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21st September 2005


A film that pays homage to George Romero's Living Dead films by - err - ripping off the title of one of them, Ana Clavell and James Glenn Dudelson's Day of the Dead: Contagium, will be released by Arrow Films / Fremantle Home Entertainment on October the 10th.

The film, which features Justin Ipock, Laurie Baranyay and John Freedom Henry, is about a virus which is released by an inmate of a mental institution, which mutates everyone into zombies. Chaos ensues.

No technical details were released, but the press release did mention that the disc will include a behind-the-scenes featurette.  The RRP will be 12.99.

Vital, a "body-horror from Japan's Cronenberg" (Tetsuo: Iron Man's Shinya Tsukamoto), is due for release by Tartan on November the 14th.

The film, about a medical student who suffers from amnesia following a car crash, is described by Tartan as "a disturbing and yet compelling love story". His memory begins to return when he has to dissect a corpse - the body of his girlfriend, who died in the crash - during an autopsy class!

The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen format, with a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0, 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio tracks. The disc will contain a director's commentary track, and a trailer.

Universal Pictures Video will release the recent Jet Li martial arts film Unleashed on November the 21st.

The film, which also features Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins, was written and produced by Luc Besson, with fight choreography by the legendary Yuen Wo Ping.

The film will be presented in anamorphic 2.35:1 format, with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio tracks. Bonus features include extended versions of the fight scenes; a Making of... documentary; music videos and outtakes.

RRP for the disc is 17.99.

Tartan has a couple of "European Adventures" lined up for DVD release on December the 5th.

The first is Claire Denis's well-received 2004 ethereal drama The Intruder (L'Intrus), which is about a man suffering from a heart condition who is searching for a son he abandoned years before.

The film, which reunited her with stars Beatrice Dalle and Michel Subor, will be presented in anamorphic widescreen format, with Tartan's customary choice of Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 tracks. The disc will also include an exclusive interview with Denis.

Spain is represented by Bigas Luna's amusing 1994 tale of jealousy The Tit and The Moon (La Teta y La Luna), which stars the delightful Mathilda May.

The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, with a choice of Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 tracks. The disc will also feature a commentary track by Lunas.

Tartan's DVD line-up for November is:

Dig! (single disc) - RRP 15.99

Silver City - RRP 19.99

Sky Blue (two-disc set) - RRP 22.99

Andrew and Jeremy Get Married - RRP 19.99

Whispering Corridors (Asia Extreme) - RRP 19.99

Channel 4's DVD label 4DVD will be releasing a two-part, two-hour Channel 4 documentary titled Alien Worlds on October the 3rd (the series will air on the 1st and 8th of October). The series uses CGI animation to speculate what sort of alien life might exist on other planets, based on the latest scientific research.

The series begins by collating data about two theoretical planets, using supercomputers to model their climates, seasons and geological histories.

Special features on the DVD include an "in-depth and insightful" documentary, The Making of Alien Worlds; a trailer; and DVD-ROM content. RRP for the disc is 19.99.

The series is being supported by an exhibition at the Science Museum, in South Kensington, London, from October the 14th. Click here for more information.

Here's a closer look at the critters seen on the DVD sleeve...

Some news about The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse disc, which is due on October the 3rd.

The cast of the film will be signing DVDs in the Oxford Street branch of HMV on the 3rd of October, from 5.30 onwards.

The disc features two Easter Eggs - skip this if you want to find them yourself, or don't want to know what they contain!

The first is on the main menu, where, if you wait long enough, a homonculous appears, explodes, leaving behind a sphere. If you select it, it takes you to a two-minute deleted scene featuring the Royston Vasey characters (which contains a nice reference to Tod Browning's Freaks).

The second is on the Precious Things menu. If you wait a while A rotating sphere appears, with a cow and pig in it. Clicking that leads to five minutes of behind-the-scenes footage of the scene featuring cameos by Peter Kaye and Simon Pegg (their character names are Simon Pigg and Peter Cow).

The fine stop motion animation in The League of Gentleman's Apocalypse pays affectionate tribute to the master of the art, Ray Harryhausen, whose final film, 1981's Clash of the Titans, is being released by Warner Home Video on November the 21st.

