Monday, July 28, 2014

THE PERFECT HOUSE (2012)

THE PERFECT HOUSE (2012) 
Duration: 84 Minutes
Rating: Unrated 
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: Widescreen
Director: Kris Hulbert, Randy Kent
Cast: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, John Philbin, Monique Parent, Dustin Stevens, Andrea Vahl

Having just poured through the special features on the new  SLEEPAWAY CAMP Blu-ray I was drawn to this indie horror anthology by the inclusion of Felissa Rose and Jonathan Tiersten who both starred in that camp horror classic and feature prominently in the interviews on the disc. 

What we have here are three short anthology stories with a wrap-around, a very traditional set-up for the format. The wrap-around segment REAL ESTATE features a young couple looking for a new home - they arrive at what appears to be the titular Perfect House and are greeted by a sultry real estate agent (adult film star Monique Parent) in a short skirt who shamelessly flirts with the husband making suggestive comments while laying on a bed - it's very strange. I kept thinking what would I do if I were n that situation - it would be so uncomfortable. The couple love the home but the real estate agent says that the basement is usually a deal breaker and leads the couple to the basement where she points out a few of the houses more peculiar features which leads us on a journey into the stories past and three tales of terror unfold. 

First up is THE STORM - a twisted tale of a family taking shelter in the basement during a powerful storm. The power is out and the basement is lit my a candle where a mother, father, brother and sister sit around a candle waiting out the storm which is howling away in the background. We start to see that this is not a happy group of kin and there are dark family secrets tearing this family apart - additionally there's something in the basement hacking them up one by one. This is a good start to the film that sets a tone in a settings that is effective with some brutal violence, it's nicely done but felt a bit too short - even for an anthology entry. 

Onto CHIC-KEN we have Jonathan Tiersten as John Doesy who abducts, tortures and kills young men and woman from his quiet neighborhood. Knocking them unconscious he keeps them in cages in his basement workshop where he dispatches them like clockwork except for one young woman (Holly Greene) whom has been kept captive for five years to bare witness to his depraved deeds and for the occasional rape release. Tiersten is tolerable as the sadist but the delivery of his monologues are so monotonous - what saved this for me was Greene as the captive who both antagonizes her captor and pleads for the release of death. Some decent low-rent gore including an eyelid peeling with this one but at the end of the day this women-in-cages slice of exploitation is pretty mediocre. 

The meat of the production is DINNER GUEST starring Felissa Rose (SLEEPAWAY CAMP) and Jonathan Philbin (THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD). A family of five are summoned to a neighbors house for a dinner when things turn ugly as the discussion turns to the return of his prized weed whacker which he loaned the father some time ago. Dinner quickly turns into each of the family members tied down and tortured by the man who bares a passing resemblance to Gunnar Hansen at times. Pretty much just a series of torture set pieces as he puts each f the family members through a series of life and death games. Felissa Rose shows some decent acting chops as the screaming/grieving mothers who must watch as her family is decimated before her eyes but can do little to stop the madness unfolding. A lot of violence and screaming but very little tension - with so little build-up or character development I find it hard to care about these characters. 

At the end the wrap-around concludes and there's a brief prologue that would indicate a dark force inhabiting the home that attracts a certain type of murderess home buyer which does little to sweeten by opinion of the film. 

There are a lot of dark subject matter explored but directors Kris Hulbert and Randy Kent don't handle it a bit too bluntly.  It just feels ham-fisted and thrown on screen without a lot of thought going into it and if the execution were just a bit more considered and measured each of these segments would have a deeper impact on me, but it doesn't and at the end of the day I was not impressed. 

It would be hard to properly judge the video quality as the screener sent for review as it was a non-anamorphic DVD-R with choppy video - my viewing felt like I watching a streaming video with a poor internet connection, it was a chore to sit through. No extras on the screeners but retail versions have a commentaries, interview, behind-the-scenes stuff and more.  

