Friday, December 25, 2015

MCBASTARD'S TOP 20 RETRO RELEASES OF 2015


2015 was a banner year for reissues of classic cult and horror cinema, with outstanding entries from Arrow Video, Scream Factory, Grindhouse Releasing and Blue Underground among many others. There are so many awesome niche labels re issuing vintage horror in 1080p these days, it' is truly a great time to be a collector, though your wallet may disagree with that statement. 

I will keep my list of the best re issues confined to only the releases I have sitting on my shelf at the moment, and not the dozens now on my Amazon wish list, just out of my grasp. The list is not in any particular order, just 20 releases worth your money that I loved and highly recommend to fans of cult, horror and exploitation - here it is - the best of the best in vintage, retro and re issues from this past year, enjoy and let me know what you think of the list. 




01. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? (Arrow Video) 

I love the Italian whodunits and this release evaded me for years, the Shriek Show DVD has long out of print and expensive. It's great to have it in HD now, Arrow did a bang-up job with a new 2K restoration and some quality extras. 








































02. EDGAR ALLEN POE'S BLACK CATS: TWO ADAPTATIONS BY SERGIO MARTINO & LUCIO FULCI  (Arrow Video) 


A very attractive packaging of movies from Sergio Martino and Lucio Fulci from Arrow Video, both films are underrated and look great in 1080p, plus a new wealth of extras for fans of Eurocult cinema. 








































03. SHE KILLED IN ECSTACY (Severin Films) 


She Killed in Ecstasy (1970) is an erotically charged revenge film laced with intoxicating visuals and scene after scene of the lovely Soledad Miranda, who fills nearly every frame of the movie. On top of that you have a swinging psychedelic lounge score that just cannot be beat. This movie was my introduction to the strange and provocative world of Jess Franco over a decade ago, and it remains so to this day, if you're a Franco fan this is the must-own edition of the film.








































04. MADMAN (Vinegar Syndrome) 


We've been waiting for years from this super-fun second tier slasher to make the jump to 1080p HD and it was worth the wait. Vinegar Syndrome always come through with superlative restorations and Madman has never looked better. while the label is mostly known for porn and sleaze they've come through with some fantastic horror movies, this is one of the best. 









































05. ANGST (Cult Epics) 


A Criterion-worthy presentation of the demented Gerard Kargl movie Angst (1983) from Cult Epics, loaded with extras and fantastic A/V presentation, an unsettling watch and a phenomenal Blu-ray release. 








































06. THE BEYOND (Grindhouse Releasing) 


The Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray of Lucio Fulci's The Beyond is an attractively packaged special edition jam-packed with a stunning array of new extras with a pleasing HD upgrade. A gorgeous package all around, a phenomenal fright film loaded with creepy atmosphere and torrents of dazzling gore, it doesn't get anymore essential than this one right here. The edition from Grindhouse Releasing includes an embossed, glow-in-the-dark slipcase and a CD of the Fabio Frizzi score. 








































07. CANNIBAL FEROX (Grindhouse Releasing) 


Cannibal Ferox (1981) is a truly vile and repulsive cannibal entry, that on a surface level is on par with Cannibal Holocaust, though one I would be cautious to recommend to the average movie fan for fear it might have the more casual horror fan spewing chunks. This is hands-down the definitive version of the infamous cannibal classic for what will be a very long time, I cannot imagine anyone topping this stunning three-disc set which includes a CD of the Buddy Magnlione score and another sweet embossed slipcase. My favorite extra is the feature length documentary EATEN ALIVE! THE RISE AND FALL OF THE ITALIAN CANNIBAL FILM - worth the price alone in my opinion. 








































08. GHOST STORY (Scream Factory) 


Ghost Story is a great old fashioned haunter with some serious atmosphere and a surprising amount of horrific special effects peppered throughout. It stars a cast of Hollywood veterans backed up by a solid turn from the underrated Craig Wassom, plus a haunting performance from Alice Krige. The Blu-ray from Scream Factory is top-notch with a pleasing A/V presentation and with over two-hours of new interviews with cast and crew this is a very highly recommended release.








































09. BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (Arrow Video) 



Arrow Video have breathed new life into this classic slice of Italian whodunit cinema with a brand-new and gorgeous 2K restoration that is by quite a stretch the best this film has ever looked on home video. No self-respecting horror fan or Mario Bava completest should be without this on their movie shelf, an essential and seminal slice of whodunit. 








































