ARCHIVED NEWS - 26th - 31st JULY 2004

29th July 2004

We have another new review for you today. Lee has been to a screening of Guillermo del Toro's comic strip adaptation Hellboy, which is released here on September 2nd.

The film wasn't as successful as its makers were hoping it would be, although it seems to be gathering a modest cult following.

Hellboy is the biggest film in some time to be available on DVD in the US before it opens here theatrically, and, subsequently, is one of the hottest DVD imports at the moment, which is sure to have a detrimental impact on the box-office takings here (let alone the DVD sales). The US disc, from New Line, is quite spectacular. The two-disc set has a very healthy array of bonus materials, but that's not going to stop self-confessed DVD nut del Toro from releasing an even more extensive set later this year (presumably that disc will be out before the regular edition is released on DVD here).

Click on the poster image, left, or here to read Lee's review.

The West Wing - Season 4, originally due on September the 13th, will now be released on September the 27th.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has announced the details of their six-disc Murder One - Case One DVD box set, which will be released on September the 6th. RRP is £39.99.

The set will contain all twenty-three episodes of the gripping 1996 courtroom drama, together with a twenty-five minute documentary, Making The Case: Season One. Actor Jason Gedrick (who played the accused, actor Neil Avedon) and director Randy Zisk have provided audio commentary tracks for episodes eight and fifteen, respectively.

The episodes will be presented in their original 4:3 format, with 2.0 Dolby Digital surround audio.

Incidentally, series creator Steven Bochco's first novel, Death By Hollywood, is being published by Bloomsbury Publishing on September the 6th.

Momentum Pictures is releasing two classic horror movies on October the 18th: John Carpenter's The Fog and Joe Dante's The Howling.

Momentum's The Fog Special Edition appears to mimic MGM's Region 1 release. It will feature a commentary by Carpenter and producer Debra Hill; a 2002 documentary, Tales from the Mist: Inside The Fog; a 1980 featurette, Fear on Film: Inside The Fog; storyboard to film comparison; outtakes; photo gallery, and trailer. RRP is £19.99.

Momentum's The Howling Special Edition DVD is missing many of the features of the MGM Region 1 disc (most notably a commentary track), but does appear to include a documentary that's different from the ones on the Region 1 disc (titled Making a Monster Movie: Inside The Howling and Unleashing the Beast: Making The Howling). The Momentum documentary runs for fifty minutes, and is titled Welcome to Werewolfland. The UK disc will also feature outtakes (12m), trailers, deleted scenes (10m) and a photo gallery. These seem to tally with the other features on the US disc, although they may, of course, be substantially different. 

Oddly, more than three hours of bonus material was submitted to the BBFC in October last year, including the Fake Porn Movie clips used in the film, which the BBFC refused to certificate because they breached the Board's rules about material which "eroticizes sexual assault". The BBFC doesn't provide a breakdown for the rest of the material, other than to break it into chunks ranging in size from seventeen to forty minutes, but it seems clear that the Momentum aren't using everything they had access to.

As usual, MGM has a flood of titles for September, most of which will receive their customary lack of care and attention.

Leading the pack is their recent theatrical release 21 Grams, which we featured in the News for July the 12th. They also have Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, which will be released on September the 6th, with an RRP of £19.99. The disc will have a number of bonus features, including a video commentary, a featurette, deleted scenes, an interactive quiz, photo gallery and trailer.

Rather more interesting is a Special Edition version of Species, which will be released on September the 13th, with an RRP of £19.99. The disc will feature a Making of... featurette (divided into three sections: The Origin, The Concept and The Discovery); Species Design interview with H.R.Giger; a Designing a Hybrid featurette; Species 3 Set Invasion teaser for Species 3; and an Alternative Ending ("set to score from the film", which suggests a storyboard-type presentation). The disc will feature two commentary tracks: one with director Roger Donaldson and stars Natasha Henstridge and Michael Madsen; and a second with Donaldson, producer Frank Mancuso, Jr, special effects executive producer Richard Edlund and Sil creature creator Steve Johnson. The disc will have a choice of DTS or Dolby Digital audio tracks.

