31st January 2003

Not the DVD sleeve - but what's the betting that they'll re-use this image yet again!?It seems like Fox Central around here sometimes, but - hey, don't knock it! - at least their PR company is doing a decent job!

Fox will be releasing a standalone Buffy The Vampire Slayer disc featuring the musical episode Once More With Feeling on 14th of April, almost exactly a month before they release it as part of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Season Six box set, (where was this disc a year ago, when we really wanted it??!) There are no details available at present, but I sincerely hope that they're not considering putting anything on it that won't be replicated on the box set version...

Is there anyone still buying stuff like The X-Files on VHS, even though they must know that a DVD version is on the horizon? Perhaps Fox should bite the bullet and release the new series simultaneously on DVD and VHS? Anyhoo, The X-Files Season 9 is released on VHS on April 28th


Here's the rest of Fox's current schedule:

Ally McBeal - Season 5 - 10th February

Dark Angel - Season 1 - 24th February

Angel - Season 3 - 3rd March

The X-Files - Season 6 - 17th March

The Simpsons - Ricky Business [sic] - 7th April

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Once More With Feeling - 14th April

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Season 6 - 12th May

Family Guy - Season 3 - 12th May

Dark Angel - Season 2 - 19th May

Futurama - Season 3 - 2nd June


30th January 2003

Warner Home Video has postponed the release of Badlands and Big Wednesday to 26th May. Both discs will feature the original theatrical trailer and all-new documentaries (The Absence of Malick, on Badlands, Capturing the Swell on Big Wednesday). Big Wednesday will also have a commentary track, by director John Milius.

To coincide with the release of the Robin Williams and Al Pacino remake, Freemantle Media and Arrow Films are issuing the original 1997 Norwegian version of Insomnia, directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg. The film will have an anamorphic transfer (actual ratio TBC), and an RRP of £15.99. Bonus features will include a photo' gallery and trailer. 

I'm looking forward to seeing Nick Broomfield's acclaimed documentary Kurt and Courtney again, and Optimum Releasing's DVD release on March 31st will present an ideal opportunity, particularly since the disc will feature some interesting-sounding bonus features, according to the press release: "Ten extra scenes introducing ever more eccentric characters from the Seattle and LA underworld, an interview with Broomfield reflecting on the response to the film¹s release and gripping footage from the Sundance Film Festival where Robert Redford announces the cancellation of the world premiere following legal threats from Courtney Love." The disc, will also feature a Broomfield commentary track and a stills gallery.  The disc has an RRP of £19.99.

Finally, here's a look at the two Clearvision box sets, for Taggart and Fox (full details listed below, on January 21st). The Fox box set is the VHS version, but I don't suppose the DVD version will be much different!

29th January 2003

MGM's March releases include a slew of classic Hollywood epics, including old favourite The Vikings (perhaps the only film in the batch that has worn well). The others are A Passage To India (1.85:1 anamorphic, Dolby Surround), The Greatest Story Ever Told (ratio TBC, 5.1 audio), Alexander the Great (no details listed) and Khartoum (ratio TBC, stereo audio). Each will be released on March 31st, with an RRP of £15.99.

Rather worryingly The Vikings sleeve lists its ratio as 1.66:1 (the sleeve also says "Full Frame Version 4:3, which would be even worse!) The film's original theatrical ratio (as seen on the US disc) is 2.35:1. Rather worryingly, there's also a note about the mono audio on the sleeve, to saying that "Every effort has been made to restore the original audio track to the highest fidelity possible with modern mastering techniques", which seems like code for "brace yourself!" The UK disc also seems to be missing the featurette that's on the Region 1 disc, so this is starting to look like a disc worth crossing the road to avoid. None of the other discs have any bonus features listed, except for theatrical trailers.

March 31st is also the release date for the highly anticipated Fargo Special Edition, which will be presented with 5.1 audio, along with an audio commentary (by Director of Photography Roger Deakins), Minnesota Nice, a documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew, an interactive guide to "The Coen Brothers Fanmily Tree", an article reproduced from American Cinematographer magazine, photo gallery, trivia tracks ("all you need to know about the key points of the movie") and trailers. RRP is £19.99.

