EuroCultAV Gift Guide and Best of 2018

by the staff and friends of

     Where does the time go? I feel like I was just putting together the 2017 EuroCultAV Gift Guide and Best Of, and here I am doing it again. Every year I put together this article, and because of my indecisive nature I make it a blend of stuff the staff at EuroCultAV love, and stuff that I, and the staff at EuroCultAV have seen that we think our readers might find interest in during the holiday season 2018.


    It is by no means meant to be comprehensive. There are releases that I might have forgotten about in the tidal wave of amazing we have seen this year. Regardless, I hope you'll find something to enjoy in this year's gift guide.  Also, as per usual there is a Blu-ray Giveaway at the conclusion of the guide that is co-sponsored by some of EuroCultAV's favorite labels.








Shocking Dark (Severin)


    I have begged, pleaded, and performed ritual sacrifices to the EuroCult gods for years to get a legitimate stateside release of Bruno Mattei's Alien/Terminator mashup Shocking Dark. In 2018, I believe my sacrifice of rubber chickens and Twizzlers finally worked, because Severin Films put the film out with a very solid restoration, and an extras slate including director interview and more. There are loads of releases I could have opened up this list with, but none really made me happier this year than this one.


The Blood Island Collection (Severin)


    We just reviewed this title last week, so it is quite recent, but Severin's Blood Island Collection is one for fans to definitely seek out if they can. These 4 Filipino adventure/horror films are chocked with enough lurid violence and sleaze sure to please long time fans of the genre, and is loaded with solid extras are fine restorations.


Anthropophagus/Absurd (Severin)


    These 2 titles directed by Joe D'Amato and starring George Eastman are again some of my favorite EuroHorror Blu-ray offerings this year. Anthropophagus has been released 2 times prior by 88 films in the U.K., and Absurd once by the same label, but the restorations by Severin look better than the all, and again come with some fine extras.


The Wizard of Gore (Arrow Video)


      A few years back Arrow Video put out a comprehensive box set of films by H.G. Lewis, as that set may have been too much for some buyers to invest in at once, they have been issuing the Lewis titles as single disc releases which have the same contents of the originals.  Technically, these are double feature discs, but advertised as if they were singles. Wizard of Gore is paired up with the Lewis feature How to Make a Doll and a large swatch of extra features.


Last House on the Left (Arrow Video)


     Much like their edition of The Hills Have Eyes, Arrow Video has gone and produced a huge well-restored and feature packed restoration special edition of Wes Craven's first legitimate feature film Last House on the Left. The original edition with booklet of liner notes is limited, but copies are still available, and it is recommended highly for fans of this sleazy masterpiece.


Death Smiles on a Murderer (Arrow Video)


    I will happily add any giallo to my collection, and Arrow released a good number of giallo titles this year. However, this one, the debut feature by Joe D'Amato really took me by surprise. It blends eccentric horror, with elements of the supernatural, and giallo to create something creepy and effective. The restoration of course is a stunner, but the film just on its own deserves fan attention.


City of the Living Dead (Arrow Video)


    This is a Region B release from Arrow, so for the region free fans reading this I have to highly recommend this title. City of the Living Dead had a previous Arrow Video release, as well as one from Blue Underground, and an upcoming one from Scorpion Releasing, but I will say that I doubt this film will EVER look better in the HD era than it does here. This is a must buy for fans of Fulci and Italian horror.


Bloodthirsty Trilogy (Arrow Video)


    I feel a bit odd that before Arrow Video announced the Bloodthirsty Trilogy I had never heard of these films. The trilogy is not a narrative, nor even a thematic trilogy. Rather, they are 3 Japanese vampire films by the same director. However, they are astonishingly good, blending the atmosphere of Bava and Hammer with a decidedly Japanese sensibility.


Gosford Park (Arrow Video)


    A late entry into the oeuvre of Robert Altman, this U.K. Lensed film is a throwback to Golden Age Mysteries, and is anchored by an immense and wonderful cast. The restoration from Arrow is completely solid, and I have to recommend this one just as I've wanted it on Blu-ray for so long.








