DVD & Video File (Starburst Reviews) DVD File and VideoFile by Ian Atkins
From Starburst's monthly Reviews section
selected from Starburst #273

Selected this month:
The Day of the Triffids on DVD; Batman of the Future and Ring on VHS

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Batman of the Future:
Return of the Joker
26 March • Cert 12 • Warner Home Video

Batman of the Future on VHS - order from BlackStar today!

The Future’s No Laughing Matter

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Gotham City of the future is a place of towering architecture and low-life, dim-witted villains with laser guns. And although the original Batman Bruce Wayne is now an old man, he’s taken young Terry McGuinness under his (ahem) wing to patrol the city as a capeless, flying Batman to bring these baddies to justice. But while the two men have somewhat different approaches to their mission of justice, they’re unified when an old visitor returns to town: the Joker, as large as life, and just as dangerous... Even though he should be in his eighties.

It’s this mystery of the old Joker’s presence which drives this frantic, animated tale, and some glorious set-pieces put Return of the Joker into a whole new Batman league: more of this and you’ll be able to forget what Joel Schumacher did to the franchise. The vocal talents include Dean Stockwell and Melissa Joan Hart while Mark Hamill as the Joker steals the show, sounding as if he’s having as much fun as we are watching it.

Starburst Rating: 10

The Day of the Triffids
2 April • Cert 15
Second Sight Films • Screen Format: 1.85:1

Day of the Triffids on DVD - order from BlackStar today!

Let’s See Charlie Dimmock Sort This Lot Out

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The first reaction on seeing this 1962 movie is ‘hmmm, must be due for a big budget re-make’, and certainly there’s a touch of the Emmerich and Devlins about this tale of global disaster, carnivorous plants, and Howard Keel in a sailor hat.

When a glittering meteor show blinds all spectators, society breaks down overnight: then the terrified populace discover they have become food for the carnivorous extraterrestrial plants known as Triffids...

This scares on both levels, and the combination makes for a very effective film. The blindness plot is the more disturbing, emphasized with such horrific moments as the crash of a train at Waterloo Station, or a plane’s sightless crew aware that the fuel’s running out and they have no hope of landing. The Triffid presence turns sequences into a more traditional monster romp, but these have their moments, the impressive design work presenting spooky, tentacled creatures which will certainly prevent you gardening at night.

Starburst rating: 9

Extras

Nothing here apart from a stilted widescreen trailer: a shame, but given that this is nearly forty years old, not much of a surprise.

Starburst Rating: 2

Ring
19 March • Cert 15 • Tartan Video

Ring on VHS - order from BlackStar today!

More a Sort of Ring Ring, Ring Ring

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This superb psychological Horror is the sort of film which, as with Blair Witch, will outrage the buckets-of-giblets fans who are disappointed if at least one person doesn’t get decapitated every half hour. They are strongly suggested to look elsewhere (there are only two on-screen deaths), as Ring presents a thoughtful, but nevertheless deeply disturbing take on the power of rumour – a ‘Japanese Whispers’, if you will – as an urban legend is passed from victim to victim; simply being a part of it enough to doom the listener.

A journalist investigates when some school friends of her young son die mysteriously. It becomes clear they watched a strange video in which a woman promised ‘you will die in one week’ and the curse came horribly true. But in researching the story, Asakawa exposes not only herself to the curse, but her ex-husband and their child. The race is on to find an escape before the same unspeakably gruesome fate befalls them too.

This is brilliant, scary and dark, an MR James-esque ghost story for the modern world, with a new horror character in the mysterious Sadako, who ultimately makes the phone-calling killer of Scream about as terrifying as your average double glazing salesman.

Starburst Rating: 10

Reviews © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction