DVD Box Set Round-up

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome

Film historian, writer, avant-garde underground filmmaker and occultist Kenneth Anger is one of the more interesting individuals to have emerged from California’s Santa Monica hills in the second half of the 20th century.

Anger and his work were adored and eulogised by, among others, Jean Cocteau, Dr Alfred Kinsey and The Rolling Stones, but his films have always been surprisingly hard to get hold of for the home viewer. Kenneth Anger: Magick Lantern Cycle (BFI ●●●●●) on Blu-ray and DVD goes some way to rectifying this situation. Containing much of his short film output from 1947-81, this is probably as complete a compilation of Anger's slim but seminal oeuvre as we are likely to see. Restored in high definition, Anger's best known films Scorpio Rising and Lucifer Rising look fantastic and still hold the power to shock and impress. His debut Fireworks is also a joy, as are art school favourites Eaux d’Artiface and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. Brilliant extras include new commentaries by the great man himself, his 2002 documentary The Man We Want To Hang on the art of Aleister Crowley, a documentary about Anger and an illustrated booklet containing old and new articles by and about Anger. For anyone interested in Anger and his undeniable influence on the greats of world cinema (Scorsese, Lynch and Fassbinder among them) this is a very necessary purchase.

The Film Noir Collection (Glass Key ●●●●) brings together three rare American noirs. They include excellent 1947 heist thriller Fear In The Night starring a young DeForest Kelly (later to make his name as Dr McCoy in Star Trek), 1944 psychodrama Guest in the House, starring the venerable Ann Baxter, and fine crime caper Hollow Triumph, starring Casablanca’s Paul Henreid. All these titles are also available to buy separately.

Hellboy/Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (Universal ●●●) finally go head to head in a set with a disappointing lack of extras. Predator Quadrilogy (Fox ●●●) brings together the best and worst of this monstrous franchise with diminishing returns. Finally The Michael Haneke Trilogy (Artificial Eye ●●●●) places three of the Austrian auteur's early polemics up for grabs. They include his 1992 cinematic debut Benny’s Video, a chronicle foretold of youthful dyspepsia and the massacre of innocents.