The Big Movie House's Favorite 4K Blu-ray / Blu-ray / DVD Releases of 2023

2023 was a pretty great year for physical media. We got so many great releases. We got SNAKE AND CRANE ARTS OF SHAOLINICEMAN COMETTWIN DRAGONSand BATTLECREEK BRAWLfrom 88 Films,  SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE 1 and 2and TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: THE MOVIE in 4K from Scream Factory, HOPPING MAD: THE MR. VAMPIRE SEQUELS and HEROES & VILLAINS: THREE FILMS STARRING JET LI from Eureka Entertainment,  MALLRATS in 4K from Arrow Video, BIKINI DRIVE-IN and TERMINAL FORCE (as part of Retromedia's On Demand line) from Retromedia, GHOULIES in 4K from MVD, THE TOXIC AVENGER COLLECTION in 4K from Troma, HELLRAISER: QUARTET OF TORMENT in 4K from Arrow Video among so many other releases this year. This list is the best of them.

Attack of the Killer Refrigerator (1990) (Terror Vision) I have a love/hate relationship with shot-on-video (SOV) movies. I find most of them to be boring as the people making them had very little in the way of talent. Most of them end up being nothing more than home movies with some ketchup for blood. There are some, however, that are made by people who know how to make movies. You got guys like JR Bookwalter who has made his fair share of SOV movies or John Wintergate who was able to get his SOV movies played in movie theaters. Can you imagine watching a SOV movie in a movie theater? Anyway, ATTACK OF THE KILLER REFRIGERATOR is one of the latter types of SOV movies. It is well made and it tells its story quickly and doesn't overstay its welcome. There are two more shorts on this disc (THE HOOK OF WOODLAND HEIGHTS and DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS) that are even better. We also get the usual assortment of special features including a few that dive into unfinished films and a look at the filmmaker's company as a whole. This is such a nice set.


Bounty, The (Imprint Films)
I always like watching films that are new to me. THE BOUNTY had been around for almost 40 years before I got to watching it. I liked the film enough but its the blu-ray that I fell in love with. Imprint Films has gone above and beyond when talking about THE BOUNTY. We get many special features that have become normal with these boutique labels: technical commentary tracks, brand new, single interviews with cast & crew, and photo galleries. All of these features are fun and informative in their own right. We do, however, get two, 48 minute docs about the ship which is something I don't think an American company would have done, not even with a "car" film. I was really impressed by that because the ship is a motherfucker. The packaging is also gorgeous incorporating elements you don't normally see every day, including having 2 blu-ray cases in the hard box with each disc getting a case. They used to do that shit years ago and now someone is doing it now.  Just makes me happy.

Read my review for THE BOUNTY

Box of Burt: Burt Reynolds Collection (1981-1984) (Umbrella Entertainment)
Over the course of 2023, I made it a mission to catch up on some of the Burt Reynolds films I have been neglecting. I have seen a few of his films over the years and felt that 2023 was going to be "The Year of Burt" and it is. He is my highest-viewed actor of 2023 besting Jackie Chan. This Umbrella Entertainment blu-ray release couldn't have come at a better time. We get five Burt classics (CANNONBALL RUN 1 & 2, THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, STROKER ACE, and THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN) Each of these films was a first time watch and I had fun all the way through this set. Each film comes with special features. I loved watching the old TV based news programs we used all watch in the 80s and 90s. This is a must buy for any Fan of Burt.


Bruce Lee at Golden Harvest 4K Blu-ray (1971-1984) (Arrow Video)
What does one say about the amazing Bruce Lee box set that Arrow Video put out earlier in the year that can describe just how mind-blowing this set really is. I have never seen one film get as much in terms of versions, that each film gets here. Every film gets multiple versions including versions that haven't been seen in the 80s. Think about that. We got versions of these films that have been lost for decades. They also included as many of the various English dubs that have been done over the years. Going through these tracks and imagine watching these films on the 32 inch TV you have in your room like I did back in the day. And the special features, oh the SPECIAL FEATURES! They are amazing. They are all worth the time put into them. So much information! GET THIS SET!!


Dr. Giggles (Scream Factory)
My favorite cycle of horror films was the pre-SCREAM 90s horror. Films like GHOST IN THE MACHINE, BRAINSCAN, THE MANGLER, RUMPLESTILTSKIN, and TALES FROM THE HOOD are all my jam and DR. GIGGLES is no different. I LOVE DR. GIGGLES. I think the film works best as a slasher film with the comedy being worked in mostly around actor Larry Drake who brings his A-game to a role that could have been played all wrong. The film was shot with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 was always presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. That was until Scream Factory released this wonderful blu-ray. This was the first time I saw the film the way the director intended since the laserdisc release. The special features include a few interviews, a vintage making of (which I always love), and trailers & TV spots.

Read my review for DR. GIGGLES

Enter the Video Store: Empire of Screams (1984-1989) (Arrow Video)
Having grown up in the video store and actually seeing these five films on the shelf (as VHSs of course), this set brought back so many memories, even though I hadn't seen all the films in this set. This set brings together five classics from THE VIDEO STORE DAYS and gives them the proper attention they deserve. Each film is given a brand new restoration (except for CELLAR DWELLER which is really weird) and tons of special features. Hell, even DUNGEONMASTER is given multiple versions. Arrow even found a surviving print of ARENA, something that Scream Factory couldn't do. The video store packaging and the video store magazine like booklet are just icing on the cake of this awesome set.


Psycho Collection 4K (1960-1990), The (Arrow Video)
The PSYCHO films are interesting as they are one of the very few horror series that retains its lead for every mainline entry. Sure, Norman Bates is the villain but he is also the protagonist. Its a very interesting series. This set from Arrow Video contains all of the PSYCHO films in the original series and each of them look and sound great. There is one scene in part 2 that is underwhelming but that's it. The rest is just fine. The first film's disc is the Universal disc while the sequels' discs are brand new. They contain the special features from the stateside Scream Factory discs with Arrow giving us some new, worthwhile special features. The packaging is great two with each film getting a double sided poster (which I wish they had done for their Bruce Lee set) along with a hardcover book with essays and whatnot. 

Read my review for PSYCHO COLLECTION

Stone Cold (Kino Lorber)
I still remember watching STONE COLD for the first time when it hit video in late 1991. The pure joy this film brings to me and many others is so good that you want the film to keep going longer than it actually is. Olive Films released the film back in 2015. The picture and sound quality were fine but there were no special features. Thankfully, in 2023, Kino Lorber stepped up to the plate with one hell of a blu-ray released. They remastered the film in 2K and it looks great. Everything about the transfer is an improvement over the previous release. We get a brilliant commentary track from Mike Leeder and Arne Venema, some really awesome and informative interviews with Brian Bosworth, Lance Henriksen (every interview with Henriksen should be revered as he has some of the best stories. See his HARD TARGET interview on Kino's disc for more), Arabella Holzbog, and Sam McMurray (who has some great stories as well), and a bunch of the promotional videos made for the film prior to its release that have to be seen to be believed. 

Read my review for STONE COLD

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