Blu-rays of the Week
The Gruesome Twosome (Arrow)
Schlockmeister Herschell Gordon Lewis’ murderous 1967 drama plays like a bloody mess of a black comedy, as its atrociously bad acting and inept storytelling let it approach Ed Wood levels of ineptitude. Still, the amusingly fake “gore” sequences are worth a look; as a bonus, another Z-level guilty pleasure from Lewis in 1967, A Taste of Blood, is included, as are Lewis’ intros to and commentaries for both films, along with interviews. The movies, unsurprisingly, have not been restored, but look as good as can be expected.
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno (Arrow Academy)
One of France’s greatest directors, Henri-Georges Clouzot never finished his pet project, 1964’s Inferno, which chronicled an extremely jealous husband who believes his young and beautiful wife is committing adultery. In 2009, Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea took what was shot, screen tests of performers Romy Schneider and Serge Reggiani, interviews with crew members like then-assistant Costa-Gavras and current actors Bérénice Bejo and Jacques Gamblin (to speak the main characters’ dialogue in added scenes) for this illuminating glimpse at what went wrong and what could have been. There’s an excellent hi-def transfer; extras are Bromberg’s introduction and interview, and featurettes about the unmade film.
Viva L’Italia (Arrow Academy)
In 1961, Roberto Rossellini made this historical drama to commemorate the centenary of Giuseppe Garibaldi’s unification of Italy: like Rossellini’s historical masterpieces that followed—The Taking of Power of Louis XVI, Socrates, Blaise Pascal—it consists of talky polemics, but adds low-key re-creations of the battles Garibaldi fought in Sicily and on the Italian mainland. The restoration and hi-def transfer are immaculate; extras comprise a severely cut English-dubbed version (for American release), an interview with Rossellini’s assistant Ruggero Deodato, and a video essay by Rossellini expert Tag Gallagher.
DVDs of the Week
This clumsily-executed dramatization of a clever idea (which might have made a decent Twilight Zone episode) pits a young woman trapped in a hospital during a hurricane, where she finds herself in recurring nightmare scenarios, like Groundhog Day gone fatally wrong. Buoyed by the ingratiating dual presence of Danielle Harris in the lead and Katie Keene as another female stuck in this possible time warp, the movie gets a bit of mileage out of its premise before falling apart long before its 85 minutes are up. The lone extra is a cast and crew commentary.
It Takes from Within (First Run)
In director Lee Eubanks’ laborious, increasingly oppressive drama—which borrows liberally from David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick (among others)—an unnamed couple planning to attend a burial find themselves confronting increasingly malevolent forces from within and without. Although the black and white photography is starkly beautiful, the actors are ill at ease with the cryptic and pretentious dialogue, which triggers intermittent snickers throughout. The lone extra is Eubanks’ commentary.