New DVD Releases: 'A Nightmare On Elm Street,' 'Fast And The Furious 3,' 'Masters Of Horror'

Plus: 'Dracula' and 'Frankenstein' 75th anniversary editions, 'Voltron.'

Every week takes a look at the most promising DVD releases, from recent big-screen hits to Hollywood classics to television shows finally getting their due.

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" Infinifilm Edition (1984)

The countdown to Halloween has begun, and studios are rolling out deluxe editions of their horror classics. There's no doubt that Wes Craven's "A Nightmare on Elm Street" made the fledgling studio New Line Cinema a brand name. Grossing 20 times its budget just by word of mouth alone and spawning a franchise that lives on to this day, "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and its wisecracking, child-murdering villain Freddy Krueger are ingrained in our cultural landscape. Despite its small budget, the first is still the best, as teens are dying left and right, the victims of apparent suicide. However, Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) thinks that the dreams she's been having may hold the key to their strange deaths.

New Line Home Entertainment has included the following extras in this two-disc set:

  • Commentary by Wes Craven, Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp
  • "Never Sleep Again" all-access documentary
  • "The House That Freddy Built" documentary
  • "Night Terrors" documentary
  • "Freddy's Coming for You" trivia challenge

"The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" (2006)

"The Fast and the Furious" franchise seemed to stall with its second installment, but director Justin Lin's third entry transplants the series halfway around the world and gives it the NOS boost it desperately needed. The name comes from a popular Asian racing style called drifting, which was also the subject of Andrew Lau's "Initial D." Sean (Lucas Black) is a rebellious teen shipped overseas to live with his father, a U.S. Army officer stationed in Japan. Sean and fellow American Twinkie (Bow Wow) soon find themselves competing in Tokyo's world of underground drift racing.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has included the following extras:

  • Commentary by director Justin Lin
  • "Tricked Out to Drift" featurette
  • "The Japanese Way" featurette
  • Deleted scenes

"Masters of Horror: Imprint" (2006)

Horror fans rejoiced when Showtime added notorious Japanese director Takashi Miike's name to the already impressive list of diabolical directors attached to their "Masters of Horror" anthology series, but these cheers soon turned to jeers. Showtime, upon viewing Miike's "Imprint," decided that it would be too controversial for their "no-holds-barred" series. The decision to ban the episode outright only increased interest in Miike's English-language debut. So, does "Imprint" live up to the hype? Yes, and resoundingly so. This dark tale about an American (Billy Drago) traveling to a mysterious island to find his lost love finds Miike in his element — namely grisly violence, torture and death.

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has included the following extras:

  • Commentary with American Cinematheque programmer Chris D. and writer Wyatt Doyle
  • An interview with Takashi Miike
  • "Imperfect Beauty: The Make-Up and Special Effects of Imprint"
  • "Imprinting: The Making of Imprint"
  • Trailers
  • Still gallery

"Lady Vengeance" (2005)

What began with "Sympathy for Mr. Vengenace" and continued in "Oldboy" ends now as Korean director Park Chan-wook delivers the haunting final chapter in his self-proclaimed "Vengeance" trilogy. Park's fascination with mankind's idea of revenge and it's manifestations has grown, escalating the levels of tragedy found in "Lady Vengeance" to new, operatic heights. Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae) is a young woman who's arrest for the kidnapping and murder of a young boy shocked the nation. Now, after 13 years behind bars, she begins her quest for revenge against the real murderer, the evil Mr. Baek (Choi Min-sik).

Tartan Asia Extreme has included the following extras:

  • Commentary with Richard Pena
  • Interview with Park Chan-wook
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Selected scenes from the first two installments of "The Vengeance Trilogy"

"The Notorious Bettie Page" (2005)

Writer/director Mary Harron may only have three films to her name ("I Shot Andy Warhol," "American Psycho" and now "Bettie Page"), but each one has offered a glimpse into the darker sides of Americana. To many the name Bettie Page, the infamous '50s pinup whose look launched a thousand hairdos, is synonymous with images of sex, seduction, S&M and sin, but that wasn't the real Bettie. Harron's film chronicles the innocent, sad, sweet and funny life of Page (Gretchen Mol), from her troubled youth through her modeling years to her eventual epiphany.