As a low budget production this is not awful but the material needed to be fleshed out more - the script needed another pass to maybe get a bit more meat out of it. If I were to evaluate the film based purely on the onscreen violence this would get decent marks but it only scratched the surface of what this could have been with a more thoughtful approach. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

CURTAINS (1983)

CURTAINS (1983)
Label: Synapse Films
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 90 Minutes 
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Jonathan Stryker
Cast: John Vernon, Samantha Eggar, Lesleh Donaldson, Lynne Griffin



CURTAINS is a true slasher classic from the land of bacon and maple syrup starring John Vernon (CHAINED HEAT) as pompous film director John Stryker and Samanatha Eggar (THE BROOD) stars as Samantha his aging muse who just cannot seem to nail the mental state of 'Audra', the lead part in Strker's next film'. She is such a method actor that she has herself committed to an asylum so she can research the role - only she and Stryker are aware that she is not crazy... not yet anyway While there she soaks up the insanity but when she awakens to find that her screaming roommate has been lobotomized she thinks that maybe this was not such a smart move on her part. Her own sanity starts to crumble and she becomes non-responsive during Stryker's regular visits. Instead of informing the doctors that this was just research for a role he stops visiting. Afterward he announces via the trades that he will be auditioning for the role of 'Audra'. 

Hoping to land the role are comedian Patti O'Connor (Lynne Griffin, BLACK CHRISTMAS), seasoned actress Brooke Parsons (Linda Thorson, TV's THE AVENGERS),  dancer Laurian Summers (Anne Ditchburn), musician Tara DeMillo (Sandee Currie), and professional ice-skater Christie Burns (Lesleh Donaldson, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME). That's only five, the sixth unfortunate young woman is stabbed to death before she can make it to the audition. This first kill is a lot of fun - not only do we get some kinky sex but a prescient waking nightmare with some echoes of Argento's DEEP RED with a creepy doll! 


Once Samantha discovers that Stryker is recasting the role of 'Audra' she escapes from the asylum showing up at the mansion which causes a bit of friction as she and Stryker trade barbs back and forth. Things heat-up as the Stryker puts each of the actresses through auditions playing mind-games with each which they suffer through intent on landing a role worth killing for. The smooth talking director ends up bedding several of the actresses which further enrages his former lover Samantha, pretty soon thereafter the actresses are murdered one by one by someone wearing a creepy old hag mask which leads up to a shocker finale. 


A particular scene that has stuck with me through the years since I initially saw this on TV is the surreal ice skating sequence, a very weird scene which has an almost Lucio Fulci nightmare quality about it. Christie the skater is performing a routine on a frozen when the killer in that frightful hag mask skates up in slow-mo and slashes Brook with a razor-sharp sickle - it's a classic scene and one that you must see as the description I offer does not do it justice in anyway.


One of the other memorable scene is the final cat and mouse chase through a prop room with some cool Mario Bava-esque lighting with a few good moments of pulse pounding suspense, ll of which leads up to a champagne toast and a shocker ending which does feel like it was tagged on - because it was. . 

The set-up for each kill is pretty decent with some nice suspenseful moments even if the kills themselves are pretty bloodless. The film was a very troubled production with more than one director and at times can feel a bit piece meal with some glaring plot holes and sub plots that are not followed through on - including a possible co-conspirator who is only glimpsed once. Somehow the film manages to overcome these issues with a prevailing sense of dread and suspense - the original director Richard Ciupka wanted to make an art house psychodrama while the producer Peter R. Simpson - who took over the production when Ciupka was removed from the project - wanted to do more of a straight-up slasher film. And you can feel the it as they try to marry to the two together but it results in some strange tonal shifts. 


Considering how long the production went on for including re shoots many months later the performances throughout are strong. For starters we have character actor John Vernon as the pompous, mind-fucking director and Samanatha Eggar as the unhinged actress - if you've seen her in Cronenberg's THE BROOD you know she does crazy just right, plus she has a lot of presence. After that we have a nicely vulnerable performance from Lesleh Donaldson as the ice skater and a pretty good turn as comedian turned actress from Lynne Griffin from BLACK CHRISTMAS. 


Considering the schizophrenic shifts in tone I was quite entertained by CURTAINS and seeing it again restored on Blu-ray was a blast - not a perfect film but a perfectly entertaining slasher that I would place on par with HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME or APRIL FOOL'S DAY as a not-too-gory slice of cinema with some great atmosphere and a tagged-on shocker ending.


Blu-ray: Synapse present CURTAINS in HD widescreen in the original aspect ratio which has remastered in 2K resolution from original vault materials which sat  virtually untouched for over thirty years. Previous the films was only available on a budget DVD set from Echo Bridge which looked awful.The new restored transfer is a stunner. Colors are vibrant, there's a nice layer of film grain with some decent fine detail and a level of clarity that is beyond what I could have imagined for this one. 

