ADRIAN'S CLASSIC COMPARISONS

Welcome to the first of a series of Classic Comparisions features. The Classic Comparisons have been on the site for many years now but we have decided make things a little differnet by featuring films chosen by our team members. First up is a selection from our Site Manager. To access comparisons for any of the films, just click on the cover art.

28 DAYS LATER 28 DAYS LATER
I have much respect for Danny Boyle and co. I discovered Shallow Grave by accident but was hooked once Iíd seen it. I have all his feature films to date (except Millions) but this one is definitely the best. I have always appreciated zombie films - Romeroís Dead Quadrilogy and Shaun of the Dead also grace my shelves - but this one gets the extra point for the story, style and uber-zombies! Itís easy to see what convinced Romero to create the long awaited, adrenaline injected Land of the Dead.
ALIEN QUADRILOGY ALIEN QUADRILOGY
I must confess that I had never actually seen any of the films when I bought this set but was convinced by good reviews, the impressive extras and a bargain sale price. I certainly wasnít disappointed. I still feel the films are overlong in places - I donít have much patience for films which take the first half hour to get started - but once they do get going the wait is rewarded.
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
I still consider this to be the best werewolf movie ever. Many argue that the transformation seen in The Howling is of equal merit but Iíd beg to differ. The black humour presented here is probably what makes the film as a whole but the brightly lit, full-on transformation is the scene to go back and watch over and over again.
DONNIE DARKO DONNIE DARKO
OK - so any self respecting film buff would put this one in their list but whatís wrong with that? Itís difficult to explain why this one is a favourite. I guess itís the revelation, which gives you fresh appreciation for the story just as it ends, which clinches the deal here. I think thereís also a personal appreciation for the loner that is Donnie.
THE EVIL DEAD - Book of the Dead THE EVIL DEAD
This is one of the very first horror films I can remember watching - or rather being traumatized by - when my older brother and mate Ďacquiredí a video copy back in the days of the video nasty. Itís still a very entertaining watch when youíre in the mood for some goofball gore that doesnít require the use of any brain cells.
EVIL DEAD II - Book of the Dead EVIL DEAD II
The remake (of sorts) of the first film is equally entertaining but is highlighted here more for the unique Book Of The Dead packaging which was released in 2005. It beats the Book of the Dead released some years ago for the original film to my Ďnumber one for packaging DVDí due to the great screaming eye!
THE FLY - Ultimate Collector's Edition Box Set THE FLY
This is probably the only David Cronenberg film that I can go back to time and time again. To be fair itís probably the gore quotient again but itís also a great story. Look out for the UK box set of all 3 original films and the 2 sequels in special Ďpodí packaging.
HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN
I canít remember whether I saw this one before or after The Evil Dead but I certainly recall having nightmares about it afterwards. John Carpenter at his finest and definitely the reason why Iím willing to give most of the films he has produced since (and the Halloween sequels for that matter) at least the time of day. Check out my comprehensive, if rather dated, article on the Halloween series here.
HELLRAISER - Lament Configuration HELLRAISER
I realised while watching this one again recently that itís actually very sadistic in places and I would certainly be cautious of recommending it to those who shy away from violent gore! Forever a sucker for great packaging, this one was released many years ago by Anchor Bay (US) in a collectorís metal tin. However, itís the wonderful Lament Box packaging from Anchor Bay UK that takes greater pride of place on my DVD shelves.
THE HILLS HAVE EYES THE HILLS HAVE EYES
Oh - I have a confession to make now. This one is primarily here due to my appreciation for the director (Wes Craven); its reputation for being raw and shocking (and so in the same league as both The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Cravenís previous The Last House on the Left - see below); and the fact that the 2 disc set from Anchor Bay UK includes the great and thought provoking documentary The American Nightmare which Iíd seen on TV and desperately wanted to see again.
HOSTEL - Unrated Edition HOSTEL
Sick? Yes. Twisted? Yes. Should be banned? Steady on! Itís fairly certain though that, if this had been released 20 years ago, it probably WOULD have been banned in the UK. The nudity is excessive and unnecessary (at least to the story), the violence (both physical and mental) is constant in the latter half of the film and the gore is always graphic. 10 out of 10 then!
THE MONSTER LEGACY COLLECTION THE INVISIBLE MAN
