Wednesday, September 30, 2015

MOSQUITO (1995) - 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

MOSQUITO (1995) 
20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION 

Label: Synapse Films

Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: R
Duration: 92 Minutes
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Audio: English DTS-HD MA English 7.1 Surround, DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Gary Jones
Cast: Gunnar Hansen, Ron Asheton, Steve Dixon, Rachel Loiselle, Tim Lovelace

Synopsis: Science-fiction becomes horrifyingly real for a park full of innocent campers, as a hideous horde of mutated mosquitos viciously attack without warning! A band of survivors flees the bloodthirsty swarm in a death-defying attempt to warn the world of the mosquito menace. Led by a brave young couple and a resourceful government agent, the group realizes their only hope is to take on the bloodthirsty bugs in an explosive final showdown! A chilling blend of sci-fi, humor and old-school horror, MOSQUITO is a tour de force of terror. Starring genre icon Gunnar Hansen (the original “Leatherface” from THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE) and the late, great Ron Asheton (founding member of the punk rock band, The Stooges), MOSQUITO is a gore-drenched tale made with traditional stop-motion and practical effects!

Mosquito is a title I have known of for many years but had never watched, I just never caught it on TV and the out-of-print DVD has been so damn expensive for quite awhile so I just skipped it. Maybe if I had known what an awesome science-fiction giant bug movie I was missing out on I would have splurged, because this is a pretty awesome bug movie!


An alien ship in Earth's orbit drops a shuttle into our atmosphere, the alien-craft crashes into a swamp a short time later. In a sweet nods to War of the Worlds the arm of the dead alien-pilot spills from an opening in the craft, a mosquito sucks some of the alien blood causing the mosquitos in the area to grow to six-feet in length, which is what our protagonists are up against here. Young couple Megan (Rachelle Loiselle) and Ray (Tim Lovelace) are driving through the area o the way to her new job, working for the National Parks.En route they splatter an over sized skeeters with their car, it's proboscis piercing the radiator of their car, its mangled carcass lays in the the road. Megan thinks it might be a bug, but she's not sure, she knows animals, not bugs. Park Ranger Hendricks (Ron Asheton of proto-punkers The Stooges!) is seen spaying mosquito repellent throughout the local camp ground, the mosquito's are out in force but he has no idea just how bad it's gonna get before the night is over. Also in the area of the National Park are a trio of bank robbers lead by Earl (Gunnar Hansen, none other than Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre), these miscreants are the first to encounter the giant blood-sucking menace in the woods, they accidentally shoot one of their own while trying to shoot the bug. 


Also in woods this day is an Air Force meteorologist named Parks (Steve Dixon) who's in the area is tracking down a radioactive meteor that may have fallen in the area, not realizing it was the alien craft, or that over sized blood-sucking mutant mosquitos are in the area. Eventually all parties converge, some are drained of blood, and the rest must face off against the over sized blood-sucking menace of the giant mosquitos.


The addition of Gunnar Hansen is a nice bit of stunt casting for this silly sci-fi horror mash-up, he begins as a bad guy but evolves ham-fistedly into a decent anti-hero, which allows him to face-off against some skeeters with a chainsaw. Ron Asheton of rockers The Stooges supporting role as the comedy-relief is welcomes, I had no I Asheton was an actor or that he was so damn funny, he fits perfectly into this humorous splatter movie. 


The movie is ripe with practical special effects, the giant mosquitoes look fantastic and when they attack we get some great shots of them piercing the flesh and eye-sockets of victims, including a the unfortunate woman taking a skeeter-sting to the ass, fun stuff. There's some stop-motion and animated sequences throughout, they're not as effective as the rubber-prop bugs but I love all the old giant monster-movie tricks they use to achieve the effects, this is a fun love-letter to those movies of yesteryear we all watched on TV as kids. 


Audio/Video: Mosquito arrives on Blu-ray from Synapse Films with a few unsavory qualities, it was shot on 16, and then blown-up to 35mm, this new HD master is sourced from the director's own 35mm interpositive, as such the movie is very grainy and rather flat looking, with inherent softness to the image. Not great but probably a lot better than anything we've had before, colors are strong, skin tones are decent, and black levels are acceptable. Not the most ideal PQ, but you know Synapse put everything they could into bringing this to Blu-ray with the best possible picture they could. 


Surprisingly we get a DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix for this b-movie bugger, there's not a ton of use of the surrounds but it does offer some ambiance to the presentation, there's also a DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo option, English SDH subtitles are provided. 


Onto the extras we begin with an audio commentary with Director Gary Jones, Director of Photography and Co-Writer Tom Chaney, and Producer David Thiry loaded with anecdotal info about all facets of making the movie, how certain effects were achieved and pointing out the flaws along the way. There's also an hour long making of documentary from Red Shirt Pictures with interviews from Director/Co-Writer Gary Jones, Stars Gunnar Hansen, Tim Lovelace, Rachel Loiselle, Mike Hard, and Josh Becker, Director of Photography & Co-Writer Tom Chaney, and Producer David Thiry. A lot of it is director Gary Jones and Tom Chaney revisiting the make shift studio and various locations used in the production including Chaney's own parents home, which is the location of the final stand-off against the skeeters. 


There's also seven-minutes of deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary from Jones, plus forty-minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the movie, also with optional commentary. Extras are finished-up with a theatrical trailer and a still galley, plus a sleeve of reversible artwork


Special Features:

- Audio Commentary with Director Gary Jones, Director of Photography and Co-Writer Tom Chaney, and Producer David Thiry
- "Bugging Out!" The Making of Mosquito - Featurette (66 Mins) HD 
- Deleted/Extended Scenes with Optional Director Commentary (7 Mins) HD   
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage with Optional Director Commentary (40 Mins) 
- Still Gallery (5 Mins) HD 
- Theatrical Trailer (3 Mins) HD 
- Reversible Cover Art

Mosquito (1995) is a fun giant bug b-movie loaded with some awesome practical special effects and gore, it's very goofy and low-budget but it has a lot of heart and the 20th Anniversary Edition from Synapse is loaded with some entertaining extras, this is a very enjoyable slice of b-movie cheese from the nineties. 3/5


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