MGM's collection of Peter Sellers films is led by a Special Edition version of The Party, which will feature a documentary that includes interviews with the producer and crew members, Inside The Party; a featurette on the video-assist utility titled The Party Revolution: A New Technology; vintage interviews with Sellers; Barclays Bank commercials, photo' gallery and theatrical trailer. The Region 1 version only has a trailer, and the bonus features are being touted as a Region 2 Exclusive. The sleeve art the PR company sent me (below) is different from the US one being used by some of the retailers, including RRP is £19.99.

Other Peter Sellers titles due on September the 27th are After The Fox, The World of Henry Orient and What's New, Pussycat? These bare-bones titles will be £15.99 each.

Will Michael Radford's adaptation of 1984 be released on September the 20th? It's been announced before, but didn't appear, so who knows. The disc might be released on September the 20th, with an RRP of £15.99. There's no mention on the press release about whether the version we'll be getting is the original theatrical release (which had music by the Eurythmics imposed upon it, against the director's wishes), or if will revert to its earlier state, where it was scored entirely by composer Dominic Muldowney (this was the version that was released on DVD in the US, to everyone's surprise).  Again, the sleeve image I was sent is different from the one the retailers have been using, so I'm including it here.

Other releases include the Bob Hope comedy The Road To Hong Kong; the quirky John Malkovich science fiction comedy Making Mr Right; Tune In Tomorrow, which features Keanu Reeves; the hugely-successful Gene Wilder comedy The Woman in Red; the oddball Nicolas Cage horror spoof Vampire's Kiss; family drama Memories of Me; the 1985 Kurt Russell thriller The Mean Season; and the rather smart Fred Ward / Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alec Baldwin thriller Miami Blues. These titles are due on September the 6th, and each has an RRP of £12.99.

MGM has three Michael Caine films on September the 6th, including the dreary 1986 cover-up thriller The Whistle Blower and Ken Russell's 1967 Harry Palmer spy thriller Billion Dollar Brain. MGM are throwing one curveball this month: the 1972 black comedy Pulp, which reunited Caine with Get Carter director Mike Hodges. This film is not yet available in the US.

You might be willing to pay £12.99 for a decent copy of the Michael J. Fox werewolf comedy Teen Wolf, but would you be happy to pay £19.99 for a double-bill of Teen Wolf and its decidedly inferior 1987 sequel Teen Wolf 2? MGM seem to think so, since they're releasing the two films as a double-bill on September the 6th. The identical Region 1 version is a more attractive proposal: it sells for about a third of the price.

Apart from the sleeves below, all the other images I've had are either already available at some of the retailers (and hence don't qualify for inclusion here), or are practically identical to the already-released US version. Note the difference between the US and UK versions of the Woman in Red sleeve!

27th July 2004

Australian label Umbrella will celebrate the 25th anniversary of popular ITC series The Return of the Saint by releasing a six-disc box set featuring all twenty-four episodes, uncut and re-mastered, together with a bonus disc containing the theatrically-released feature-length compilation The Saint and the Brave Goose.

The set will also feature several bonus features: exclusive commentary tracks with Ian Ogilvy and Executive Producer Robert S. Baker; an exclusive audio commentary with Production Supervisor Malcolm Christopher and Assistant Director Ken Baker; a new interview with Ian Ogilvy; cast profiles; "extensive" image galleries; commercial bumper; theatrical trailer for The Saint and the Brave Goose; a reprint of the original ITC publicity brochure; a text reproduction of the original ITC Pressbook; production notes and production paperwork; an storyboard sequence; textless credits; isolated music and effects tracks on selected episodes and an alternate version of the theme music.

The set is released on September the 22nd. The SRP is A$119.95 (inc GST) - about £42.  Here's the work-in-progress sleeve artwork...

Universal Video will be releasing Roger Avery's 1994 crime thriller Killing Zoe on August the 16th.