Audio option include the original mono mix and a new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 option. Glad they included the original mono for the purists but I'm quite a fan of the newly created 5.1 which exports the sound effects and the Paul Zaza (MY BLOODY VALENTINE) score to the surrounds with the dialogue kept to the front, creating a nice atmospheric presentation. There are English subtitles provided on the disc. 

Onto the extras we have brand new retrospective featuring interviews with Director Richard Ciupka, Stars Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin, Editor Michael MacLaverty, Special Make-Up Effects Creator Greg Cannom, and Composer Paul Zaza. This Red Shirt Pictures produced extras is fantastic with some great discussions about the troubled production and on-set anecdotes. We also have a vintage making-of featurette with some cool behind-the-scene video on the set of the film before the director was yanked off the production - this is exclusive to the Blu-ray version.

There are two commentary options on the disc, the first is with actresses Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin moderated by Edwin Samuelson as the ladies reminisce about their experiences on set and making the film. The second is not a scene specific commentary but actually two separate audio interviews with producer Peter R. Simpson and star Samantha Eggar conducted via telephone for The Terror Trap website which play over the film. The audio quality is not the greatest but both offer some decent insights, particularly Simpson who speaks at length about his relationship with Ciupka and the problems on the troubled production. The interviews end at just under an hour and do not play for the entirety of the film. 

Special Features
- THE ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE: THE MAKING OF “CURTAINS” – An All-New retrospective featuring interviews with Director Richard Ciupka, Stars Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin, Editor Michael MacLaverty, Special Make-Up Effects Creator Greg Cannom, and Composer Paul Zaza (35:52) HD
- CIUPKA: A FILM-MAKER IN TRANSITION - Vintage documentary short featuring rare, behind-the-scenes footage from the making of "CURTAINS" (165:09) HD (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Audio Commentary with Stars Lesleh Donaldson and Lynne Griffin
- Audio Interview with Producer Peter R. Simpson
- Audio Interview with Star Samantha Eggar
- Theatrical Trailer (1:44) HD 

Synapse have continually raised the bar for hi-def transfers and their release of CURTAINS is a stunner - after years of cruddy home video viewings I dared not dream we would see such a loving restoration. This just might be the release of the year for slasher fans who have long suffered with inferior versions of the beloved title. Coming up next from Synapse is the Blu-ray restoration of the classic American/Canadian slasher classic PROM NIGHT (1980)!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

THE COMPLETE BLIND DEAD SAGA (1971-1976)

THE COMPLETE BLIND DEAD SAGA (1971-1976)

4-DISC SET
Label: Blue Underground 
Release Date: July 29th 2014
Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish with English Subtitles on Spanish Versions
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.66:1), (1.85:1) 
Duration: 541 Mins
Rating: Not Rated
Region Code: 1
Director: Amando de Ossorio
Casts: Lone Fleming, Cesar Burner, Maria Elena Arpon, Joseph Thelman, Tony Kendall, Fernando Sancho, Frank Brana, Maria Perschy, Barbara Rey


TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971) 

In 1971, director Amando de Ossorio created what horror fans worldwide consider to be Spain's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. In Ossorio's nightmare vision, a legion of Knights Templar - executed horsemen whose eyes had been pecked out by crows - rise rotting from their graves, hunting only by sound in a quest for human flesh. The BLIND DEAD saga begins here, as a modern-day tourist trip to the ruins of the Templar monastery unleashes a frenzy of lesbian desire, sexual violence and the unholy onslaught of the eyeless undead! 

Spanish director Amando de Ossorio stumbled onto something quite interesting with TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD when he crafted this chilling tale of the Knights Templar - a mythic group of knights who drank blood  and the sacrificed virgins to Satan. The locals grew tired of their wicked ways and captured them before putting them to death but not before their eyes were pecked-out by birds - a very nice touch - and thus we have the legend of the Blind Dead. 


Centuries later a young couple on vacation when they are joined by the wife's cute college roommate who is also a former girl-on-girl lover. Sounds like something from a seventies era porn but things turn sour when the friend becomes flirtatious with the man. In a jealous fit the girlfriend unwisely jumps off a train in the middle of nowhere spending the night in the creepy ruins of a monastery where - of course - the Blind Dead are buried. As night sets in she starts up a campfire inside the monastery and before you know it the dreaded blood-sucking Knights arise. It an awesome scene drenched in fog as their bony hands rise-up from the ancient graves - a very macabre and creepy scenario. As you might imagine the comely lass meets an unfortunate end and eventually the woman's boyfriend and the woman come searching for her and are themselves pursued by the undead specters while getting themselves mixed-up with a clumsy police investigation while seeking the aid of a rapey smuggler and his bitchy lady friend. 