The Critters Collection (Scream Factory)


    It seemed like there was a time in the early 90's when Critters films were on TV CONSTANTLY. And when they stopped playing them, I really didn't consider them. Then word got out that Scream Factory was issuing the set of four on to Blu-ray, and the desire to see how they held up hit me like a ton of bricks. Fortunately, the first 2 films are solid Horror/Sci-Fi hybrids, followed by some lesser, but still fun sequels. They look quite decent on these Blu-ray's and have a solid extras slate.


It's Alive Trilogy (Scream Factory)


   I've said for years that any Larry Cohen release on Blu-ray is a reason to get excited, this year Scream put out 3 of them in one-go with Cohen's It's Alive Trilogy. The first one is a stone-cold horror classic, while the follow ups are a mixed bag, but definitely have the director's genre mash-up trademark style all over them.


Streets of Fire – Steelbook (Shout! Select)


    OK, so I think I had Streets of Fire in its standard Blu-ray edition mentioned in last years guide. This year it's back, because of this steelbook edition which incorporates the original 4.1 audio mix as well as the impressive packaging.


Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey - Steelbook (Shout! Select)


    Just in time for the holidays Shout! Factory issues a steelbook only release of Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. The film which was part of a comprehensive 2 film collection is now available on its own with a solid extras slate and restore.


Gravity Falls – Complete Series (Shout! Factory)


     Shout! Factory also put out a very nice Blu-ray collection of Gravity Falls – The Complete Series. This Disney XD series is presented on the format with both seasons fully restored with a swath of extra features, and hidden easter eggs sure to please fans of the show.


Valley Girl (Shout! Select)


    I'd like to say this is probably the most significant title to come out of Shout! Select this year. Valley Girl is one of those films that should have been on Blu-ray forever ago, but never quite made it. Now it's out on the format, loaded up with extras, and looking fantastic, and I cannot help but recommend it.


Dragnet (Shout! Select)


    Shout! Select have issued a Blu-ray of the 80's attempt at rebooting the 60's TV series Dragnet, but with an obvious comedy tone (instead of the original series unintentional comedy one). The result is a mixed bag, but it works decently well at times and comes in a solid package from Shout!


Zombie (Blue Underground)


     Blue Underground has been a favorite label since DVD. Admittedly, any label that makes their proverbial bread and butter EuroCult and Eurohorror is going to have my heart in their greasy palm. A few years back Blue Underground released an “ultimate edition” of Zombie, that was great for its time. However, the new edition which sports a new, and more natural 4k scan is definitely worth the upgrade from that edition just on the A/V alone. The fact that it is loaded up with extras new and old just sweetens the deal.


Maniac (Blue Underground)


    If you were to ask me what my favorite slasher film is, I would tell you Maniac, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Bill Lustig's debut horror film blends over the top gore and sleaze, with a timeless and intense performance by the immortal Joe Spinell. The prior Blu-ray edition of Maniac had some issues with the black levels. This edition, however, is taken from original elements and is sure to be a stunner on all fronts and be a real pleaser for fans of the slasher icon.


The Unnamable (Unearthed Films)


    My memory isn't as great as it once was, but if I had to guess The Unnamable is very likely the very first “Lovecraft” film I had ever seen. It's a film, while by no means perfect, is a fun creature-feature with slasher overtones, and a solid atmosphere to boot. It has long been a desired title on Blu-ray, and Unearthed Films, those purveyors of all things Guinea Pig have seen fit to restore it, and load it up with extras as part of their Unearthed Classics line.

Basket Case (Arrow Video)


    This Blu-ray came out earlier in the year, so many readers may have already snatched it up. Those that haven't, this is Basket Case at its finest. Using a restoration overseen by the Museum of Modern Art of NYC, Arrow presents Basket Case looking more natural and well-detailed than ever before with a significant slate of extras including an amusing “sequel” short.










Murder Rock (Ronin Flix)


    I am really happy about that Zombie re-release from Blue Underground, but if you asked me what Fulci films I really wanted on Blu I would tell you stuff like Conquest, Contraband, Four of the Apocalypse, and this film Murder Rock, which finally got a Blu from Scorpion Releasing this month. The film which is not considered a Fulci classic takes the giallo into the world of 80's dancing, with a killer that uses a large pin as a murder weapon. It may not have the splatter Fulci was known for, but it is a lot of fun, and looks great on this Scorpion disc.


