Kicking the Tweets

HORROR HUNTERS: You Will See The Doctor Now!


Fans of the Kicking the Seat Podcast (both of you) know Aaron Christensen as a frequent guest; as the star of one of my favorite films of 2012; as the editor of the essential books, Horror 101 and Hidden Horror, and as the proprietor of the fright-flick blog, Horror 101 with Dr. AC.

This Wednesday, Aaron adds "Reality TV star" to his résumé, as he and co-host Adam Rockoff explore the world of creepy collectibles in Shout! Factory TV's new series, Horror Hunters!

From the press release:

Horror Hunters is Scream Factory’s first foray into producing original premium unscripted series for the Shout! Factory TV digital platform. Made by and for fans of the horror genre, the launch of Horror Hunters serves as an important step in broadening the reach of Shout! Factory and its imprints as a tentpole new show for the streaming service. Horror Hunters will be livestreamed and then available for VOD viewing on Shout! Factory TV beginning October 28.

In Horror Hunters, horror experts Adam Rockoff and Aaron Christensen embark on a journey to discover some of the greatest collections of horror memorabilia in the world. At each destination, the Horror Hunters offer rare and valuable pieces from their own collections while attempting to trade for the most sought after, one-of-a-kind items they encounter. 

In the pilot episode, the Horror Hunters visit Frankenstein uber-collector Phil Meenan and come face-to-face with a working (and dangerous!) Jacob’s Ladder device.  Next, the Horror Hunters travel across Chicago to meet with well-known horror blogger Jon Kitley inside the infamous Kitley’s Krypt, where they propose an epic trade.

Because the show is made for the ultimate horror collector, Horror Hunters viewers will be encouraged to take a short survey to give feedback on the pilot following the livestream. This feedback from fans will guide the future of the show beyond its pilot episode, and each voter will be entered to win a Scream Factory Blu-ray prize package.

Check out the trailer below, and be sure to catch the pilot episode on this Wednesday, October 26 at 6pm PST (8pm CST). There'll be an encore presentation at 9pm PST (11pm CST).

You can also show Aaron some love by contributing to his annual "Scare-a-Thon". Throughout October, he binges horror movies, blogs about them, and then donates all the pledged proceeds to charity. This year, he's helping out the Greater Chicago Food Depository!

Hit up Horror 101 with Dr. AC. for more info, and send him a note of congratulations while you're at it!


SUICIDE SQUAD Gets an Assist with New "Extended Cut"!

Fans of this site know I didn't dig David Ayer's Suicide Squad when it hit theatres in August. The film had barely debuted before accounts of the behind-the-scenes drama came flooding out,* which explained (but did not excuse) the resulting two-hour patchwork. Despite the film having been apparently sliced and diced beyond what the writer/director had originally envisioned, Suicide Squad became a sizable hit, holding the top box office spot for three weeks in a row.

The same charges were (justly) leveled at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice last spring, and Warner Bros semi-rectified the lack of coherence by releasing an "Ultimate Edition" in July. It looks like they're going back to that well again with Suicide Squad: Extended Cut, which hits VOD next month and physical media in mid-December.

This release is almost guaranteed to do well, if the theatrical run was any indication. The question is, will it be any better? Of course, the knee-jerk answer is, "It doesn't need to be! It's a comic-book movie!" Were we living in a world where The Dark Knight trilogy and Captain America: Civil War were not available to watch on a moment's notice, I might understand that argument. But this is the Golden Age of the comic book movie, and loud, colorful, disposable entertainment just doesn't cut it anymore--not when it's demonstrably easy to put out adult-targeted entertainment with practically built-in four-quadrant appeal.

The caveat is that the "Extended Cut" only promises to be longer (which, to those of us who didn't appreciate the film initially, sounds more like a threat than an incentive). There's no indication that we'll see Ayer's original cut next month (or ever), but I'm at least hopeful that there'll be some sturdier connective tissue in this new version's extra thirteen minutes.