10. LONG WEEKEND (Synapse Films) 


Long Weekend (1978) is an unnerving nature gone wild Ozploitation entry infused with an eeriness not often associated with these sort of movies, this one is quite intense and atmospheric. The Blu-ray transfer from Synapse Films looks fantastic and will hopefully earn this lesser known Australian gem legions of new fans.  






































11. THE LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION (Scream Factory) 


This release is massive! All four movies are housed on separate Blu-ray discs inside a single Criterion-sized Blu-ray case with a slipcover, both the Blu-ray sleeve and slipcover feature a painting from The Dude Designs which captures the essence of the release with the characters erupting from the top of Larry Fessenden's head, which is very cool. This is quite a tribute to the wild-haired Larry Fessenden and Glass Eye Pix and what they've accomplished through the years. Here's hoping we have another volume in a few years, Fessenden has only directed one feature post The Last Winter, the fun killer fish movie Beneath (2013) for the Chiller channel, but he's been busy producing (Late Phases) and acting (We Are Still Here), but the world needs more Fessenden! 




12. CONTAMINATION (Arrow Video) 


Arrow Video's new 2K restoration of Luigi Cozzi's sci-fi splatter classic is top notch and the extras were far beyond my expectations, watching this again for the first time in years I was surprised by just how much my appreciation for the Alien knock-off had grown, this was quite a bit of fun. A high recommend for fans of Italian gore and science-fiction horror, a fantastic Blu-ray from Arrow Video.








































13. MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE (Grindhouse Releasing) 


Massacre Mafia Style (1978) might just be one of the most cult movies ever made, a wildly entertaining piece of crime cinema dripping with mob violence, revenge and a tiny pinch of b-movie camp. Kudos to Grindhouse Releasing for the dusting off this forgotten gem with a gorgeous restoration and the exhaustive bonus content, a very high recommend for any enthusiast of crime and cult cinema.




14. SOCIETY (Arrow Video) 


The wait for a proper North American release of Society has been a long one and the Director-Approved Limited Edition Blu-ray from Arrow Video was definitely worth the wait, a fantastic transfer with loads of awesome extras and some inspired packaging extras. Society is a body-horror classic, this is top-notch and highly recommended.








































15. NIGHTMARE CASTLE (Severin Films) 


A fantastic release from Severin Films that should those with enthusiasm for Eurocult, Gothic horror or just fans of the erotically charged Barbara Steele, regardless of which this is a terrific package. A high recommend, if not just for the main feature and the excessive amount of quality extras on the disc keep in mind you're getting three HD Italian Barbara Steele movies for the price of one, now that's a bargain.








































16. MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE (Syanpse Films) 


When a Texas fertilizer salesman makes a movie you sort of would have to expect it would be a turd of a movie, right?  If you love it cheap and crave drive-in era schlock this release is the b-movie holy grail of awfulness, and Synapse have gone above and beyond to prove you can indeed polish a turd. 








































17. EUGENIE ... THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY INTO PERVERSION (Blue Underground)


This just might be a top five Franco movie for me, a dizzying blend of arthouse erotica and lurid exploitation, Franco was a master of both and rarely did they come together in such a delirious and woozy way onscreen, this is primo Franco. If you're a Franco-phile this is a serious no brainer, you need to own this. This is a gorgeous three-disc set from Blue Underground includes a CD of the Bruno Nicolai exotic lounge score and a reversible sleeve of artwork. 








































18. THE SENTNEL (Scream Factory) 


The Sentinel is truly one of my favorite slices of supernatural cinema, for those of you who haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check out this cult-classic now. This is a movie I've been wanting on Blu-ray since the format emerged and Scream Factory have done a nice job with the HD presentation. . 








































19. BURNT OFFERINGS (Kino Lorber) 


Kino Lorber had the good sense to bring this house of horror classic to Blu-ray this year, one of my favorites with a fantastic cast. We have Oliver Reed and Karen Black as a troubled couple falling under the spell of malevolent house, with their son caught in the middle. Add to that we have the always awesome Burgess Meredith and Bette Davis. The Blu-ray looks great and has some fantastic extras including interviews with screenwriter William F. Nolan, actor Lee Montogomery and two audio commentaries. 




20. SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION (Code Red) 

Tobe Hooper's Spontaneous Combustion is a movie I have long sought to own but being out of print and pricey it just never came into my possession, until Code red announced it was coming to Blu-ray earlier this year it was a first day pre-order for me. More or less a bare-bones Blu-ray, at least the new 2014 HD Master looks good, and I am glad to have this one in my collection. 

