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October 2014 Home Video Picks

A look forward at the month's most interesting home video titles, from banner local releases and Criterion Collection special editions to international exclusives.

The Complete Jacques Tati (dir. Jacques Tati, 1947-1974)

Naturally, a collection of all things Jacques Tati is a beautiful and essential addition to any cinephile’s collection. Most of these films already have celebrated individual Criterion releases, but for those yet to indulge in any Tati this new collection would be the wisest place to start.

Like Chaplin, Tati is regarded as one of those great consistent comedians. Undoubtedly fans have their favourites, but it is believed most will find at least something to enjoy in each of the films released by the great director during his quiet 30-year career. Ignore the price tag; indulge yourself. Released in the United States and United Kingdom on October 28, 2014 — DVD and Blu-ray.

Shivers (dir. David Cronenberg, 1975)

Arrow Films are one of those magnificent companies – like Criterion and Eureka – placing emphasis on content and aesthetically enticing packaging. Oftentimes, they will produce several versions of the same DVD or Blu-ray, each with oddities unique to the particular release.

This month, nestled amidst a splattering of other great cult titles, Arrow provides David Cronenberg’s wonderful Shivers with the full aesthetic treatment. Buyers of the Blu-ray are given the joyful burden of choosing between the psychedelic black-and-green steel case or the reversible sleeve, boasting both original and newly commissioned artwork. Cronenberg nerds – and there are heaps of them out there – will also delight over hours of special features, commentaries, and an exclusive booklet undoubtedly juxtaposing gruesome screen-shots with insightful and academic essays. Released in the United Kingdom on 13 October 2014 – Dual format DVD/Blu-ray.

Fargo — season one (multiple directors, 2014)

I never envisioned the Fargo TV series to brush the stratospheric quality of the Coen brothers’ 1995 masterpiece. For too long, I denied the series the respect it deserved, arrogantly assuming the catchphrase “it’ll never be as good as the original.” Hark! Naysayers and skeptics, I was once you, and my assurances of the series brilliance are learned and true.

Boasting all the charm, humour, suspense, wisdom, surrealism and nonsense of the film, Fargo demands cult-like status akin to shows like Twin Peaks – it’s simply that good! Released in the United States and United Kingdom on October 14, 2014 – DVD and Blu-ray.

The Vanishing (dir. George Sluizer, 1988)

Horror titles flood the October home video market in the lead up to Halloween. Dozens of slasher classics are reissued for the season, many experiencing first time release on Blu-ray. Sitting well atop the list this season is Criterion’s reissue of the Dutch masterpiece The Vanishing (aka Spoorloos) – a terrifying thriller out on Blu-ray for the first time.

Unlike similar missing person films, The Vanishing boats believability and realism likely to startle even the hardiest horror enthusiasts. Despite lacking in the usual array of Criterion special features (although the Scott Foundas essay would be fascinating), The Vanishing is a masterful film worthy of extra splurging for its quality alone. Released in the United States and United Kingdom on October 28. 2014 – DVD and Blu-ray.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (dir. Tobe Hooper, 1974)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – or, as I like to call it, The Pinnacle of American Horror Cinema – has endured dozens of reissues, repacks and recuts in the 40 years since its initial release. Finally, the horror completist can have it all with this excessive 40th anniversary “Black Maria” limited edition.

Cased in a toy truck, containing no less than four discs and with a bonus Leatherface apron included, this limited reissue seems the definition of “deluxe”. Do people give gifts for Halloween? If so, friends, please take note. Released in the United States on October 14, 2014 – limited edition Blu-ray only.

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