1. The Absent-Minded Professor- This is more of a call to Disney to finish their promise from years ago to release the Fred MacMurray classic in hi-def. (If they include the sequel, Son of Flubber, even better!) I love black and white movies on blu ray and this is one that Disney said was coming a long, long time ago. They can include the colorized version if they want (yuck!) but I would buy the crap out of the original version of this movie. I loved it as a kid and always recognized its superiority to both the big-screen remake, “Flubber,” and the small-screen version with Harry Anderson. Judging by the DVD, I’m guessing the materials are in pretty good shape, so let’s see that lunatic basketball game and flying jalopy in all its glory, Mouse House!
2. Slither- With James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy dominating the box office, how about we finally get a winning release of his horror comedy that provided a bigger role than “girl Steve Carrell hits on” to Elizabeth Banks, featured Nathan Fillion in one of his best roles and starred some Gunn regulars that populate his instant Marvel classic. (Michael Rooker, anyone?) To call Slither a true classic would be a bit of a stretch, admittedly. But it’s damned solid and it deserves better than the treatment it’s gotten, which is to say a Canadian blu ray that isn’t even in true 1080p. After watching Shout Factory’s excellent Lake Placid release, I sent them a suggestion to pick up the title since it would be perfect as part of their Scream Factory line. I would humbly request you do the same. More Gunn is always a good thing.
3. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?/The Girl Can’t Help It – Frank Tashlin, the Looney Tunes director extrordinaire, made what would commonly be considered his best live-action films in the 50s when he partnered up with Jayne Mansfield for these loopy reels full of as many cartoon hijinx as he could muster for the era. (It helped that Mansfield was basically a cartoon version of Marilyn Monroe that seemed like she could have been dreamed up by an animator, and I mean that as a sincere compliment.) The films, besides still being fairly hilarious send-ups of the music/film/advertising biz, are Technicolor wankery at its finest, just begging to pop out of your screen in a cavalcade of eye-melting hues.
4. Army of Darkness (Director’s Cut)- Call me old-fashioned… or a primitive screw-head… but I hate it when we see a step backwards from one generation to the next. I have a two-disc DVD set with both versions of Sam Raimi’s “Medieval Dead” capper to his trilogy and the differences are fascinating. I actually prefer a good portion of the theatrical cut (one of the main reasons being the inclusion of some of Ash’s best lines, for example “Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun.” as opposed to the underwhelming, “I ain’t that good.”) but the end battle with the army of the dead works better in the director’s cut than the chopped up theatrical version, giving you a much better sense of an actual battle with a plan rather than a chaotic free-for-all. Now, honestly, I’m sure the director’s cut is in pretty sad shape. Let’s just call the spade what it is. But it still stinks that on the blu ray release, we only get one version of a film that has already seen multiple releases of multiple cuts. I realize you and Anchor Bay like milking us for all it’s worth to try to recap your losses on this one since it’s a cult favorite, Universal. But, despite the fact that it would certainly decimate the worth of my limited edition set, let’s finally get a definitive hi-def release of this puppy with both versions and all the suppliments. Mm-kay?
5. Cutie Honey- A live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese anime, Cutie Honey is directed by the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion. But you wouldn’t know it to see it. There is no incoherent religious subtext or endless ocean of ennui here. Instead, it is absolute bonkers animated insanity cranked up to 11 and kawaii as hell. My personal favorite parts are the strange, photo-animated effects sequences as, for example, Honey dodges missiles shot out by the crazy-make-upped bad guys. Just in general, it operates along that bizarre “WTF” level that is occupied by films such as Detention. The eventual American DVD release was pretty meh, even by anime release standards, so an upgrade would be nice. More than that though, this is a film that has a visual look to it that deserves to be seen in a high quality format. Those who have seen Speed Racer on blu with a nice, big TV have an inkling of just what kind of visual crack can be achieved with a movie that exists in such a stylized universe. I’m not saying Cutie Honey is on that level (it wasn’t nearly expensive enough), but to my eyeballs, it is akin to Crazy Harry dynamiting a Katy Perry concert. Like Speed Racer, it is very, very close to being a cartoon, despite being populated with flesh and blood humans. This is my favorite kind of movie imagery to suck into my view-holes, like a filterless Lucky Strike for my visual pleasure centers. I want to see it as it deserves to be seen.