Monday, December 19, 2005

Making A List, Checking It Twice

Since it started in 1990, Video Watchdog magazine has taken a stubbornly erratic approach to Year's Best lists. Sometimes we've offered them, sometimes we've offered them elsewhere (like in our VW Special Editions, or on the Mobius Home Video Forum), but mostly we haven't compiled them at all. I personally have never liked lists, and I've never known the right time to present them anyway, so I've never urged VW's contributors to submit them -- unless I simply had no better idea to offer at the moment. That said, now that Video WatchBlog exists, I see it's that time of year when all the other video-related sites are beginning to offer their choices for the Year's Best... so we should make our preferences known, too.

With this in mind, I'll be posting my own Top Ten DVDs of 2005 list, as well as those of as many of our regular reviewers as were able to participate.

Compiling my own list, I was reminded of why I hate them so much. I receive many more discs than I'm able to watch; consequently, I've seen far from everything, which admits a bias into the process pertaining to which releases I preferred to watch, or made time to watch. Furthermore, and perhaps even more damningly, my selections are limited to those releases I remembered to include. I must admit to including some titles in my early drafts that, on further investigation, turned out to be releases from late 2004.

One fact that was surely driven home by this project is that 2005 was an amazing year for home video. Even limiting the scope of our lists to horror and fantasy, the candidates seem endless. Quite a few of our most-wanted releases became realities this year, notably KING KONG (1933) , THE INNOCENTS, the Val Lewton and Bela Lugosi and Hammer sets, DANGER: DIABOLIK, Nicolas Roeg's BAD TIMING, Jess Franco's VENUS IN FURS, and the first season of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. There were also countless, more marginal releases just as deserving of our attention and enthusiasm, like Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock's widescreen Toho titles, First Run Features' East European Sci-Fi set (including THE SILENT STAR, the original cut of the cult favorite FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS), and RetroSeduction Cinema's box set of Joe Sarno "Girl Meets Girl Trilogy" -- not to mention a wealth of astonishing import releases, including Tobis/UFA's eight box sets of Edgar Wallace krimis and three box sets of Karl May Westerns. It was actually discouraging for me to compile my list because there was no much that was worthy that could not be encompassed, even by appending my Top Ten with a paragraph of Honorable Mentions.

So stay tuned to Video WatchBlog for a parade of very, very, very difficult choices.

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