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Review: This week’s releases are intentionally disturbing

This week’s releases include an idyllic nightmare; an unbelievable story; & a series of horror vignettes

A scene from 'Don't Worry Darling'
A scene from 'Don't Worry Darling' courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
A scene from 'Don't Worry Darling' courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

This week’s releases include an idyllic nightmare; the unbelievable story behind the story; a series of horror vignettes; the joining of many genres; even more movies about a sex symbol; and a scary holiday classic.

Alienoid on Blu-ray
Well Go USA

Alienoid (Blu-ray)
While seeking a legendary, time-bending blade, two Goryeo-era shamans cross paths with modern-era people hunting down a dangerous alien concealed inside a human’s body.

In the bonus features, writer-director Choi Dong-hoon talks about wanting to make a movie that would’ve appealed to his younger self. Hence, he’s made an action, sci-fi, fantasy picture about time-travelling aliens, ancient magic and an unconventional family unit. There’s a lot of CGI as people morph into robots and vice versa, and particulate beings possess humans bodies. There’s a lot happening, so paying attention is key, but it’s relatively easy to follow along, even as the characters change forms and time periods. What’s most annoying is the movie appears to have a major climax, only to end on a cliff-hanger. There’s a brief mid-credit sequence, but still many unanswered questions.

Special features include: making-of featurette; character trailer; and trailer. (Well Go USA)

Black Christmas on 4K
Scream Factory

Black Christmas (4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray)
The college town of Bedford is receiving an unwelcome guest this Christmas. As the residents of sorority house Pi Kappa Sig prepare for the festive season, a demonic stranger begins to stalk the house. A series of grisly obscene phone-calls start to plague the residents of the sorority and soon they will each meet their fate at the hands of the psychotic intruder. As the police try to trace the calls, they discover that nothing is as it seems.

This classic Canadian horror movie was a precursor to the modern day slasher genre and the inspiration for holiday-themed murder sprees, including John Carpenter‘s Halloween. Director Bob Clark carefully constructed a frightening picture, combining every element from the lighting to first-person camera point-of-view to sound effects to the creepy voice on the telephone to create an experience audiences would remember and, as time has shown, return to regularly. There’s a little bit of comedy sprinkled throughout to occasionally lighten the mood, but it’s definitely aiming to scare without grossing people out as most of the kills are performed off-screen and left to the viewers’ imaginations. This high-def release also features insightful new interviews with actors Art Hindle and Lynne Griffin, as well as footage from a recent comic con reunion.

Special features include: commentary by director Bob Clark; commentary with actors John Saxon and Keir Dullea; commentary with Billy (actor Nick Mancuso); audio interview with director Bob Clark; “Film and Furs — Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle”; “Victims And Virgins — Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin”; “Black Christmas Legacy”; 40th anniversary panel at FanExpo 2014 featuring John Saxon, Art Hindle, Lynne Griffin and Nick Mancuso; “On Screen!: Black Christmas”; “12 Days Of Black Christmas”; “Black Christmas Revisited”; archival interviews with Olivia Hussey, Art Hindle, Margot Kidder, Bob Clark, and John Saxon; midnight screening Q&A With Bob Clark, John Saxon and Carl Zittrer; two scenes with a new vocal soundtrack; original theatrical trailers (English And French); original TV and radio spots; alternative title sequences; and still gallery. (Scream Factory)

Blonde The Marilyn Stories on DVD
Film Chest Media Group

Blonde: The Marilyn Stories (DVD)
This new compilation depicts various aspects of Marilyn Monroe’s complicated character and career during a life cut tragically short. Included are two docudrama films — Blonde (2001) a two-part, fictionalized biopic, and Marilyn and Me (1991), a dramatic feature — and Goodbye Norma Jean (1976), the first-ever exploitative biopic, originally deemed a questionable release due to its salacious nature.

Netflix’s 2022 feature, starring Ana de Armas, paved the way for this collection of Marilyn Monroe movies, which vary in quality and content. The 2001 feature, which is also based on Joyce Carol Oates’ detailed but exaggerated account of the film star’s brief life, has a star-studded cast, including Ann-Margret, Kirstie Alley, Jensen Ackles, Eric Bogosian and Titus Welliver. The storylines remain very similar, though there are some different directorial choices, particularly in relation to the depiction of the rape and sex scenes. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, is the salacious exploitation picture that uses its poorly-trained actors to portray Monroe as an insatiable vixen and porn star. There’s also another autobiographical movie and two documentaries, each trying to capture her light and potential.

