Monday, August 27, 2012

VWb Entry #1,000: THRILLER Question Answered

You probably have the same question I did in reference to MPI's forthcoming two-disc set THRILLER - FAN FAVORITES, which collects 10 of the very best THRILLER episodes at a reduced price ($19.98): "The Grim Reaper", "Pigeons From Hell", "The Watcher", "The Hungry Glass", "The Cheaters", "The Incredible Dr. Markesan", "The Weird Tailor", "The Purple Room", "The Prisoner in the Mirror" and "Well of Doom." The answer to that question is: No, they do NOT include the audio commentaries nor the isolated music tracks found on the complete series set. Therefore, even though this set represents THE absolute best classic horror bang for your buck of any DVD released so far this year, the complete box set is still the way to go. So, unless you're looking for the perfect Halloween treat for that favorite young person in your life, I advise you to splurge, because you'll want these for Trick or Treat night, or run SUSPIRIA or HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL again and await the next Amazon sale.

This is the 1,000th entry here at Video WatchBlog, which began almost seven years ago, like most things I do, on the spur of the moment on October 8, 2005. Since then, it has won two Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards as Best Blog, in 2006 and 2008, a fact of which I am very proud. It has been shamefully neglected since I joined Facebook in 2009, but rest assured I have pretty much been doing over there what I used to do here more regularly, and I've collected (to date) 3,450 friends or followers, which is somewhat more of an audience than I had here. That said, Donna is encouraging me to jump-start the WatchBlog, perhaps with another template, perhaps with another server, and make it a place where I can post useful paragraphs such as the above, and the occasional useless ones, and make it available to subscriptions, RSS alerts and such. So this milestone does not necessarily mark the end of VWb, but rather an opportunity to invite a new beginning or chapter. I will let you know once the decisions are made. 

Postscript 10/9/2012: It was later discovered that this was actually the 995th entry, so never mind.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tony Scott: A Beginning and an End

Tony Scott's THE HUNGER (1983) has one of the most arresting opening sequences of any horror film; it's a masterpiece of cross-cuts, flashbacks and flash-forwards, intense music and ice-cold style, largely without dialogue and so forcing us to pay close attention to visual codes, plunging us immediately into the deep end of an amoral, self-interested world where vampires are the victims, the victors and the evening's entertainment. "Bela Lugosi's Dead," sings Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, but it was actually Tony Scott himself throwing down a gauntlet on the floor of vampire cinema in general. Pictured: Ann Magnuson and David Bowie turning up the heat in this very chilly sequence.
Tony Scott -- whose other films as a director include the Quentin Tarantino-scripted TRUE ROMANCE (whose scene between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper is commonly cited as one of the very finest of the last 25 years) and the era-defining TOP GUN -- took his life last night by jumping off the Vincent Thomas suspension bridge into Los Angeles harbor, having left a suicide note behind in his parked car. He was 68. My heart goes out to his wife and children, and to his friends and co-workers past and present (some of you perhaps among them) as we all reel from the suddenness and mystery of this terrible event.