The Big Movie House's Favorite DVD Purchases of 2023

Every year, I compile a list of the home media purchases I made during that year and hammer it down to the ten purchases that made my year. I include all different formats because I am not a snob for any one format. This is the 2023 edition of that list.

Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus 16 Ton Megaset, The (US DVD)
I have been a Monty Python since a friend turned me on to them in the early 90s. Their brand of comedy really hit me hard and I have followed them ever since. I used to own a set of their influential TV, MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS but I had to sell it years ago when I needed the money but I never tried to obtain another set since. That was until a few months ago. I was at my local Savers and while I was perusing the movie section, I noticed this Monty Python set. I figured the set was going to cost an arm and a leg but when I flipped it over and saw the $5.99 sticker on it, I knew it was going to be mine. I checked all of the discs, figuring that at least one of them was going to be scratched (none of them were) and I checked out.

Cyborgs (German Blu-ray)
I got this set from the wonderful guys over at OrbitDVD and I love it. I have a thing for 90s action films and this thing has a ton of them. You've got the wonderfully over-the-top and never dull HOLOGRAM MAN, the 4 NEMESIS films, the ROBOCOP ripoff THE DEMOLITIONIST, and Albert Pyun's preferred cut of CYBORG entitled SLINGER. There is also PROTOTYPE X29A (pretty terrible), CLASS OF 1999 (an awesome film given a terrible upscale), and AMERICAN CYBORG: STEEL WARRIOR (a pretty decent flick). I bought the set for $40 and it was a steal as just THE DEMOLITIONIST goes for $30, so I got 9 other films for $10.

Gate, The (US Blu-ray) (Walmart Exclusive)
As a child of the 80s, I got to watch a lot of stuff that was aimed at kids that would not be aimed at kids today. THE MONSTER SQUAD, GREMLINS, and KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE were just a few of the horror films I grew up on that were aimed at kids (or at least teenagers) but THE GATE never hit like those other films did. The film is really fun and has some great scenes that scared the pants off of my friends but I wasn't into the film the way they were. When Lionsgate released the film on blu-ray as part of their Vestron Video Collector's Series line, I skipped it. They were charging $35 for this single disc release and it always felt like they were trying to get that boutique blu-ray market money without putting in the effort. This past summer, they rereleased the film on blu-ray with a snazzy slipcover that was only available at Walmart. The price was right too as it was only ten bucks. This is the same release as last time as the only thing different is the slipcover. Well worth the ten bucks.

Hard Boiled and The Killer (US Laserdisc) HARD BOILED is my favorite film of all time. The film is the best thing John Woo has ever made with him firing on all cylinders. I have had the pleasure of seeing the film in a movie theater and will watch the film at the drop of a hat. I had always wanted to get the film on laserdisc but I had only ever had one chance (I refuse to buy certain things online as you never know for certain what you are getting) and I chose to buy a different film (which I will never name because I am too embarrassed). Four months ago, I was at a Half Price Books I don't normally go to when I saw that they had THE KILLER Criterion Collection laserdisc for $15. I gave it a look over and bought it. A few months later, I was at the same Half Price Books and they had the Criterion laserdisc of HARD BOILED. I bought it immediately. Both of these releases are in almost flawless condition and couldn't be happier.

He-Man and She-Ra: The Eternia Collection (German Blu-ray)
I grew up on HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and SHE-RA: PRINCESS OF POWER. I watched these shows all the time and I would also rent the episodes that made it to VHS. Back in the mid-2000s, the now defunct BCI Eclipse gave both series their DVD debuts with four volume sets (half-season sets) for HE-MAN and two volume sets for SHE-RA. We got another release from Universal a few years ago that left a lot to be desired. Then Plaion Pictures out of Germany entered the fray with a set that would be the ultimate set. This set features each series' full tv run with each episode getting the bump to HD with AI upscaling. Normally, AI upscaling is frowned up (see my review for Retromedia's SCREAM QUEEN HOT TUB PARTY which employed AI upscaling to disastrous results) but with the way the animation was done of HE-MAN and SHE-RA, the upscaling is actually done right. Not only were both series included but the straight-to-VHS "movies" that were released during the run of HE-MAN were included. We also get the theatrical HE-MAN and SHE-RA film, THE SECRET OF THE SWORD, and the fairly recent documentary POWER OF GRAYSKULL. This is not only one of my favorite purchases of 2023, it is one of my favorite purchases ever.

