2022: The Best Home Video Release (and One That Is Really Bad)

 Every year I make a list of my favorite home video releases of that particular year. I say "home video" because these releases tend to come from multiple formats. This year, I am making my usual list of the ten releases that were my favorites, but I am also listing the one release that I thought was the worst of the year as well. I am doing this because this release is so bad that I couldn't just not mention it.

MEGAFORCE (Umbrella Entertainment)
Over the years, I have enjoyed many Umbrella Entertainment releases. They were the first company to give us RAZORBACK, THE MAN FROM HONG KONG, THE PUNISHER (1989), NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1990), and SILVER BULLET on blu-ray amongst others. These releases were pretty good and I had fun with all of them. They even gave us the DRIVE-IN DELIRIUM blu-ray releases that gathered old trailers together in one package. So, when they announced they were releasing the 1982 bomb MEGAFORCE, I knew that I had to pick it up. I had never seen the film, but I had always wanted to. I placed my order and got it a few days later and boy was this thing bad. The transfer is so old that it dates back to the first years of the blu-ray format. The sad thing about this is that a new transfer was made a few years ago and was used on the German blu-ray that was released a few months before this one. The picture is so flat and ugly. It is embarrassing. Then we get to the special features. There are a ton of special features, from commentary tracks to Q&As to old commercials. This thing is packed. The problem lies in the fact that most of these special features are repeats of other special features from on the very same disc. There are only so many times you can hear the same story about how Barry Bostwick got the role before you want to stop the disc and throw it in the trash. This is the only blu-ray purchase I regret many in 2022 and the only one of three blu-ray purchases in the last four years that I regret making (the other two were the Scream Factory releases of THE CRAFT (what a waste of money) and BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF (how do you screw this release up? just port over the special features from the 3-disc Canadian DVD release and call it a day)

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Here are some honorable mentions: 

The Sword and the Sorcerer 4K (Shout Factory)

Ghostbusters: Ultimate Collection 4K (Sony)

The Untouchables 4K (Paramount)

Pink Flamingos (Criterion)

Phenomena 4K (Arrow Video)

Tenebrae 4K (Synapse Films)

Tiger Cage Trilogy (88 Films)

Child's Play 2 and 3 4K (Scream Factory)

Robin Hood at Hammer (Powerhouse/Indicator)

Witch Academy (Retromedia)

Clerks III (Lionsgate)

Now, let's get to the best releases of 2022!

10. Jack-O (Retromedia)
Hear me out: JACK-O is not what you would call a “good film”. It is very sloppy and slow, but it has all the charm in the world, so it isn’t so bad. I enjoy this immensely as it was a favorite during my teenage years. What is great about this release is the picture quality. The film was edited on video, so Fred Olen Ray and company had to go back and reassemble the film from their new 4K scan of the shot footage. The result is mostly amazing (I say “mostly” because there are a few effects that are missing). I never thought I would ever see this film looks this good. The other thing that makes this release a must own is the commentary with the film’s director (Steve Latshaw) and Fred Olen Ray. I don’t know if I have ever heard a commentary track this good and this honest. Many think that the commentary is worth the price of admission and I would kind of agree. It is that good.

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9. Righting Wrongs (88 Films)
Man, what a hell of a film. The action is outstanding and the story is no slouch either. There are even some twists and turns I did not see coming. 88 Films really gave the film the royal treatment. We get the amazing picture and sound on top of the usual assortment of commentary tracks and interviews. We also get, and this is a big selling point, five different versions of the film. I can't think of many films that get that many versions released on home video. I had a blast going through this set and I think every martial arts fan should own it.

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8. Robocop 4K (Arrow Video)
I have told the story of my first viewing of ROBOCOP (you can read it here) so I won’t go into any of that. ROBOCOP is a masterpiece of a film that is still as great as it was in 1987. Arrow Video had previously released ROBOCOP on blu-ray and that was a perfect release. This 4K release is just as perfect but now it is in 4K. The picture and sound quality are amazing and there are so many special features that it will take you days to get through them all. I love this release and you will too. 

