The Best of 2020

Discussion in 'General' started by f.ramses, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. f.ramses

    f.ramses sociopath

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    343
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    region 0
    Time to look back at the releases we've picked up over 2020 and figure out which were the best, here are mine:

    The Beast and the Magic Sword
    (Mondo Macabro, BD) – A fun Naschy movie that I'd been waiting years for an English friendly release of, it's always nice when something you've only had a bootleg of since the DVD age comes to BD!

    Needful Things
    (Koch Media, BD + DVD) – Even though this is a bit of a favorite I really didn't want to spend ~$45 on another copy of Needful Things but a release that included the TV version was hard to resist and then when I saw it was included on both the BD and a DVD (PAL) I had to have it. The bootleg I have of this version looks like shit and the version included here looks great even with it's issues, which were overall minor. After revisiting it I really think I prefer the TV version of this one even though it's slightly censored for TV. No idea how the theatrical version compares to the Kino BD but so long as it's on par then this is the essential edition if you're a fan of this one.

    Gutterballs (Unearthed Films, 2 BDs) – This doesn't look nearly as good as a lot of other movies on BD, maybe it's because of however it was shot, but it is an improvement and the whole thing feels pretty definitive with the inclusion of the Pin-E-Tration edition even if it is only included in SD looking and sounding the same as my DVD. I really like this one and am glad to finally have it on BD.

    Brigade of Death (FilmArt, BD) – A complete unknown that I rolled the dice on because of comments I read online; wow, what a payoff! If you didn't buy this and no other label ever releases it then you've really missed out.

    Rad (Vinegar Syndrome, UHD + BD) – I bought this despite not having much interest in it but wound up really enjoying it and the fact that it was a UHD + BD combo pack means I have an even better looking copy of the movie on hand for whenever I go UHD. This movie is so cool!

    The Gates of Hell (Scorpion Releasing, BD) – Another re-buy I got sucked into by a cap comparison ...but what a cap comparison it was and the disc looked even better in motion. I was quite happy with the Arrow release and another edition of this movie wasn't something I was hoping for but this was a great buy.

    Dawn of the Dead (Second Sight, 4BDs or 3 UHDs + 1 BD, 3 CDs, 2 books) – The much longer than originally announced wait for this thing is finally over and now that it is I can say I'm very happy with it. The colors on the theatrical version look different but it's not the kind of different that I'd complain about, the whole thing looks glorious; this is quite the set! The only thing better than my BD set is hopefully the UHD set which I am very confident will look even better whenever I eventually go UHD; it's Dawn of the Dead and I didn't want to fuck around so I bought 'em both!

    Massacre at Central High (Synapse Films, BD + DVD) – Synapse finally delivered on a long awaited title and the result is fantastic. I have some complaints about this one like that it was a BD/DVD pack rather than a UHD/BD pack and that it was an overpriced steelbook but we've all known for years what this was going to be so it would be silly to harp on that rather than just be happy that this is finally out and looks great!

    The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection (Severin Films, 4 BDs + 2 CDs)
    None of these looked as good as any of the titles from Vinegar Syndrome's 2 2020 giallo sets but they all do look good and the titles included are fantastic. There's a lot to love here even aside from the director and star.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
  2. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2001
    Messages:
    11,463
    Likes Received:
    1,104
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Keene, NH
    Friday the 13th box set
    The Beastmaster
    The Curse of Frankenstein

    Those are the big three that come to mind, but they’re also 3 of some of my most recent purchases. Was Beast and the Magic Sword released in 2020? Feels like I’ve had that disc for longer than a year.
     
  3. fattyjoe37

    fattyjoe37 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    2,350
    Likes Received:
    1,166
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    WA
    So many good releases this year that it was hard to whittle a list down, so I didn't.