MCBASTARD'S TOP 20 CULT & HORROR RELEASES OF 2015

Another year of movie watching is coming to a close, and as years go I think this past year was a damn fine year for horror, cult and exploitation movies at home. Many of these movies did not receive a wide release in the major cinemas, which is a shame. A few of these I can see becoming true genre classics - or maybe just cult classics -  but only time will tell. As so often happens last year's best have a tendency to fade away as the years go by, only to be re discovered decades later by a new crop of horror fans hungry for the treasures of decades past. 

These aren't in any particular order as I loathe having to choose just one movie and hold it above all others, declaring that it was the best of the year beyond any of the others. So just take this as twenty movies I loved, and in most cases, have re watched and enjoyed more than once. Hopefully you will agree with a few, and I would love it if this list turned you onto something that may have passed you by this past year.






































01. IT FOLLOWS (Anchor Bay) 

It Follows has style, atmosphere and a fantastic concept about a sexually transmitted monster with one of the year's best retro synth scores, a movie that borrows heavily from John Carpenter and sets the bar high for original horror in the year to come. 







































02. COOTIES (Lionsgate) 


A horror-comedy about snot-nosed school kids who have been infected by a bad batch of tainted chicken nuggets, a lot of gore-tastic fun ensues, loaded with blood and humor, highly recommended. 









































03. THE EDITOR (Scream Factory) 

Astron-6 tackle the Italian whodunit with The Editor,  a tone-perfect love letter to the Italian movies from the '70s and '80s loaded with nudity, gore and that strange Eurocult aesthetic filtered through the trademark Astron-6 ironic retro-horror awesomeness.










































04. DEATHGASM (Dark Sky Films)

Kiwi horror-comedy Deathgasm has the goods, a rocking metal soundtrack, horny and rebellious teens, and sweet gore that would make Peter Jackson proud, a fist-pumping devil horns salute to this one. 









































05. STARRY EYES (Dark Sky Films) 

A nice slice of slow burn Satanic cinema tempered with atmospheric nightmarish imagery, and strange occult elements with a satisfying payoff and an outstanding retro-synth score, this is a movie that will only grow on stature through the years,   









































06. HOUSEBOUND (Xlrator) 

Kiwi horror comedy Housebound is only further proof of the fertile cinema scene happening these past few years in New Zealand, a fun it of fun with some good scares throughout.
 








































07. WE ARE STILL HERE (Dark Sky Films) 

Director Geoghegan hasn't set out to reinvent the haunted house movie so much as he is paying homage to the seventies cinema of Lucio Fulci with a shot in the arm of adrenaline fueled gore at the end, and it completely worked for me, loaded with slow-build atmosphere and supernatural tension at every turn.









































08. SPRING (Drafthouse Films) 

A wonderful slow-burning Lovecraftian love story with some great mythical elements set on the coast of Italy, this surprised me, caight be with my guard down and won me over thoroughly. 









































09. LET US PREY (Dark Sky Films) 

Director Brian O'Malley's debut film is a savage and fun movie that erupts into a bloody dark comedy of sorts, this is a Hell of a fun watch, and Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman) is fantastic as the bad ass moral-center of the movie over-flowing with corrupt and murderous bastards









































10. LATE PHASES: NIGHT OF THE LONE WOLF (Dark Sky Films) 

The only entry to feature some howling werewolf action is the English language debut from director Adrian Garcia Bogliano starring Nick Damici as a blind 'Nam vet left to rot at a home for senior living only to have to face-off against a lycanthropic threat.










































11. HORSEHEAD (Artsploitation) 

Horsehead is an artfully crafted movie with some stylistic nods to both Dario Argento and Mario Bava and an unnerving Lynchian nightmare weirdness. If you're open to something strange and out of the ordinary, if you crave nightmarish cinema dripping with dread, Horsehead comes highly recommended









































12. CUB (Artsploitation) 

The tone is fantastic, its eerie and creepy, it captures some of that youthful magic and dark fantasy of 80s movies with vintage slasher tendencies wrapped-up in a good camp tale. It's a sweet throwback enhanced in no small measure by the creepy synth score.








































13. WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD  (Scream Factory) 

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead is a pretty fantastic slice of undead Ozploitation cinema, it comes at you fast and hard with a action-packed mix of horror, gore and comedy, by far my favorite zombie movie of the year. 





















