I can’t believe the summer has come to an end already! As we enter the first week of September we get only one box office release and a bunch of catalog and television to hold us over until the big summer blockbusters start rolling out. These are your new releases for September 2, 2014.
I was in full on catalog mode this week so I will pass on my three favorite catalog releases of the week. First up is the 1979 version of Dracula starring Frank Langella, who has been having a bit of a renaissance of his own lately with great films like Robot and Frank. This version strays a little from the original Stoker novel by making Dracula shipwreck in England and actually found ashore by Mina Harker. He is taken in by the Harkers and proceeds to kill Mina and start to seduce her friend Lucy. Eventually the Harker’s call in Van Helsing, played by none other than Laurence Olivier, to determine if Dracula is the cause of all the trouble and to take care of him once and for all.
I really liked this version of Dracula, it is a little more romantic but the characters stick to the novel pretty closely and Langella is an excellent Dracula, all dark charm and brooding. We also get some great performances by Donald Pleasence and Kate Nelligan as well. A moody, atmospheric retelling the classic tale with some interesting story changes. And a sharp new Blu-ray transfer as well that is sure to please fans.
Next up is Firestarter, the 1984 film based on the Stephen King book of the same name. Drew Barrymore plays Charlie McGee, a young girl who is the offspring of two people who underwent an experiment in college that resulted in their daughter having the telekinetic ability to start fires with her mind. With the government after them for their daughter’s power, they must find a way to keep their daughter safe.
Firestarter is not mentioned as often as some of the other films based on King properties but I really dig the aesthetic of this one and Barrymore’s performance is excellent. David Keith is very good as Charlie’s father and film veterans George C. Scott and Louise Fletcher are both great as well, with Scott in particular turning in a killer villain role as John Rainbird, the agent sent to retrieve the girl. Firestarter is classic Stephen King with a new Blu-ray transfer that is very good as well.
Lastly this week is more horror with Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs. When a young boy named Fool attempts a house burglary with two accomplices, he ends up trapped inside the home owned by an evil couple who have rigged the house up to capture children and once Fool is inside, he must band together with other captive children to outsmart the crazy couple and escape with their lives.
The People Under the Stairs may be one of Craven’s most underrated films. The performances across the board are great, the plot is unique, fast paced and interesting, and the story arc is surprising and entertaining. The new Blu-ray has a great transfer, especially for a lower budget 80s movie, but it is clean and sharp and I was quite surprised by it. If you are a fan of Craven’s or just of interesting horror, The People Under the Stairs should definitely be put on your list of films to check out.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday September 2, 2014
Bonanza: The Official Seventh Season: Volumes One & Two
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero
Chicago Fire: Season Two
Chicago P.D.: Season One
Crossbones: Season One
Dick Van Dyke Show: Halloween Episodes Collection
Duck Dynasty: Quack or Treat
For No Good Reason
Grey’s Anatomy: The Tenth Season
Mom’s Night Out
My Favorite Martian: Season 1
New Girl: The Complete Third Season
Person of Interest: The Complete Third Season
Swedish House Mafia: Leave the World Behind
The League: Season 5
The Originals: The Complete First Season
The People Under the Stairs*
They Came Together
Three’s Company: The Complete Series*
Transformers Beast Machines: The Complete Series
Transformers Rescue Bots: Mystery Rescue
Under the Electric Sky
*Catalog Blu-ray debut