Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 29th, 2017
Another great year and narrowing down the choices was not an easy task. Now without further ado. Here are 10kbullets picks for best releases for the year 2017.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia: Limited Edition – BluRay / DVD Combo (Arrow Video)
“When discussing the all-time great director, the term auteur is far too often liberally applied. And though there is also a far argument that these standards of what truly makes a director an auteur. To find the true essence of what is an auteur is weighs heavily on whether said director has a singular vision that is distinctively unique unto themselves. With that being said, one such director that epitomized the essence of having a “singular vision” was Sam Peckinpah.
His films often centered around loner’s who are forced to compromise their moral code in order to survive a nihilistic world that is at constant odds with them. And no Sam Peckinpah film more embodies these elements then his seminal masterpiece, Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.” – Michael Den Boer
Drunken Master – BluRay / DVD Combo (Eureka Video)
“By the end of the 1970’s martial arts cinema was at a crossroads. And what was once considered tried and true formulas were starting to wear thin. Fortunately, for martial arts cinema it was about to experience a resurgence that would finally free the genre from Bruce Lee’s long shadow.
And though there were a handful of films from this era that have left a lasting impact on martial arts cinema. There is one that stands taller than its contemporaries and its influence continues to reverberate. Case in point, Drunken Master.” – Michael Den Boer
Phenomena: Limited Edition – BluRay / CD Combo (Arrow Video)
“Overall Arrow Video continues to raise the bar for special edition releases with this spectacular release that is arguably one of the best home video releases of all time, highly recommended.” – Michael Den Boer
Amuck! – BluRay / CD Combo (Camera Obscura)
“Though Amuck’s! narrative is rooted in the elements that one has come to expect when watching an Italian thriller. The way it’s narrative unfolds is provides a fresh take on all too familiar tropes. And when it comes to red herrings this film delivers in spades. With its most devious moment of misdirection saved for its finale.” – Michael Den Boer
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage: Limited Edition – BluRay / DVD Combo (Arrow Video USA)
“Very few directors have made the impact that Dario Argento and his debut film The Bird the Crystal Plumage did upon their arrival. Argento like a previous wunderkind Orson Welles would achieve perfection with his first film. That he has yet to match with each subsequent films.” – Michael Den Boer
The Stendhal Syndrome: Limited Edition – BluRay / DVD Combo (Blue Underground)
“Ultimately The Stendhal Syndrome is Dario Argento’s most transitional film and only now is it finally getting the recognition it deserves for its daring and at times innovative take on the thriller genre.” – Michael Den Boer
Re-Animator: Limited Edition – BluRay (Arrow Video USA)
“Content wise, the film perfectly balances H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic sense of wonder and dark sense of humor that is rooted in the Macabre. And right from the get go, this film announces that it is film that is content on relying on all too familiar tropes of the Horror film genre. With this film take no prisoners approach to its depiction of mayhem being one of its greatest strengths.” – Michael Den Boer
Psychos in Love: Limited Edition – BluRay / DVD Combo (Vinegar Syndrome)
“Ultimately Psychos in Love is fun film that takes familiar themes and turns them on their head.” – Michael Den Boer
Spider (Zirneklis) – BluRay (Mondo Macabro)
“Needless to say, this is a film that does not feature a conventional narrative and because of this some viewers may find it difficult to digest the events that have unfolded. Fortunately, for the more adventurous fans of cinema, what lies within is a truly unique cinematic experience that will linger on your mind, long after its moment of truth has arrived!” – Michael Den Boer
Savage Three (Fango Bollente) – BluRay (Camera Obscura)
“From a production stand point, there is not an area where this film does not deliver and then some. With its opening setup superbly setting the foundation for the events that are about the unfold. And when it comes to its depiction of violence, this film portrays said violence an utterly realistic fashion that makes it all the more disturbing.” – Michael Den Boer
Web of the Spider – BluRay (Garagehouse Pictures)
“Content wise, Web of the Spider is a remake of Castle of Blood, a film that he directed seven years before and shot in black and white. And though they are many areas where these two films are virtually identical. When it comes to their visuals, they are like night and day.
With that being said, both films visual create a tremendous amount of atmosphere, albeit in different ways. With the way in which Web of Spider lights scenes giving the visuals an unnatural look that superbly reinforces the state of limbo that the protagonist finds himself trapped in.” – Michael Den Boer
Deadly Games (Stille Nacht, tödliche Nacht) – BluRay / DVD Combo (Camera Obscura)
“From a production stand point, there is not an area where this film does not excel. And standout moments include, a scene where the protagonist and grandfather try to escape in car and the intruder savagely demolishes the car before they are able to get away. Other standout moments include, a scene where the intruder discovers where the protagonist has hidden his near blind grandfather and this film’s finale that provides an extremely satisfying conclusion to the events that have just unfolded.” – Michael Den Boer
Suspiria: 40th Anniversary Edition – BluRay (Umbrella Entertainment)
“Without a doubt this film’s greatest asset are its visuals, which are filled with inventive compositions and vibrant colors schemes that leap off the screen.” – Michael Den Boer
Suspiria: Limited Edition Steelbook – BluRay / CD Combo (Synapse Films)
“Suspiria gets a definitive audio / video presentation from Synapse Films, highly recommended.” – Michael Den Boer