Just as I did when BvS hit home video, I'll be providing a brand-new movie review of the "Extended Cut" (a real examination, this time, not a grumpy fan letter or a spirited--yet somehow dispiriting--discussion). Call me crazy, but I'm optimistic about this release, whose specs you can read below the announcement trailer below. 

Better yet, call an ambulance.

*The serious stuff, not the cute anecdotes about Jared Leto sending rats to co-workers.


Enjoy more action and more Squad in the Extended Cut with extra footage not seen in theaters!

Own Suicide Squad early on Digital HD on November 15

Ultra HD Blu-ray™, Blu-ray™ 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD debut on December 13

Burbank, CA, October 5, 2016 – Bring the Squad home when “Suicide Squad” arrives onto Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. From director David Ayer (“Fury,” “End of Watch”) comes “Suicide Squad,” starring Oscar® nominee Will Smith (Best Actor, 2002, “Ali,” Best Actor, 2007 “The Pursuit of Happyness,”), Oscar ® winner Jared Leto (Best Supporting Actor, “Dallas Buyers Club,” 2013), Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Focus”), Joel Kinnaman (Netflix’s “House of Cards”) and Oscar nominee Viola Davis (“The Help,” “Doubt”).

Written and directed by Ayer based on the characters from DC, the film also stars Jai Courtney (“Insurgent”), Jay Hernandez (“Takers”), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“Thor: The Dark World”), Ike Barinholtz (“Neighbors”), Scott Eastwood (“Fury”), Cara Delevingne (“Paper Towns”), Adam Beach (“Cowboys & Aliens”), and Karen Fukuhara in her feature film debut. It is produced by Charles Roven and Richard Suckle, with Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Colin Wilson and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers. 

“Suicide Squad: Extended Cut” features more action and more Squad with 13 more minutes of footage not previously seen in theaters. The Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack will include the extended version of the film on the Blu-ray disc. The extended version will also be available to own on Digital HD.

Suicide Squad” will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray for $44.95, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and 2-disc DVD Special Edition for $28.98. The Ultra HD Blu-ray features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the theatrical version in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc with the extended version. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition and hi-definition, as well as the extended version in hi-definition; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the extended version and theatrical version of the film in hi-definition on Blu-ray; and the DVD features the theatrical version in standard definition. All Blu-ray products include a digital version of both the extended and theatrical versions of the movie in Digital HD with UltraViolet.* Fans can also own “Suicide Squad” via purchase from digital retailers.

The Blu-ray discs of “Suicide Squad” will feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar; however, Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.


It feels good to be bad… Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself? 


On November 15, “Suicide Squad” will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including Amazon, CinemaNow, Flixster, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. On December 13, “Suicide Squad” will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.


*Digital HD with UltraViolet allows fans to watch a digital version of their movie or TV show anywhere, on their favorite devices. Digital HD with UltraViolet is included with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray discs. Digital HD with UltraViolet allows consumers to instantly stream and download movies and TV shows to TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones through UltraViolet retail services like CinemaNow, Flixster, Vudu and more. For more information on compatible devices go to Consult an UltraViolet Retailer for details and requirements and for a list of HD-compatible devices.


PRODUCT                                                                            SRP

Ultra HD Blu-ray                                                                     $44.95

3D Blu-Ray Combo Pack                                                       $44.95

Blu-ray Combo Pack                                                               $35.99

DVD Amaray (WS)                                                                $28.98

Standard Street Date: December 13, 2016

EST Street Date: November 15

DVD Languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French

BD Languages: English (Dolby Atmos TrueHD), Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Brazilian Portuguese

3D Languages: English (Dolby Atmos TrueHD), Canadian French, Thai, Latin Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese,

DVD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Parisian French

BD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, Parisian French, Brazilian Portuguese

3D Subtitles: English SDH, Parisian French, Canadian French, Latin Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Cantonese, Complex Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Thai,

Theatrical Version Running Time: 123 minutes

Extended Cut Running Time: 136 minutes

Rating: Rated PG - 13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language

Extended Cut is unrated


About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.:

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc™, Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

About DC Entertainment:
DC Entertainment, home to iconic brands DC (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, etc.), Vertigo (Sandman, Fables, etc.) and MAD, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating across Warner Bros. and Time Warner. DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its stories and characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment, and interactive games. Publishing thousands of comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC Entertainment is one of the largest English-language publishers of comics in the world.