Meatballs 4 (US DVD)
As I was growing in my film knowledge, I watched all different kinds of films. I watched the Oscar hopefuls along with the straight-to-video sex comedies. I watched them all. One of my favorites from the 90s was the third sequel to the Bill Murray hit MEATBALLS. I had never seen any of the films in the MEATBALLS cinematic universe but I did know of them as I had seen them in the video store. I rented the film because of Corey Feldman. I was a fan back then and I watched anything he was in. I look back on this as a failure on my part but I was a preteen so you have to cut me some slack. I watched MEATBALLS 4 all the time back then and wanted to revisit it now. With the film being a forgotten 90s sex comedy, you have to color me surprised when I found out it was out on DVD. I found it at a local shop and can now relive a favorite time in my childhood.

Midnite Movies Vol. 1: Monsters & Creatures (US DVD)
I love monster films. I have had some great times sitting in front of the TV as a horde of giant rats attack a group of people who are just trying to survive. I love when giant gorillas attack a city while a large group of people run away screaming. I originally bought this set at my local Best Buy as it was an exclusive release for them. I enjoyed the hell out of the release but had to sell it off when I needed to pay my bills. A few months ago, a Disc Replay a few towns over posted a pic of the set on their Instagram account, and the price was actually really good. I drove over and picked it up. The set has seen better days but the price I paid more than makes up for anything wrong with the outer box. The films are amazing and I finally have the set back in my collection.

Pet Sematary Two (US Blu-ray)
The original PET SEMATARY scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. The female character's sister has stuck with me to this day and I have avoided revisiting the film because of it. When PET SEMATARY TWO was getting ready for release, I was skeptical. I wasn't sure if I was ready to revisit Bangor, Maine but then I saw the trailers and I figured it could be a good time. a "good time" is an understatement. This film is ridiculously fun with a killer performance from Mr. Krabs himself, Clancy Brown. Scream Factory brought the film to blu-ray in 2020 and it is a glorious release.

Wayne's World (US 4K)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE was a huge deal in the early to mid-90s. The show had suffered in the 80s but was brought back into the forefront with a cast that included Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, and Mike Meyers. All these cast members created memorable characters but none stood out like Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. WAYNE'S WORLD took the byion by storm and soon a film was released that made a ton of money ($121 million at the domestic box office) and had everyone 

Watchers (UK DVD)
WATCHERS is another film in my life that played in the background but I have still never seen it. The film was always on at my friend's house as it played on cable a ton in the late 80s and early 90s. They always had their TVs on whether or not they were in the room or not. I knew the film starred the only Corey with talent and he had a dog and there was a monster. I knew nothing else about the film. The problem with trying to find older films on home media is that many times, they are out of print (OOP) and WATCHERS has been OOP in the States for well over a decade now. The film is owned by Lionsgate so who knows when they are going to release it, if ever. I was at my local Disc Replay and they had two copies of WATCHERS. They had the US DVD release which was a double feature with the film's sequel, WATCHERS II. This edition cost $40. That version of WATCHERS is in 1.33:1 but it appears it could be an open matte presentation. The UK DVD, which is in widescreen, was $5. The film looks the best it can and it cost a fraction of what the US DVD would have cost me. 

Werner Herzog Collection, The (BFI)
Whenever I went to my local Disc Replay I would see this Werner Herzog Collection that BFI released in the UK many years ago. I wanted to buy it but something always told metot too. I figured that maybe I wouldn't like any of the films in the set. A few weeks ago, I was at McDonald's, eating dinner before seeing a film, and I watched a YouTube video talking about Werner Herzog and his films. I started to appreciate him a bit more through this video and remembered that Disc Replay had that Werner Herzog set. I ran up there the next day to find they had it. When I picked it up, I noticed that the price had dropped significantly from what it was a few months prior. I haven't gone through the whole set but I can tell you I am loving it. There are a few films I would have loved to be in this set (EVEN DWARVES STARTED SMALL and LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY are sorely missing) but everything here so far has been awesome. This collection was well worth the price I paid. 

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