ARCHIVED NEWS - 1st to 5th September 2003

5th September 2003

Here, hot off the press, are the sleeve images for Momentum's October horror titles (for more details, see the News entries for the 28th of August and the 22nd of August). 

Warner Home Video are unleashing two more horror movie box sets on October the 20th: the Hammer Horror Resurrected set and the Horror Classics set.

The Hammer set contains the following films: Rasputin The Mad Monk, Frankenstein Created Women, The Vengeance of She, Plague of the Zombies, Quatermass and the Pit and To The Devil... A Daughter. All the films except Rasputin The Mad Monk (which is in 2.35:1 ratio) will be presented in 1.66:1 ratio. There's no mention of whether these films will be anamorphic, as they should be. It's very unlikely that these discs will have the bonus features on the Region 1 counterparts. RRP for the set is £59.99. 

The Horror Classics box set is a strange creature, comprising a classic British chiller, Night of the Eagle, the dire Zoltan Hound of Dracula, and the stunning AIP Edgar Allen Poe movie Masque of the Red Death. Night of the Eagle and Zoltan Hound of Dracula will be 1.66:1, Masque of the Red Death will be 2.35:1. RRP for the Horror Classics set is £29.99. 

Both horror box sets will be in digi-pak format (similar to Warner's first two Hammer box sets). You can discuss these titles in this thread at the Forum.

The extended, 113 minute version of Exorcist II: The Heretic will also be released on October 20th. The film is already available as part of the  

Exorcist DVD Trilogy Box Set. The disc has the same features (an alternate opening sequence and theatrical trailer), and will retail for £12.99.

The third season of Babylon 5 is being released by Warner Home Video on October the 27th. The Babylon 5 - The Point of No Return box set will feature all the episodes from the third series (from Matters of Honor to Z'Ha'Dum), and a decent selection of bonus material:

TV promos 
Introduction to Point of No Return 
Commentaries on Severed Dreams & Z'Ha'Dum by J. Michael Straczynski 
Commentary on Interludes and Examinations by Bruce Boxleitner and other cast 
Three featurettes: 

Behind The Mask: Creating The Aliens of Babylon 5 
Designing Tomorrow: The Look of Babylon 5 
Building A Better Narn 

The Universe of Babylon 5: Personnel Files:

Zack Allen; Alfred Bester; Marcus Cole; David Corwin; Zathras

The Universe of Babylon 5: Data Files 

Battle For Babylon 5; Grey 17; Mindwipe; Thunderbolt; White Star

Shadow Dossier 
Gag Reel (Easter Egg) 

As before, the set will have 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, and the episodes will be in anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio. RRP for the set is £54.99.

Here's a look at the sleeve art for the three box sets:


3rd September

Warner Home Video are releasing a special remixed version of Empire Records, the 1995 sleeper hit about a group of young slackers working in a independent record store which is on the verge of being bought out by a soulless major chain. 

The film had a great soundtrack, and a very appealing young cast (including rising stars Liv Tyler, Robin Tunney, Debi Mazar and Renée Zellweger), and has become something of a cult favourite. The new Empire Records - Remix! Special Fan Edition has been extended by sixteen minutes, and also comes with four deleted scenes and three music videos. The disc features a new 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The disc will be exclusively available from HMV from October the 20th, with an RRP of £19.99. 

The BBC have formally announced their October DVD releases. 

The 40th anniversary of Doctor Who is being marked by a series of special DVD releases. October's offering is the 1989 Sylvester McCoy story The Curse of Fenric, which is due on October the 6th (although the release date is mysteriously absent from the press release!)

The two-disc set will contain the four-part version of the story, as it was originally transmitted, as well as a new omnibus version that has been extended to match the director's original intentions, using deleted footage (some of which featured in the story's VHS release). The new version will have enhanced special effects, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. 

Bonus features on disc one include a commentary track by stars Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Nicholas Parsons (who plays a vicar in the story); an isolated music track; cast and crew interviews filmed at the Nebula 90 convention (21m); a behind-the-scenes featurette from the children's series Take Two (5m); a Modelling The Dead featurette, originally shown as part of BSB's Doctor Who weekend in 1990 (5m); more behind-the-scenes footage in Claws and Effect (18m); an Easter Egg (2m); the clean Sylvester McCoy title sequence (2m); a photo gallery (5m) and text commentary track. The second disc includes Shattering the Chains, an interview with writer Ian Briggs (25m); a featurette on Ken Trew's Costume Design (17m); an explanation of the changes made for the new version, Recutting the Runes (15m); and another Easter Egg (6m). (That's almost two hours of bonus materials, not including the commentary track, or the remixed movie version!) You can discuss this release in this thread at the Forum.