What I love about this one is the fantastically simple design of the Blind Dead - it's quite effective. They're cloaked skeletal specters who drink the blood of their victims combining elements of both mummies and a bit of the blood thirst you would associate with vampires. Even the horses they ride are undead which is just super cool, loved the reverbed echoes of  the galloping horses, it's has a surreal and eerie quality to it. The film is dripping with atmosphere complimented by a score that does a great job of sending chills down your spine accentuating the very slow-paced death scenes.  


This one has a simple horror premise steeped in Gothic chills with some creepy atmosphere and effective set pieces. This first film definitely sets the tone for the entire series and features many of the recurring themes such as lesbian tinged entanglements, the occasional rape and the skeletal specters of doom cutting quite a unsettling figure. One element unique to this entry is idea that the victims of the Blind Dead are resurrected an drain blood of others which does not carry over to any of the sequels. I would say that by quite a margin this is my preferred entry in the franchise - a truly creepy tale of the undead. 


The disc features he alternate extended Spanish cut of the film titled LA NOCHE DEL TERROR CIEGO and it's the preferred version with an additional 14 minutes of gore and sleaze cut from the American presentation. Both versions receive Dolby Digital mono audio treatment with the Spanish version having English subtitles. There are also a gallery of stills, the theatrical trailer and  a bizarre alternate opening sequence titled REVENGE OF THE PLANET APE with voice over that preposterously attempts to cash in on the popularity of THE PLANET OF THE APES!  


Special Features:

- TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (English and Spanish Versions)
- Alternate Opening Sequence - REVENGE FROM PLANET APE
- Theatrical Trailer
- Poster and Still Gallery

RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD (1973)
In this second startling film in the BLIND DEAD series, writer/director Amando de Ossorio returns to the horrific origin of the depraved Templar: heretic knights whose eyes were burned out by medieval vigilantes to prevent them from finding their way back from Hell. Now on the 500th anniversary of their execution, the blind horsemen rise from their tombs to wreak bloody revenge on the town that condemned them. Tony Kendall (WHEN THE SCREAMING STOPS), Frank Brana (PIECES) and Lone Fleming (TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD) star in this chilling sequel that rocked the EuroHorror genre!


The first sequel begins much like the first with a flashback sequence as the ancient order of the Knights Templar sacrifice a young woman and feast upon her blood before they are sentenced to death and have their eyes burned out. The origin story is slightly tweaked but it's pretty much the same as the first with a few embellishments.  This time out on the 500th anniversary of their death they rise up from the spooky tombs and lay siege to the nearby village. True to what most sequels do this one amps it up with a few more deaths and a siege scenario which creates a different kind of tension than the first film. It loses a few points as it's not  as chilling but it's still effective. There's a larger cast this time around too and a bit more character development with largely useless sub plots involving a corrupt mayor and his cheating wife who falls for the guy setting up the fireworks at the festival - very silly stuff. 


We have a bit more blood and some nudity layered on top of this one but the Blind Dead just are not as creepy as in previous entry which was a disappointment. They do play up that the skeletal specters are blind and that if you are careful you can sneak around them but most everyone falls victims to the swords of the Blind Dead from foolishness or folly.The NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD-esque siege-element is a nice touch which creates some decent tension among the characters with a tiny bit of humor. I do love it when the scuzzy mayor sends a young girl out as bait to distract the Blind Dead. This one has some decent characters and adds the element of a village idiot who might be the cause of the Blind Dead uprising - it depends on which version you watch.  This one is my second favorite entry in the series, though it loses some of the atmosphere the siege elements and quickened pulse rate make up for many of it's shortcomings. 


Again this disc features an alternate Spanish version that just about four minutes longer with English subtitles. I prefer the English dubbed version of this one as the Spanish video is not the best.  Extras on the disc include a theatrical trailer and still gallery. 