Giallo in Venice (Ronin Flix)


    This is a film I had read about for years, but never once expected for it to get a legitimate release. This film is as sleazy as gialli gets with extreme turns of nudity and violence. The restoration from Scorpion/Ronin looks way better than I ever expected this film to look, and it comes with a commentary track.


Perversion Story (Mondo Macabro)


    Fulci fans have been lucky to get quite a lot of the maestro's work on Blu-ray over the last few months. One of the most interesting of the films released is Perversion Story aka One on Top of Another which is Fulci's earliest entry into the giallo genre. The film takes elements of Vertigo including the San Francisco setting for a spin, and ends up being quite effective. The restoration from Mondo Macabro is quite excellent, and the release has a very solid extras slate.

Who Can Kill A Child? (Mondo Macabro)


     One of the most effective of Spanish horror films, finally gets a worthy Blu-ray release from Mondo Macabro. The Blu-ray looks and sounds amazing, and comes with a fantastic extras slate including in depth commentary track by Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger.


Night Stalker/Night Strangler/Trilogy of Terror (Kino Lorber)

    Kino Lorber has previously released Dan Curtis' seminal haunted house film Burnt Offerings on Blu-ray. They have seemingly followed that little slice of Curtis love with these 3 October Blu-ray releases. Night Stalker and Night Strangler were the 2 TV films that would become so popular it would be turned into the short-lived, but fantastic Kolchak: The Night Stalker TV series. Trilogy of Terror is Curtis' classic anthology horror film with 3 stories by Richard Matheson all starring Karen Black. All 3 are nicely restored, and look better than ever before.

Outer Limits Season 2 (Kino Lorber)


    Kino Lorber blew fans minds when they released a comprehensive and well-restored Season 1 of the Outer Limits earlier in the year. That set obviously still comes highly recommended, however, they have issued Season 2 just in time for the holidays. This season has 17 episodes, and is again loaded up with extra features with a restoration that is sure to please old and new fans alike. There are also significant slices of TV sci-fi here including Soldier and Demon  With a Glass Hand scripted by Harlan Ellison.


SEVEN (Kino Lorber Blu-ray)

For fans of cheesy action goodness, this William Smith starring bullet fest is essential viewing. It’s this kind of rediscovered gem that keeps Blu-ray so alive and fresh. Packed to the gills with bikinis, explosions, silly wigs, car chases, and a disco soundtrack this is pure 70’s gold. It also includes a fun commentary track and a transfer that is out of this world. - Tyler Miller

DOUBLE LOVER (Cohen Media Group Blu-ray)

Francois Ozon channels his inner De Palma for this gender bending thriller. I don’t want to give away it’s plot of any of it’s twists. But lets say this is one of the finest French thrillers in years. The Cohen Blu-ray is also bursting with life and color. If you a fan of DePalma or Ozon, this is essential viewing. -Tyler Miller









Lorna The Exorcist/Sinner (Le Chat Qui Fume)


    I am a self-confessed Jess Franco junkie, and my favorite Jess Franco film of all is Lorna the Exorcist. So needless to say when Lorna and Sinner were both announced for Blu-ray, I needed to make sure I got my eyes on them both. Well, the good news is they were gorgeously restored, looking better than ever, and on top of that had some English friendly extras since this is a Region B French release.


Grave Robbers (Vinegar Syndrome)

    This is a film I put on at random from my stack a while back, and found myself glued to until the very end. The film tells the story of a woman who is swept off her feet by a mortician in small town New York. However, things are not quite what they seem in this town, and she may have gotten herself in deep with the abrupt marriage. Grave Robbers is equal parts weird, funny, and creepy. It's also a lot of fun, and it might just be my favorite Vinegar Syndrome release this year.