"Dracula" 75th Anniversary Edition (1931) / "Frankenstein" 75th Anniversary Edition (1931)

Somehow, it's hard to believe that Tod Browning's "Dracula" and James Whale's "Frankenstein" are each only 75 years old. The way these two archetypal characters, both of whom got their starts in literature, captured the public's imagination after appearing on the silver screen, you would have thought there were cave paintings of these iconic bogeymen. Since then, countless films, shows, cartoons and toys have maintained Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff's depictions of these creatures as the definitive ones. And sure, everyone has a favorite, but as Martin Landau (playing Bela Lugosi) said in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood": "You think it takes talent to do Frankenstein? It's all makeup and grunting."

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has included the following extras in these two-disc anniversary editions:

"Dracula" (1931)

  • Commentary with film historian David J. Shal and screenwriter Steve Haberman
  • Score by Philip Glass performed by the Kronos Quartet
  • "Lugosi: The Dark Prince" documentary
  • "The Road to Dracula" documentary
  • "Universal Horror" documentary
  • "Monster Tracks"
  • "Dracula" (1931) Spanish version with introduction by Lupita Tovar Kohner

"Frankenstein" (1931)

  • Commentary with Rudy Behlmer and historian Sir Christopher Frayling
  • "The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster"
  • "Frankenstein Archives"
  • "Karloff: The Gentle Monster" documentary
  • "Universal Horror" documentary
  • "Boo!" short film
  • "Monster Tracks"
  • Theatrical trailer

"Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2nd Gig)" Vol. 7 (2005)

Based on Mamoru Oshii's anime film of the groundbreaking manga, "GitS" has been growing in popularity here in the States. In the future, the Internet exists as a world unto itself. The boundaries between man and machine have grown ever more tenuous. Most of the population have cybernetic enhancements, and as a result, Section 9 was formed to deal with a new breed of criminal: the cyber-terrorist. "2nd Gig" takes place right after the events of "Stand Alone Complex" and follows the previous series narrative structure divided between self-contained "Stand Alone" stories and "Complex" episodes, which build on one another and contribute to the ongoing storyline. In this, the final volume of "2nd Gig," Major Kusanagi has found the mysterious revolutionary Kuze, but is it too late to stop the launch of a nuclear missile?

In addition to episodes 23-26 of this series, Manga Entertainment has also included the following extras:

  • Interview with director Kenji Kamiyama
  • Interview with voiceover actors

"Voltron: Defender of the Universe" Vol. 1 (1984)

As the children of the '80s continue to grow up and assume positions of power, so too shall elements of their childhood. It was only a matter of time, as evidenced by the surge in demand for classic cartoons on DVD including "Gatchaman," "G.I. Joe," "Robotech" and, most recently, "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe." Now another classic Americanized anime is getting its long-overdue debut in a fully restored and remastered DVD package, "Voltron: Defender of the Universe." The series hasn't aired in more than a decade, but its memory has been kept alive in lyrics by Eminem, Diddy and the Wu-Tang Clan. With hip-hop impresario Pharrell Williams producing and scoring a live-action version (see "Pharrell Williams Revisits The '80s With 'Voltron' Movie") slated for 2008, now is the perfect time to get caught up on the phenomenon. Five teens are tasked with finding the five lion robots that combine to form Voltron, the only hope of defending the galaxy from the menace of the Drule Empire's King Zarkon and his Garulian Beast Fighters.

In addition to the first 15 episodes of the series, Media Blasters has also included the following extras in this three-disc set:

  • Pilot episode "The Voltron Trilogy"
  • Staff interviews
  • "Making of the DVDs" featurette
  • Episode synopses with original air dates

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