The latest DVDs and Blu-rays are given the once-over by our writers. Read first before reaching for your credit card.
The Echo follows Bobby (Jesse Bradford), newly released from prison and returning to the apartment in which his mother resided and tragically died whilst he was away. Once he's moved in, he begins to hear ghostly noises through the walls and becomes wrapped up in the domestic violence of his next-door neighbours. All is not what it seems however and Bobby starts to think that he may be losing his mind like his mother before him.
The Evil Dead was a nasty experience; giving the supernatural horror an mean-spirited exploitation twist. It's a movie filled with mutilation, terror and a particularly harrowing example of sexual assault. It was not a crowd-pleaser. It was, however, a masterpiece. A great example of boundary-breaking cinema and a calling card for one of the visually thrilling directors of his generation.
Claude Chabrol's second feature is a kind of mirror image of his first. In Le Beau Serge, a city boy goes to the countryside and soon finds himself out of his depth among the long-brewing passions of village life. In Les Cousins (1959), country bumpkin Charles (Gerard Blain) comes to Paris to study for a law exam at the same time as his urbane cousin Paul (Jean-Claude Brialy). The pair stay together in a chic pied-a-terre belonging to their uncle, an international businessman with a shady reputation, and Paul – who has already landed himself in hot water, apparently getting a girl pregnant – takes it upon himself to introduce Charles to his citifed friends. As these include characters such as Clovis (Claude Cerval), an unsavoury older man who tries to make a bit of cash on the side by pimping out Paul's female acquaintances, Charles quickly becomes disillusioned.
The Shining is a masterpiece, not only because of its immaculate handling of atmosphere and tension, but because it takes a simple haunted house story and makes something of such density and complexity that every viewer will walk away with a different interpretation. It has been 33 years and viewers still cannot agree on what the black & white photograph means in the final shot. The Shining is the kind of movie film debate was built on. It demands to be discussed, picked apart, argued over. Room 237 is about that need to discuss, to pick apart, to argue.