Mill Creek Entertainment announced its first wave of priced-to-collect DVD and Blu-ray product offerings this past week. This first group arrives at retail outlets on Aug. 7 … and you can expect more announcements to follow.
Leading the way is writer/director Sasha Louis Vukovic’s sci-fi thriller, Flora, which will be making its domestic home entertainment debut as a special edition Blu-ray release (complete with Digital Copy).
It is, by all measurements, a beautiful summer in Québec. It’s 1929 and the stock market crash is not yet a blip on the radar and all of the modern technology that would populate a film set in the here-and-now hasn’t been invented yet. This makes Vukovic’s Flora very much a kindred spirit to Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock … mysterious, foreboding and yet beautiful and picturesque.
Into the forest six university students go (which genre fans will recognize as the “victim pool”), where they are to meet their professor for some field research. It’s more or less a beautiful, even tranquil, camping trip.
The professor, however, is nowhere to be found. And the tranquility of the setting becomes more mysterious by the minute. At this time of year you would expect mosquitoes the size of small birds … and gnats and deer flies galore. But the forest is quiet, no bugs, none. No animals either. And the group’s canoe trip down the river was without fish in the stream.
Six college students, without “modern” technology, alone in the woods … there are no monsters, no big foot creature or rampaging bear. Just the forest, and they soon learn it, the beautiful forest, is the “creature!!!”
A moody soundtrack and some marvelous cinematography work by Eric Irvin (his first feature film) add to allure of Flora.
Bonus features include commentary with writer/director Sasha Louis Vukovic (his debut), who is joined by actors Teresa Marie Doran and Dan Lin (who also co-produced the film), deleted scenes and a “Behind-the-Scenes” featurette.
Also getting a Blu-ray push on Aug. 7 is the horror-double feature being promoted as Psycho Biddy Double Feature.
Priced at just $14.98 (and that’s before discounts at retail) are two chop’em horror classics from the 1960s starring Joan Crawford. First up is Crawford starring in director William Castle’s 1964 thriller, Strait-Jacket, which was the third of a four-picture deal that he had struck with Columbia Pictures during the period.
We know from the opening sequences that Crawford’s character, Lucy Harbin, is an ax-murderer. She came home from a business trip and discovered her husband (an un-credited Lee Majors in his film debut) in bed with another woman and snaps. Chop! Chop!! Chop!!!
Jump ahead 20 years and we find Lucy released from the nut house and returning home to reunite with her grown daughter, Carol (Diane Baker), who has made something of a name for herself locally as an artist. She also has her sights on a local named Michael (John Anthony Hayes), who comes from a wealthy family. Geeze, what are the chances that Carol’s plans can come true if her crazy mother is on the prowl?
Lucy is her mother, like it or not, so she tries to spruce her up a bit. Of course, as with any good William Castle film from the period, you can take it to the bank that the ax murders will start again and it is up to you, the audience, to figure out who is hacking up the locals!!!
Teamed with Strait-Jacket is Crawford in director Jim O'Connolly’s 1968 circus-themed thriller, Berserk.
Here she stars as Monica Rivers, a circus owner, whose acts begin dropping dead, which she cavalierly boasted would be “good for business” when the Gaspar the Great fell to his death from the high wire. Is she killing her own performers to up the attraction of coming to the circus? On Aug. 7 pick up this Blu-ray double-feature from Mill Creek Entertainment and find out for yourself.
Round out this first wave of Blu-ray and DVD selections during the month of August are two complete television series collections.
We begin with Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan starring in the TV series, Masters of Sex, which over four-seasons (46 episodes) chronicled the 1950s-era research on human sexuality by Masters and Johnson — Sheen as Dr. William Howell Masters and Caplan as Virginia Ellis Johnson.
The other complete series heading home as both DVD and Blu-ray sets is the Chicago-based sitcom titled Happy Endings … all three seasons (57 episodes) starring the ensemble cast of Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr. and Casey Wilson are included here.