Compiled, it seems, by lucky dip, but Stage Fright, I Confess, Dial M For Murder, The Wrong Man and North By Northwest all explain why he's still The Master. The centrepiece, though, is a special-edition Strangers On A Train (also available separately).
Abel Ferrara's slick 1993 adaptation of Jack Finney's páranoid sci-fi novel about human beings being replaced in their sleep by alien duplicates is the third screen version, and surprisingly good considering the director was compromised by the studio's desperation for a hit. Ferrara relocates the action to a military base, and Gabrielle Anwar and Meg Tilly are among those being menaced. The SFX are gross but impressive.
George Lucas' debut is a dystopian 1984-style fantasy of a loveless society, starring Robert Duvall. The studio hated it, hacking five minutes out of it (here restored) for its initial 1970 release, but even though bleak and predictable, it's visually breath-taking. Speculate on where Lucas might have gone from here if only he hadn't been waylaid by Wookies.
Described recently as "the ultimate good-bad rock movie", this 1994 movie (along with the 10m-selling album) brought the liquid-hipped one to middle America, mutating his funk into warped guitar rock. The story? Bad boy with warring mixed-race parents, Prince takes it out on girlfriend Apollonia, till she whips her top off. Then everyone's happy, so they jam.
Thriller from '81 based on Whitley Strieber's novel, directed by Michael Woodstock Wadleigh, and by no means a conventional werewolf tale. Albert Finney is the cop investigating incredible gory deaths in New York... but are terrorists to blame, or animals, or Native American shape-shifters? Unusual camera techniques, a great performance from Finney, and a genuinely supernatural atmosphere that builds and builds.
TARANTINO RECENTLY suggested Scorsese's best days are behind him. Kundun, Bringing Out The Dead, Gangs Of New York—it's not just that these movies struggled to connect with audiences, Scorsese himself seemed unable to get a firm grasp on them. Is this still 'the greatest living American film-maker'? At least this long-overdue three-film box set reminds us how he earned that title. Check out his 1969 debut, Who's That Knocking At My Door?
This deeply schizophrenic teen vampire movie classic from Joel Schumacher has dark ambitions, not least in its child-murder subtext and blood-red lighting hues from Raging Bull cinematographer Michael Chapman. But too often it's railroaded by Schumacher's baser window-dresser's instincts, and ends up like a goth Goonies on acid.
Although panned on its 1967 release, Roman Polanski's third English-language movie, a horror comedy, is a delightful oddity. There's a dream-like, gothic quality to it as Prof Abronsius (Jack MacGowran) and assistant Alfred (Polanski) root out a nest of the undead in wintry Transylvania. The climactic Vampire's Ball is strikingly mounted, and it's easy to see how Polanski fell for leading lady Sharon Tate.
After a timid first season, Smallville gets evil and horny—at least in a nice, family viewing kind of way. Young Clark Kent comes across red Kryptonite and turns moody; cue much pondering on whether he's been sent to Earth as saviour or destroyer. The love interest with Lana warms up, but in "Heat" Clark, like everyone, falls for a sexy new teacher. Educational.
Nine out of ten people will tell you Pam Grier starred in this 1973 landmark blaxploitation 'classic'. She didn't: it's Tamara Dobson as the CIA's tough female agent, taking out drug dealers with athleticism, attitude and a healthy amount of sheer spite. The soundtrack is very cool but in truth the film's pretty rubbish: comic-book at best, lazily indulgent throughout. Bring on Foxy Brown!