The disc will also feature cast and crew interviews and a theatrical trailer. No technical spec's were released, other than to say that the screen ratio will be "16:9", and the sound will be "Dolby". RRP is £15.99.

This sleeve image, provided by the PR company, is different from the one that some of the retailers (Play, for example) have been using. I've no idea which is the more up-to-date version, but I suspect it's this one, which has been tweaked to more closely resemble the Kill Bill 2 sleeve.

Speaking of sleeve images, we've already discussed Network's August releases at some length, but I don't think the sleeve art for Cloppa Castle has been seen anywhere, yet.  Here it is, along with a couple of their other August titles.

Finally, here's a rather sneaky preview of the pack artwork for Granada Ventures' forthcoming Thriller DVD set. It looks like the series will be packaged in two Amray-type cases in a slipcase, like Carlton's Hammer House of Horror DVD set.

26th July 2004

We kick off this week by welcoming a new reviewer to Zeta Minor, Mark Frost.

Mark has reviewed Universal's new Special Edition DVD version of Pitch Black, now re-titled The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black. The new disc has some interesting new bonus materials, most of them promoting the film's sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick.

You can read Mark's review by clicking on the sleeve image, right, or here. The disc is released on the 16th of August. The US version, which features a DTS track that's not on the UK version, is available now.

We also have another new review today! Ceri has taken a look at the Strange Report DVD box set, which was released by Network last week. The 1969 ITC series stars Anthony Quayle as Adam Strange, a former police chief who is consulted by Scotland Yard in especially puzzling cases. Strange Report is a relatively obscure series. Only five episodes were ever released on VHS, and it has only been repeated once in recent memory, and even then three of the remaining episodes weren't screened. Network's box set finally gives the series' fans a chance to see the whole series, in a comprehensive, fully re-mastered set that does the series proud. Click on the sleeve image, left, or here to read Ceri's review.

Icon Home Entertainment will release the intriguing supernatural thriller The Butterfly Effect on September the 13th. The film, about a man who discovers that he can alter events in the past, but with disastrous consequences, stars Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart.

The DVD special features are broken down into three categories:

Beyond the Movie - The Science and Psychology of the Chaos Theory (sic) (9m); The History and Allure of Time Travel (13m); and Fast Track - Trivia subtitle track

All Access Pass - Filmmaker commentary - Directors and screenwriters Eric Brerss and J. Mackye Gruber; deleted and alternate scenes (Scene 11 – Where’s My Puffer? (1m02s), Scene 32- Kids Discuss Art (29s); Scene 48 – The Mute in the Yellow Hat (23s); Scene 55 – Once Bitten, Twice Catatonic (23s); Scene 71 – Get My Memories Back (17s); Scene 112 – Original “You’ve Been Acting Weird Evan” (1m17s); Scene 41 – Noon Day Stalker (22s), Alternate Ending: Stalker Ending (54s), Alternate Ending: Happy Sappy Ending (50s)); The Creative Process (18m); Behind The Visual Effects (16m); Storyboard gallery; theatrical trailer (2m).

DVD Rom - Play movie; Script to Screen (director's cut); commentary digest; gallery; scene medleys.

As is all too-often the case with a press release, it doesn't explain what any of these bonus features actually are. Times in brackets are taken from the material listed as cleared by the BBFC, matched to the press release's list of features as closely as possible. The press release doesn't mention the technical spec's, either, other than to say it's "16 x 9 widescreen", so it's possible that the Region 2 version might lack the DTS track that's on the US disc (otherwise they seem pretty similar). The disc will have English and English HOH subtitles. RRP for the disc is £15.99.

The first season of the Golden Globe-nominated series, about the Beautiful People, and the ugly things they do to themselves to achieve perfection, Nip / Tuck, will be released on DVD on September the 20th. The controversial series, which begins airing on Channel 4 soon, will arrive on disc supported by almost an hour and a half of bonus materials, including thirty-five minutes of deleted scenes, and a five-minute gag reel, a twenty-five minute featurette, Giving Drama a Facelift, and two short documentaries, Realistic Expectations - The Practice of Surgery (8m) and Are They Real or Fake? (9m) The set, from Warner Home Video, has an RRP of £49.99.