Mausoleum (Vinegar Syndrome)


    This is a long requested supernatural horror film, that has just gotten a Black Friday limited release from Vinegar Syndrome. The film which tells the tale of a woman who is the latest in a line of women in her family to be possessed by a demon.  The film is a total blast of violent, cheesy, sleazy, horror fun, and I cannot think of anyone that likes 80's genre cinema that wouldn't have a blast with this.


The Children (Vinegar Syndrome)


    This Troma title from the early 80's has been oft-requested for a Blu-ray upgrade, and now it has one courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome. When a group of children are driven through a cloud of toxic waste, they become undead zombies, that melt whomever they touch. The Blu-ray looks fantastic, and it comes with a solid extras slate.


Razorback (Umbrella Entertainment)


    Razorback is probably the greatest creature feature ever to come out of Australia (though the competition is not fierce). The film has needed a solid Blu-ray upgrade for some time, and Umbrella as the debut release of their Beyond Genres series decided to give this one a 4K scan, and load it up with excellent extras. Razorback has NEVER looked this good, and I have to recommend it.


Next of Kin (Umbrella Entertainment)


    Umbrella Entertainment has quite the solid year for genre cinema releasing. One of their finest being a Blu-ray release of the 1982 creeper Next of Kin. The film is a moody atmospheric piece that uses elements of the slasher combined with more a slow burn tone to create something truly special. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great, and is easy to recommend.


Silver Bullet (Umbrella Entertainment)


    Odd, that it's taken so long for Silver Bullet to get a Blu-ray, but here it is. This film which adapts Stephen King's illustrated novella Cycle of the Werewolf is one of the best werewolf films of the 80's and fortunately, is starting to see the appreciation it's due.


Eyeball (88 Films Blu-ray)

My hands down favorite home media release of 2018 was the extras filled EYEBALL. This is a great giallo showing Umberto Lenzi at the top of his game and 88 Films doesn’t disappoint with a packed release. This is a release that is perfect for the horror fan in your family. You could explore it’s wonders for days. - Tyler Miller


GRIZZLY (88 Films Blu-ray)

I love a good killer animal movie, and GRIZZLY is one of the best to cash in on JAWS’ Success. This disc is packaged with goodies, and a out of this world transfer. Christopher George in HD baby. If you love the Drive-in as much as me, then you need to pick this up ASAP. - Tyler Miller


Hansel and Gretel (88 Films Blu-ray)

88 films does it again with a release of one of the spookiest Korean horror thrillers. This movie is a feast for the eyes with some surreal nightmare imagery. The transfer is so crisp in fact that you can make out the smallest details. If you like scary fairy tales then you owe it to yourself to seek this one out. - Tyler Miller

SUPER INFRAMAN (88 Films Blu-ray)

Shaw Brother’s ode to Ultraman and other Japanese superheroes is here in the perfect Blu-ray upgrade. This is one of the wildest films the company ever released and every moment is ready to be rediscovered on shiney Blu disc. - Tyler Miller








Ingmar Bergman's Cinema (Criterion)


    I have been basically begging Criterion for about a decade to just release Bergman's Silence of God Trilogy (Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, The Silence). I was beginning to think I'd never see those 3 in HD, and then this happened. This is a comprehensive box set of 39 Ingmar Bergman films (not quite all of them, but close). It has the Silence of God Trilogy, and all the Bergman classics from the Seveth Seal and Wild Strawberries to later work like Fanny and Alexander, as well as films that have never been released to a digital format like the director's 1950's drama Brink of Life. If the films in the collection weren't enough the set is loaded up with extras, and a book that is over 200 pages long to accompany the films in the set. This is without a doubt the best release of 2018, and possibly the one to beat as far a Blu-ray releases go in general. I cannot recommend this enough.

Baal (Criterion)


    From the director of the Tin Drum, Volker Schlondorff, comes Baal. A film adaptation of a play by Bertolt Brecht. The film itself ends up as a collaboration between two of the New German Cinema's finest with Schlondorff directing an early in his own career R.W. Fassinbder.

Mishima (Criterion)


    Mishima may be one of Paul Schraeer's finest works. It is a biopic based on Japanese playwright and author Yukio Mishima. However, rather than a straightforward story, Schrader uses Mishima's biography, and his fictional works to create something truly beautiful, and unique in the genre. The Blu-ray is scanned in 4k, and really just makes this one truly look better than ever.