Westerns Kick Off Olive Films' Delectable "Signature" Line!

I've always had an easier time recommending the movies Olive Films releases than the releases themselves. The Chicago-based boutique film distributor has a penchant for scooping up odd gems and slipping them back into the popular consciousness, but their DVDs and Blu-rays tend to be fairly bare-bones. Should you buy, sight-unseen, Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle; Jack Hill's kick-ass collaborations with Pam Grier, Foxy Brown and Coffy; or Fred Williamson's blaxploitation opus, Black Caesar?

Yes. Absolutely. By all means.

Should you pay more than fifteen bucks for a movie and (if you're lucky) a theatrical trailer? That's a tough sell, especially in these tight times, when consumers are wary of taking chances on something as passé as physical media.

I know, I know. It breaks my heart to write that. As a collector, I'm a big fan of multi-colored spines lining floor-to-ceiling shelves. But it's inevitable that studios will either begin offering the full suite of commentaries, making-ofs, and other special features as part of their digital download packages--or these features will simply go away (they cost money to produce, after all). So, for now, we slip-case cineastes should enjoy these goodies while we can--and that means seeking out releases that give us a reason to invest in the format.

Luckily, Olive has not only stepped up their game with this week's debut of the new extras-heavy "Signature" line, they've made a case for being a major player in the collector's market. Looking at their debut releases, High Noon (1952) and Johnny Guitar (1954), it's clear the company has taken a page from Criterion, offering 4k restorations of beloved/obscure films; a bevy of retrospective pieces and video essays; an audio commentary; and even an understated "Signature" logo on the vibrant, classy, satin-feeling slip-covers.

The films themselves are astonishingly good, and you can read about them on the KtS main page throughout the week. Here, I'd like to focus on the presentation, the extras, and the price points.

First, the sound and picture are flawless. Having never seen High Noon or Johnny Guitar until watching the "Signature" versions of them, I can't compare their picture or sound to previous releases. However, one only need to do a Google Image search for stills of each movie to see what they have looked like. Screen grabs of the restorations were not available as of this writing, but the older images are generally fuzzy and "old-movie-on-TV"-looking.

Watching both in high-definition is truly an all-consuming assault of delicious details that make even home viewing feel expansive. Check out the piercing whites of Joan Crawford's eyes in Johnny Guitar and you'll swear the color doesn't appear anywhere else in the film. The crane shot at the beginning of High Noon's climax, in which Gary Cooper's Will Kane realizes he's all alone in his fight against vengeful marauders is positively dizzying in its depiction of scale (pulling out from the man, to reveal the town, then the desert beyond).

The extras are plentiful on both discs, and I didn't have time to get through all of them. Like the best documentaries, the featurettes on Johnny Guitar and High Noon provide just enough context and juicy tidbits to make me want to dive into the full back story of each film's production. High Noon contains a chilling video essay, (narrated by the late, great Anton Yelchin) which explores the film's behind-the-scenes Cold War drama. Another feature lobs mind-blowing fact grenades every couple minutes, such as an incident on the train tracks that nearly ruined a key scene, and the real-life claim to fame of an actor playing one of the villain's posse. In a Johnny Guitar feature that touts the film as the first Feminist Western, a gaggle of very convincing talking heads lays out some wild interpretations of the characters, which made me want to re-watch the whole movie from beginning to end.

I can't recommend these discs enough, even if you've never seen the films. Olive Films has put a lot of care into making High Noon and Johnny Guitar as visually arresting as possible, and the supplemental materials amount to fun film-history crash courses. As of this writing, Amazon has them for seventeen bucks each, and that's a steal for this calibre of release (some folks--including yours truly--pay more than that per title during Criterion's semi-annual "Half Off" sale).

