the movie with an excellent transfer, two versions, a documentary, and more. Max Schreck has never looked creepier and every shadow looks like it houses something sinister. If you have never experienced F.W. Murneau's classic look at vampires when they were still scary monsters should take a look at this release. The scene on the boat is sure to give you nightmares. I only wish that they had been able to get the commentary and booklet that came with the European special edition that also came out this year from a company called Masters of Cinema.
Fans of last year's Korean monster epic will be extremely pleased with this surprisingly comprehensive DVD release of the film. Not only is there a commentary and the usual deleted scenes but there is also a second disc full of featurettes and interviews that delve into everything from the actors training to the visual effects. There is all kinds of stuff to go through and it is rarely boring. Die-hard fans of the movie may also want to know that there is a Region 3 edition of the film that is a four-disc set with one of the discs being the soundtrack. For me, the two-disc edition is fantastic and gave me a lot of insight into the best movie to come from the East in the last few years.