Four times Oscar winner Network (Sidney Lumet's prescient drama about the fall from grace of a television news anchorman) is being released on March 17th with an RRP of £12.99, but no further details are available.

31st March marks the return of Stargate SG-1, after a protracted break which gave the producers a chance to get a few episodes in the can before MGM UK wanted to release them on DVD! 

Stargate SG-1 Volume 26 will feature the first four episodes of the sixth season: Redemption parts 1 and 2, Descent and Frozen.

The new discs will feature more of MGM's terrific Director Series featurettes. Upcoming installments will focus on script development, prop and set creation. The discs will also feature commentaries, stills galleries and trailers. The Stargate SG-1 production team, via MGM's DVD series, continues to do a terrific job of giving its fans access behind the scenes.

MGM are also releasing Stargate SG-1 Season 4 as a box set on 31st March with an RRp of £59.99. This is a simple repackaging exercise, at a more attractive price point. The six discs (each containing four episodes) will be the same as the existing individual discs). 

28th January 2003

Fox has indefinitely postponed the release of The Blue Max, which was due for release on March 3rd. The other catalogue titles due on the 3rd  (see 22nd January update, below) will still be released on that date.

27th January 2003

Quentin Tarantino fans must be in hog heaven following the release of two of his films as feature-packed Special Edition discs, (Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction from Buena Vista), so the release of another Tarantino-penned Special Edition DVD should send them into orbit!

Warner Home Video is releasing Tony Scott's sparky 1993 movie True Romance on February 24th. Extras will include no less than three commentary tracks and eleven deleted scenes. 

Click here to read the Zeta Minor review. 

26th January 2003

Is your TV set full of lizards?  Fear not!  Soon, you're going to be very, very happy indeed!

24th January 2003

Russell T. Davies' controversial drama series The Second Coming, (about a man, played by Christopher Eccleston, who disappears for five weeks, only to reappear claiming he's the Son of God) is being released on DVD by Carlton on February 17th (a day after the three part series finishes airing). The disc will also contain a commentary track by Davies (creator of Queer as Folk and Bob & Rose) and director Adrian Shergold, and more than half an hour of deleted scenes. RRP is £12.99. 

There have been a few changes to Anchor Bay UK's release schedule. Wim Wenders' The American Friend (which was due in February) has been postponed indefinitely. Michael Armstrong's Mark of the Devil and Herzog's Stroszek (which were due in March) have also been postponed. Luigi Cozzi's Contamination will be released on March 24th. Steel Dawn and Vampyres (aka Daughters of Darkness) have been delayed until April 21st.

Perhaps the most intriguing of Anchor Bay UK's forthcoming releases is a new version of David Wickes' 1988 TV mini series Jack The Ripper, which starred Michael Caine (as Chief Inspector Abberline), Armand Assante, Jane Seymour and Lewis Collins.

The new disc will present the series  in anamorphic widescreen format, with a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 audio. The disc will have a commentary track from Wickes (who also wrote the series) and researcher Sue Davies, moderated by Jonathan Southcott. The disc will also feature twenty minutes of previously unseen footage featuring Van Der Valk star Barry Foster in the Abberline role. 

Foster starred in the series when it was intended as a three-part Thames Television series, shot on video. An innovative deal with an American broadcaster (CBS) meant that work on the series was halted, and plans were upgraded to produce a four-part series shot on film. This deal required someone with a higher international profile, so Foster was ditched, and Michael Caine was brought in. The disc is currently scheduled for release on February 24th, with an RRP of £16.99. 

23rd January 2003

Thanks to James Reader for spotting that the BBFC certificated a commentary track (by Tim Minear and Mere Smith) for the Angel episode Lullaby. This is on the forthcoming Region 2 Season 3 DVD Box Set, but, like the other bonus features on disc three, it wasn't listed on Fox's press release.

22nd January 2003

Fox are releasing four "classic" films on the 3rd of March (each with an RRP of £15.99). These are The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Blue Max, Buffy The Vampire Slayer (previously available exclusively from WH Smith), the taut Kurt Russell thriller Breakdown and Sidney Lumet's gritty 1991 cop drama Q&A.