The film will be presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Bonus features on the disc are a short interview titled A Conversation With Ray Harryhausen (12m), and an interactive Map of Myths and Monsters feature (which includes interview snippets about some of the mythical creatures and characters in the film). Basically the UK disc looks like it will replicate the one released in the US three years ago, except that the American version also has a theatrical trailer. It's a crying shame that WHV hasn't included a Harryhausen commentary on the disc. RRP for the disc is 15.99.

Incidentally, there are some very nice-looking Clash of the Titans models being released soon, by a company called Gentle Giant. You can see pictures of them here.

There's also a new Harryhausen book due in November, from Aurum Press. It's called The Art of Ray Harryhausen, and it looks like it will be a fine companion-piece to An Animated Life. You can see the sleeve at Amazon!

Universal will re-launch their unrivalled collection of sixteen Alfred Hitchcock movies on October the 17th.

The set will be spearheaded by a new edition of his 1960 masterpiece, Psycho, as a two-disc Special Edition, which will be packaged in "fabulous" red mirri board.

Sadly, it doesn't look like this new set will feature a new transfer, (the existing disc is a rather botched anamorphic conversion from a letterboxed NTSC master).

The bonus disc on the new set, The Hitchcock Legacy, incorporates two programmes: Masters of Cinema: Alfred Hitchcock and American Film Institute Salute to Alfred Hitchcock.

The other Hitchcock titles will be priced at 9.99, which surely indicates that Universal haven't taken this opportunity to correct the well-documented framing problems (and other issues) with the existing transfers. The other titles are: The Birds, Vertigo, Rear Window, Family Plot, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, The Man Who Knew Too Much (the 1956 version), Frenzy, Marnie, The Trouble With Harry, Rope, Torn Curtain, Mr and Mrs Smith and Foreign Correspondent.

A "very special" box set containing fourteen discs, plus a bonus disc, will also be released, in November.

The second series of the BAFTA-nominated sitcom Peep Show will be released on DVD on November the 14th.

The series, about the lives of two mismatched flatmates, features The Smoking Room's Robert Webb, and Faq U host David Mitchell. It also features Olivia Colman (as the object of Mark's lust), and introduces the star of the Clueless TV series, Rachel Blanchard, as a taboo-busting love interest for Jeremy.

The disc will feature all six episodes, with commentary tracks on three of them (by Webb, Mitchell, writers Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, director Tristram Shapeero and producer Phil Clarke). Other bonus features will include deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes feature and something called Gog's Film Sorry for the fuzzy sleeve image! The RRP is 19.99.

Finally, I've made some amendments to the Phantasm box set information (below), now that I've had more of a chance to look at the discs.

19th September 2005


Ceri has added some new bargains to the Offers page. New goodies at reduced prices include the Battlestar Galactica (new series) box set; good deals on some new Network titles at Benson's World; and a staggering half-price offer for the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - The Complete Radio Series box set.


Sleeve images for the two sets of The Hunger TV series (which were announced last week) are now available...

Each set will feature twenty-two "half hour" episodes. The first series was hosted by Terence Stamp; the second by David Bowie (who, of course, starred in the movie that inspired the series, Tony Scott's erotic vampire film The Hunger). Series two will feature some "exclusive" interviews with Ridley and Tony Scott. October 31st, 29.99 each.


I've added a couple of pages of menu screen for some of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's October releases, and can clarify some information about them...

Sony's leading title for next month is October the 24th's The Amityville Horror, the recent remake of the 1979 film.

It's presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (at 448kbps), and optional English subtitles.

The film has extensive bonus materials: a commentary track (with star Ryan Reynolds, and producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller); deleted scenes (7m, with optional commentary, and Play All facility); two featurettes (Supernatural Homicide, 18m, and The Source of Evil, 26m); a photo gallery; and an Easter Egg (click and drag to reveal: Home Movies, 4m). There's also a Follow-The-White-Rabbit-style feature titled On Set Peeks, which gives access to behind the scenes snippets. A trailer for Deuce Bigalow - European Gigolo completes the offering. Menu screen grabs for the disc are available here.

Some of Sony's releases will, it seems, still be branded with the MGM logo's (perhaps theses were authored before the take-over?)

