Still Waiting on the DVD #3

Moon in the Gutter is devoting the month of February to films yet to become available on DVD (Region 1 format). This is a subject I've been harping about since I've started this blog - there's a bunch of great films and TV shows out there that for some unforgivable reason haven't been put on DVD yet!

Once upon a time, you either watched the movie when it came to your local theater of you were SOL. You might catch it on TV years later, but it was edited and intermixed with beer and tampon commercialism, so it just wasn't the same.

Then came HBO and the other premium channels, but the chances of catching something obscure was still remote. In other words, if you missed Superman in theaters, you probably could count on seeing it on HBO next year (that is, unless your parents were like mine and refused to pay for a TV channel). However, if you missed Humanoids from the Deep when it came to the theater, you just knew that you'd missed your only shot too see it.

VHS and Beta came along and suddenly many of these movies were available to watch again. Not only the mainstream films, but some so-called "video nasties" and a lot of other fringe films were retrieved from the pop culture dustbin.

Then came the mighty DVD, which yielded a flood of previously unreleased movies and TV shows... and now we're totally spoiled.

Well, I may be spoiled and a man of precious little patience, but the following films/TV shows NEED to be released ASAFP! There's no excuse for releasing entire seasons of crap like Charmed and The L Word on DVD and not release The Wonder Years! There's no excuse to release garbage like The Honeymooners remake and Battlefield Earth and not release the classic I Was a Teenage Werewolf!

So, here's a list of movies and TV shows still unavailable on DVD that really stick in my craw.

1. Deadly Blessing (1981)
Yes, a tattered old VHS like the one on the left is the best you can hope for. Never mind that it's directed by Wes Craven and stars a young Sharon Stone.

2. Skatetown U.S.A. (1979)
Let me get this straight - it's a roller disco movie starring Scott Baio and Maureen McCormick and it's NOT on DVD. There must be some kind of mistake. (see earlier post)

3. Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)
Controversial and raw, this film stars Diane Keaton in her prime and a young Richard Gere. Its chilling ending is legendary; this type of movie is simply not made anymore. It is beyond me why in 2009 we are STILL LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR!

4. Phantasm II (1988)
Whose idea was it to release Phantasm I, III, and IV, but leave out II? I liked the second one... too bad I can't watch it unless I move to Europe. What's the logic behind releasing it on Region 2 and not Region 1? I think they're just taunting us. (see earlier post)

5. I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
This landmark film catapulted horror films back into the drive-ins. The "I Was a Teenage ________ (fill in the blank)" has been so often imitated and parodied that it has become a part of our cultural vocabulary. For horror and B-movie buffs, this is like not releasing Citizen Kane on DVD.

6. Carry On Screaming (1966)
The Carry On films, always derided by critics as nothing more than juvenile cheeky British horseplay, but who cares? These films are hilarious... in that Benny Hill/Are You Being Served? kinda way. I've always been curious about the Carry On take on horror films - I picture this one being a bit like The Fearless Vampire Killers. I guess I'll never know.

7. Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971)
I feel like I keep coming back to this film on Retrospace, but I'll beat this dead horse one more time. Let's get this straight once and for all: (1) Rock Hudson is a psychopath gym coach who pimps out teachers, (2) Star Trek director Gene Roddenberry wrote the script and produced it, (3) Barbarella director Roger Vladim directed it, (4) Angie Dickenson plays a seductive whore teacher,... do I really need I go on? For a full length rant see an earlier post.

8. James at 15 (TV)
I barely remember this coming of age show starring Lance Kerwin, but what I do recall is that it literally oozed '70s goodness. I don't recall James at 15 (later called James at 16) ever being shown in reruns, so I've never had a chance to recharge my memory. I refuse to believe this wonderful show is lost for good.

9. The Wonder Years (TV)
My understanding is that it's the music licensing that's holding up this DVD release. I don't know about you, but I'm getting a bit tired of these greedy bastards messing with classic TV shows. One of my first posts was a belligerent rant on this subject.

10. Gas (1981)
This film pokes fun at the gas shortage; a must see for all retro hounds out there as perfect slice of life circa 1981.

11. Lady... Stay Dead! (1981)
This Australian slasher movie scared the living shit out of me back in the early eighties. I'd love to get the chance to see if it was really that good, or was I just a wimp.