Elevator to the Gallows


    Though Louis Malle was never considered among the French New Wave auteurs who started their careers in the late 50's, Elevator to the Gallows was released just as that movement was starting, and oddly feels like it would fit right at home among some of the works commonly associated with that movement. Criterion put out Elevator to the Gallows on DVD around 2006, so it has been a long time waiting for an upgrade, but here it is looking more fantastic than ever with a nice extras slate.


Sisters (Criterion)


    Brian DePalma's early feature film takes elements from the burgeoning slasher film genre, and mixes it with the Hitchcock-ian style suspense thrillers DePalma would become known for. The film could also be considered the first DePalma film that truly felt like he would beginning to develop somewhat a style. His early films like the Wedding Party and Greetings feeling tonally different from anything he would do from this point forward. Sisters has already seen a Blu-ray release from Arrow Video a few years back, but this is a new 4k scan and transfer approved by De Palma and looks it.


Andrei Rublev (Criterion)


    I have waited years for a Region A Blu-ray of Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev to be released. It is one of the last films of Tarkovsky's, sadly, tiny filmography to be released, and Criterion has made it worth the wait including 2 cuts of the epic film, and loading it up with extras.


True Stories (Criterion)

    This is essentially one of the other Blu-ray events of the year. David Byrne's solo narrative feature film directing credit takes us to the fictional town of Virgil, TX. Which is preparing for their Celebration of Specialness. The film doesn't really have a clear narrative, like the later Slacker it tends to dip in and out of characters and situations accompanied by a David Byrne soundtrack and cinematography by Ed Lachman. The Blu-ray is amazingly well restored, and has a CD soundtrack accompanying it.


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (BBC)


     Douglas Adams changed my life, and it was through this version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy I was first exposed to his work. This Blu-ray contains the 1980 6 episode adaptation of Adams career defining work. Obviously, it was shot SD so visuals are only incrementally improved, but it has less compression and a new scan so things are looking better than the prior DVD edition. Further, it's packed with extra features new and old.


Last Movie (Arbelos)


    For their debut Blu-ray release Arbelos has dropped a proverbial bomb in the room with their Blu-ray of the Last Movie. The Last Movie is the 2nd film by Dennis Hopper riding off his success on Easy Rider. Taking influence from Godard and the French New Wave, Hopper created something too bizarre for mass consumption and it has barely been seen over the last 40+ years. Now, Arbelos has released it restored for new audiences to find. 








Project A Collection/Police Story Collection/City Hunter (Eureka)


    Eureka have become one of the saviors of martial arts cinema on Blu-ray with their 2018 slate containing quite a few martial arts classics specifically Iron Monkey. But also these 5 Jackie Chan films, 4 of which have seen bargain Blu-ray releases, but nothing on the scale of what we have here.  Project A 1 and 2 and Policy Story 1 and 2 come in 2 series specific box sets with restorations that really bring out the original look of these films. City Hunter is a stand alone release, and not exactly a Chan classic, but still a fun film with plenty of action that makes the purchase certainly worth it.


WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (Eureka! Masters of Cinema Series)

Billy Wilder was one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. So seeing him take on the work of Agatha Christie with a all star cast is the stuff of magic. Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power, and Elsa Lanchester all deliver star making perfromaces in one of the most entertaining courtroom dramas. The disc is packed with extras and a excellent commentary by Kat Ellinger. -Tyler Miller


NO WAY OUT (Eureka! Masters of Cinema series)

This 1950 Film noir is one of the most off beat and exciting of the whole subgenre. Sidney Poitier makes a thrilling first screen appearance as a Black doctor in a racist town, and how a race riot starts around him. This is brilliant filmmaking on all accounts. A gem waiting to be rediscovered on this handsome Blu-ray disc with plenty of extras to make it a essential purchase. -Tyler Miller


A Trip to the Moon (Flicker Alley)


    A Trip to the Moon could be truly considered the first film to show what cinema would do as far as the science fiction genre is concerned.   Flicker Alley has gorgeously restored the film in HD, and included a documentary called The Extraordinary Voyage about Melies


3-D Rarities (Flicker Alley)

     Flickey Alley alongside the 3-D Film Archive have issued this wonderful collection. This contains 22 short films ranging from 2 to 10 minutes each that are from the earliest days of 3D experimentation in cinema. The set is broken up into 2 collections and put into chronological order. The set plays in 3-D using 3-D Blu-ray players, but is also watchable in standard 2D.


