A week ago I wrote a retrospective article on the 25th anniversary of “Weird Al” Yankovic‘s supremely silly cult classic UHF and ended it with these words:
The movie may one day see a release on Blu-ray and now that Yankovic’s career is hotter than ever thanks to the success of his latest album Mandatory Fun it wouldn’t be inconceivable for a company like Shout! Factory to distribute an HD edition.
I automatically assumed at the time that Shout! would pick up the license to release UHF on Blu-ray because it’s an MGM title and they typically distribute that studio’s lesser-loved catalog entries. Plus this year would be the most appropriate time for a UHF Blu because the movie celebrates its silver anniversary in 2014 and anniversaries always look good on a Blu-ray/DVD cover. But I had no idea that when Shout! announced its upcoming home video release slate over the weekend at the San Diego Comic-Con they would be including a new 25th anniversary edition of UHF among some of their better-known titles.
Believe it, kiddies. This November Yankovic’s patchwork paean to oddball television programming and the imaginative outcasts who make it all happen is getting its first release in high-definition. Fans of the movie who don’t already own the snazzy but sadly out-of-print DVD released by MGM in 2002 will no longer have to worry about shelling out more than necessary for a used copy on Ebay. Bonus features have yet to be finalized but the previous DVD included a commentary with Yankovic, deleted scenes, and other goodies and it would behoove Shout! to port them over to their anniversary Blu.
In addition to UHF Shout! Factory will also release the 1985 comic documentary The Compleat Al (which told a humorous version of Yankovic’s life story) on DVD for the first time this November. Over at their horror/sci-fi imprint Scream Factory the latter half of 2014 and the early months of next year will bring a bounty of popular and highly requested titles for Blu-ray and DVD – some of which are making their debut in HD. The Gothic horror thriller The Doctor and the Devils will be released on November 4, 2014, Stuart Gordon‘s creepy gem Dolls follows the next week, and two titles from George Romero – 1988’s Monkey Shines and the 1991 Stephen King adaptation The Dark Half – hit stores another week later.
Other Scream Factory titles with undetermined release dates include Tobe Hooper‘s 1986 remake of Invaders from Mars, Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh, the 1989 version of The Phantom of the Opera which starred horror icon Robert Englund in the title role, and the early ’80s Cannon Films slasher favorite New Year’s Evil. While these names would be more than enough to pique the interest of horror fans the Scream releases that have me the most excited are new collector’s edition Blu-rays of the original Mad Max and John Carpenter‘s 1981 futuristic action classic Escape from New York.
Escape has been available from MGM in a no-frills Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with decent video and audio quality for several years, but the Scream Factory edition will likely improve upon that prior release in every possible way. The same goes for Mad Max, which has also been available on Blu-ray from MGM with extra features but no involvement from director George Miller and star Mel Gibson. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the new Mad Max Blu-ray held from release until early next year to coincide with Miller’s latest Mad Max: Fury Road hitting theaters in May.