Fans of producer Roger Corman might be delighted to discover that Sony's October release of The Masque of the Red Death is presented on DVD in its correct 2.35:1 format for the first time in the UK. The currently-available disc from Warner Home Video is a pan-and-scan abomination - they probably grabbed the nearest master, knowing that their license would be expiring, and that it wasn't worth spending money on a new transfer. The other Poe adaptation, The Tomb of Ligeia, is new to DVD here, and is also presented in 2.35 (and both have anamorphic enhancement). There are no extras; the discs are single-layer; and the films have optional English subtitles.  Menus for these - and an almost-random sample frame grab - are available here.

Menu screens for the Amicus film Torture Garden and Poltergeist III are available here. Neither of these discs has no extras. Both are presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 format, with mono audio (at 192kbps).

The release date for the Poe titles is October the 17th, the same day are Torture Garden, Frogs, Haunted Honeymoon, and Poltergeist III.

I have more details about the bonus disc in Anchor Bay's forthcoming Phantasm box sets.

There are two sets: a premium-priced, limited edition Phantasm Sphere set (the discs are housed in a facsimile of the spheres in the film, housed in an Easter Egg-type box - see left, 34.99); and a standard Digipack edition (RRP 29.99). Each of these sets will contain five DVD-9 discs: one disc for each of the four films, and an exclusive bonus disc. The films will also be available separately (with all their attendant bonus materials): Phantasm has an RRP of 16.99; the sequels are 14.99 each. The release date is October the 31st.

The set will also feature commentaries on each of the four films (by stars Angus Scrimm, A. Michael Baldwin, and Reggie Bannister and director Don Coscarelli); Phantasm deleted scenes; an Introduction by The Tall Man on Phantasm; behind-the-scenes footage; trailers and photo galleries. Note that information from the press release (which is also being used by the etailers), states that the Phantasm III disc will have deleted scenes, and that Phantasm II also has an introduction by Scrimm. I could find neither of these on the check discs. The bonus disc includes: Phantasmagoria (a feature-length documentary about the series, produced by Nucleus Films, 98m); Reggie's Fantastic Tour (16m); Phantasm Genesis (20m); Greg Nicotero - The Gory Days (21m); Phandom (1979 interviews, 13m) and an Easter Egg (Angus Scrimm being inducted into the Fangoria Hall of Fame in 1993, 29m).

It's also worth noting, perhaps that the four film discs are coded for all regions, but the bonus disc is Region 2 only. All five discs are DVD-9s.

Each film is offered with a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio tracks. The films are presented in more-or less their original theatrical ratios (1.78:1 or 1.85:1).

Single-disc, film-only editions of the first three Harry Potter movies - (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - where have you been!?) - will be released by Warner Home Video on October the 24th. The RRP for each disc will be 9.99.

Three monster box sets containing complete collections of three popular TV series will be released by Warner Home Video during October and November.

These are the Friends - The One With All Ten Seasons set, on October the 31st; the Babylon 5 - The Complete Universe set, on October the 24th; and The West Wing - The Bartlet Years - Seasons 1-6, on November the 7th. RRP for each set will be 199.99.

It looks like the new boxes will 'simply' gather together the existing DVD sets - there are no new bonus features. Here are some box pictures...

Full details of Warner Home Video's release of the CGI family movie The Polar Express have been announced.

The two-disc set will feature the film and a theatrical trailer on the first disc, and bonus material on the second. This includes: You Look Familiar (Tom Hanks comments on his five unique roles); A Genuine Ticket To Ride (about performance capture, music and the film's creation); True Aspirations: An Author's Adventure (about book author Chris Van Allsburg); Josh Groban at the Greek (video of Josh performing Believe); Behind the Scenes of Believe; Meet The Snow Angels (cast and crew members share their "holiday" memories); an Easter Egg (Flurry of Effects); Polar Express Challenge ("kid friendly" game, can be played with your remote control; and a DVD-ROM level of the Polar Express PC game.

The film will be presented in 2.4:1 ratio. RRP is believed to be 17.99. For sleeve art, see the News entry for the 6th of September.

Last week's Zeta Minor News can be viewed here.

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

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