12. The Gong Show Movie (1980)
Directed by Robert Downey Sr. and features a very early appearance by Phil Hartman, this film has become notoriously hard to come by - it wasn't even released on VHS or Beta. What exactly is behind the secrecy here?

13. The African Queen (1952)
I cannot comprehend a scenario that could justify this Humphrey Bogart/Katherine Hepburn classic being on Region 2 DVD but not Region 1.

14. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
This movie was so-so; but what gets me is that Sonia Braga's earlier film, Gabriela, is also missing in action. Is there some international conspiracy to rid the world of Braga movies?

15. Saturn 3 (1980)
Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett and Harvey Keitel in space. Enough said.

16. Little Darlings (1980)
This one probably pisses me off more than any on this list. Kristy McNichol, Tatum O'Neil, Matt Dillon, and The Bellamy Bros. "Let Your Love Flow" at the end.... how could this possibly still be off limits? I'll tell you why - Yoko @#%*ing Ono. There's a John Lennon tune in the film, and Yoko wants to get paid!


  1. Hey there. I totally agree with you. I had no clue that these particular ones weren't on DVD. It ticks me off to think of all the shows and movies that aren't on DVD. Then we get a load of crap on DVD though.

    Please check out my post for Monday on my Sugar & Spice blog. I've given you the Dardos Award. Your blog is one of my favorites so I wanted to bestow this on you. Cheers!

  2. I was 15 at the time James at 15 came out and I totally related to it.

  3. Carry on Screaming is on dvd from Anchor Bay. I have a copy along with another dozen Carry on films. Check Amazon

  4. Yeah, I was gonna say that about CARRY ON SCREAMING, too. Let me add that after about thirty years of wanting to see it, it was okay but did NOT live up to my expectations. Sigh.

  5. Great list and thanks so much for linking back to Moon in the Gutter. I am especially glad to see you mention Pretty Maids and Little Darlings, two favorites of mine that I have written about before as well at Moon. Great stuff and thanks again.

  6. Keith- I mentioned on your awesome blog how much I appreciate the kudos. Now if only my bosses here at work would exercise the same positive reinforcement I'd be a happy man.

    Dr. Monkey- My memory of the show gets fuzzier with each passing year. I check amazon every month in vain... Lance, where are you?!

    Anonymous and Booksteve- I just checked over at amazon and it says "currently unavailable". Maybe this is a case of them simply running out temporarily. Netflix has NEVER offered it I am sure. I guess it sounds like I'm not really missing much - it's the ones you can't have that always seem the most enticing.

    Jeremy- Maybe if enough people keep bitching about it, they'll get annoyed enough to release these films. I think we may be SOL with Little Darlings - Yoko @#%*ing Ono will never loosen her greedy grip off of Lennon's catalog.

  7. A few I'd like to see:
    Doc Savage, Man Of Bronze. I just bought a used VHS off ebay cause that's the only way I can find it. Yes, it's corny, but a lot of fun.
    Greased Lightning with Richard Pryor as the first black NASCAR racer.
    The Magnificent Ambersons. Orson Welles' follow-up to Citizen Kane. Was on the AFI top 100 list, but is not on DVD?

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  9. I have a region 0 Little Darlings DVD. I think it was taken from the region 3 version.

    I've been waiting for the "Galaxy of Terror" DVD forever.

  10. GAS has a great script but the director was awful; he steps on every gag or else stages everything wrong. It's really quite funny in concept but the execution is terrible.

  11. Retro Hound- Greased Lightning sounds great... yet another movie from this same era that's M.I.A.

    Moviezzz- Don't really care about Kiss of the Spider Woman so much except as maybe a sleep accelerant; Gabriella, on the other hand, I remmeber being 100% dynomite.

    As far as Little Darlings is concerned, I'd still like to blame Yoko if that's okay - she's got to be behind it somehow.

    Turnidoff- I remember Galaxy of Terror from VHS - it had a cool cover if memory serves me. Yoko Ono is probably to blame for this one too.

    buzz- Why'd you have to tell me that? Now I want to see it even more.

  12. I bought the Region 4 DVD of Deadly Blessing last year. It has Wes Craven commentary on it.


  13. Why hasn't Alatriste been released in Region 1?

    There are several video nasties that are not available. This could be a good article.