Wild Down Under, a six-part examination of the landscapes and wildlife of Australia, is being hailed as a landmark BBC Natural History series. The complete series will be released on DVD on October the 27th, with a bonus episode of Wildlife on One about Wombats, fact files and a photo gallery. RRP is £19.99.

The second Old Grey Whistle Test compilation will be released on October the 13th, containing material that spans 1971 (Head Hands and Feet) to 1986 (The Pogues). Featured artists include Roxy Music, Kevin Ayres, The Who, Bruce Johnson, Joan Armatrading, The Adverts, Aztec Camera, Orchestral Manoevres in the Dark, the Style Council, Suzanne Vega, Prefab Sprout and the Pet Shop Boys. Contemporary interviews include Kevin Ayres, Roger Daltry, Nick Lowe, Rick Wakeman, Bill Nelson, TV Smith, Jools Holland and Roddy Frame. The disc also contains new interviews, with Bob Harris, Roger Daltry, Hamish Stuart, Roddy Frame, Rick Wakeman, Bill Nelson, Kevin Ayres, Nick Lowe, Edwyn Collins, Jools Holland and producer Mike Appleton. The disc will have a commentary track, by presenters Mark Ellen and David Hepworth. A third collection is being prepared for release in Spring 2004. RRP for the new disc is £19.99.

Cult comedy Look Around You, the BAFTA-nominated spoof 70s schools science series, is released on October the 13th. The disc contains all eight ten-minute episodes of the BBC Two series, the twenty-minute pilot episode, Calcium, a commentary track by the writers and key performers, and a three-minute music video of Little Mouse, faeturing Jack Morgan. RRP for the disc is £15.99. You can discuss this release in this thread at the Forum.

The Alan Partridge chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You (Ahaaa!) makes its long-overdue DVD appearance on October the 20th. The disc includes all six episodes of the 1994 series, as well as a bonus episode: the Knowing Me, Knowing Yule 1995 Christmas special. RRP is £19.99.

Here's a look at three sleeves from the BBC's September releases (announced in the News entry for the 9th of August). Note that Around The World in 80 Days is a three-disc set. Wild West is for some reason labeled as "Series One" (as far as I know it was not re-commissioned for a second series).

2nd September

Revelation will release the second season of the ITV thriller series Wire in the Blood on DVD on November the 24th. 

The two-disc set will include the four episodes of the second series. The discs will feature previously unseen footage, and exclusive interviews with author Val McDermid, and stars Robson Green and Hermione Norris. 

The disc will also feature trailers for other Revelation drama titles: Oktober, State of Mind and Crime Traveller (see News entry for the 14th of August for more details). RRP for the set is £19.99. You can discuss this title in this thread in the Forum.


American label Blue Underground has formerly announced details of "the most ambitious and controversial box set in DVD history", their limited edition Mondo Cane Collection box set, which features the startling work of filmmakers Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, whose films Mondo Cane, Women of the World, Mondo Cane 2, Africa Addio and Goodbye Uncle Tom are all included in the eight-disc set. The set features two versions of two of the films: the English version and Director's Cut of Africa Addio, and the English version of Goodbye Uncle Tom and the Director's Cut, Addio Zio Tom. The set also includes a brand new feature-length documentary by Blue Underground's David Gregory, The Godfathers of Mondo, featuring interviews and never-before-seen footage. 

Mondo Cane, Women of the World and Mondo Cane 2 will be presented in 4:3 format. Both versions of Africa Addio, Goodbye Uncle Tom and Addio Zio Tom will be in 2.35:1 ratio, enhanced for 16:9 playback. The Godfathers of Mondo is in anamorphic 1.78:1 format. The films have been restored from the original negatives, and will be in their original mono format. The films will be supplemented by "behind-the-scenes footage, extensive still and poster galleries, essays, trailers and more". 

The films will only be available in the box set (which is limited to 10,000 copies), which has an RRP of $149.95. You can discuss this release in this thread at the Forum.

