“Black Friday” and DVDs…

 

bf-blog

 

 

   This Friday morning (the day after Thanksgiving) will be what insane shoppers with the guts and stamina of Mongol warriors call “Black Friday”. To kick of the Holiday-buying season, various retailers like to run loss-leaders in the hopes of bringing in customers willing to part with their money. This year is no different, and some of the retailers have some discount discs to throw at you (if you don’t mind the very distinct possibility of losing and an appendage in the fray)…

 

 

   Walmart, on top of offering the cheapest Blu-Ray player yet with its $128 Magnavox, will have (they promise) “over 50 titles to choose from” at $2 apiece. No Public Domain stuff here; the six that they show in the ad are Spiderman 1 and 2; TMNT; Rush Hour 2; Rocky Balboa and Wedding Crashers. Every year they have something like this- last year they were $2.88 and had all kinds of genre titles so I’m guessing this year won’t be different. For two bucks each you can’t RENT THEM for that- even if you end up hating the movie after watching it you could still use the disc for a coaster; a mini-frisbee for your dog, or to hold up to the sun and blind your enemies with the reflection. They’re also going to have a bunch of new titles on Blu-Ray (Transformers; Iron Man 2-disc set; The Incredible Hulk; Kung Fu Panda) for $15 each and on regular DVD for $9. In addition, they will have titles like Spiderman 3; I Am Legend; The Notebook and 300 for $6, and Walmart’s “Special discs” (a feature movie with a bonus disc) for $10. Might be worth checking out if you’re not sleeping in…

 

   If you can find one that’s still open, Circuit City will have “over 200” DVDs and CDs priced at $3.99, with titles like Eragon; Daredevil; Fantastic 4; X-Men 2; V for Vendetta; Van Helsing and Domino among the many available. They’ll also have some $5.99 titles like Superbad; Transformers; The Bee Movie and Knocked Up and “50 more”. Best Buy (the GOOD Electronics Big Box Store) has for their featured DVDs a bunch at $4.99 like Pan’s Labyrinth; Hot Fuzz (OWN THIS MOVIE!); Borat and Dodgeball plus 50 or so more. For $9.99 you can have newer stuff like Forgetting Sarah Marshall; The Happening; Lost Boys 2 and Baby Mama…

 

 

   Sears and K-Mart (“Sears Lite”) with have some discount titles for $3.99 (Shrek 2; both Fantastic Four movies, etc. with “additional titles available”); $5.99 (The Simpsons Movie; Ice Age-The Meltdown; Night at The Museum, and again with “additional titles available”); and $9.99 (Incredible Hulk; You Don’t Mess with Zohan; Spiderman 3, and again- “additional titles available”). This Doorbuster is from 5am til Noon…

 

 

   Target has more Doorbuster DVDs for $3.98 each (Batman Begins; I Am Legend; Annie; Goonies; Gremlins; Happy Feet, and the “additional titles available” tag) and $5.98 each (Juno; Indiana Jones; Christmas Vacation; Madagascar; 27 Dresses and, guess what? “Additional titles available”)…

 

 

   Also- another reload of DVD Titles at Big Lots, in anticipation of Black Friday. Warner’s (and New Line Cinema) titles (with those horrible cardboard covers and the snapping plastic closure for the ones from Warner Brothers) have some goodies, including Creepshow; Nightmare on Elm Street (the original release- not the Special Infinifilm 2-disc set); Final Destination;  and THX-1138 to name a few. It’s a nice mix from the last roll-out of closeout DVDs; however a warning- unlike their previous discs, the distributor has seen fit the physically mark the cases as “cut-outs”; they’ve burned a line (as if someone took a hot iron) and singed the barcode on the back of the case. Usually companies would do this with record albums (remember those?) and laser discs; one of the reasons was to be able to quickly indentify the item as a bargain disc; the other reason was so customers wouldn’t buy the movies or music at the cut-out price then turn around and get full retail value at another store. Anyway, it’s pretty annoying but if you’d like copies for your own use for 3 bucks a shot and not for trading purposes or for gifting then you might want to check it out…

 

 

   Happy shopping, kids and good luck! Post any nice finds in the “Comments” section if you get a chance- share the wealth!

 

 

 

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Drive-in Cult Classics, Vol. 3

 

 

   (A little sidebar here- originally I had planned to write nothing during October (I felt that writing about Horror movies in October felt a little clichéd, and writing about NON-Horror flicks just didn’t fit. About the middle of the month I felt kinda bad about the decision, but laziness prevailed. Anyway, I have a whole stack of $1 DVDs that I could write years worth of reviews; I’ll probably end up rolling them out during the year and maybe saving some of the juicier ones for NEXT October)

 

 

   Today’s review is for a 4-disc, eight movie set called “Drive-in Cult Classics Vol. 3” released by BCI/Eclipse. It includes:

 

 

   * The Babysitter

   * Weekend with the Babysitter

   * The Pink Angels

   * Blood Mania

   * Single Room Furnished

   * Van Nuys Blvd.

