Living & Entertainment

‘The Gallows,’ plus ‘Dope,’ ‘Mad Men’ and TMNT Christmas special released

Leading the way among new DVD offerings out this week is a creepy tale in time for Halloween.

“The Gallows”: 2.5 stars. The film, a very low-budget movie made by Travis Cluff and Chris Loring, manages to score enough points on the creativity side to balance out the negatives of the recycled format. The novice filmmakers have created a production that artfully builds its scares while managing to get the most out of the format.

The story starts 20 years ago when a high school student is killed during a production of a play called “The Gallows.” Fast forward to the present, when the school is getting ready to produce an anniversary edition of the ill-fated play.

Here is where Cluff and Lofing could have spent a little more time with the story. Even with the found-footage format, there are ways to include background information.

The key to a good horror film is the scares, and “The Gallows” has plenty. But the best scary movies have a thread to tie together the evil that is being presented.

“Dope”: 3.5 stars. Three nerds get caught up in a wild drug deal.

What makes the movie so appealing is that director Rick Famuyiwa has made “Dope” a blend of “Boyz n the Hood” and “Revenge of the Nerds” set in Inglewood.

It deals with some serious issues about growing up while balancing the goofy antics of the three nerds at the center of the story


“Mad Men: The Final Season, Part 2”: A final look at the personal and professional lives of men and women who worked in advertising.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Christmas!”: Turtles are ready to spread Christmas cheer to their allies.

“The Magic School Bus: Season Four”: More adventures for the longest running kids’ science TV series.

“Masterpiece: Indian Summer”: Sanctuary of a colonial retreat suddenly is threatened.

“The Little Death”: Sex comedy about five suburban couples.

“The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition”: Re-mastered release of the Ken Burns series.

“My Little Pony Equestrian Girls: Friendship Games”: Sunset Shimmer is tasked with keeping magic out of games.

“Baseball Legends”: A look at Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig.

“The Ballad of the Weeping Spring”: Musical instruments take the place of guns.

“Dexter: The Complete Series”: Includes all eight seasons.

“Ascension: A Miniseries Event”: Cable production that looks at a covert space mission launched in 1963.

“Indiepix Mix 10 DVD”: Collection of independent films including “Artois the Goat.”

“Justified: The Complete Series”: Features all six seasons of the Timothy Olyphant series.

“Don Rickles TV Specials: Volume 1”: The man known as “Mr. Warmth” jokes with Johnny Carson and Carroll O’Connor.

“The Return of Yorga”: Sequel to the 1970 film “Count Yorga, Vampire.”

“When Calls the Heart: Year Two”: Series based on the writings of Janette Oke.

“Call Me Lucky”: Story of Barry Crimmins, a beer-swilling, politically outspoken and whip-smart comic from the ’70s and ’80s.

“The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Christmas Specials”: Guests include Andy Griffith, Cher and Jerry Reed.

“Chuggington: The Big Freeze”: The Chug Patrollers must find a way to thaw the town.

“The Saint: Seasons One & Two”: Includes 39 episodes of the Roger Moore series.

“The Following: The Third and Final Season”: Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll face off one more time.