    Gamera: The Complete Collection (Arrow)
    Friday the 13th Collection: Deluxe Edition (Scream Factory)
    The Beastmaster (Vinegar Syndrome)
    Tremors: Limited Edition (Arrow)
    I Start Counting (Fun City Editions)
    Deadly Games AKA Dial Code Santa Claus (Vinegar Syndrome)
    The Woman in Black '89 (Network UK)
    Fire in the Sky (Imprint Films Australia)
    Rad (Vinegar Syndrome)
    The Curse of Frankenstein (Warner Archive)
    Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (Scream Factory)
    My Bloody Valentine '81 (Scream Factory)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2021
  4. othervoice1

    othervoice1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,556
    Likes Received:
    417
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Indiana
    Not sure if these were all released this year but I was really happy with some of the Horror 4k releases (my first year with a 4k tv)
    Daughters of Darkness
    Suspiria
    The House by the Cemetery
    Zombie
    Evil Dead 1 & 2 (best buy steelbook)
    Psycho (best buy steelbook)
    Halloween (best buy steelbook) I haven't watched this yet - reviews seem mixed on how good the actual picture quality and sound is on it
    Alien 4oth Anniversary

    and have to add on the bluray front the Friday the 13th Collection Deluxe Edition
     
    f.ramses, CPT HOOK and russweiss like this.
  5. sinister

    sinister Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2001
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    212
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Scotland
    Never heard of this one but I do love some French cop movies so trying a blind buy on this too.

    They still have a few of the BD in stock @ https://www.strangevice.co.uk/ , I have no connection with them but it's a cool site that's worth a browse for inspiration on new titles to check out.
     
    f.ramses likes this.
  6. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    8,491
    Likes Received:
    3,477
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    US
    I'll break my picks down by label:

    VINEGAR SYNDROME:

    Hollywood Horror House
    Deadline
    The Immortalizer
    Blood Games
    Memorial Valley Massacre
    Whodunit
    Silent Madness 3D
    Fade To Black
    Graverobbers / Cemetery Of Terror / Don't Panic

    Unsurprisingly, Vinegar Syndrome proves to be the label to beat this year, at least for fans of offbeat horror. Hollywood Horror House and Deadline were first time viewings for me, and both are gems. I loved seeing the Galindo movies again. Blood Games and Silent Madness were long overdue for disc releases, and who would have thought Memorial Valley Massacre would ever look this good?

    ARROW:

    Edge Of The Axe
    Deadly Manor
    Sixteen Candles
    Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark
    The Woman / Offspring
    Mallrats
    The Last Starfighter
    Tremors


    Arrow's release slate this year was maybe a little more mainstream than usual, but they released a lot of knockout editions of popular Universal movies that had previously been given horrible DNR riddled transfers. The slasher fans have to give them credit for the much anticipated disc releases of Edge Of The Axe and Deadly Manor.

    SCREAM/SHOUT FACTORY:

    Depraved
    Body Parts
    Let's Scare Jessica To Death
    The House That Jack Built
    My Bloody Valentine
    Pet Sematary Two
    The Wizard
    April Fool's Day
    Bones
    Idle Hands
    Swallow
    Tales From The Darkside: The Movie
    Friday The 13th Collection

    I'm sure most fans will rank the Friday box as Scream's best of the year, but my vote goes to My Bloody Valentine. We finally got to see that movie the way it was meant to be seen. While the uncut Friday 2 footage was a huge find, a lot of the disc content was fairly redundant in terms of the previous boxset. Still, it's a great set. April Fool's Day, Tales From The Darkside, Pet Sematary Two, and Let's Scare Jessica To Death got their long overdue blu-ray debuts. The visually gorgeous Bones got an upgrade, and Idle Hands got extras. They even released a few terrific modern indie horrors via IFC Midnight: Depraved, Swallow, and The House That Jack Built.

    MVD:

    Mindgames
    Mikey
    Guncrazy


    MVD Rewind had three home-run releases this year. Big fan of all three movies and I think they're extremely underrated, so I was delighted to see them getting such great disc releases. I might say MVD's extras are maybe a bit too long in the tooth, they could use a good editor. Hard to complain though. Mindgames in particular I never expected to see on disc, it was nice to retire my VHS.

    CRITERION:

    An Unmarried Woman
    Parasite
    Girlfriends


    I'm glad the turnaround on a well-deserved Parasite Special Edition was fast and announced quickly. Saved me from buying Universal's barebones disc. However, their highlights of the year for me are easily two 1978 feminist classics: An Unmarried Woman and Girlfriends. Both long overdue for this kind of treatment.

