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Review: This week’s releases reach into the archives (Includes first-hand account)

Body Cam (DVD & Digital copy)

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Paramount Home Entertainment

While investigating the bizarre murder of a fellow officer, veteran Renee Lomito (Mary J. Blige) discovers a mysterious figure in their body cam footage. Haunted by visions of the event, she suspects something supernatural is targeting the cops in her unit. Now, in a race against time to find the one person she thinks can stop these killings, Renee uncovers a sinister secret among the police force surrounding the shooting and cover up of an unarmed youth.

With all the controversy surrounding police officers and body cam footage, it’s not entirely surprising that someone would extrapolate the narrative to a horror picture since the genre has been used to express social commentary for decades. In this instance, cops are being brutally murdered by a shadowy figure. At first glance, it appears to be to protect a mysterious woman who seems to end up in a lot of sketchy situations, but as Renee continues to investigate she finds an even more disturbing connection. One hopes the last act is an extreme version of reality, but audiences will likely still find it quite devastating. The murders by an invisible assailant are well-executed (pun intended), while the story unfolds at a pace that suits the thriller.

There are no special features. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Clueless 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray & Digital copy)

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Paramount Home Entertainment

Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is a 15-year-old Beverly Hills High School student who thrives on shopping, enjoys the perfect social life, and plays matchmaker to all her friends. What Cher discovers is that popularity only gets you so far, looks can be deceiving and love is sometimes found where you least expect it.

In 1995, Amy Heckerling brought the definitive Valley girl to the big screen by adapting Jane Austen’s 1815 novel, Emma. Phrases, such as “As if” and “Whatever,” were suddenly staples of a teenager’s vocabulary. It made Silverstone a teen star and was the first time most people were charmed by Paul Rudd. Cher’s computerized, incredibly stocked closet was something to envy and admire, and Tai’s spunky spirit is a beautiful way to remember Brittany Murphy. Being able to recite lines, or even sections, from the picture was almost a given in the late ’90s. And the soundtrack was an adolescent anthem of high energy indie rock, including The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt.

Special features include: “Clue or False Trivia Game”; “The Class of ‘95”; “Creative Writing with writer/director Amy Heckerling”; “Fashion 101”; “Language Arts”; “Suck ‘n Blow — A Tutorial”; “Driver’s Ed”; “We’re History”; “Stories from the Cast and Crew”; and trailers. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Eye See You (Blu-ray)

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MVD Visual

A brutal serial killer is targeting cops and FBI agent Jake Malloy (Sylvester Stallone) is on the warpath. But now the killer is making it personal, and this dedicated agent is twisted in an emotional nightmare. Time is running out, and so are the options, as Malloy engages in an extreme game of cat-and-mouse with a killer who won’t be stopped.

This movie takes the typical cat-and-mouse narrative and transfers it from the city to an isolated, snowy backdrop from which there is no escape. When the killer goes after those close to Jake, he spirals until a friendly officer convinces him to check into a rehab facility specifically for law enforcement. There, he’s surrounded by a highly damaged group of cops who should probably never be allowed to even carry a badge again. Unfortunately, the killer has infiltrated the remote centre and is taking out its vulnerable residents. Of course, Jake’s self-inflicted drama is quickly set aside when he tasks himself with catching the killer who’s only here because of him. In addition to Stallone, much of the rest of the cast is recognizable, including Tom Berenger, Charles S. Dutton, Sean Patrick Flanery, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick and Jeffrey Wright.

Special features include: deleted scenes; “Detox”, director Jim Gillespie’s never before seen original version of the film under its original title; interviews with cast including Robert Patrick, Kris Kristofferson, Charles Dutton, Polly Draper, Robert Prosky, Christopher Fulford, Angela Alvarado Rosa and Jeffrey Wright; photo gallery; and theatrical trailer. (MVD Visual)

The Kiss of the Vampire [Collector’s Edition] (Blu-ray)

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Scream Factory

When a wrong turn leaves newlyweds Marianne and Gerald Harcourt (Jennifer Daniel and Edward de Souza) stranded in a remote Bavarian forest, they have no choice but to accept the hospitality of the hypnotic Dr. Ravna (Noel Willman), distinguished lord of a nearby castle. Ravna uses his “children” to lure the newlyweds to his lair, and soon they are plunged into a nightmare of horror and deception from which there may be no escape. Their only hope is Professor Zimmer (Clifford Evans), who calls upon an ancient ritual in a desperate attempt to destroy the vampires and free Marianne from Ravna’s power.