Ha!  Bet you didn't expect that to happen!A large amount of special features have been cleared at the BBFC for a DVD release of Van Helsing, The Mummy director Stephen Sommers’ take on the classic Universal’s horror movies of the 1930s and 40s.

These are primarily grouped into sections:

The Story, The Life, The Legend, which (so far) has three featurettes: Van Helsing (10m6s), Frankenstein’s Monster (9m22s), Dracula (11m35s).

Creating the Character has two featurettes listed: The Werewolves (12m26s), The Women of Van Helsing (14m26s);

Van Helsing’s Map again has two featurettes: Frankenstein’s Lab (6m29s), The Vatican Armoury (5m25s).

Monster Map Revealed has three: Building Dracula’s Castle (7m47s), Burning Windmill (6m34s), The Village (8m6s).

Along with three IPIX Tours: Lab Detail Reel (2m29s), Dracula’s Castle (3m36s), Frankenstein’s Lab (11m28s).

In addition to those there is a 9m39s featurette on The Music of Van Helsing, a Darkness Falls – Dracula’s lab is transformed (which runs to 2m38s), and a bloopers reel with a runtime of 5m36s.

No date for the UK release of Van Helsing has been announced.

Universal has also had cleared an introduction to the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula from star Lupita Trovar, which appeared on the recently released Dracula - The Legacy Collection in the US. So, it looks like the Spanish version may be getting a UK release soon.

Now over to Ceri for his weekly update of all the latest news and substantiated rumours from the retailers and other semi-official sources, and his weekly guide to the most interesting retailer bargains. Take it away, Maestro....

Hello folks! Lots of special features added to Incoming  this week, though there are several new titles peppered about, as well as all the usual sorts of gubbins added to the Offers page.

Let’s start with the film titles….

Michael Moore’s searing anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 has appeared for October the 25th, from (Miramax distributor) Buena Vista. No word on any special features as yet, but its RRP is £19.99.

Getting a BBFC clearance in early, Twentieth Century Fox has submitted a The Making of Alien vs Predator documentary, which lasts for a little over 23 minutes. This may, however, be destined for a magazine cover disc, or newspaper tie-in promotion.

Special features for Star Trek: Generations – Special Edition are now up on some of the retailers. It will feature an audio commentary by Brannon Braga and Ron Moore; the usual text commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda; Four deleted scenes - Orbital Skydiving / Walking The Plank / Christmas With The Picards / Alternative Ending; A Tribute To Matt Jefferies - The Art Director who Designed the Original U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701; The Enterprise Lineage; Captain Picard's Family Album; Creating 24th Century Weapons; Uniting Two Legends; Stellar Cartography: Creating The Illusion; ST Range New Worlds: The Valley Of Fire; Inside ILM: Models and Miniatures; Crashing The Enterprise; Scene Deconstruction - Main Title Sequence / The Nexus Ribbon / Saucer Crash Sequence; Storyboards; and a Production Gallery. Paramount’s release is listed for September the 20th, with an RRP of £24.99.

A special edition version of Total Recall is now being listed, possibly from Momentum, for the 25th of October. There’s no information on the special features yet, but its RRP is £19.99.

Paul Morrision’s British film about race and cricket, Wonderous Oblivion, which stars Emily Woof, has had a featurette cleared at the BBFC running to just under ten minutes. Momentum’s release so far hasn’t appeared on any of the retailers.

Russ Meyer’s Faster Pussycat Kill…Kill is showing for October the 18th from an as yet unknown label. It will retail at £15.99.

Finally, for the films, Optimum’s release of Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, which was due today, has unfortunately been pulled with no new date being listed. Hopefully, the problems with the release can be resolved for it to appear at a later date.