14. HONEYMOON (Magnolia) 


This is one of a few movies I missed the first time around which I caught up with on Netflix. A creepy story of two newlyweds honeymooning at the family cabin in the woods, a simple set up that is well executed. 









































15. EXTRATERRESTRIAL (Scream Factory)

Loved this one from start to finish, a spunky sci-fi horror mash-up with some quality special effects and a good cast. Proof that it doesn't have to be an original idea to love a movie, just thoroughly. 









































16. BOUND TO VENGEANCE (Scream Factory) 

I didn't love this the first time I watched it but upon re watch it really stuck with me, a violent tales of revenge that just keeps going further down the rabbit-hole, quite a strong performance from the lead actress.  









































17. KNOCK KNOCK (Lionsgate) 

Eli Roth's remake of DEATH GAME was just as odd and weird as the original, which was quite strange. Keanu Reeves is such a likable guy in general, but he makes some weird choices  with this one, his line delivery is skewed and I just enjoyed it for how deranged it was. 




















18. STUNG (Scream Factory) 

As creature features go this is an engaging slice of bug-horror cinema with just the right out amount of action, humor and splatter, with a one-perfect final scene that made me smile from ear-to-ear. 









































19. BLOODY KNUCKLES (Artsploitation) 

I loved the spirit of Bloody Knuckles, it has a few pacing issues but overall this is a winner of an offensive comedy with fun gore. A punk rock middle-finger to those who would censor art. 










































20. LAST SHIFT (Magnolia) 

Caught this on Netflix and was really blown away with just how creepy it was. Definitely a film that came under the radar for me, a claustrophobic watch and a creepy one.  

2015 MOVIES I JUST HAVEN'T WATCHED YET WHICH MIGHT HAVE MADE THE LIST... WHO KNOWS. 


The movies below are movies I've heard some good buzz about and I would have been jazzed to watch them and maybe include on my list but I just did have not had the time to get out and watch...yet. 

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TALES OF HALLOWEEN
BONE TOMAHAWK
SOME KIND OF HATE
THE FINAL GIRLS
GREEN INFERNO
A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY
TURBO KID
CREEP
GOODNIGHT MOMMY

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

NIGHTMARES (1983) (Blu-ray Review)

NIGHTMARES (1983) 

Label: Scream Factory 
Region Code: A
Duration: 99 Minutes
Rating: R
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1), Fullframe (1.33:1) 
Director: Joseph Sargent
Cast: Cristina Raines, Richard Masur, Tony Plana, Veronica Cartwright, Emilio Estevez, Lance Henriksen, James Tolkan, William Sanderson


Nightmares (1983) is an horror anthology I caught on TV numerous times growing up in the '80s and loved it as a kid, I've always had a weakness for the anthology format, and even third-tier stuff like this got my horror heart pumping. I've long held onto my DVDR'd copy of the movie dubbed from a late night presentation on cable, as I refused to pay the ridiculous $100 plus dollar price tag the old Anchor Bay DVD was fetching on eBay for years since going out of print, praise be to Scream Factory for bringing this one to Blu-ray. 


Against what I've heard about the origins of this movie for years the commentary tells us it was actually a failed TV pilot for a new anthology series, and not merely unused episodes of the Darkroom TV anthology series. The movie begins without the benefit of a warp-around story, straight into 'Terror in Topenga', a nice moody slasher entry, featuring chain-smoking homemaker (Cristina Raines, The Sentinel) who insists on going out for cigarettes against the advice of her husband. Stopping off at the local corner store where she encounters a somewhat threatening attendant who frightens her. She leaves and discovers that she's about out of gas, and what a night to run out of gas, when an escaped mental patient is prowling the are. This is my favorite of the bunch, I like the simple set-up, the escaped mental patient angle, and Raines is always great. A local cop gets massacred at the top of the segment, which is decently gruesome, but this one operates on atmosphere and suspense for the most part, and does a damn job about it.


Up next we have video gamer J.J. Cooney (Emilio Estevez, Repo Man), a video game hot-shot obsessed with the arcade game The Bishop of Battle. The young punk has to hustle kids at the arcade to feed his obsession. His parents are down on him since his gamer obsession is seemingly ruining his life, some things never change. When his parents forbid him to go to the arcade he sneaks out and breaks into the arcade in the after hours to spend some quality time with his video nemesis, pumping quarters into the slot to get to that elusive next level. I can somewhat relate to this one, as a kid who loved the arcade with an obsession for the game Galaga, I would skip school to play it at the grocery store next to my house. I still have to stop and pump quarters into the damn game whenever I come across it. As a child of the eighties I loved the vintage video graphics on this one. Estevez would go onto star in Repo Man the following year, and the films shares a pumping punk soundtrack, each featuring the songs of punkers Black Flag and Fear!