This is just one of 17 black and white films presented in the fantastic Monster Legacy box set with busts of Dracula, Frankensteinís monster and the Wolfman - I wonder why they didnít choose a bust of The Invisible Man? Those marketing peeps really know how to get me every time. I chose to promote The Invisible Man over the other, many would say more classic, films in the set due to my childhood memories of watching the BBC dramatisation from the 80s - which I also have on DVD - and a desire to see how the earlier effort from 40 years before compared. I can honestly say that I was actually very impressed.
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
I would challenge anyone to honestly say they donít get anything out of this one. Saying itís a classic is an often used clichť but in this case I truly believe it canít be described as anything else. James Stewart is perfect in the role. If ever there was a film to show the true value of family and friends; to demonstrate that it is possible to believe in hope beyond all odds; then this is it.
KING KONG (1933) - Collector's Tin Edition KING KONG (1933)
What? Not another purchase influenced by the packaging? Iím afraid so. It was a Christmas present though so at least my bank balance wasnít dented on this occasion. Itís slow in places but I have come to accept that in older films - and this one is a pensioner now at the grand old age of 73. Like A Night to Remember, itís the dedication to art that I hold in awe here - the Ďstop motioní technique really brought fantasy to life and whilst it can look awful by todayís standards (and hence why Iíd guess many youths of today would insist that Peter Jackson invented the beast) it was a wonder to behold at the time.
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT
This was Wes Cravenís first film and itís a disturbing and difficult watch on occasions. Whilst I donít agree with censorship - rating films according to social acceptability is fair enough, but the editing of works is unacceptable - it is easy to see why a film such as this is difficult to classify. This means, therefore, that it remains cut in the UK and so I have the R1 release from MGM. Having said that, there are better versions with more extras - but those werenít available at the time of my purchase and, whilst special packaging is a Ďno brainerí for me, double dipping is a big no-no unless thereís something extra special to gain from it.
LOOK AROUND YOU LOOK AROUND YOU
Itís tempting to say that this is a guilty pleasure but actually itís more than that. Iím the right age to remember the countdown pips before a schoolís programme, the naff title sequences and pointless experiments so this pastiche ticks every box every time. Add to that the fact that each episode in just 10 minutes long, so you can dip in and out of the disc at a momentís notice, the great set of equally cheesy (just for Ďlittle mouseí) extras and you have a perfect DVD that puts many other TV releases to shame.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER - Criterion Collection A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Move over James Cameron and your multi goof love story, this is the real story of the Titanic tragedy. Ok, so science has shown since that the ship broke in two as it sank so Cameronís attempt wins a point there but I suggest that the effort, patience and skill that went into the production of A Night to Remember is a hundred times more impressive and beyond compare. The survivors rowing away from the sinking ship arenít whiz-kid, let the PC take the strain CGI but sweat and blood miniatures with tiny little people models that actually row along!
PHANTASM - Sphere Set PHANTASM
Hello - whatís that shiny spherical object sat on my shelf. Oh yes, itís another special packaging affair. Guilty yet again. The film is a real oddity. It was a while ago that I last watched it but I just remember it being a bit strange. The special effects are often laughable by today's standards but the drilling ball is still an interesting and unique concept.
SAW - Uncut Edition SAW
Graphic gore, twists and turns all along the way and, if you get your hands on the correct release (which is a task in itself given the number of releases there are for such a recent film) some great blood pouch packaging. I missed this one in the cinema - due to lack of effort on my part rather than not knowing about it - so I rented it as soon as it was available and had to resist the temptation the buy it straight away (I knew that a special edition was due in time for the theatrical release of the sequel). They say patience is a virtue. I hope so, as here I am, patiently waiting for the special edition of that sequel.
THE WIZARD OF OZ - Collector's Edition THE WIZARD OF OZ
Did I say I didnít double dip. Iíll have to eat my words then. In my defence though, the two box sets that I own have both got unique extras. Iím not sure how to justify my choice beyond that. There must be readers exclaiming 'What? The done to death film for Christmas' and theyíd be right - it probably is on at some point every Christmas. However, itís harmless family entertainment, a light hearted fairy tale for all with the added excitement of suspense in the form of the still scary Wicked Witch of the West and the even scarier flying monkeys. Add to that vast selection of extras available on the numerous releases and this has to be a true winner.

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