Special Features: 

- RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD (English and Spanish Versions)
- Theatrical Trailers
- Poster and Still Gallery

THE GHOST GALLEON (1973)
In what many fans consider the most surprising of the four films in the series, Maria Perschy (CASTLE OF FU MANCHU) and Jack Taylor (EUGENIE) star in writer/director Amando de Ossorio's chilling tale about a boatload of stranded swimsuit models who discover a mysterious ghost ship. But this phantom galleon carries the coffins of the satanic Templar, eyeless zombies who hunt humans by sound. Even if these frightened lovelies can survive their own forbidden desires, will they escape the insatiable hunger of the BLIND DEAD? 


Maybe the strangest entry in the series is THE GHOST GALLEON featuring a pair of swimsuit models stranded at sea on a small pleasure boat during an ill conceived publicity stunt gone wrong. With their boat taking on water the girls happen upon a ghost ship and board it with few options left.  
A search party comprised of a wealthy billionaire, a scientist the missing model's roommate embark on a search and rescue mission when the trio happen upon the very same unearthly ship adrift at sea.  once they're on board more Blind Dead shenanigans ensue. 


Without much explanation this one is set on a ship and not the Spanish countryside, which is pretty neat and sounds like it would have a lot of potential but the execution of the story is poor. Worse are the numerous miniature effects shots which are obviously a toy boat in the producer's bathtub - these are hilariously bad. One small saving grace would be that the Blind Dead look awesome and that the film is very well shot but a few small stylistic flourishes do not completely save this shabby entry. At times I was reminded of John Carpenter's THE FOG with the creepy fog-drenched sets and the centuries old boat adrift at sea haunted by undead creepy specters. I would find it hard to believe that John Carpenter was not at least in some small subconscious way inspired by this one, though it must be said Carpenter perfected what few redeeming qualities this one had. 

The cast here is alright - a few cuties in peril help keep you distracted and it also stars Euro-cult sensation Jack Taylor plus the ending is quite good too. A bit of a spotty production but not one without a peculiar charm of it's own. 


The disc does not feature an alternate Spanish language version of the film but does offer up a Spanish audio track, a selection of  trailers, TV and radio spots plus  poster and still gallery. 


Special Features: 

- Theatrical Trailer
- HORROR OF THE ZOMBIES U.S. Advertising: Theatrical Trailer, TV Spot and Radio Spots
- Poster and Still Gallery 

NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS (1976)
The classic saga of the BLIND DEAD ends with the creepy tale of a remote coastal town where frightened villagers must sacrifice beautiful virgins to the blood cult of the Knights Templar. For seven nights every seven years, these eyeless zombies rise from the sea to feast on human flesh as the souls of the damned are trapped in the screams of gulls. In this final unforgettable shocker from writer/director Amando de Ossorio, the mood is darker, the fear is stronger and the hunger of the Templar more ferocious than ever before!


A doctor and his wife move to a creepy seaside village where things seems a bit off - and sure enough they are strange. Not only do the locals treat the doc and his wife rudely but every seven years they sacrifice seven women to appease the Knight Templar! Aware of the strange happenings in the village the doc is unaware of what exactly is going on and ends up interrupting a sacrifice which sends the creepy Knights into the village to suck some blood. This one was quite a chore to sit through to be honest. I fell asleep twice watching it which is not to say it's without a certain charm. There's the usual effective atmosphere and familiar touches like a pre-credit virginal sacrifice and the mistreatment of a village idiot but the story and supporting characters just did not grasp me, this is my least favorite of the series, a very weak send-off. 


Special Features: 

- Theatrical Trailer
- Poster and Still Gallery


Blue Underground have previously issued the four BLIND DEAD films in a cool limited edition coffin-shaped box which contained a bonus disc with a doc about director Amando de Ossorio. What we have here the very same discs minus the bonus disc and the nifty packaging. worth noting that these discs are not remastered editions - just repackaged and made available to those of us who were not lucky enough to snag the Coffin-shaped box. If you own that previous set you might want skip this one until a Blu-ray set comes our way. The BLIND DEAD films are worth a watch even if the quality of the entries decreases as the series rolls on - these blood drinking skeletal specters are pretty awesome.. 

HALLOWEEN COMPLETE COLLECTION EXTRAS UPDATE!

The extras have been announced for the HALLOWEEN COMPLETE COLLECTION - feast your eyes on everything right here! New transfers on select titles, proper aspect ratios, the original Mono audio and a fine selection of new extras! I'm excited to get the TV versions of the films - which I realize have been available previously - and are exclusive to the 15-disc Deluxe Edition.