The Day The Earth Stood Still - Special Edition is presented in 4:3 format. The other titles will have 16:9-enhanced transfers (Breakdown and The Blue Max are 2.35:1, Buffy... and Q&A are 1.85:1). Breakdown will have a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, the others are 2.0. 

Each film will come with the theatrical trailer and English subtitles. Buffy The Vampire Slayer also features two TV spots and a featurette. The Day The Earth Stood Still - Special Edition has a commentary track, Movietone News clip and Restoration Comparison. 


Click here to read our Day The Earth Stood Still - Special Edition review!  

The UK release date for The Road To Perdition has been moved back a week, to March 17th.

21st January 2003 - Update

OK - here's what's going on with Dark Angel.  The pictures released by Fox UK yesterday are in fact of the Region 1 box sets. The image I added on January 9th is the correct packaging for the UK - three cases, six discs, the complete first season.

But there has been a change to the release date for Season Two - it's now been pushed back to the 19th of May.

I'm sure I'm not the last person to know, so in case that happens to be you, here's some news about Taggart and the popular 1980 Euston Films drama Fox being released on DVD (and the "other format").

All thirteen hour-long episodes of the BAFTA-nominated series Fox, about the lives of 'King Billy' Fox (Peter Vaughan) and his Clapham-based family (including The Two Towers star Bernard Hill and Ray Scum Winstone), will be released by ClearVision on March 10th, in a four-disc box set retailing for just under £40. The discs will not feature any significant extras. The series was written by Trevor Preston and Executive Produced by Verity Lambert.

This year it will be twenty years since acid-faced Glaswegian copper Taggart hit British screens, and ClearVision will be releasing four feature-length stories, following on from the twenty-nine episodes they've already released on VHS. The box set includes Babushka (a 1997 story about Russian mail-order brides), Berserker (an amphetamine-type drug is killing body-builders, from January 1998), Out of Bounds (a skeleton is discovered in a boys' boarding school, written by series creator Glenn Chandler, and directed by one of the most talented directors working on the series, Sarah Hellings) and Dead Reckoning (from July 1998, Taggart investigates a series of murders among women working for an escort agency). 

Both four-disc sets will be released on March 10th, and have an R.R.P. of £39.99.

Finally, I've updated The Wicker Man DVD review to add details of the recent Silva Screen CD,

21st January 2003

Hands up who knows what's going on at Fox with Dark Angel?  Not me, and I've read their press release! No sooner do I think I've got it nailed, then they throw a spanner or two in the works...

On January the 9th I posted a picture (below) showing a box set that contained what looked like three two-disc cases, containing the whole of the first season (the spines clearly say "Discs 1 & 2 - Episodes 1-7" etc. Now I get some new images, and it looks like the first season will be released in two three-disc box sets, with each case containing only three episodes. WTF?

Here's a look at the Dark Angel Season One Collection - Part Two box set, and an image of the Part One and Part Two boxes side by side. I now have no idea if the "Season Two Released 21/04/03" on the press release actually refers to Part Two, or if all of Season One will be released on February 24th, and Season Two really will be released on April 21st!

But, wait! There's more bad news! A mere couple of days after Fox announced the UK release of Dark Angel, Fox's US division announced the Region 1 release. Although their domestic releases will have the distinct disadvantage of being presented in 4:3 format, this is compensated for by a slew of bonus features that won't be available to fans of the series who buy the UK sets. The US Season One set will contain four commentary tracks (including one by stars Jessica Alba and Michael Weatherly on ...And Jesus Bought A Casserole), three featurettes, audition tape clips, and a blooper reel. To add insult to injury, the US set is a fraction of the price of the UK set... 

20th January 2003

A new review today, and this time it's a genuine golden oldie (the movie, not the review). Click here to read the Zeta Minor review of Eureka's new two-disc Region 2 version of Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece Metropolis, which is due out next Monday (although copies are filtering through to some suppliers already - it was originally going to be released today!)