Special features include: two documentaries, Marilyn (1986), a documentary short with Mike Wallace, and The Legend of Marilyn Monroe (1967), narrated by John Huston and featuring Lauren Bacall; footage of Marilyn’s first-ever television appearance; a photo gallery; and trivia. (Film Chest Media Group)

Creepshow Season 3 on Blu-ray
RLJE Films & Shudder

Creepshow: Season 3 (Blu-ray)
A comic book comes to life in a series of vignettes, exploring terrors ranging from murder, creatures, monsters, and delusions to the supernatural and unexplainable. You never know what will be on the next page.

As per usual, each of the six episodes consists of two stories with comic bookends and several appearances by The Creep. Most of this season’s tales are mediocre, ranging from a man haunted by a demon to a grotesque Hollywood prop museum to a giant arachnid to a vengeful mother and son. However, there are some highlights. The chapter featuring a WWII armoire with a mystical power hits all the right notes, while a rare painting teaches its buyer a hard lesson and an ordinary man takes on a supernatural burden in a world where demonic possessions spread like the plague. The best, however, is a tie-in to George Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead, in which a small town finds a way to use the outbreak to its advantage.

Special features include: Amazon’s Comic-Con@Home Panel interview with Greg Nicotero, Mattie Do, Rusty Cundieff, Michael Rooker, and James Remar, moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Clark Collis; behind-the-scenes raw footage; behind-the-scenes photo gallery; and comic art booklet. (RLJE Films & Shudder)

Don't Worry Darling on 4K
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Don’t Worry Darling (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles) are lucky to be living in the idealized community of Victory, the experimental company town housing the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. The 1950’s societal optimism espoused by their CEO, Frank (Chris Pine) — equal parts corporate visionary and motivational life coach — anchors every aspect of daily life in the tight-knit desert utopia. While the husbands spend every day inside the Victory Project Headquarters, their wives get to spend their time enjoying the beauty, luxury and debauchery of their community. Life is perfect, with every resident’s needs met by the company. All they ask in return is discretion and unquestioning commitment. But when cracks in their idyllic life begin to appear, Alice can’t help questioning exactly what they’re doing in Victory and why.

If life has taught us anything, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Everyone appears to be living a picture-perfect life in a quaint little town — except for the odd hiccup, like a neighbour having a nervous breakdown, an unexplained accident or groceries acting strangely. But why is everyone so secretive and… happy? The truth is not exactly what one would expect and definitely more nefarious than it appears at first glance, which is what makes the last act so riveting. In spite of the ridiculous rumours that plagued the film’s release, director Olivia Wilde delivers a picture that keeps viewers on their toes, even as some questions are answered and others may never be.

Special features include: making-of featurette; and deleted scene. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

The Offer on DVD
Paramount Home Entertainment

The Offer (DVD)
Al Ruddy (Miles Teller), a Hollywood outsider, starts as a programmer & ends up producing one of the greatest films of all time: The Godfather. Over the course of the production, Ruddy, along with his assistant Bettye McCartt (Juno Temple) and director Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler), contend with all the problems of a making a movie: from battles over casting & scripting, to the involvement of the real-life mafia. Paralleling Ruddy’s rise is the ascent of crime boss Joe Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi) & the Italian-American Civil Rights League, which condemns Mario Puzo’s (Patrick Gallo) bestselling novel. Ruddy’s film adaptation puts him & Colombo on a collision course that will ultimately make or break the movie. Hanging in the balance is Paramount Pictures, a last place studio on the verge of being scrapped by parent company Gulf & Western. Robert Evans (Matthew Goode), the iconic studio executive, gambles on The Godfather to save Paramount and put it where it belongs: at the top.

For fans of The Godfather movie, this series is a must-watch. Rarely focusing on what occurred in front of the camera, it details the bizarre journey from script to screen. There’s moments one would never believe unfolded, including dealings with the real-life mafia, not-so-subtle threats to the production, negotiations for the now iconic roles and horrible movie poster art. Even though we know who was casted, how the movie turned out and the long careers of those involved, it’s all still completely enthralling. The hoops the producers jumped through to make it happen are beyond impressive, while Coppola and Puzo’s collaboration is awe-inspiring. This is truly the Wild West of filmmaking at its height and watching this series will only increase one’s appreciation for the final product.

Special features include: deleted scenes; and behind-the-scenes featurette. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

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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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