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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 08.05.14] scifi horror action thriller adventure

Brian De Palma's glam rock masterpiece Phantom of the Paradise hits Blu-ray for the first time thanks to Shout! Factory.

If you've never seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. And this is from someone who hates musicals with a passion. I was exposed to this one by an eccentric Language Arts high school teacher who seemed to find great joy in warping impressionable minds with cult movies from his formative years. He also let me write an essay on "Why Star Wars is a Western" instead of writing about "To Kill A Mockingbird," to which I will always be grateful.

Anyway, the OST is also a classic, much better than Grease which came out four years later.


The first television series I ever binge-watched was Twin Peaks. This was back before the show was available on DVD. An old girlfriend had the set on VHS and one day I started watching and could just not stop. I'd never seen anything like it and was completely sucked into its weird, dark world. I think the reason so many shows are compared to Twin Peaks is less about the murder-mystery-in-a-small-town aspect and more about how well Twin Peaks balanced some very disturbing subject matter with quirky characters (remember a young David Duchovny as a cross-dressing FBI agent?)

In this set you get the pilot, both seasons and Lynch's feature film "Fire Walk With Me". If you are a fan of the series, this is the quintessential set, although the series is currently streaming on Netflix Instant (in Canada for sure) for anyone who wants to dip their toes.

Coming from Blumhouse Productions (The Purge, Insidious) and directed by Absentia's Mike Flanagan, Oculus seems like a worthy prospect. I feel like we've seen a few Mirror horror films lately (ie. Mirrors) and I'm not sure they always succeed, but I'm hearing that Oculous is genuinely creepy so I'll give it a chance.

Divergent is like The Hunger Games' little sister who wants to play with the big kids. I haven't seen it, and I don't expect to. Dystopian YA is reaaally getting stale and derivative. Let's come up with some new settings, writers.

I was impressed with Ironclad's medieval take on the classic Seven Samurai set up: A castle under siege hires a band of misfit warriors to defend it. It was well shot and the battles were intense. This one is also directed by Jonathan English, so I will give it a chance.

Honourable mention:
Without Warning

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chuck (8 years ago) Reply

When I saw Without Warning listed I thought it was the TV movie faux-news report about comet impacts with Sander Vanocur and Jane Kaczmarek. Too bad, it's a good one.


Marina (8 years ago) Reply

I wasn't expecting much from Oculus but it was a damend good time. Recommended!

And I love love love Phantom of the Paradise. Happy to finally add this to the collection!

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