Here's a look at the individual disc sleeves (from the picture of the box set, it looks like they might be packaged in Thin-pak-type cases, similar to those used for Fox's R1 Son of the Beach and Family Guy sets).

Blue Underground's Christopher Lee Collection is due on September the 30th (see the News entry for the 5th of August). You can find a selection of menu images for the discs in the set by following this link. You can discuss the Christopher Lee Collection in this thread at the Forum.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment are preparing a Best of Buffy The Vampire Slayer DVD, to be released next year, and they'd like your help in selecting the episodes. They're running a survey in association with Freeserve, which you can find here. I couldn't find a "stop messing around and release Season 7 on DVD why don't ya?" option, so I'm not sure I can register my vote.

Contender Entertainment Group's Kult TV Division are releasing three animated series with loyal cult following on DVD. First up is a six-episode collection of episodes from the original 1980's version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, due on September the 29th, with an RRP of £12.99. 

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have burst back on the scene in a new series (currently appearing on GMTV). The first three episodes are released on DVD on October the 20th, with another disc to follow in late December. The DVD has an RRP of £14.99. The discs will be packaged with a two-inch figurine of one of the four turtles (Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, in case the ol' grey cells were struggling).

Finally, Beyblade Volume 6 - Let It Rip is released on DVD on November the 24th. It contains four episodes (including a bonus episode), and comes packaged with a Beyblade Battling Top. The RRP is £14.99. You can discuss these titles in this thread at the Forum.

Finally, more details of MGM's October horror titles (announced in the News entry for the 27th of August) are available, now that I've received copies of the discs. Here are the aspect ratios: The Abominable Doctor Phibes and Doctor Phibes Rises Again are both 1.85:1, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Raven and Tales of Terror are all 2.35:1, and The Hound of the Baskervilles is 1.66:1. All the titles except Hound are anamorphic. Menu screens for the new discs are viewable here. You can discuss these titles in this thread at the Forum.

1st September

The death of Charles Bronson hastens the end of an era. My thanks to Mark Frost for writing this fine tribute.

Charles Bronson, the legendary movie tough guy, has died at the age of 82. The cause of death was announced as pneumonia after suffering organ failure earlier last month.

Bronson was born in 1921 in Pennsylvania, the son of a coal miner. His interest in art and theatre allowed him to escape his hometown to a succession of bit parts in films during the 1950's, starring alongside the likes of Spencer Tracey, Gary Cooper and Vincent Price (in André De Toth's House of Wax).

Impressive reviews mounted up as he finally came to the public's attention in the 1960 classic, The Magnificent Seven. The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen soon followed, but it was only when Bronson followed in the footsteps of Clint Eastwood by headlining European productions did he really make his name. 1968's Once Upon A Time In The West was the finest moment during this period, and widely regarded as his greatest performance. 

His hard work on Euro-titles such as Violent City and Cold Sweat paid off as he returned to America and found worldwide fame with 1974's Death Wish. The story of a middle-class white male pushed to vigilantism by the rape and murder of his wife, struck a chord with mid-seventies audiences and launched Bronson to stardom.

With his tough-guy persona firmly established, Bronson's output from then on consisted of variations on the same theme, contributing to the fading of his star during the 1980's, reaching a low with the dire Death Wish sequels. He stayed in the news in this period due to his wife Jill Ireland's battle with cancer. He made sixteen films with her, before her death in 1990.
During the 1990's, Bronson's output slowed - amidst rumours that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease - with the1999 TV movie Family of Cops III being his last performance. Bronson married for a third time, to his Family of Cops co-star, Kim Weeks.

Forever linked to Death Wish and the tough guy image that came with it, many overlook Bronson's acting skill and range. His sensitive performances in such films as Hard Times, Someone Behind The Door, and 1990's Sean Penn-directed Indian Runner, should surely lead to a re-evaluation of his career.

Charles Bronson is survived by his wife Kim, and six children.

You can pay tribute to Mr Bronson in this thread at the Forum.

September already, eh?  I guess this year we can't whinge about not having a Summer, but still... soon be Christmas, eh?

If you're wondering where all the news went, it's been archived. You can find August's news here.  


August 2003

July 2003

June 2003

May 2003

April 2003


March 2003

February 2003

January 2003

December 2002

October and November 2002




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