Also, as a small taste of what to expect, please see the comparison photos below from an previously unauthorized VHS release of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and a screen grab from the all-new high-definition master from the Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Producers’ Cut Blu-ray™available for the first time on September 23rd!

NEW HD TRANSFER
THE OLD VHS BOOTLEG

HALLOWEEN - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
15-Disc Deluxe Edition

Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream Factory proudly announce the bonus features and technical specifications for the September 23rd HALLOWEEN Complete Collection Blu-ray™ set.  This new set boasts a wealth of NEW bonus features including 7 brand NEW featurettes, 3 brand NEW commentaries, 4 brand NEW interviews – with many of the participants sharing their thoughts about the franchise for the first time -- and NEW transfers and audio specs on selected titles. 

Please see full listing below for each disc in the 15-disc Deluxe Edition. Updates are listed below in RED:

Disc 1 – John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)
Bonus Features:
  • HD transfer supervised and approved by cinematographer Dean Cundey
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Of Photography Dean Cundey, Editor Tommy Lee Wallace And The Shape, Nick Castle
  • Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director John Carpenter and Actress Jamie Lee Curtis.
  • “The Night She Came Home” Featurette
  • “On Location: 25 Years Later” Featurette
  • TV Version Footage
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV and Radio Spots
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); Dolby TrueHD 7.1; Original 1978 Audio in Dolby TrueHD Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Disc 2 – John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)
Bonus Features:
  • Audio Commentary With Co-Writer/Director John Carpenter, Actress Jamie Lee Curtis and Co-Writer/Producer Debra Hill
  • Featurette: Halloween: A Cut Above The Rest
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV and Radio Spots
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); Dolby Surround 5.1; PCM 5.1; Original 1978 Mono Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Disc 3 – Halloween II (1981)
Theatrical Version
Bonus Features:
  • Audio commentary with director Rick Rosenthal and actor Leo Rossi (Theatrical version)
  • Audio commentary with stunt coordinator/actor Dick Warlock (Theatrical version)
  • The Nightmare Isn’t Over: The Making Of Halloween II” Featuring Rick Rosenthal, Lance Guest, Dick Warlock, Alan Howarth, Dean Cundey, Leo Rossi and Moore...
  • “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: The Locations of Halloween II” - Host Sean Clark revisits the original shooting locations of the film
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary from director Rick Rosenthal
  • Alternate Ending with Optional Audio Commentary from director Rick Rosenthal
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV and Radio Spots
  • Still Gallery
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD MA 5.1

Disc 4 – Halloween II TV Cut (1981) DVD (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)
Television Cut With Added Footage Not Seen In The Theatrical Version
Tech Specs: Standard Definition Full-frame 1.33:1; Dolby Digital Mono

UPDATED! Disc 5 – Halloween III: Season of The Witch (1982)
Bonus Features:
  • Audio Commentary with director Tommy Lee Wallace
  • Audio Commentary with actor Tom Atkins
  • “Stand Alone: The Making Of Halloween III: Season Of The Witch” featuring Tommy Lee Wallace, Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dick Warlock, Dean Cundey and more
  • “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” - Revisiting the original shooting locations
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD MA Mono
Disc 6 – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Bonus Features:
  • Audio Commentary with Actors Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris
  • Audio Commentary with Director Dwight H. Little and Author Justin Beahm
  • Theatrical Trailer
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1); Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

UPDATED! Disc 7 -- Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Bonus Features:
  • Audio Commentary with Actor Don Shanks and author Justin Beahm
  • Audio Commentary with Director Dominique Othenin-Girard and Actors Danielle Harris And Jeffrey Landman
  • Halloween 5: On The Set
  • Halloween 5: Original Promo
  • Theatrical Trailer
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1); Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

UPDATED! Disc 8 -- Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Theatrical Cut
Bonus Features:
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1); DTS-MA HD 5.1, 2.0
Subtitles: English