Now, if only Olive would give this marquee treatment to some of their catalogue titles...

Where's the "Signature" edition of Mannequin, dammit?


Auto(bot) Restoration & Detail

Transformers: The Movie* is hard to defend, but I'm happy to do so every chance I get (don't worry, it's not that often). Fortunately, Shout! Factory has saved Future Ian a lot of bluster by releasing a gorgeous 4k restoration of the film on Blu-ray, to mark its thirtieth anniversary. This package makes a solid case for director Nelson Shin's work as a piece of capital-"A" Art, with several new bonus features that will make even the most ardent scoffers shut up and take notice.

Let's get this out of the way: Transformers: The Movie was conceived as a ninety-minute toy commercial and an extension of the wildly popular kids' cartoon show (which were half-hour toy commercials--or ten-minute ones when spliced into vignettes for The Bozo Show). Product tie-ins are nothing new, especially in today's mega-media landscape, where every movie is an advertisement for another series of three movies--plus spin-offs, Netflix series, comics, games, etc. But in 1986, Hasbro wasn't interested in expanding their product line; they wanted to clean house, unveiling new characters/toys that fans, they'd assumed, would simply swap out in their hearts as easily as their shelves.

For Shin, writer Ron Friedman, and story consultant Flint Dille, "cleaning house" meant removing any doubt from young minds that their beloved, first-generation Autobots and Decepticons were dead. Optimus Prime and Megatron didn't take their war for supremacy to some distant nebula, ceding the fight for Earth and Cybertron to a new class of robots-in-disguise. No, they straight-up murdered each other on screen, and took out just about any other Transformer whose original form wasn't futuristic enough for 1986's sophisticated consumers.**

As Dille recalls in the Blu-ray's new making-of documentary, 'Til All Are One, the studio and filmmakers weren't ready for an aggrieved fan reaction. Even the film's voice actors, like Dan Gilvezan ("Bumblebee") and Neil Ross ("Springer"), who hadn't known about the overhaul until they received their scripts in the recording studio, were taken aback by the passion with which children everywhere mourned the death of John Wayne-esque Autobot leader, Optimus Prime.

Ah, yes, Optimus Prime. It's no secret that I still tear up (or, at the very least, get goosebumps) every time I see that big, red semi-truck roll across the bridge into Autobot City, which has been overrun by Decepticons. This early scene follows several others of extreme violence (particularly for an 80s animated kids' show), in which planets are destroyed, hero-bots are shot at point-blank range in the face, and black smoke billows out of mouths as bodies collapse in shredded heaps. In other words, Optimus' declaration that "Megatron must be stopped--no matter the cost" isn't just macho posturing; it's a promise to the viewer that a childhood icon is about to die (horribly) saving the world.

The Blu-ray's newly restored picture lends this moment even more heft. The landscapes are crisp, the waterfalls along the bridge are crystal clear, and we get a clean sense of movement from Prime as Stan Bush's "The Touch" kicks in--first with a power-anthem battle-cry; then with soft, almost lonely notes that sell the necessity of Prime going it alone; then with the full-on stadium-rock charge as Prime plows through a Decepticon blockade. A behind-the-scenes look at the restoration process offers jaw-dropping, side-by-side comparisons of this and other scenes, revealing much more detail than was available to audiences in 1986. In particular, The Autobot City charge is perfectly realized now, allowing audiences to fully appreciate the balletic fluidity of Prime's transformation as he blasts out of truck mode, flips in the sky, and glides back to earth in humanoid form with his hand canon ablaze.

I don't know what went through my parents' minds as they watched me watch this movie in the theatre three decades ago, but the contradictions of this moment--with its innocuous aesthetics, pending martyrdom, and relentless gun violence--must have been downright chilling. As an adult today, I remember someone once describing the violence in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch as a "beautiful bloodletting". Swap out squibs for painted cells, and, yeah, you've got that.

