Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blu-Ray Review: Total Terror Double Features Vol. 2 (2010)

A Brush with Death / Harvest of Fear
Mill Creek Entertainment

“Your blood will run cold.”

RUN TIME: 83 Min.
DIRECTOR: Brad Wiebe
CAST: Seanna McDonald, Nicholls Melancon, Charles Hoyes, Missy Stired, Ali Thurlow, Anna Kalkowski

SUMMARY: A group of five cheerleaders take a weekend trip to an uncle’s mansion in the countryside. After hearing the tale of a family being slaughtered by their son in a nearby farmhouse thirty years earlier they set out to investigate.

THE FILM: Five cheerleaders hit the road and head to a countryside mansion for a weekend getaway. Because they’re dumb and they run out of gas (it’s a plot device so that can meet…) and are assisted by a passing gas station attendant and his stuttering sidekick Caleb. The disgusting old man is licking his lips, making lewd suggestions and generally being a creepy pervert. While Caleb is making conversation with one of the girls we are treated to a poorly edited flashback of the old man back at the gas station blowing the head off of a young man, knocking out his female companion and then coercing Caleb into posing with her unconscious body and while he takes a series of lewd pictures. It’s the first of several bizarre and confusing flashbacks throughout the film. So, the creepy dude tops off the girls Jeep with gas and leaves them on their way. The gals arrive at the mansion and head straight for the pool and the film promptly misses the first of several opportunities for some nudity, cause this film needed a diversion, and nudity would’ve really helped right about now. Once there they meet a creepy neighbor who tells them the tale of a nearby house where thirty years earlier a family was slaughtered by their son. The film is fairly incomprehensible after this and were inundated with confusing flashbacks, fully clothed actresses, and mind numbing dialogue. The script is atrocious, the acting is abysmal, and the cinematography terrible. How do you fuck up a film about five cheerleaders in peril being killed off? This film fails on every level imaginable. Fail, fail, fail.

“Terror is growing”

RUN TIME: 95 Min.
DIRECTOR: Billy McKinley
CAST: Ryan Deal, Justin Ament, Carrie Finklea, Don Alder

SUMMARY: In the town of Devil’s Lake college students are being killed off during the annual Harvest Fest, mimicking a series of unsolved killings from twenty years earlier. Has the killer returned, or is a copycat killer on the loose?

THE FILM: Harvest of Fear opens with a couple camping in the woods, perhaps making up for the lack of nudity in A Brush with Death, we are treated to some gratuitous breasts right from the start. A masked killer takes out the boyfriend and chases the woman through the woods. It’s a clichéd and unimaginative beginning to a clichéd and unimaginative film. The annual Harvest Fest is about to begin, but the killings are eerily similar to the unsolved murders that happened two decades earlier, a retired police officer fears the killer has returned, but the authorities won’t listen to him, of course. There’s little I can say positive about Harvest of Fear. It holds little intrigue and fewer scares, the characters are one-note clichés, that acting it terrible across the boards, the FX are of little interest.

DVD: Each film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and purportedly in 1080p & 1080i HD. The transfers are subpar and the images are soft and appear little better than the standard definition DVD’s. If you own these films in previous DVD editions I cannot recommend an upgrade based in image quality or special features.

VERDICT: Mill Creek Entertainment has a vast array of interesting titles to choose from, I’m confused why they would chose these low-quality, generic titles as their 1st foray into the HD collector set market, and not THE HEARSE, HORROR HIGH, or THE DEVILS TIMES FIVE. Both these titles are available on the Blood Bath 12 Movie Collection, also from Mill Creek Entertainment.  *1/2 (1.5 out of 5 stars)