It’s 2019, but the films of 2018 are still trickling onto Blu-ray, and I’m here to help you sort through some of them. This week, we examine the Blu release of David Gordon Green’s Halloween, the underrated Neil Armstrong pic First Man, Joel Schumacher’s sleazy Nicolas Cage thriller 8MM, and the indie horror flick Hell Fest. These are the new Blu-ray releases and their special features you should check out this week, and beyond.
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(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition, we get dirty with the follow-up to Nicolas Cage’s grim and grimy thriller about leather, latex, and the lurid world of snuff films.)
This column’s only six entries deep, but all of the featured DTV sequels have so far offered a direct connection to the film that came before it. The continued storyline hasn’t helped most of them in the quality department, but the return of characters and specific narratives at least works to draw in curious viewers hoping to see where a film went after the end credits finished rolling.
There’s a whole other kind of DTV sequel, though, and we’re getting our first taste of its nonsensical, disconnected nature this week.
Joel Schumacher’s 8MM is a solid, occasionally brutal and dramatic thriller with a stellar cast, and while it wasn’t a hit necessarily it made some coin, disturbed some viewers, and found a fan in Roger Ebert. The sequel – yes, there was a sequel made six years later – doesn’t manage any of that, but it shouldn’t be surprising because it also lacks any connection whatsoever to Schumacher’s film. It’s a sequel in name only, and that’s because it was originally called The Velvet Side of Hell during production before being retitled for marketing purposes and released as 8MM 2.
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This year marks the 20th anniversary of director David Fincher‘s (The Social Network) breakout film, Se7en. The thriller not only launched Fincher’s feature filmmaking career, but it also made Andrew Kevin Walker an in-demand writer. Walker’s followup, 8MM, made less of a cultural, critical, and box-office impact. Director Joel Schumacher (Tigerland) turned his hot spec script into a so-so thriller. Walker, personally, wouldn’t mind seeing a 8mm remake. Learn why after the jump.
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