The ‘80s was a blossoming time in the world of home video. Video stores were lucrative enterprises, and every neighborhood in America seemed to have their own independent shop for locals to gather. Here they would find some of the latest Hollywood hits released to VHS, but also a plethora of more indie features. A time where lower budget films could hang with the big studios, Charles Band’s Empire Entertainment was on the frontlines of it all. A smaller scale distribution company, some of their products included 1985’s Ghoulies and Re-Animator, as well as 1986’s From Beyond. Just a handful of what the company put out there, they also had another subsidiary called Wizard Video.
Those looking for a refresher, Wizard Video were actually responsible for the VHS releases of several Horror films; which included Zombi 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and I Spit on Your Grave. Furthermore, the company was also highly distinctive because of the usage of larger individual boxes for their VHS releases, which often featured very detailed artwork. Something that is a lost artform in the modern world, fortunately Wizard Video lives on thanks to Band’s Full Moon label. Putting out material for dedicated cinema lovers, if you go to Fullmoonhorror.com you can find some really cool re-issues of VHS editions of films for sale like 1973’s Wizard Video: A Virgin Among the Living Dead or 1986’s Breeders; all with the articulate big box glory! Anyway, this is something perhaps that select few know of, and now in 2024, Full Moon Pictures bring you more Wizard Video gems as a part of what they are calling The Eurocine Collection Vol 1.
Released back on November 21, 2023, the collection is in Blu-ray format and compiles six Eurocult films into one neat package. The titles, all previously licensed from French genre film studio Eurocine, include 1984’s Panther Squad (starring Sybil Danning), 1985’s Angel of Death, 1987’s Mania Killer (starring Bo Svenson), 1989’s Night of the Eagle (starring Mark Hamill & Christopher Lee), 1990’s Countdown to Esmeralda Bay (starring Robert Forster & George Kennedy), as well as 1994’s Downtown Heat (starring Mike Connors). Together, these films fall comfortable within the Action Thriller genre and have plenty to offer those who love ‘80s films. For starters, four of the six features are from the legendary Spanish Filmmaker Jess Franco (Angel of Death, Night of the Eagle, Countdown to Esmeralda Bay, and Downtown Heat). Secondly, there are also a cast of known actors/actresses in each film, and direction from the likes of France’s Peter Knight aka Pierre Chevalier (Panther Squad), and Italy’s Andrea Bianchi (Mania Killer).
Furthermore, the set features each film fully remastered in HD to provide you the best possible home video experience. All in a Blu-ray collector’s case, giving you more, there are also postcards with film artwork/credits for each, and you guessed it, a large cardboard big box bringing it all together! All very well done, it is great to see all these movies (that perhaps time forgot) restored and put together in a collection you can go back to over and over again. Perfect for late night viewing with a big bucket of popcorn, Cryptic Rock gives The Eurocine Collection Vol. 1 set 4.5 out of 5 stars.