?Have you heard about Warner Archive? It’s big time studio Warner Bros.’s made-to-order DVD service that allows you to purchase and sometimes download high quality versions of movies that have been out of print for years. That way, they don’t have to make more than will sell while also offering movie fans even more flicks and TV shows from the vault.
We’ve done our fair share of poking around the site and realized there’s a lot of geeky goodness on there, from vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoons and TV movies to vintage sci-fi and even a few horror flicks. Here’s a list of the 10 movies and shows currently available to order from the Archive that nerds should be aware of (if not outright buy). Mind you, we haven’t seen some of these in years, so we could be off when it comes to quality, but they’re definitely nerdy. And at the very least, we’re still grateful that they’re available at all.
10) Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron Complete Series
Very ’90s in concept and execution, Swat Kats followed a pair of anthropomorphic felines who worked in a junk yard which hid their lab and the awesome jet they used to fight crime as the Swat Kats. With elements ranging from government oppression to robotic monsters, there’s a lot to unpack in this series. Heck who are we kidding? We just want to see five discs of cats blowing shit up!
9) Terror in the Mall ?
?Fans of awesomely goofy premises take note, Terror in the Mall is about a mall that floods after two weeks of rain and the people trapped inside one of whom has starred in Silk Stalkings (Chris Estes). Yes, this 1998 TV movie sounds absolutely ridiculous with it’s Poseidon Adventure-meets-Mallrats plot, but that’s just the kind of ridiculous we want to see.
8) Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space: The Complete Series
Oh, you didn’t realize that after rocking faces off all across earth the best band in the land Josie and the Pussycats decided to tackle the cosmos? Well consider this knowledge bomb dropped! Okay, technically Andrea accidentally fired them into space and they spent their days trying to get back, but you get the idea. The early ’70s series lasted a total of 16 episodes, all of which you can get on the four disc set. Hanna-Barbera had a tendency to toss any concept into space to see how it worked which is a practice we’d love to see put in place today.
7) Pirates of Dark Water: The Complete Series
Our memories on this early ’90s animated series about, pirates trying to find some mystical doo dads to kill the dark water consuming the planet Mer, are a bit fuzzy. Was it a good addition to the adventure- going genre or something that made us want to punch ourselves in the eyes? We’ll reserve judgment until after checking out the four-disc set collecting all 21 episodes.
6) Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze
Doc Savage is a little bit like the Green Hornet, he’s a hero that many of us geeks have heard good things about going back to the days of pulp and radio shows, but we haven’t really experienced their glory outside of some recent comic and movie revivals. This version of Doc Savage from 1975 was played for camp, but it’s also directed by Michael Anderson who did Logan’s Run and stars Ron Ely who played Tarzan. That’s enough of a pedigree to garner our interest and see how the super strong, bronze genius hero rates with the pantheon we know and love. Note in the trailer how his arctic headquarters is called the Fortress of Solitude. That’s just flagrant cheating, Doc!
5) Thundarr the Barbarian
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Thundarr the Barbarian features the titular character roaming some familiar locales on Earth along with his friends Princess Ariel the sorceress and the monstrous but kind Ookla the Mok. We’re sure that like a lot of cartoons from the ’70s and ’80s, this precursor to Masters of the Universe suffers from some sketchy animation and formulaic plots, but we remember liking this one a lot from our younger days, but those are things we can live with while reliving childhood memories.
4) The Phantom Tollbooth
Of all the movies on the list The Phantom Tollbooth is the one we’re most surprised wasn’t in stores already. This animated adaptation of the childen’s book of the same name was written and directed by animation legend Chuck Jones and also boasts voices done by the immortal Chuck Jones and TV’s Eddie Munster Butch Patrick playing the lead in both live-action book ends and voicing the cartoon portions. So, what’s it about? A kid turning from a real boy to a cartoon after going through a tollbooth where his toy car becomes a real car and he makes friends with a dog sporting a watch face and goes on lots of adventures. This is one of those movies with a clear line between people who loved it as a kid and those who stare blankly at its mention (we’ll call them whippersnappers and never mention them again).
Three names make this movie a must watch for us: Ursula Andress, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Debuting in 1965, the film not only features two legends of acting and one of the hottest Bond girls of all time, but the story of a 2000 year old broad making a guy she thinks is the reincarnation of her loved go through all kinds of trials was also based on a story by H. Rider Haggard who also penned King Solomon’s Mines. That’s a pretty impressive pedigree, but it’s not as impressive as pre-Honey Ryder Andress in all her glory.
2) Strange New World
Like She, Strange New World has a ridiculously impressive geek roster associated with it. First off, this TV movie-intended-as-pilot concept was developed by Star Trek’s Gene Roddenberry, though he wouldn’t have as much involvement as he did with previous efforts Planet Earth and Genesis II (both of which you can also get on Warner Archive). It’s also got an impressive roster of stars from Enter the Dragon’s John Saxon to a trio of ladies that includes a former Playmate, Bond girl and Daisy Duke. The movie follows astronauts returning to Earth after being in space for 180 years to find things have changed a great deal after an asteroid storm had its way with our world. We’ll be checking out all three of Roddenberry’s babies.
1) Legends of the Super Heroes
Formerly relegated to dusty memories and crappy bootleg copies, Legends of the Super Heroes collects two live-action movies called Challenge of the Super Heroes and Roast of the Super Heroes in the same vein as the classic Adam West/Burt Ward Batman TV series. In fact, West, Ward and Frank Gorshin all reprise their roles alongside never before seen on TV characters like Green Lantern and Hawkman and brand new ones like, ahem, Ghetto Man. Legends isn’t only the geekiest DVD that Warner Archive has on sale, but it might be the geekiest thing we’ve ever seen made by people who all got paid and shown on television. Did we mention that Ed McMahon hosted the roast portion? THAT’s how crazy this thing is!