SLEEPWALKER Saxon Logan, director/BFI Blu-Ray This is truly scarifying stuff and its neglect is unaccountable — a neglect remedied by this authoritative BFI release. The 27th title in the BFI’s pioneering Flipside series, which is supported by the director Nicolas Winding Refn, is Saxon Logan’s long-unseen horror satire Sleepwalker from 1984. It is remastered from the only surviving print and presented for the first time on any home video format. This Dual Format Edition (Blu-ray and DVD) also contains two short films by Saxon Logan and the rare 1971 mid-length fantasy, The Insomniac, directed by Rodney Giesler. When wealthy couple Richard and Angela visit Marion and Alex in their decaying family home, an evening of drunkenness and sexual rivalry turns bloody as the guests fall victim to an unhinged attacker.
MIT: MURDER INVESTIGATION TEAM – THE COMPLETE SERIES Various directors/Network Bearing conspicuous evidence of solid research (former Metropolitan DCI Jackie Malton acted as story consultant) with high-profile guests, this CSI-style spin-off was executive-produced by The Bill’s Paul Marquess and ran for two series. Heading the team for Series One is forthright DI Vivien Friend and her more intuitive second-in-command, Rosie McManus; Series Two sees old-school copper Trevor Hands taking the reins under DCI Anna Wishart. Their approaches sometimes clash, but all are polished professionals whose work demands a meticulous process of profiling, forensics and reconstruction – tracing the most intimate details of a victim’s life to identify motive and murderer.
SIMON KILLER Antonio Campos, director/Eureka Blu-Ray Uniquely unsettling and informed by an extremely personal vision, this is a film that has arrived loaded with praise. The acclaimed second feature by Antonio Campos (starring Brady Corbet and Mati Diop) features rising indie-star and director Corbet, of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. Corbet plays Simon, a recent college graduate full of promise and potential, who goes to Paris to begin a trip around Europe following a break-up with a long-time girlfriend. An outsider adrift upon a profound sense of loss, Simon takes solace in the company of Victoria (Diop), a beautiful, young, and mysterious prostitute — and their fateful journey begins. Highly individual fare.
DERANGED Alan Ormsby and Jeff Gillen, directors/Arrow Blu-Ray For those (such as this writer) who saw this gruesome and controversial film based on the real-life murders of Ed Gein on one of its first London showings at the National Film Theatre, its very title evokes an era when films could be perceived as dangerous (think: Last House On the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, etc.), and which the moral guardians of the day felt it necessary to cut to ribbons – or ban altogether. But here it is, totally uncensored in a pristine Blu-ray transfer. This dual edition release of the film is festooned with special features and bonus material, including exclusive featurettes, interviews, behind-the-scenes images, trailers, collector’s booklet and reversible sleeve artwork.
THE FLAW/WITNESS IN THE DARK Terence Fisher, Wolf Rilla, directors/Renown For aficionados of British B films, the bijou distribution company Renown is treasure trove, offering neglected early works by cult directors – such as this cherishable duo (on one disc) of hour-long features by Terence Fisher and Wolf Rilla. The Flaw, directed by Fisher (of later Hammer celebrity), is a 1955 British production starring John Bentley, Donald Houston and Rona Anderson. Sleazy but seductive racing car driver Paul Oliveri (Bentley) plans to murder his wife for the insurance money. Her attorney, who is in love with her, discovers the plan and a savage fight on a boat has grim results. Witness in the Dark is directed by Wolf Rilla just before he directed the SF classic Village of the Damned and stars Patricia Dainton as a blind girl who “witnesses” the thief-turned-murderer of her upstairs friend and neighbour. The film is considerably bolstered not just by Rilla’s imaginative direction, but by the presence (as the villain) of the terrific character actor Nigel Green.