The beginning of this picture is quite jarring as the professor dispatches a would-be vampire in an abrupt and bloody fashion in the opening minutes. This film is a bit different from the other Hammer vampire tales as the victims are lured to the castle by those loyal to its undead master rather than the bloodsucking creature himself. Wined, dined and made welcome, they let down their guard and then the predator takes his prey. The movie then takes on a more familiar ruse as no one in town “remembers” Marianne and there’s, therefore, no reason to search for her. Zimmer comes to their rescue, explaining the unexplainable and facing down his enemy.

Special features include: commentary with author/film historian Steve Haberman and filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr; commentary with actors Edward De Souza and Jennifer Daniels, moderated by Peter Irving; TV version of the film with optional commentary by film historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson; additional scenes added to the TV version; “The Men Who Made Hammer: Composer James Bernard”; “The Men Who Made Hammer: Production Designer Bernard Robinson”; TV spot; and theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory)

Maniac (4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray)

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Blue Underground

Frank Zito (Joe Spinell) is a deeply disturbed man, haunted by the traumas of unspeakable childhood abuse. When these horrific memories begin to scream inside his mind, Frank prowls the seedy streets of New York City to stalk and slaughter innocent young women. Now Frank has begun a relationship with a beautiful photographer (Caroline Munro), yet his vile compulsions remain. These are the atrocities of a human monster, a.k.a. “Maniac.”

This is a splatter, slasher picture that features a human serial killer rather than a supernatural one, which made it scarier to many. Frank’s murders are brutal and primarily target women, while the men they are with are dispatched much quicker and usually first to contribute to his soon-to-be female victim’s terror. The killings are linked to a delusion involving mannequins that he adorns with his trophies and treats as if they were real. Tom Savini‘s special effects are great and include exploding his own head as he makes a cameo as one of Frank’s victims. The ending makes sense in relation to his delusions, while also providing a satisfying conclusion for audiences. This release comes with many bonus features, but some of the most intriguing are the vintage news reports condemning the film’s violence and misogyny.

Special features include: commentary with producer/director William Lustig and producer Andrew W. Garroni; commentary with producer/director William Lustig, special make-up effects artist Tom Savini, editor Lorenzo Marinelli, and Joe Spinell’s assistant Luke Walter; “Returning to the Scene of the Crime with William Lustig”; “Anna and the Killer,” interview with star Caroline Munro; “The Death Dealer,” interview with special make-up effects artist Tom Savini; “Dark Notes,” interview with composer Jay Chattaway; “Maniac Men,” interview with songwriters Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky; “The Joe Spinell Story”; “Maniac Controversy”; TV and radio spots; and theatrical trailers. (Blue Underground)

Zombie (4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray)

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Blue Underground

Strangers searching for a young woman’s missing father arrive at a tropical island where a doctor desperately seeks the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead.

Director Lucio Fulci’s film was positioned as a sequel to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, but he really makes this version of the classic monster his own. There are several memorable scenes as he aims to show the decay and grotesqueness of the undead. Unlike their American counterparts, not all of these corpses are fresh and many are crawling with maggots. It’s difficult to choose a favourite scene, but the top two are undoubtedly the slow depiction of someone’s eye being impaled and the underwater zombie vs. shark fight. Both scenes are expertly executed, cementing itself in viewers’ memories and securing the film a respected spot in the zombie category.

Special features include: commentary by Troy Howarth, Author of “Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films”; commentary by star Ian McCulloch and Diabolik magazine editor Jason J. Slater; intro by Guillermo del Toro; “When The Earth Spits Out The Dead”; “Zombie Wasteland”; “Flesh Eaters on Film”; “Deadtime Stories”; “World of the Dead”; “Zombi Italiano”; “Notes on a Headstone”; “All in the Family”; “Zombie Lover”; poster and still gallery; TV and radio spots; soundtrack; and collectable booklet. (Blue Underground)

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Written By

Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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