Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Shout Factorized: The 4 Sci-Fi Movie Marathon ""

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Shout Factorized: The 4 Sci-Fi Movie Marathon

Earlier this year, Shout Factory released their "Action Packed Movie Marathon" which was a 4-movie set including some very interesting oddball genre obscurities. The two highlights of this set were a couple of revenge flicks, one starring Gary Busey(EYE OF THE TIGER) as a Vietnam vet trying to clean up his home town overrun by bikers, and the other a follow-up to the flame-thrower wielding vigilante film EXTERMINATOR. I honestly never thought we'd see EXTERMINATOR 2 get a dvd release here in the states. It was one of those grimy action movies I saw as a kid on VHS that I was most memorable because of the flame-thrower and its VHS cover. This set also included Fred Olen Ray's CYCLONE with Heather Thomas & Jeffery Combs. This film seemed to me like a veritable takeoff on BLACK MOON RISING with a motorcycle instead of a car. Another movie that seemed unlikely to show up on DVD. Very exciting for those of us from the video store generation who used to get our kicks roaming the action section of our local mom & pop in hopes we'd come across some piece of undiscovered "brilliance".
So this week, Shout Factory released their next 4-movie set in the form of  a "Sci-Fi Movie Marathon". The biggest and most exciting draw for this set is the DVD debut of the Charles Band-produced classic ELIMINATORS. The die hard VHS renters I mentioned above(myself included) from the 80s and 90s remember this film quite fondly. I know that my awareness of Charles Band didn't really register until 5 years ago or so. Though I'd seen MANY of the films he directed and produced in the 80s and 90s, I never quite connected him to those movies. As far as I was concerned, a low-budget movie like ELIMINATORS was made on the same scale as ROBOCOP. That was the great equalizing power of VHS for sure. All I had to go on as a kid was the VHS cover. ELMINATORS had a badass VHS cover so that was all it took to sell me on it at the time. I mean, what's not to like though especially for a young teenager like myself at that point. The movie has a cyborg(actually a mandroid), time travel, martial arts, and Denise Crosby. Done deal. Anyway, it's certainly not the greatest movie ever and my love of it is absolutely encased in nostalgia, but it's a neat little curio from a period of my movie-watching life that I'm very fond of. 
Next you've got ARENA, another VHS favorite making its dvd debut. This one is all about an intergalactic fighting competition from various planets who send in their "champion" to represent them. Very good times as well. I know my friend William Bibbiani mentioned this movie on his VHS Gems list last year and rightfully so. This is another one that gave you all you needed with the cover of the VHS: "Tonight - Championship Grudge Match: Man vs. Monster"!
Follow ARENA with the quite nutty post apocalyptic WTF-fest that is AMERICA 3000 and you've got a winning combination for sure. This is another movie that got a shout out from one of my guest contributors a while back, Kevin Clarke(of Scarecrow Video). Kevin put this on a "Bad" Movies he loves list and it's not difficult to see why. Any movie that actually features a Bigfoot creature with a boombox at one point is certainly unique to say the least. Lastly, the set includes THE TIME GUARDIAN, which is a film I am unfamiliar with, but seeing the company it's joined by on this set, I am sure it is interesting on some level at least. 
OK, so there's just a little bit of bad news with this set. Sadly, all movies except for THE TIME GUARDIAN are presented here in full frame/4x3(so not their original aspect ratios). This isn't the end of the world and I know it would have made the set more expensive to possibly acquire new 16x9 transfers, but it would have been nice to see them debut as they were meant to be seen. That being said, I know I'm happy enough just to have these films on DVD so I'm not going to complain too much.
The Sci-Fi Movie Marathon and Action Packed Movie Marathon are both available from Shout Factory and they are both pretty cheap(less than $10) so it's hard not to pick them up based on that. I am also quite excited for their upcoming 'All Night Horror Movie Marathon' set due out on August 20th.

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