    KINO:

    Summer Of Sam
    Narrow Margin


    I love Kino's commitment to releasing off-the-grid gems, although my picks of theirs from this year are fairly mainstream: suspenseful popcorn thriller Narrow Margin and Spike Lee's Summer Of Sam. Summer already had a blu-ray, but I missed it, and the movie is great. Even though I didn't have a ton of favorites from them this year, they are shaping up to be the label to beat next year. Their first quarter is already loaded with tons of personal favorites: Buried Alive, Positive ID, The Wild Life, The War, etc. All sure to make my list next year.

    MOD:

    Just One Of The Guys
    Ice Castles
    V: The Final Battle
    Drop Dead Gorgeous


    Through their MOD lines (pressed, not burned), Sony released one of my hi-def holy grails: Just One Of The Guys. Kudos to Warner Archive as well for putting out cult favorite Drop Dead Gorgeous.

    SYNAPSE:

    Hot Dog: The Movie


    I'm sure their Massacre At Central High release is incredible, but I'm holding off for the standard edition. Have to say though, I had so much fun watching their Hot Dog: The Movie disc!

    VESTRON:

    Shivers
    Little Monsters


    Vestron came out of nowhere with these two releases. The transfer on Little Monsters in particular could have been better, but with generous extra and bargain bin prices, these are both easy recommendations.

    PARAMOUNT:

    Urban Cowboy
    Pretty In Pink


    Paramount suddenly started churning out catalogue releases and I'm here for it.

    SCORPION / CODE RED:

    Primal Rage
    Night Visitor
    Torment
    The Heavenly Kid
    The Masque Of The Red Death


    Okay, so mostly Scorpion. Night Visitor is my personal favorite of these, but I love The Heavenly Kid. Torment and Masque were both first time watches for me, and I thought they were both gems. I love discovering 80s horror I haven't seen before, good stuff!

    ASSORTED OTHERS:

    Aenigma
    Franky And His Pals
    DVD
    Big Bully / Wrongfully Accused

    I feel like Blue Underground deserves a shout out. Their work is always terrific, but to be honest, it's tough to get excited about all the double dips. Severin released a lot of stuff this year, but the only ones I was especially enthusiastic about are Aenigma and the silly Franky And His Pals. I still have Cruel Jaws to watch, will get to that soon. Shout out to Mill Creek for releasing my childhood favorite Big Bully, but then I take back that shout out for their atrocious treatment of the delightfully trashy thriller The In-Crowd.

    NEW RELEASES:

    Extra Ordinary
    The Wretched
    Haunt
    The Wolf Of Snow Hollow


    I know, people typically don't care about new movies, but here are ones I found worth owning. Ronin went all out for Haunt, which should have gotten this treatment from the get-go. The Wretched was even better the second time around. To be honest, Extra Ordinary probably shouldn't be on a best discs list. This movie has gotten the worst distribution and a lousy BD-R release, but the movie is a gem that is absolutely worth owning.

    SHUDDER:

    Party Hard Die Young DVD
    Downrange DVD

    I'm going to give SHUDDER credit here because they're a streaming service who actually supports physical media. I love that they are committed to giving their movies disc releases. My two favorites of theirs this year were unfortunately DVD only, but Party Hard is a delightful modern slasher and Downrange is... maybe a bit mean spirited, but I'm into it. They've already got some decent blu-ray releases announced for next year.
     
    baggio, f.ramses, rhett and 2 others like this.
  7. hots4

    hots4 Dogs In White

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,090
    Likes Received:
    1,315
    Trophy Points:
    113
    If your looking to upgrade to blu for 'downrange' and you are region free. It's available in Germany and it's cheap. Link here:

    https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Jason-To...eywords=Downrange&qid=1609626165&s=dvd&sr=1-1

    Extra Ordinary has also been released on blu in Germany on a pressed BD-50 disc. Unfortunately it doesn't have the featurette that's on the US disc.
     