In 'The Benediction' we have troubled priest (Lance Henriksen, Aliens) who leaves the church after the death of a young boy, the conflicted priest is travelling the desert alone with a jug of Holy Water to quench his thirst when he encounters a malevolent Chevy 4x4 which pursues him, nearly driving him out of his mind. This is an obvious riff on the better movies Duel and The Car but it pales in comparison, but director Joseph Sargent does a decent job with what he has, creating some pulse-racing chase scenes, one scene of the 4x4 erupting from beneathhe ground is fun, and seems to have been ripped-off from the Eurocult classic Psychomania (1973)!


The movie goes into the night on a whimper with 'Night of the Rat'. Here we have harried housewife Claire (Veronica Cartwright, 
Alien) who hears the sound of rats in the walls of her home. Her asshole husband (Richard Masur, License to Drive) refuses to allow his wife to hire a professional and chooses instead to lay down a few traps. The rat-invasion only intensifies, threatening the structural integrity of their home and the safety of their young daughter. This could have been a lot of fun ...and it is, but for all the wrong reasons. The poorly composited scenes of the monstrous (and telepathic) rat are just pathetic, but Cartwright and Masur are just fine in their respective roles. 

Audio/Video: Scream Factory offer two viewing options for Nightmares (1983), a widescreen (1.781) presentation or full frame, which is he framing I am most familiar with. Comparing the two I can now see that the fullframe is not open matte as I had always suspected, it is cropped on the right and left sides. The 1080p HD image is not exactly eye-popping, the image is soft and the colors are a bit on the muted side, but it is an improvement over my DVDR. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 offers decent fidelity, dialogue and score come through clean and the punk soundtrack on The Bishop of Battle segment are strong, optional English subtitles are provided. 


A bit light on the extras we have an Audio Commentary With Executive Producer Andrew Mirisch And Actress Cristina Raines moderated by blogger Shaun Chang of the Hill Place Blog who also moderated the commentary with Raines for Scream Factory's Blu-ray of The Sentinel. Mirisch and Raines offer a splendid track with Mirsch offering loads of information, but moderator Chang doesn't seem to have a lot of knowledge about the movie, more a super-fan of Raines, which is fine but he doesn't contribute a whole lot to the commentary. The only other extras are the fullframe theatrical trailer and two-minutes of radio spots. 

Special Features
- Audio Commentary With Executive Producer Andrew Mirisch And Actress Cristina Raines moderated by Shaun Chang of the Hill Place Blog 

- Original Theatrical Trailer (2 Mins)
- Radio Spots (2 Mins) 


Not sure how this would watch with someone who didn't grow-up with it on TV as I did. As horror anthologies go this is a bit anemic on the gore and suspense, with the exception of the 'Terror in Topenga' segment, which I give high marks all the way around, a tight bit of suspense. A definite nostalgia enhanced recommend for me, glad to see this one become widely available again and at a reasonable price, now I can throw that DVDR in the trash! 2.5/5

Thursday, December 17, 2015

PIECES (1983) Coming On Blu-ray March 1, 2016 from GRINDHOUSE RELEASING!

PIECES (1983) 

Label: Grindhouse Releasing

Release Date: March 1st 2016
Duration: 83 Minutes 
Region: Region-FREE
Video 10180p HD Widescreen (1.66:1)
Audio: English DTS-HDMA Mono with Optional Englisg Subtitles 
Director: Juan Piquer Simon
Cast: Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Paul L. Smith, Edmund Purdom, Jack Taylor

YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO TEXAS FOR A CHAINSAW MASSACRE!

Grindhouse Releasing is proud to present the sickest and most violent of all the early '80s slasher movies. A psychopathic killer stalks a Boston campus, brutally slaughtering nubile young college co-eds, collecting body parts from each victim to create the likeness of his mother who he savagely murdered with an axe when he was ten years old! PIECES is a wild, unrated gorefest, with enough splatter and sleaze to shock the most jaded horror fan.