18th January 2003

Fox has announced a 3rd March release date for the Angel - Season Three (a week earlier than currently listed by some online retailers). In addition to the twenty-two episodes, the six-disc set will contain an array of bonus bonus materials. Having had a skim through some of them, this seems to be the best Buffy-related box set yet! The set contains commentary tracks on Billy (by Tim Minear and Jeffrey Bell) and Waiting in the Wings (by Joss Whedon). There are a couple of deleted scenes, with optional commentary, from Birthday (an extended version of the Cordy! sitcom, which admirers of Charisma Carpenter are going to love!) and Waiting in the Wings (a hilarious fantasy sequence where Wesley dreams that he and Fred replace the ballerinas on stage!) There are three featurettes: Darla: Deliver Us From Evil (12m), the Season 3 Overview (32m) and Page To Screen (14m). Two screen test tapes are offered (for actors Amy Acker and Vincent Kartheiser), and there's a bunch of outtakes (5m). There are also trailers for the previous sets, and a photo' gallery. The episodes themselves are in 16:9 anamorphic format, with 2.0 stereo audio (at 192kbps). Click on the logo' to see a couple of menu screens, and shots from the deleted scenes (the picture quality of the deleted scenes is a bit murky, and they aren't representative of the episode transfers!)

Two Stephen King mini-series are being released by Warner Home Video on February 10th. 

The Emmy nominated haunted house epic Rose Red makes its DVD debut before it airs on British television. The two disc set will include two featurettes, Unlocking Rose Red: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer (23m) and Bad House: The Making of Rose Red (28m, half the length of documentary of the same title on the US disc!) The press release also mentions something called Inside Rose Red (this may just be a generic heading for the supplements), but there's been nothing with that title submitted to the BBFC).

The episodes will be presented in 4:3 format, with 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. The commentary track and storyboard comparisons that are on the much cheaper Region 1 disc, from Trimark seem to have been dropped for the UK version.

Stephen King's The Shining, which won three Emmy awards in 1997, when it was originally transmitted, is also presented on two discs, in 4:3 format, with 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. The series will be supported by a commentary track by King, director Mick Garris, and stars Steven Weber and Cynthia Garris. The disc will also contain eleven deleted scenes (totalling about 15 minutes). 

Both sets will be issued in digi-pack packaging, and have an RRP of £19.99.

Finally, Warner Home Video's eagerly awaited special editions of Badlands and Big Wednesday have been pushed back from the 31st of March, to the end of May.

17th January 2003

Some exciting news for fans of British TV SF!

Clearvision (the company behind archive TV releases like Minder and Van Der Valk) are releasing Euston Films' remarkable 1979 series Quatermass (aka Quatermass IV) on DVD in April. The series starred John Mills in the title role, supported by Simon McCorkindale, Barbara Kellerman and Ralph Arliss (whatever happened to him!?). 

The three disc box set will contain all four episodes of the original series (each approximately 50m each), as well as the drastically edited theatrical version, re-titled The Quatermass Conclusion, (which was previously released on VHS by Thames Video in 1986, and running just 101m).

The UK version of Sam Mendes' Road To Perdition is being released by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Dreamworks on March 10th with a full complement of bonus materials, including a commentary track (by the director), eleven deleted scenes, an HBO Special (The Making of Road to Perdition), the "CD soundtrack - International Version", photo gallery and the usual text-based resources. Fox's disc will be letterboxed only, in 2.35:1 ratio, with anamorphic enhancement. 

The disc will also offer a choice of Dolby Digital and dts 5.1 soundtracks. It looks like the UK division has ditched the rather hideous "giant head" sleeve design of the US release, and are going with this image, which is altogether classier (although not as classy as the stunningly elegant theatrical art!)


16th January 2003

A couple of news snippets: 

Taken, Steven Spielberg's miniseries about UFO abductions (currently being shown by BBC2 and BBC Choice) will get a UK DVD release from Universal Playback (who released the recent Twin Peaks box set). It's currently scheduled for April, but no other details are available.

Thunderbirds fans, and the many admirers of Barry Gray's music, will doubtless be thrilled to hear that Silva Screen are releasing a CD of music from the series, on March the 3rd. 