L'Inhumaine (Flicker Alley)


     Marcel L'Herbie's early silent effort L'Inhumaine has come to Blu-ray via Flicker Alley with a splendid restoration. The film is one of the earliest examples of the decline and fall of a star that I can think of, and feels like it could be a wonderful companion piece to Billy Wilder's later Sunset Boulevard. Extras include a documentary that discusses the life and career of Marcel L'Herbie  with a specific focus on this film.


Behind the Door (Flicker Alley)


    Irvin Willat's 1919 effort Behind the Door also has recently seen a marvelous release from Flicker Alley. This film is an early example of revenge cinema in a story about a man who goes to war, and finds himself fighting for more than just his country when his wife who snuck aboard his ship is kidnapped by the German military.


Long Strange Trip (Warner)


    This recent documentary about the Grateful Dead is 4 hours long and produced by Martin Scorsese (These 2 facts do not really relate). The film takes a deep dive into the career and lives of the band, and also their societal and social impact.


Saved by the Bell – Complete Collection


    This DVD collection by Shout! Factory contains every single episode of Saved by the Bell and Saved by the Bell – The College Years, alongside the early Good Morning, Miss Bliss episodes. There is also a significant amount of extras including lots of documentaries and featurettes that go deep on the show and it's history.


First Reformed (Lionsgate)


    I'll admit that as much as I love certain Paul Schraeder films, his work is hit or miss, so I always go into a new Schraeder film with an open mind, but also zero expectations. That's why I was incredibly surprised by First Reformed which may be the director/screenwriters finest work in well over a decade. The film which plays out like a modern update of Bergman's Winter Light, is grounded by an excellent lead performance by Ethan Hawke (The Before Trilogy).








Ant-Man and the Wasp (Disney)


    Avengers: Infinity War had everyone's attention as far as superhero films are concerned this year. And honestly, it deserved the attention, it was that good.  With that being said, I feel the epic feel of Infinity War, coupled with how it smashed box office records set Ant-Man and the Wasp for failure. The film, however, is an excellent entry into the MCU. This one isn't a fight to save the world, it's a smaller scale adventure that is just fun, and a reminder of why comic books and superheroes are fun to begin with. The Blu-ray also happens to be out in time for the holidays.



Pixar Shorts Collection Vol. 3 (Disney)


    Pixar is known for their stellar 3D animated features, but they are also very well known for the short films that play before them. This 3rd collection of Pixar short films takes the shorts that played before their most recent crop of features, and puts them into one place for fans to enjoy with ease.


Ancient Aliens - 10th Anniversary Collection


Ancient Aliens the 10th anniversary collection takes 135 episodes of the extremely popular History Channel series, and put them in one place for fans to enjoy. It's also priced to own with an MSRP of $99, which is much cheaper than buying the series individually.


Ash Vs. Evil Dead – Complete Series


    Most fans had probably given up on seeing a sequel to Army of Darkness after the Evil Dead remake was released. Fortunately, Sam Raimi and company decided to revisit the world of the Evil Dead with this phenomenal, fun, and violent series that checks up with Ash 2 decades after Army of Darkness (though that one doesn't get mentioned in the series) as he squares off against the Deadites which have returned once again. This set collects all 3 series in one place, and is a must buy for Evil Dead fans.


Black Sails – Complete Series (Starz/Lionsgate)


    Black Sails could be considered Game of Thrones on the sea. The series is a pirate-centric affair that combines an interesting story that is basically a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. The Blu-ray set brings together all 4 seasons in a solid package with great HD Video and Audio.