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7. Hard Target 4K (Kino Lorber)
HARD TARGET is one of my favorite films. I have so many fond memories of seeing this in the theater with my father. While this wasn’t my first John Woo film (that would be HARD BOILED), HARD TARGET showed us that Woo’s style wasn’t going to be compromised too much in his American films. Kino Lorber brings HARD TARGET to 4K blu-ray with a gorgeous 4K transfer that brings me right back to seeing the film in the theater. The sound is also kick ass and we get some great interviews with the likes of Lance Henriksen and Yancy Butler. 

6. Police Story Trilogy (Eureka)
I love the POLICE STORY films. I think that they are the films that Jackie Chan makes to get his fight choreography just right before he makes a bigger film. He uses these films as practice for bigger films (he made the first POLICE STORY before making the much bigger ARMOUR OF GOD. He made POLICE STORY 2 before making the much bigger MIRACLES. He also made POLICE STORY 3: SUPERCOP before making his magnum opus, DRUNKEN MASTER 2). Each POLICE STORY film is a journey in and of itself and they are all entertaining. Eureka has gathered the first three films into a collection for the first time and the results are great. The picture quality is reference quality (the PQ on part 2 is up for debate, but I loved it) and the special features are really worth the time. The packaging is also nice. For those who are not region free, 88 Films is releasing POLICE STORY 3: SUPERCOP in the States in December, so plan accordingly.

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5. Miami Connection 4K (Vinegar Syndrome)
MIAMI CONNECTION is one of those films that is lost for a long time and then when it is rediscovered, it becomes a cult classic. MIAMI CONNECTION is one of those films that is made because a martial artist thinks he can make one. We have seen them time and time again. The fact that this film is actually really good is something you don’t see in many of these vanity projects. Vinegar Syndrome did an amazing job with this release. The 4K picture is downright gorgeous and gives the film a new life. The special features are a mix of old and new and are a lot of fun. They even included a different version of the film, one that was screened and then changed. This version has a very dark ending but is really worth checking out. 

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4. Heavy Metal/Heavy Metal 2000 4K (Sony)
Like with ROBOCOP, I have told the story of my first viewing of HEAVY METAL (you can read it here), so I won’t go into that. HEAVY METAL is one of those films that is made for teenagers. I saw the film when I was fifteen and that was the perfect age to see it. I have been in love with the film ever since and have owned it on just about every format it was released on (I am still trying to get a laserdisc of the film for a reasonable price). The 4K transfer here is just so beautiful, very film like in its appearance. This release does come with a blu-ray copy of the lackluster sequel, HEAVY METAL 2000, so take that how you may. This is a release for the ages.

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3. The Christmas Special Classics Collection (Universal)
Everyone who grew up in the post-1950s has seen these three specials (RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER, FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, and SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN). There is something about each of these specials that brings joy to my heart. Now, we have suffered with the previous home video release, what with their crappy video and all. That was until the year 2022 where Universal went back to the OCNs of these specials and gave them the 4K treatment and we are the better for them. The picture quality of all three specials is just jaw-dropping and there are tons of special features to boot. I love this release.

2. The Seventh Curse (88 Films)
I had never seen THE SEVENTH CURSE before picking up this release. I had heard good things about so I decided to pick it up. Man, I am so glad I did. This is one of my favorite first time viewings of this year. This film is nuts and I loved it! 88 Films has brought the film to blu-ray for the first time with a brand new transfer, lossless audio, and plenty of special features to keep fans busy for a while. The packaging is also one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. 

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1. The Incredibly Strange Films of Ray Dennis Steckler (Severin Films)
I can not begin to tell you how much I love this release, but I will try. Much like the AL ADAMSON MASTERPIECE COLLECTION that Severin put out two years ago, we get a massive amount of Steckler's films (I know that the Al Adamson collection was all of his films minus one film, but I digress). Each of the films in this collection have enough charm to give to a ton of other films that lack it and some of them are actually good too. Each of the films have a good amount of special features including interviews, deleted scenes, and commentaries from Steckler himself. Hell, Joe Bob Briggs does intros and commentary tracks for three of the films in this collection. Please note that there are two discs in this collection that feature nothing but porn that Steckler made in the 70s. The inclusion of these may be something that a few will not want in their collection but they are interesting for a one time view.

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