  8. rhett

    rhett Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    9,418
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Canada
    Waiting for my VS order to finally arrive so I can watch SILENT MADNESS in 3D, but I'll say that getting to see FRIDAY 3 in true 3D was the highlight for me, that new scan was beautiful and made the film so much more immersive. FRIDAY 3 had fallen down the ranks for me (always felt really padded, some weird continuity, lazy retread ending and the location change to some California slough made this feel like a weird off-shoot) but seeing it in 3D gave me a new appreciation - it'll be one I watch more in the future.

    My biggest surprise of the year was Arrow's HE CAME FROM THE SWAMP: THE WILLIAM GREFE COLLECTION set - I'd only seen STANLEY from him, and wasn't really much of a fan, but I really enjoyed every film in this 8 film set and have a much bigger respect for The Eccentric of the Everglades. You get it all in that set, monster from the sea, mummy, drugsploitation, pulpy thriller, counterculture downer, sharksploitation, and hillbilly horror all bundled into one.

    Other films I was happy to find release this year: Fulci's DEMONIA and AENIGMA from Severin, PRIMAL RAGE from Dark Force (first time watch for me, so much fun), THE BEASTMASTER from VS (pound for pound the best single film release of the year), DEEPSTAR SIX from Kino and probably my most requested title over the years, MIKEY from MVD. Definitely a great year for catalogue titles, carrying the weight when cinemas could not this year.
     
  9. russweiss

    russweiss Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2007
    Messages:
    4,128
    Likes Received:
    1,851
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The disc itself is inexpensive but shipping from all Amazon overseas is quite costly. Hopefully we'll get back to the reasonable postage rates later this year.

    There were so many titles released this year. Some notable mentions.

    Several Paul Naschy titles such as Beast and the Magic Sword, Fury of the Wolfman, and Orgy of the Dead.

    Many great box sets like The Fu Manchu Cycle, Solid Metal Nightmares, The Gamera Box Set, The Lenzi/Baker Box, both volumes of Forgotten Gialli, Friday the 13th Box, The Al Adamson Box.

    Lots of Hong Kong/Asian films. Bride With White Hair, The Untold Story, Satan's Slave, Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, Zu Warriors From the Magic Mountain, Mr. Vampire. 88 Films has also released quite a few Jackie Chan films.

    Jess Franco titles. Shining Sex, Night of Open Sex, Cries of Pleasure, Bahia Blanca, The Bloody Judge, Neurosis.

    Some great stand alone titles. Dawn of the Dead. I Spit on Your Grave.

    A slew of Hammer films. Hammer Films Volume 5, The Gorgon, Brides of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, Curse of Frankenstein, Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, Curse of the Werewolf, Kiss of the Vampire.

    So many great 4K releases. Zombie, Maniac, Daughters of Darkness, Jaws, House by the Cemetery, New York Ripper.

    There are so many more that just don't come to mind.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
    CPT HOOK and othervoice1 like this.
  10. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2001
    Messages:
    11,463
    Likes Received:
    1,104
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Keene, NH
    I would have considered the William Grefe set if most of the films didn’t look like complete dreck. That’s nobody’s fault at Arrow but it’s still really hard to dismiss. Definitely brings it down a couple of grades.
     
  11. f.ramses

    f.ramses sociopath

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,375
    Likes Received:
    343
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    region 0
    Lots of good releases mentioned that didn’t make my list, in particular Mikey, Edge of the Axe, and Primal Rage. One 2020 release that I didn’t get until New Years Eve surely would have made the list had I bought it sooner and that was Patrick Still Lives. I never had much interest in this one because it just sounded boring but finally decided to check it out and was blown away, the hype about it being sleazy is well earned and it was so much fun I did it again the next day. Reminded me of Malabimba a bit, another favorite that got a nice release in 2020. As far as BDs go 2020 was a pretty good year!
     
    hots4 and russweiss like this.
  12. rhett

    rhett Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    9,418
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Canada
    I didn't have that much problem with the transfers beyond WHISKEY MOUNTAIN, that one looked like it came out of a shoebox. The rest had varying degrees of wear but still solid scans on each (including the 8mm version of MAKO which was a blast to see). If that's the best way to see it, and it appears to be considering the obscurity and budgets of these pictures, I'm happy they did the scans now before they deteriorated any further.
     

Share This Page