Transformers 5 Film Collection (Paramount)


    Just in time for the holidays and also to coincide with the release of Bumblebee, Paramount has put out a box set of all 5 Transformers films in one UHD/Blu-ray package for fans looking to upgrade, or just get them all in one place.


Mission Impossible – 6 Film Collection (Paramount)


    The Tom Cruise starring Mission Impossible series started out as a singular decent Brian DePalma film, followed by 2 sequels that did not quite measure up regardless of the pedigree of the filmmakers brought aboard. However, the last 3 MI films have been touch notch action blockbusters that are becoming must see films for their genre. Paramount has collected the full series for this release making it easy to jump right in.


TKO – The Takeshi Kitano Collection (Film Movement)


     Takeshi Kitano is one of the great directors of the last 25 years to come out of Japan. His films have not always been easy to acquire for western audiences. Film Movement recently has helped fix that for American fans, releasing 4 of his films including his early work Boiling Point, Violent Cop, and Hana-Bi.  They have also released his recent Outrage Coda. This box set, however, includes Hana-Bi, Violent Cop, and Boiling Point for those who haven't picked them up previously and want them in a set.


Big Lebowski – UHD Special Edition (Universal)


   Big Lebowski needs no introduction. This Coen Brothers classic is one of the best comedies of the 1990's, and has maintained a reputation for over 20 years. Now Universal has put it out in a UHD collection (with Blu-ray) that also features a bowling bag, bowling ball, and a sweater to keep the UHD case warm.









Patlabor – Ultimate Collection (Section 23)


    I can't think of another anime collection to come out this year that is better than this Patlabor box set. This set contains every bit of Patlabor you could possibly want. All 3 movies, the 2 OVA series, and the full television series. All gorgeously restored, and highly recommended.


Princess Principal – Complete Collection (Section 23)


    Princess Principal is definitely one of those series not to judge by the name. The show follows a group of spies in the U.K. Living under the guise of students at the Queen's Mayfair School. The series is an excellently written and animated espionage series that is all too easy to get caught up in. The Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic, and brings the steampunk cityscapes of the show to lush HD life.


Aura Battler Dunbine (Section 23)


    This series created by Gundam overlord Yoshiyuki Tomino is an excellent early 80's anime that combines the mecha action Tomino is known for with high fantasy and acts almost as precursor to series like Escaflowne that would come later. The Section 23 Blu-ray is nicely restored with both Japanese and English tracks, but no extras. Still it's a fun series and comes easily recommended.


Made In Abyss – Complete Collection (Section 23)


    Made in Abyss follows Riko a young girl in a society built around a giant chasm that people dive into for riches and adventure. Her Mother gets lost in the chasm, and Riko follows behind to help save her. The series is a lot of fun as Riko and a robot friend she made brave the abyss. The Blu-ray from Section 23 looks and sounds excellent, but is limited in extras.


Hitorijime My Hero (Section 23)


     Hitorijime My Hero is a boy's love anime that doesn't exactly break new ground in the genre, but is an interesting character driven experience. There is not much to the story, but the characters are quite decent and evolve over the course of the anime. The series Blu-ray reflects the look of the show accurately, and should please fans coming into the series for the first time.


Cowboy Bebop – The Movie: Knocking on Heaven's Door (Funimation)


    Just in time for the holidays comes one of the most classic pieces of anime, period. Cowboy Bebop has been on Blu-ray before through Umbrella and Image entertainment, but Funimation up the quality of at least the Image release, and add some solid extras.


Starblazers 2199 Parts 1 and 2 (Funimation)


    Although about 4 years old at this point this remake of Space Battleship Yamato is probably the best anime I've seen this year, if not decade. This remake hits familiar plot-points from the original, and is very close to the mark in that regard with some minor changes. The Blu-ray looks and sounds truly exceptional and is way too easy to recommend.








The Teenage Slasher Movie Book (CompanionHouse Books)


     The Teenager Slasher Movie book is an easy to read history about slasher films, the pre-cursors to them like giallo and krimi films, and the direction they are taking now. The book is written by The Hysteria Continues J.A. Kerswell, who makes the book, a short, easy, and fun read.