Now onto the TV releases…

BBFC clearances for Universal include special features for a new release of Knight Rider. These are a stills gallery (2m48s); blueprint gallery (3m4s) and Knight Movies, which looks at the stunts on the show (6m5s). Also these are listed as special features on the imminent Knight Rider – Season 1 Region 1 box set, which is due on the 3rd of August. So, it looks like Region Two will be getting the box set fairly soon as well.

The special features for the Babylon 5 - Thirdspace / River Of Souls / A Call To Arms movies box set has now appeared on some of the retailers. Thirdspace is listed as featuring an audio commentary by Jesus Trevino, Bruce Boxleitner, Jeff Conway, Steven Furst and Patricia Tallman; along with an Introduction to Thirdspace (4m2s). River Of Souls includes an audio commentary by J Michael Straczynski, Janet Greek and Tracy Scoggins; and an Introduction to River Of Souls (4m11s). A Call To Arms has an audio commentary by J Michael Straczynski and Mike Vejar; and an Introduction to A Call To Arms (3m38s). Previously cleared at the BBFC for the box set, but missing for the retailers list is Creating the Feature, which runs to 8m36s. The box set has date of the 27th of September and an RRP of £34.99. Amazon is currently listing it at the bargain pre-order price of £22.99 – click here if you wish to order it!

BBC Worldwide are releasing Alistair Cooke’s thirteen-part 1972 documentary series on the history of America, cunningly titled Alistair Cooke’s America, on the 18th of October. It has an RRP of £39.99.

Originally listed for earlier in the year and then pulled the Top of the Pops – 40th Anniversary release has reappeared for November the 8th. Special features showing include presenter links; photo gallery; presenter gallery; a Dance Troupe Montage (presumably Pan’s People/Legs and Co footage which runs to 6mins); a TOTP behind the scenes documentary - The True Story; something entitled TOTP tour; and TOTP2 trivia track information. It has an RRP of £19.99.

Lot’s of special features for forthcoming BBC Worldwide titles have been confirmed …

The recently-cleared item at the BBFC for BBC Worldwide’s One Foot in the Grave – Series 1 has been revealed by HMV as being it’s featurette from Britain’s Best Sitcom. The release is due in a couple of weeks on August the 2nd for an RRP of £15.99. If you are interested Sendit are listing it with a pre-order price of £10.99 – click here!

Choices Direct is listing that The Box of Delights DVD, which is due on November the 1st, will include cast and director interviews; a photo gallery; Behind the Scenes archive clips; a quiz; and a profile of author John Masefield. It has an RRP of £14.99. Thanks to Ian Woodhouse for posting about these!

The Office - The Christmas Specials is showing as featuring a documentary and a full length pop promo of If You Don't Love Me By Now by David Brent. The release has an RRP of £19.99 and is due on the 25th of October.

Some of the Little Britain – Series 1 special features which I reported last week have now been cleared by the BBFC - Pilot deleted scenes (17m42s); Deleted Scenes (27m6s); The Best of Rock Profiles (28m27s); Vicki Pollard (42s). The release is due on the 11th of October and has an RRP of £19.99.

One final thing for BBC Worldwide, a couple of the retailers are showing that the Best of Alas Smith and Jones now has a date of August the 8th 2005, meaning it’s been bumped to next year’s Alternative Comedy range slot. I’ve not moved it on Incoming yet, we’ll see if more retailers change the date. It was originally listed for the end of next month, on the 30th. 

A release of the BBC 1978 serial J.M. Barrie’s The Lost Boys, which starred Ian Holm and Maureen O’Brien, is now up for the 27th of September. It will be from DD Video and has an RRP of £19.99.

Canterbury Tales, BBC2’s award-winning series of plays from last year that were modern interpretations of Chaucer’s tales, is now showing for the 25th of October. Its label is as yet unknown, but it has an RRP of £29.99.

