Greed Runs Rampant in Our Home Video Pick of the Week

Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for December 15th, 2020!

This week’s home video selection includes gorgeous 4K updates for some genre classics, some new horror gems, a misfire from Christopher Nolan, and more. Check out our picks below.

Pick of the Week

Beasts Clawing at Straws

Beasts Clawing At StrawsWhat is it? A bag of money changes hands with a trail of blood in its wake.

Why see it? Thrillers about ordinary people who stumble into wealth and villainy are pretty common, and there are plenty of great ones. Well add this new South Korean gem into rotation as it delivers a compelling cast of characters, some bloody violence, and enough twists and turns to hold viewer attention through the the very last frame. (Hell, the end credits are also a pleasure to watch as they’re done with style.) There’s a sliver of black comedy here, but it’s the cruel hand of fate that hovers above it all, teasing hope and carnage equally.

[Extras: None]

The Best

Curse Of FrankensteinThe Curse of Frankenstein [Warner Archive]

What is it? All doctors are smart, but they ain’t all good.

Why see it? The story of Victor Frankenstein and his monster made from human parts is well told, but this late 50s Hammer entry stands apart by spending more time with the doctor as a character. We see him as a young man, watch his evolution into a scientist filled with curiosity, and see how that ambition and thirst for knowledge ultimately corrupts him. Peter Cushing is terrific here (surprise!), and the effort spent on character and atmosphere pays off once the horrors kick in and carnage ensues.

[Extras: New 4K remaster and restoration, commentary, featurettes]

The Dark and the Wicked

Dark And The WickedWhat is it? Guess what’s coming to dinner.

Why see it? Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers remains one of the more terrifying films in recent memory, but the rest of his filmography has been underwhelming to put it nicely. His latest, though, shows he’s more than a one-trick pony as he delivers one of the most unsettling descents into demonic horror of the past decade. It’s legit chilling and takes great advantage of sound design and lighting to scare the crap out of viewers. It’s also nihilistic as all hell, so plan your watch accordingly.

[Extras: Q&A]

Holiday Affair [Warner Archive]

Holiday AffairWhat is it? An act of kindness opens the door to love.

Why see it? Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh make for a charismatic and compelling couple to be in this romantic comedy classic. He’s broke, she’s looking for love, and common sense be damned the two of them hit it off. There’s a lightness here that comes with both warm humor and real heart, and decades later it remains a delightful watch around the holidays.

[Extras: Radio play]

Tremors [Arrow Video; 4K UaHD]

TremorsWhat is it? Still one of the best creature features!

Why see it? Tremors remains an absolute gem of a monster movie and one the most eminently re-watchable horror/comedies. The cast is perfection, much like the town, and the humor pervading the entire film is fresh, fun, and a lively complement to the creature action. Speaking of which, the practical effects used to bring the beasts to life are still aces making for a flick that doesn’t really age on that front the way too many films do. This new limited edition release from Arrow features the film looking better than ever thanks to its 4K upgrade. It looks fantastic, and the hard sleeve and booklet add to the release’s value.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentaries, documentary, interviews, deleted scenes, featurettes]

Vigilante [Blue Underground; 4K UaHD]

VigilanteWhat is it? A man fights back against crime.

Why see it? William Lustig’s tough and gritty action flick gets the 4K upgrade, and the results are sharp and beautiful — just like Blue Underground’s other 4K releases this year. They’re killing it. The movie itself remains a genre classic as Robert Forster and Fred Williamson fight back against thugs and killers, and it doesn’t shy away from some grim beats. Forster even spends a good chunk of the film in jail! The release comes packed with extras, both old and new, and it’s another definitive release from the label.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentaries, interviews]

The Wolf of Snow Hollow

Wolf Of Snow HollowWhat is it? A small town cop has a lot going on plus some animalistic murders.

Why see it? Jim Cummings shifts gears for his latest feature to deliver a werewolf tale that blends some carnage with some laughs. It’s all held together by a smart character study too that plays around with the werewolf theme in some fun and engaging ways. Cummings himself gives a great performance of a man who seems one-note in his anger but soon reveals layers that enrich both his character and the story. One of this year’s highlights.

[Extras: Featurettes]

The Rest

The Beach House

What is it? Two couples awake to a microbial apocalypse.

Why see it? Apocalyptic horror comes in all shapes and sizes, and this little indie comes at its story with a low-key atmosphere and some impending chills. It’s a slowburn as two couples spend a weird night together by the ocean only to wake up to a changed world outside. The real action of it all doesn’t kick in until late in the film, so it might be a struggle for some viewers, but the third act delivers some interesting visuals as the horrors come into focus.

[Extras: None]

Mister Roberts [Warner Archive]

What is it? The crew of a wartime supply ship faces ups and downs but no combat.

Why see it? John Ford directs this entertaining and soft-hearted World War II film that for many remains a classic. The cast is terrific with a lead performance by Henry Fonda and fantastic supporting turns by Jack Lemmon, James Cagney, and the always brilliant William Powell. Some parts of it play a bit rough these days, though — and should have played so back then too — as the seamen brag about ripping clothes off woman while their commanding officers laugh along. Not cool! But different times and all that. It’s a fun film with a sheen of pathos, and Warner Archive’s new Blu is a welcome addition.

[Extras: Screen-specific commentary by Jack Lemmon]


What is it? Nothing much.

Why see it? Christopher Nolan’s filmography is filled with imagination, massive thrills, and mesmerizing visuals, and while his stories can sometimes be deceptively dense they’ve always been understandable. (No, I’m not talking about their audible qualities.) His latest looks fantastic with its giant budget clearly on display on screen, but good gravy is it too far up its own ass to even try making sense. There are some vaguely interesting ideas at play here in its story and action, but they’re not enough to save either. The story falls flat, and the action — while interesting in its structure — is rarely thrilling. It’s an ambitious swing, but it’s a miss.

[Extras: Featurettes]

Also out this week:

The 300 Year Weekend, Bodies Rest and Motion, Diary of a Mad Housewife, Gun Crazy, The Harvey Girls, Ladybug Ladybug, Marseilles: Complete Series, Mutiny, My Prince Edward, Puzzle of a Downfall Child, Young Man with a Horn