10 NEW TO NETFLIX
3 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD
"The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum" (Criterion)
Roger Ebert criticized the final act of Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta's searing drama in his 2.5-star review, writing "It's as if we've met a real person, a three-dimensional, complicated woman, and then she's been programmed to act out somebody else's instructions." He drew the very thick line between Henreich Boll's script and his experience being a target as a German journalist for Der Spiegel, which was likely more prominent in Ebert's mind when the film was released than it will be for viewers 44 years later. I don't know if it's the increased hatred between the press and power that has led Criterion to upgrading this thriller from their DVD slate to Blu-ray, but the timing doesn't feel accidental. As cries of "Fake News" and social campaigns against journalists enhance rushes to judgment, "Katharina Blum" feels current in unexpected ways. It's a powerful piece of work anchored by the subtle performance by Angela Winkler. At least Roger agreed on that part.
New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Volker Schlöndorff and producer Eberhard Junkersdorf, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Interview from 2002 with directors Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta
Interview from 2002 with director of photography Jost Vacano
Excerpts from a 1977 documentary on author Heinrich Böll
PLUS: An essay by film critic Amy Taubin (Blu-ray only)
Malgorzata Szumowska's surreal horror film is already available on Hulu for subscribers, other streaming services for rental, and on Blu-ray and DVD. I wonder if the fact that "The Other Lamb" was actually on Hulu before it hit Blu-ray is a sign of the future or just an anomaly. Whatever it means, you should check out this surreal nightmare about a young woman (future star Raffey Cassidy) who keeps having terrifying dreams that seem to be guiding her away from the leader of the cult in which she belongs. Michiel Huisman is charismatically terrifying as "Shepherd," the leader of an all-female cult that is forced to leave their home and find a new one. Along the way, Cassidy's Selah learns a thing or two about Shepherd's veneer of power, but this is a dreamlike film more than a narrative-driven one, amplified through excellent cinematography from Michal Englert.
Remember Dark Castle? In the early '00s, the production company founded by Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis offered bloody, modern remakes of William Castle horror films as well as a few original ideas. They really laid a lot of the groundwork for the massive success of Blumhouse (who has reportedly expressed interest in reviving the brand), even if their films weren't exactly critical darlings. In actuality, only the first two films under the brand were Castle remakes, 1999's "House on Haunted Hill" and 2001's "Thirteen Ghosts," which was just given the lavish Shout Factory treatment from the studio that remains the best for horror fans. Steve Beck's remake of the 1960 Castle flick stars Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, and F. Murray Abraham, and it's a gory, goofy, B-movie mess, but there's something fun about its "unelevated horror." There's no pretense here. It's a B-movie with an A-budget. A funny note from Roger's review that you can apply to your viewing pleasure here: "You can see the ghosts with special glasses, which the cast is issued; when they see them, we see them, usually in shots so maddeningly brief we don't get a good look. Our consolation, I guess, is that the cast has the glasses but we will have the pause button when '13 Ghosts' comes out on DVD. The only button this movie needs more than pause is delete."
NEW Audio Commentary with director Steve Beck
NEW Haunted in Canada - an interview with actress Shannon Elizabeth
NEW The Voice of Reason – an interview with actor Matthew Harrison
NEW Sophomore Spookshow - an interview with producer Gilbert Adler
NEW The Juggernaut Speaks- an interview with actor John DeSantis
NEW The Hammer Speaks- an interview with actor Herbert Duncanson
Thir13en Ghosts Revealed
Ghost Files: A Haunted Houseful of Poltergeist Profiles
Original Electronic Press Kit featuring interviews with the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage
Audio Commentary with director Steve Beck, production designer Sean Hargreaves and special makeup effects artist Howard Berger