UPDATED! Disc 9 – Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Producer’s Cut (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)
Bonus Features:
  • NEW High Definition Master from the original inter-negative
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Screenwriter Daniel Farrands and Composer Alan Howarth (Producer’s Cut)
  • NEW “Jamie’s Story” – An Interview With The Original “Jamie” Actress Danielle Harris
  • NEW “The Cursed ‘Curse’” – An Interview With Producers Malek Akkad And Paul Freeman
  • NEW “Acting Scared “– A Look At The Film’s Cast With Actresses Mariah O’Brien And J.C. Brandy
  • NEW “The Shape Of Things” – A Look At Michael Myers’ Murders And Mayhem With Special Make-Up Effects Artists John Carl Buechler And Brad Hardin And Actor George P. Wilbur (Michael Myers)
  • NEW “Haddonfield’s Horrors” – The Sights of Halloween The Curse of Michael Myers With Director of Photography Billy Dickson And Production Designer Brad Ryman And Director of Photography (Additional Scenes) Thomas Callaway
  • NEW “Full Circle” – An Interview With Composer Alan Howarth
  • NEW Cast And Crew Tribute to Donald Pleasance
  • Archival Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage (approx. 30 Minutes)
  • Alternate And Deleted Scenes (Not Present In Either Cut Of The Film)
  • Teaser Trailer: Halloween 666: The Origin Of Michael Myers
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1:78:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
Subtitles: English

UPDATED! Disc 10 -- Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Bonus Features:
  • Presented in the correct 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
  • NEW Commentary With Director Steve Miner And Jamie Lee Curtis, Moderated By Sean Clark
  • NEW “The Making of Halloween H20” Featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Nancy Stephens, Adam Hann-Byrd, Tom Kane, Editor Patrick Lussier, Producer Malek Akkad, Producer Paul Freeman, Composer John Ottman, Chris Durand (Michael Myers), Writer Robert Zappia, Stunt Co-Ordinator Donna Keegan, Make-Up Brad Hardin And Cinematographer Daryn Okada
  • Vintage Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Scenes from the film with John Ottman’s original score
  • Theatrical Trailer
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
Subtitles: English
UPDATED! Disc 11 -- Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Bonus Features:
  • Audio Commentary With Director Rick Rosenthal And Editor Robert A. Ferretti
  • Alternate Endings with optional director’s commentary
  • Deleted Scenes with optional director’s commentary
  • Featurette: “Head Cam”
  • Web Cam Special with optional director’s commentary
  • Storyboard Analysis
  • Set Tour With Production Designer Troy Hansen
  • Set Interview With Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Vintage Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Home Video TV Spots
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.12.0

Disc 12 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)
Bonus Features:
  • Unrated Director’s Cut With Audio Commentary By Writer/Director Rob Zombie
  • Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary
  • Alternate Ending With Optional Commentary
  • Bloopers
  • Featurette: “The Many Faces Of Michael Myers”
  • Re-Imagining Halloween
  • Meet The Cast
  • Casting Sessions
  • Scout Taylor-Compton Screen Test
  • Theatrical Trailer
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish

Disc 13 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007) Bonus Disc (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)
Bonus Features:
  • Documentary: “Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween (4 ½ hours)
Tech Specs: Dolby Stereo
Subtitles: English

Disc 14 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 (2009)
Bonus Features:
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Rob Zombie
  • Deleted And Alternate Scenes
  • Audition Footage
  • Make-Up Test Footage
  • Blooper Reel
  • Captain Clegg And The Night Creatures Music Videos
  • Uncle Seymour Coffins’ Stand-Up Routines
Tech Specs: 1080p Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1); DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1;
Subtitles: English