   * The Pom Pom Girls

   * Malibu Beach

 

 

   Yeah, the whole set can be had for under $10 at your local Best Buy along with the first two Volumes (which means that they come in at something like a buck and change per flick- keeping in-line with the spirit of this blog), and, like the other sets, are a decidedly mixed bag. All the flicks included were made by Crown International– the “mini” independent that actually still maintains a web page (http://www.crownintlpictures.com/), but I don’t think that they’ve released a new picture in years. They’ve been busy supplying the budget DVD pipeline, however, as most of these have been released previously on disc in one form or another- either paired off with other flicks (Pom Pom Girls was on a double feature with The Van; Van Nuys was paired with the totally unrelated (and TOTALLY bad) Little Laura and Big John; Blood Mania was (some internet rumors complain) wholesale bootlegged on the “Horrible Horrors- Volume 2” 8 movie set released by Rhino). All but two were unleashed to drive-ins in the 70’s (The Babysitter was a 1969 release and Single Room Furnished was made in 1968). The other 2 sets were loosely-themed- Volume 1 was basically T & A flicks that would all fit in as first or second features at your local drive-in in the 1970’s; Volume 2 are all horror (well, in the case of They Saved Hitler’s Brain, ATTEMPTED horror); Volume 3 has no real theme and is all over the place. I’m just going to give brief overviews to save time…

 

 

   The Babysitter (1969) and Weekend with the Babysitter (1971) are both directed by Tom Laughlin in-between him kickin’ the crap out of people in Billy Jack flicks (he also starred as the pacifist butt-kicker), and have the same preachy, melodramatic patchwork style of pretty much everything he directs. Both are long on bad acting and short of real sleaze, I would give the nod to Weekend as a better flick only marginally, as it’s in color & anamorphic widescreen, and the first one is in a very weak full-frame transfer from a British PAL videotape (nice touch by the DVD Company though- they apologize for the less-than-stellar transfer right on the package, explaining that the original materials are in real poor shape and the tape was the best Master available)…

 

 

   Disc 2 leads with The Pink Angels (1971), a jokey motorcycle gang flick made at the very end of the Hogs-on-hogs craze. The big joke is the motley group is gay, but they’ll still come into your town to kick your ass and steal your makeup. If you ever catch the trailer (or the blurb written about it in The Golden Turkey Awards book) that should be enough to whet your appetite; as someone who sat through this slight and offensive mess I know that the joke goes on about 70 minutes too long. The Director (Robert Vincent O’Neil– who also helmed the other flick on this disc) went on to one of the most famous drive-in movies of the 80’s- Angel, starring the perky Donna Wilkes. The second side has Blood Mania (1970), a slow moving, talky drama that barely skirts the Horror tag with a seducer and a user who’s after a family inheritance. Junk, and not very good junk- but the transfer is much nicer than Rhino’s…

 

 

   On Disc 3 you have Single Room Furnished (1968), a sad coda to the movie career of Jayne Mansfield who died in a bloody car wreck prior to its release. Someone thought that it was a good idea for her to play three different gals (including, suspend disbelief here, a TEENAGER) in a melodrama about love and loneliness. Its stagey and static-y (it almost looks like a filmed play) and is almost coma-inducing when Jayne isn’t on- its not like she was in very good form in this, but did have an unmistakeable charm that occasionally flashes here. Her corpse-picking husband at the time (Matt Cimber) was the Director of this headache, and assembled it to push product through the Jayne pipeline. On the second side is Van Nuys Blvd (1979)., a late- 70’s T & A romp that follows a hayseed from the sticks to check out the lights and excitement of SoCal. It’s watchable and fun, with the right mix of topless gals and guy-jinx (and as a bonus, there’s a Director’s Commentary, which I have yet to listen to, but it’s a nice addition to a set this cheap)…

 

 

   The Last disc has probably the 2 most fun movies on the set- The Pom Pom Girls and Malibu Beach. I’ve reviewed Pom Pom (1976) in a previous blog- needless to say my opinion hasn’t changed; this version is an ever-so slightly cleaner transfer (and full-frame; but from what I gathered it wasn’t shot in widescreen). Malibu Beach (NOT to be confused with Malibu High, which is on the first Volume of these sets) was made in 1978 and is basically about a new lifeguard on the beach and the gals trying to vie for his attention. It’s cheap in appearance, but is pretty well acted (Kim Lankford, for example, went on to appear in the likes of Knots Landing) and a fun way to burn 90 minutes…

 

 

   So I would advise that, if you don’t own at least ½ of these already, to pick up this set. For the cost of one trip to the movies you get an authentic slice of the tacky drive-in experience to view anytime you’d like. And when someone points to the wide case on your shelf with the rear-view of the hippy chick on the spine and says “What the Hell is THAT”, give ‘em a taste of the way they USE to make movies…

 

 

 

   The Babysitter- 1-1/2* of 5

   Weekend with the Babysitter- 2* of 5

   The Pink Angels- 2* of 5

   Blood Mania- 1-1/2* of 5

   Single Room Furnished- 2* of 5

   Van Nuys Blvd.- 2-1/2* of 5

   The Pom Pom Girls- 3* of 5

   Malibu Beach- 3* of 5