  14. I'm very annoyed that Triumphs of a Man Called Horse is still not on DVD. Of course I only want it because it's got a scene with Michael Beck (of XANADU!) getting tortured with a branding iron.

    But then, I'm a girl perv who loves bad movies. There probably aren't enough of us to make it worth while.

  15. Gil - Fantastic post.

    Couldn't agree more-- I especially concur regarding Pretty Maids all in a Row (I love Aimee Eccles), James at 15 (I always dug Lance Kerwin too, I really connected to his "Mark Petrie" in Salems Lot), and Little Darlings (which I saw at a Drive-In). I've got a lousy digital copy of Little Darlings which is "watchable" but pretty bad. I think Moviezzz hit it right on the nose regarding Paramount and their early 80s catalog. They all but ignore it - which is ridiculous, you're not going to sell product if it sits in your vault...

    I guess I'll put up a post on the same subject - my list would also include:
    Joe Dante's sublime "Matinee" (long out of print)
    "Scandal" (also LONG out of print)
    High Road to China (Never released)
    Niholas Rays' "Wind Across The Everglades" (Never Released)
    the immortal Max Ophuls' "Letter From an Unknown Woman" (Masterpiece Never Released)
    and drum roll please.....
    Where the fuck is John G. Avildsen's "Neighbors"????? An absolute favorite of mine. My favorite Cathy Moriarty (I'm doing a post on her soon) film and an overall work of genius. Supposedly a full-frame version existed for a brief period. I never saw it and wouldn't want it anyway.

    Anyways pal - GREAT POST!

  16. Anonymous - Hell, I don't even know what region 4 is! Is that only playable on DVD players from Kazakhstan?

    Ben - I'd love to see a post on the video nasties, and which ones are still unavailable. You should start a blog and do it... I'm way too lazy for that kind of research.

    JM- The girl perv market probably is as narrow a market as you think. Lotta pervs out there.

    Chick- Glad to hear from you. You seem to go MIA (like these DVD's) from time to time. I guess you must have a life.

    I think you'd do this topic much more justice than I did. I'd love to see this topic dealt with at Trash Aesthetics.

  17. bit what? never heard of such a thing. (awkward silence...)(ahem)

  18. Carry On Screaming is from the series' golden period but sorely lacks Sid James. Set in the Edwardian/late Victorian period Harry H Corbett (best known as Harold Steptoe from 'Steptoe and Son') fills in as a detective investigating a series of disappearances of young women from the local park. The trail leads him to a strange house owned by mad scientist Kenneth Williams.

    Yes it's good but it doesn't feel right for some reason.

    It does feature one of my favourite exchanges however:

    Constable Slobotham: Happen to know what Doris was wearing?
    Albert: Yes, a sort of white frilly jacket with a dark green jacket and a long green skirt.
    Det Sgt. Bung: Did you get that down.
    Albert: Oh no, as I said, I've only known her for a year.
    Det Sgt. Bung: I was talking to my assistant!

  19. I loved "James at 15!" Great show.

    I'm with you on this whole greedy-bastards-holding-up-movies thing. It's just ridiculous.

  20. Every day I wake up I hope to read something about The Wonder Years being released on dvd. Love that show.

  21. Gil - yes, my activity is sporadic these days. Very full schedule and not much time for the blog. Writing a lot of other things. But, that doesn't mean that I have time to read great posts like the ones my good blog buds consistently post!

  22. Kiss of the Spiderwoman came out last year, by the way.

  23. Richard DoyleMarch 02, 2009

    I believe "The Gong Show Movie" was written by co-written Robert Downey, but the director credit goes to Chuck Barris.

  24. Great list. I'm still baffled about The Six Million Dollar Man series missing from DVD. I'd also love to rewatch shows It's A Living (1980--high rise restaurant waitresses) and It's Your Move (1984--an early Jason Bateman sitcom). And where the hell is Ed (the bowling alley lawyer)?

  25. Saturn 3 is available streaming on Netflix now! Kiss of the Spider Woman is available on DVD via Netflix. The Wonder Years Season 1 is upcoming in DVD... Some of the "carry on" films/tv series are available as well on DVD.

    All is not lost! I'm holding out hope for Skatetown USA...

  26. Yes, Saturn 3 is in my Netflix instant queue as we speak. I'm not holding my breath on The Wonder Years just yet.