Lovely Jon’s Top DVD and Blu Ray releases of 2013

It’s always an absolute pleasure to have Lovely Jon telling us about his favourite releases of the year. With so many undiscovered gems and cinematic curiosities, LJ’s lists are packed with genuine delights ranging from pulpy film noir, dirt-under-the-fingernails grindhouse to classic cult cinema but most of all; it shines a light on the labels and distributors who work tirelessly beyond mainstream restrictions and deliver all these wonderful titles to film fans year in, year out. So hats off to Lovely Jon for another excellent list.

Over to you, LJ…




I can distinctively recall last year’s list and mentioning that the bottom had dropped out of the DVD/Blu-Ray genre scene. Well I’m happy to report that digital media came back with a ruthless vengeance this year and 2013 has seen an incredible, mind boggling plethora of releases that has truly been overwhelming (particularly on my wallet). Such has been the high standard of the last 12 months it has made this year’s list particularly difficult to navigate, however, special mention must go to Shout Factory (the label of the year bar none), Vinegar Syndrome and the ever dependent BFI imprints for throwing their gloves in the ring and pushing so many quality releases out there. Also a special mention to the crew members who have been so kind in their feedback with these lists and respect to good ol’ Aneet for making such an effort to get these yearly features out and shining. So on to this year’s hitters (in no particular order) – enjoy! 



1. WAKE IN FRIGHT (Drafthouse Blu Ray – US)

2013 had only just begun and this incredible, haunting portrait of a teacher ‘finding his inner masculinity’ amongst the barren wasters of the Australian outback blessed the new year.  From the wide angle opening salvo (which ironically resembles Leone alongside John Scott’s eerie title theme), a stalwart of classic Aussie/Brit character actors bust loose with eccentric verocity (not to mention the ever strange Donald Pleasance who is on improvised, wild-card form here).


2. COLOUR CORRECT MY COCK (Vagrant Video Blu Ray – US)

A totally wild mash up of trailers and edits from the piss stained vaults. I really respect where these guys are coming from and their raw “all or nothing fuck you” stance is refreshing and essential. Be warned – some of the arresting imagery on display is pretty twisted and not for the faint hearted but those cum ball crackheads high on late night trash kicks will lap it up.


3. AUDITIONS (88 Films DVD – UK)

Here’s a unique off centre gem hidden away as an extra on the UK release of the fun 80s sci-fi sex comedy DR ALIEN. A rag tag of bizarre characters audition for a porno whilst (the unseen) director barks orders from the side lines. A little seen algamation of Altman style verite, goofy humour and highly charged erotica this smart critique of the porno business seems to have come out of nowhere.



No one quite did ‘cynical’ like the great Stanley Baker and here the gruff welshman is on commanding form as a burnt out secret service operative given one last job whilst under scrutiny from his younger, fitter colleagues (great turns from steely eyed Derren Nesbitt and Sue Lloyd). Although in essence a knock off from Bond, Director Peter Collinson (always one to think outside the box – check his remarkable THE PENTHOUSE), keeps proceedings edgy and amoral (playing like a dry run for THE PROFESSIONALS).



Most browsing the shelves would give such a generic title short thrift – relegating ‘straight to DVD’ status with little thought or reflection.  Yet, those who caught the previous installment REGENERATION were surprised by the hard edged-retro style appropriated by John Hyams (son of the great Peter Hyams – helmer of such genre favourites as OUTLAND and BUSTING which made last years list). Here Hyams goes 100 steps further – pushing the queasy ultra-violence to an almost erotic state of hardcore machismo whilst infusing proceedings with full on psychedelia (check those strobing scenes!) and art house narrative tropes. Van Damme (an actor I really admire for surviving so long in this fickle business) is on mind bending form – shaping his Luc Deveraux character as a Brando-esque Col Kurtz guru/mentalist who turns the renegade UniSol’s against their corrupt creators via psychic brainwashing. Dolph Lundgren also returns in a bizarre cameo and the whole thing was deemed so brutal it was heavily censored in the States to avoid an NC17 (we lucky Brits get the full unrated cut for once).