There was no RRP information on the press release, but Amazon (for example) have it listed for a very reasonable £7.99!

The disc contains score cues from nine episodes: Sun Probe, The Perils of Penelope, The Cham Cham, Vault of Death, The Man From MI5, Desperate Intruder, Pit of Peril, The Imposters and Trapped in the Sky.  As a bonus, there's the original music from four 1965 Lyon's Maid Thunderbirds TV commercial!

Here's the track list for the album (with my own annotations in square brackets): 

1.   Main Titles (1.36)

2.   Sun Probe (2.05)

3.   Tracy Island and International Rescue  (1.10)

4.   Monorail to Disaster from The Perils of Penelope (2.10)

5.   Thunderbirds are go! (4.28)  [from Trapped in the Sky]

6.   Dangerous Game – Latin Rhythm instrumental from The Cham Cham  (2:08) [Stereo]

7.   Suite from Vault of Death (8.47)

8.   The Man from MI.5  (4.28)

9.   Suite from Desperate Intruder  (7.27)

10. Commercial Break  (2.46)  [ad bumper music and music from four commercials]

11. Dangerous Game from The Cham Cham (1.51)

12. Let’s Play Ad Lib from The Cham Cham (2.20)

13. Lady Penelope on the move (1.37) [Stereo - deleted track from Thunderbirds are Go!]

Suite from Pit of Peril

     14. The Fate of the Sidewinder (2.01)

     15. Pit of Peril (2.49)                                          

     16. Rescue! (2.04)

17. Jeremiah and Lady Penelope from The Impostors  (2.06)  [Stereo]

From Trapped In The Sky

     18. Deadly Plot – The Hood and the Fireflash (4.09)

     19. Fireflash Landing (1.15)

     20. FAB1 Pursuit (1.00)

     21. The Tracy Lounge Piano (2.00)


22. End Titles 1.09  [long version used on Trapped in the Sky]



15th January 2003

Carlton have announced more details about the Carry On... series of discs. Other commentary contributors will include regulars Peter Rogers, Jack Douglas, Patsy Rowlands, June Whitfield, Dave Freeman, Jacki Piper, Alan Hume, Peter Gilmore, Richard O’Callaghan and Carry On England's Patrick Mower.

All the episodes of the Carry On Laughing TV series will be included as extras. The others will be on Camping, Dick, Behind, Up The Khyber, Loving, Up The Jungle, At Your Convenience, Matron and England.

Carry On Follow That Camel will feature a contemporary interview with American guest star Phil Silvers. Two discs will feature behind-the-scenes footage: Carry On Henry (10 mins) and Carry On Girls (24 mins). A 40th Anniversary tribute TV documentary, filmed in 1998, will be added to Carry On Emmanuelle.

Menu shots from the two forthcoming BFI Archive Television releases, Culloden and The War Game can be seen here.

13th January 2003

Another day, another Carry On... disc has turned up! This time it's Carry On Abroad, and there's some actual news to report: the film has a commentary track by John Clive, Sally Geeson, Carol Hawkins and David Kernan. Now, no doubt many of you, perhaps even some of the Carry On... fans will be saying "who?" at this point. Well, seeing as almost all of the A-list stars of the film are no longer with us, I think the choice is a wise one. A quick listen to the track confirms that the contributors, who were pretty well-known faces to 70s sitcom viewers, have plenty of interesting stories. 

The disc also contains another episode of Carry On Laughing, (Short Knight, Long Daze), the trailer, photo gallery and trivia. The transfer is anamorphic.

10th January 2003 - Afternoon Update

I'm a big fan of Terry Gilliam's deliriously off-kilter movies, and so am looking forward enormously to seeing the documentary about the disintegration of his most recent project, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Lost in La Mancha was created by the same team that made The Hamster Factor, the superb behind- the-scenes documentary on the 12 Monkeys disc. The documentary is being released to buy (on DVD and "the other format") on  February 24th, (just over three weeks after it opens theatrically in the US, incidentally!) 

RRP for the DVD is £19.99.