Count me among the kids of that generation who was shocked by the movie, and didn't care for the new toys that accompanied it, but who also appreciated the fact that Shin and company were giving me an early taste of grown-up animation. It's easy to snicker at Dille's assertion that many of the film's compositions and designs are like something out of an art film, but Transformers: The Movie really does have more in common with Akira than with anything Michael Bay has done for (or, more precisely, to) the property.

Comic-book artist Livio Ramondelli, who created the new poster-cover for Shout! Factory's release, was also a childhood fan. In one of the disc's cooler features, Ramondelli talks about what Transformers means to him, and takes us through his creative process--from the challenges of staying true to thirty-year-old character designs while still maintaining his artistic voice, to tweaking the poster layout for maximum dynamism. The segment ends with a mystery, though: Ramondelli's final thumbnail sketch is slightly different than the painted art you'll see on the shelves. Originally, Optimus Prime held a striking ready-for-battle pose. In the final piece, he's depicted as opening the Matrix of Leadership, an all-powerful Maguffin that lives in his chest. From this puzzling, straight-forward perspective, the classically noble Optimus Prime looks strange, as if he's flashing for Mardi Gras beads.

The featurettes, documentary, and assortment of classic ads go a long way in making up for this edition's one shortfall: the only commentary track was recycled from the 20th anniversary DVD release. Gone is the DVD's fan commentary track, which offered a fun, minutiae-packed, outsider's take on the movie. The filmmaker track is fine, though, and newcomers should be content with Shin, Dille, and actress Susan ("Arcee") Blu's*** thoughts on the making of the film. This omission is far from a deal-breaker; it's just a small detail that keeps this from being a definitive package.

If you've never watched Transformers: The Movie, and have never considered watching it, there's no better time to be adventurous. Yes, it was born of a corporate mandate, but Nelson Shin's team put together a bold, stakes-heavy (occasionally corny) film that transcends mere commercialism and nostalgia. Shout! Factory's loving restoration and examination of the work finally pays this overlooked gem its due.

*Sorry for dropping the title's first "The". Much as I love the film, "The Transformers: The Movie" is just too damned clunky.

*The tape-deck Transformers survived, though, because cassettes were--and always will be--the (Sound)wave of the future.

**Trivia Time: Blu also appears in 'Til All Are One, and I got the strange feeling that I'd seen her before. Sure enough, the actress also played Mrs. Shepard in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.


F Breast Cancer!

It would be really nice if the only “Big C” in the world was “Cinema”, but the universe is full of cruel, unpredictable garbage, like cancer. Fortunately, there are noble souls like Patrick and Erika Bromley out there, who use their talents to make things better for everyone.

Not only is Patrick the proprietor of F This Movie, one of the internet’s most consistent (and consistently obsessive) movie-review sites, he’s also the kind of guy who would enlist family and friends for an 18-hour film podcast to benefit cancer survivors and promote awareness.

That’s right, beginning at 8am CST this Saturday, July 9, F This Movie kicks off almost a full day of incredible, live movie talk,* which will double as a drive to support The Magnolia Tree Foundation. Magnolia Tree was the vision of Alexa Rodheim Cutler, a teacher and water polo coach at Elk Grove, IL’s Elk Grove High School. A friend and inspiration to many, including the Bromleys, Alexa passed away in March of 2016 after a courageous two-year battle with triple negative, BRCA1 positive breast cancer. The mission of The Magnolia Tree Foundation is to educate and provide financial assistance to those affected by the BRCA mutation.

F This Movie and Magnolia Tree are accepting donations via a GoFundMe campaign, which you can contribute to now and throughout the show. All donations, small to not-so-small, go directly to the Foundation, and are greatly appreciated. And if you’re listening at 4pm, you might just hear a certain seat-kicker on F This Movie’s critics round table, discussing the ins and outs of the craft!

For anyone who has fought cancer or fought alongside someone fighting cancer, this fun, uplifting, and important event is not to be missed!

See you Saturday!

*The show will stream directly from F This Movie's website.