Penguin Horror Classics (Penguin Classic)


    Netflix's the Haunting of Hill House has been one of the most effective and solid genre series to come out in recent years. However, I have found a good many fans, know from the credits it is adapted from the work of Shirley Jackson, while being largely unfamiliar with her work as a whole.

    As it turns out Penguin Classics has a good number of paperback editions that are sure to bring new fans to the author. They include the Haunting of Hill House, Dark Tales, and We Have Always Lived in this Castle.   In the run-up to the holidays we have nabbed a number of horror related Penguin Classics that are sure to please Hill House fans such as Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti, and The Penguin Book of the Undead which takes a historical approach to the history of the undead in literature. Of course, for ghost and fans of the fantastic the series also includes seminal works by Arthur Machen, M.R. James and more.


Ad Nauseum (1984 Publishing)


     Ad Nauseum is written by former Fangoria scribe Michael Gingold who should be very familiar to horror fans. This book uses the Newsprint ads to promote horror films in the 80's as a template to give a history of 80's horror, and how it was marketed. Very interesting read, and definitely recommended.


We Sold Our Souls/My Best Friend's Exorcism (Quark Books)


    Grady Hendrix made our list last year with his phenomenal non-fiction work Paperbacks from Hell. This year the horror author who is becoming a fast favorite is back with a heavy metal, conspiracy thriller with a horror over tone called We Sold Our Souls. For the metalhead in me that refuses to die, the film had a certain nostalgic quality that took me in, but the story about a former metal guitarist trying to get revenge on the bandmate that screwed up her life compelled me on.  My Best Friend's Exorcism is another winner from Hendrix that is one part horror, one part story about friendship, and a nice nostalgic dip back into the 80's. I guess I need to go back and get Horrorstor now.


The Dr. Phibes Companion (Bear Manor Press)

    Justin Humphrey's the Dr. Phibes companion is an amazing look into 2 of the most interesting films in Vincent Price's late career period, and some wonderfully unique horror cinema. The book is highly readable, but offers depth never shown to these 2 films before, and is easily recommended to fans of the Phibes films and Vincent Price.


SUSPIRIA: Motion Picture Soundtrack.

One of the great surprises was Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s witchcraft masterpiece. While the film was polarizing to most viewers, there is no deining how breathtaking Thom Yorke’s musical score is. This soundtrack is a essential purchase for movie score fans and lovers of Radiohead. Haunting and sure to be stuck in your head for days. My favorite track is “Unmade”.  - Tyler Miller


Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.

John Carpenter returns to compose one of the year’s best films. This score is filled with nods to the 1978 original, but its wild beast with some scary beats. This is Carpenter at the top of his game. “The Shape Hunts Allyson” and “The Shape Returns” are the two songs to check out first.  - Tyler Miller



    As we have done every year that we this guide is existed we are doing a massive Blu-ray giveaway that takes items from the guide itself and elsewhere to create a prize pack of the year's best Blu-ray releases.

This year we have 2 stacks to giveaway thanks to our contest sponsors Blue Underground, Severin Films, Funimation, Disney, Flicker Alley and Film Movement.


Prize Pack # 1 contains


Zombie (Blue Underground)

The Unborn (Scream Factory)

The Seventh Sign (Scream Factory)

Anthropophagus (Funimation)

As the Gods Will (Funimation)

Servamp (Funimation)

Handa-Kun (Funimation)

Taboo Tattoo (Funimation)


Joker Game (Funimation)

3-D Rarities (Flicker Alley)


Prize Pack #2 contains


Absurd (Severin)

Ant-Man and the Wasp (Disney)

Maniac (Blue Underground)

The Seventh Sign (Scream Factory)

I Am A Hero (Funimation)

Mobile Suit Gundam – Iron Blooded Orphans Pt. 1 (Funimation)

Seraph of the End – Season 1 (Funimation)

Tsukiuta (Funimation)

A Trip to the Moon (Funimation)


Also included with both are a handful of recent releases from Film Movement.


So how do you win? Just send with the subject “Holiday Giveaway 2018”, included your name and address as well as your favorite Blu-ray release of 2018. Contest Ends 12/10/18.