The disc comes stuffed with bonus material:

  • New interviews with Terry Gilliam and star Johnny Depp

  •  Ten deleted scenes and two alternative openings

  • Six video portraits

  • The Man Who Killed Don Quixote costume designs

  • Terry Gilliam's full storyboards, including the puppet, giants and windmill scenes

  • Additional auditions and rehearsal material

  • Extra crew interviews

  • Theatrical trailer

Another Carry On... disc has appeared, and so the spec's for Don't Lose Your Head can be revealed: once again Jim Dale provides a commentary track, the Carry On Laughing episode is The Prisoner of Spenda, and there's a stills gallery and theatrical trailer. The disc is anamorphic.


10th January 2003

Okay - more details on the Dark Angel Season One Collection, which is being released on February 24th. The six-disc set contains all the episodes from the first season (including the 90m Pilot episode, written by James Cameron and directed by The X-Files maestro David Nutter), and appears to mirror the Australian version. The only bonus material is four interview segments (producers James Cameron and Charles Eglee, and stars Jessica Alba, Michael Weatherly and John Savage). The discs will be 16:9 anamorphic (an improvement on the Japanese discs), and have 2.0 surround sound. RRP is £60, but online retailers like are already listing it for about £45 (marginally cheaper than the Region 4 release!) The second season will be released on April 21st.  

9th January 2003

Here's a look at the UK Dark Angel box set!  More details will follow in the next day or three...

3rd January 2003

Acknowledging that it's one of the most popular reviews on the site, I've updated my review of "the Citizen Kane of horror movies" The Wicker Man, expanding it to include a little about the film's back-story, and adding a couple of frame-grabs. I've also updated it to mention the recent DVD and CD box set. If you don't already own this movie, what are you waiting for? have it for an astonishing £7.99!  Go, buy it!

2nd January 2003

American label VCI (not related to the company with the same initials in the UK) has announced its new releases for February, which include one of the best non-Hammer British horror movies, an 80s slasher flick, and a classic Fu Manchu serial.

1959's The Horrors of the Black Museum, starring Michael Gough and Shirley Anne Field, is a gruesome Grand Guignol thriller from schlockmeisters Samuel Z. Arkoff and Herman Cohen. For many viewers VCI's new disc will offer  the first opportunity to see the film in its original 'scope ratio (2.35:1), and VCI's disc will have anamorphic enhancement. VCI's version, running approximately 95 minutes, should also be considerably longer than the 78 minute version released by Lumiere in the UK in 1993 (which replicated the BBFC edited theatrical release). The new disc will feature the film's original Hypno-Vista opening, a photo gallery, theatrical trailer and "commentaries" by Cohen, composer Gerald Schurmann and film historian David Del Valle.

More than twenty years separate Horrors of the Black Museum from Bloody Birthday, the loopy 1981 tale of three ten year old killers born during a total eclipse, but they're more alike than unlike at heart: pure exploitation! The film, which features Susan Strasberg and José Ferrer, will arrive on disc with an anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer, and will be supported with an interview by former Amicus head honcho Max J. Rosenberg and bonus trailers.

Drums of Fu Manchu, one of the best of the Republic serials of the 30s and 40s, stars German born actor Henry Brandon in the title role (Brandon was the first actor to tackle the role after Boris Karloff's starred in the classic 1932 film The Mask of Fu Manchu). VCI is releasing the fifteen-part serial using a new digital film transfer, on two DVD 9 discs. Bonus materials include video commentary and photo gallery.

The three discs are due for release on February 25th. RRP is $20 each for the two films, and $30 for Drums of Fu Manchu.

1st January 2003

Happy New Year!!

Today I've added a whole new section to the website, which I've somewhat grandly christened "Alternative Reality". There you'll find a gallery of rejected VHS sleeve designs that I've squirreled away over the years. There should be something there to interest fans of many different cult TV series, including Doctor Who and Twin Peaks. As far as I can tell, many of the sleeves are being displayed in public for the first time. 

I'm hoping to add a few others as and when I find them (I've got a couple of cracking Doomwatch ones somewhere!)  There's a link to the new section in the navigation bar above.  


December 2002

October and November 2002





* I'm kidding!












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