UPDATED! Disc 15 – Bonus Features (Exclusive to Deluxe Edition)
  • John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN – The Extended Version (In HD - TV Inserts Are In Standard Definition)
  • Interview with Moustapha Akkad about origin of HALLOWEEN
  • Featurette: HALLOWEEN UNMASKED 2000
  • Featurette: The Making Of HALLOWEEN 4: FINAL CUT
  • NEW episodes of HORROR’S HALLOWED GROUNDS - we go back to the filming locations of HALLOWEEN 4, HALLOWEEN 5 (with special guest Don Shanks) andHALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. Plus the original 2005 pilot for Horror's Hallowed Grounds featuring a look at the locations of the original HALLOWEEN.
  • HORROR’S HALLOWED GROUNDS: Fan Edition – a special episode shot with, and for, the fans as they board a bus tour, during the 35 YEARS OF TERROR convention, and visit the locations of HALLOWEEN (1978), HALLOWEEN II (1981) HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH and HALLOWEEN (2007). Hosted by HHG’s Sean Clark with special guests Dick Warlock, Charles Cyphers, Brian Andrews, Tommy Lee Wallace and Erik Preston.
  • NEW The Making Of HALLOWEEN 4 Featuring Actors Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Kathleen Kinmont, Beau Starr, Raymond O’Connor, Erik Preston and Sasha Jensen, Stuntmen Tom Morga (Michael Myers) And George P. Wilbur (Michael Myers), Composer Alan Howarth, Writer Alan B. McElroy, Producers Malek Akkad And Paul Freeman, Special Make-Up Effects Artists John Carl Buechler And Ken Horn
  • Featurette: Inside HALLOWEEN 5
  • NEW The Making Of HALLOWEEN 5 Featuring Interviews With Actors Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Wendy Kaplan, Jeffrey Landman, Jonathan Chapin, Frankie Como, Tamara Glynn, Matthew Walker, Don Shanks (Michael Myers), Producer Malek Akkad, Line Producer Rick Nathanson And Composer Alan Howarth
  • NEW Interview With Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Burman On HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH
  • HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH Radio Spots
  • TV Spots – HALLOWEEN 4, HALLOWEEN 5, HALLOWEEN (2007) and HALLOWEEN II (2009)
  • Photo Galleries -- HALLOWEEN, HALLOWEEN 4 and HALLOWEEN 5
Tech Specs: 1080p, 520p Full Frame, Anamorphic Widescreen 1:78:1, 2.35:1;

DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Stereo, Mono

Friday, July 18, 2014

THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN (1985)


THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN (1985) 
'Fair is Fair' Edition Blu-ray

Label: Mill Creek Entertainment
Region Code: A
Rating: PG-13
Duration: 95 Minutes
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 
Director: Matthew Robins
Cast: Helen Slater, Christian Slater, Peter Coyote, Keith Gordon, Yeardley Smith, Martha Gehman

I completely remember watching this for the first-time on VHS seated on my grandmother's floor soaking in the glow of the TV as I lusted after Helen Slater (SUPERGIRL) for ninety-five minutes. To say that this most recent viewing was not laced with warm nostalgia and and adolescent lust would be a straight-up lie.

In a small Corpus Christi neighborhood Binx (Christian Slater) stands-up for his sister Billie Jean (Helen Slater) who is being harassed by a group of popped-collar styled jerks the 80's were so full of. In retaliation they trash Binx's prized motor scooter and smash-up his face. Outraged by the incident Billie Jean approaches the father of the teen responsible who in turn forces himself on the young woman when her brother walks-in and accidentally shoots the dirt bag. Scared and not believing anyone will believe poor kids from the trailer park the teens hit the road with friends Ophelia (Martha Gehman) and Putter (Yeardley Smith, MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE). While fleeing authorities the teens gain notoriety and the public sympathy as the authorities - lead by Lt. Ringwald (Peter Coyote, SOUTHERN COMFORT) -  launch a statewide manhunt. 

While on the run Billie Jean watches a Joan of Arc film and is inspired to cut her hair short. afterward make a video proclaiming her innocence which goes viral and young women across the state start cutting their hair short as show of support. Christian Slater made his feature film debut with this one before going onto teen-glory with HEATHER, GLEAMING THE CUBE an my favorite PUMP UP THE VOLUME! Fans of THE SIMPSONS will spot Yeardley Smith as the foul-mouthed Putter and I am pleased  to say her character is nowhere near as annoying as her screeching turn in Stephen King's MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE. 

While on the run the group make friends with a wealthy horror-nerd named Lloyd who ends up a very willing hostage with a sweet spot for Billie Jean and who can blame him? The scene with her on coming out the water and laying on the raft at the top of the film makes me tingly all over. Unfortunately Lloyd neglects to mention that his father (Dean Stockwell, WILD AT HEART) is running for State Attorney General which complicates matters. There's also a small cameo from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 screamer Caroline Williams  who screams quite a bit in a very tiny role. 

The hi-def presentation from Mill Creek Entertainment is pretty decent and while there's no lossless audio option the Dolby Digital stereo supports it quite nicely with a soundtrack featuring the Divinyls, Pat Benatar, Billy Idol and even Wendy O. Williams. 

THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN is pretty ridiculous but it works for me in a nostalgic 
fist-pumping teen sort of way. It's certainly a bit silly watching it now but when I was twelve it felt like a fucking battle cry - haha. While it's no Reagan-era classic it's certainly worth a revisit and you can pick it up for just a few bucks plus there's a commentary from Helen Slater and Yeardley Smith.