Contender’s release of Spooks - Series 3 has appeared on the retailers for November the 8th with an RRP of £39.99. There’s no word on the special features yet, but expect similar content to the first two series box sets. A week later, on the 15th of November, sees a Spooks - Series 1 & 2 box set from Contender, which has an RRP of £59.99. This will be just a straight re-issue of the (by then) existing releases –Spooks – Series 2 has been put back a month to September the 20th. If you are interested Amazon are listing Series 2 box set at £29.99 (its RRP is £39.99) – click here!

The Coupling - Series 4 release from VCI has had some BBFC clearances – outtakes running to 10m13s and a From Script to Screen featurette lasting 43m9s. The release is due on the 16th of August for an RRP of £19.99. Amazon currently has the first three series at £6.97 each if you are interested – click here!  Thanks to emmbrook for posting about these in The High Street section of Roobarb's DVD Forum.

Unfortunately, the dates for Acorn’s releases of Tenko – Series 3 have slipped yet again, as they doggedly work on clearances. The Complete Box Set and Part 1 are now listed for September the 13th, with Part 2 following a month later on October the 11th. The box set has an RRP of £49.99 and the two parts are at £24.99 each. Benson’s World have offer Part 1 at a pre-order price of £16.99 – click here if you are interested! ()

Similarly, Network’s release of Hazel – The Complete Second Series, which was due last Monday, has been pulled with no new date showing. Hopefully, the problems can be sorted for a re-appearance at a later date.

Right, now onto the additions to the Offers page….

Amazon has the Blake's 7 - Series 2 box set at £35.99 (£15.00 off), but you may wish to see how the release shakes down first, after the problems with the Series 1 box set. The complete By The Sword Divided box set is at £37.49. Anchor Bay’s 8 disc Halloween Box Set is at £44.24 and the 4 disc Hellraiser Box Set (with the standard packaging) is at £22.49.Little Britain - Series 1 and The Office - Christmas Specials are both at £11.99 (£8.00 off). Poliakoff’s Caught On A Train and Shooting The Past are at £9.97 each, with his Perfect Strangers at £11.97. Millennium - Season 2 is available at the pre-order price of £27.99 (£12.00 off), with the Season 1 box set now at the same price. Roswell - Season 2 has the pre-order price of £28.99 (£11.00 off) and the The Simpsons - Season 4 pre-order price is now £27.99 (£12.00 off). Finally, for Amazon, Smallville - Season 2 is now at £34.99 (£20.00 off).

Benson’s World has DD Video’s forthcoming The Creeping Flesh and Night of the Big Heat at £10.99 each (£10.00 off). Doctor Who - Ghost Light is at £13.99. More pre-order prices on Acorn’s titles - Cribb - Part 3 - The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, The House Of Eliott - Part 1, Sam - Series 2 - Part 1 and When The Boat Comes In - Series 4 – Parts 1 & 2 are all at £12.99 each; with By The Sword Divided - Part 1, Rumpole Of The Bailey - The Specials and the 1967 version of Vanity Fair starring Susan Hampshire and Roy Marsden all at £16.99. Volume 2 of Jupiter Moon is at £12.99 (£7.00 off) and special editions of The Name Of The Rose and The Lost Boys are both at £13.99 (£6.00 off).

Thanks to Ian K. McLachlan for letting me know that Amazon have the Star Trek - Deep Space 9 season box sets at £44.97 (that's £40.02 off). If you are interested in ordering any of them - click here! has the recently released A Nightmare On Elm Street 1-6 Collection at £17.99.

Thanks to Chris for posting that Carlton’s recent box set of Timeslip is available at DVD Popcorn for £20.25.

And finally, HMV is offering the Harsh Realm box set at £22.99, which is £12.00 off.

That’s it from me until next week!

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.


Released 12th July 2004.




Unless explicitly stated, DVD screen captures used in the reviews are for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended to be accurate representations of the DVD image.   While screen captures are generally in their correct aspect ratio, there will often have been changes made to the resolution, contrast, hue and sharpness, to optimise them for web display.

Site content copyright © J.A.Knott - 2002-2004