Bonus Features:

- TWO complete versions of this shocking gore classic:
PIECES (83 minutes) - the original, unrated U.S. theatrical version, presented in English
MIL GRITOS TIENE LA NOCHE (86 minutes) - the original uncensored director's cut, presented in Spanish with original score by Librado Pastor
- Spectacular new 4K transfers - scanned from the original camera negative
- Brand new audio commentary by star Jack Taylor
- Special 5.1 audio option - the Vine Theater Experience!
- In-depth interviews with director Juan Piquer Simon and genre superstar Paul L. Smith
- 42nd STREET MEMORIES - all-new feature-length documentary produced by Calum Waddell containing interviews with Sam Sherman, Bill Lustig, Larry Cohen, Frank Henenlotter, Buddy Giovinazzo, Jeff Lieberman, John Skipp, Lynn Lowry, Terry Levene, and many other exploitation icons
- Extensive gallery of stills and poster art
- Exhaustive filmographies
- Liner notes by legendary horror journalists Chas. Balun and Rick Sullivan
- BONUS CD - original soundtrack - newly remastered from the original studio tapes
- Beautiful embossed slipcover
- First 3000 units include an actual jigsaw puzzle! Strictly limited to 3000 units!
AND OTHER SURPRISES!

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIaOh2PHn24




Tuesday, December 15, 2015

THE CAR (1977) (Blu-ray Review)

THE CAR (1977) 
Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Rating: PG
Duration: 97 Minutes
Audio: English, DTS-HD MA 5.1, DTS-HD 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Elliot Silverstein
Cast: Elizabeth Thompson, James Brolin, Doris Dowling, John Marley, John Rubinstein, Kathleen Lloyd, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards, R.G. Armstrong, Ronny Cox, Dennis Shryack


Synopsis: Fasten your seatbelts for the terrifying thrill ride that has become a cult classic! The peaceful tranquility of a small Western town is disturbed when a murderous car wreaks havoc by viciously mowing down innocent victims. The new sheriff, Wade Parent (James Brolin, The Amityville Horror), may be the only one who can stop this menace in its tracks. But what Wade Parent doesn't realize is that the driver of this indestructible vehicle is far more dangerous than any man... because it is driven by pure evil.

I have always loved this movie, a classic Jaws knock-off full of piss and vinegar, in it we have a souped up black car menacing a small desert town without any sort of rhyme or reason to it. It emerges from the desert with a plume of dust behind it, the first victims are young lovers on a bicycle ride whom are run off the road by the menacing black car. The next to taste it's wrath is a horn-playing hitchhiker who is viciously run over again and again. The local cops don't know what's happening but when the sheriff (John Marley, Deathdream) is run down in the street Deputy Wade Parent (James Brolin) is out for vengeance

While the titular car is not explained in anyway shape or form it does have a demonic presence about it, a nameless killer with no motive, no other explanation is necessary. Occasionally we get some yellow-tinted POV shots from inside the car through the windshield, it ominously blasts its nerve-shattering horn when it's on the prowl for victims. The 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III black coupe was modified by the legendary George Barris and it is a thing of menacing beauty, the exaggerated front bumpers and bumper forming an evil face and it sounds terrific when it revs up the engine and those open pipes let loose the fury, sweet stuff. 


There's not a great deal of deaths but they are set-up nicely, though most are bloodless affairs with no actual car to victim contact, you never do see the car hit anyone, shot with some clever editing it does the trick nicely. In one of the more memorable scenes the car actually tears straight through a house to tag one of the victims, and most will remember the scene of the car menacing a group of middle school band members who are chased into a cemetery, it's a bit on the corny side of things but it works fro me time and time again, I love it. 

The movie is populated with some decent small town characters, we have a wonderfully moustached James Brolin (The Amityville Horror) bringing some nice intensity to his role as the determined Deputy. TV actress Kathleen Lloyd brings a lot of spunk to her role as Laura, the girlfriend of Brolin's character. She has some great energy and brings a palpable sense of fear to the movie, she's also a victim of one of the most memorable death scenes in the movie. Another familiar face is that of R. G. Armstrong (Evilspeak) as a curmudgeonly wife-beater, who might seem an unlikely hero but he's pretty handy with a stick of dynamite. 

TV director Elliot Silverstein does a great job ratcheting up the tension on this one with some fun gimmicks to enhance the mood of the movie, it's not a flashy production but it does the job nicely. Why this demonic-car chooses this sleepy desert town to  terrorize is never answered but the desert locations make for a great backdrop to the movie, it also isolates the characters to a degree, making this a fun watch.

Audio/Video: The Blu-ray from Scream Factory looks and sounds great, the 1080p HD transfer presents the movie in the proper scope aspect ratio. I have the Region B Blu-ray from Arrow Video and comparing the two they look like they may have been sourced from the same Universal HD source, they're very close in appearance, with the Scream Factory Blu looking a tad brighter in certain spots. The grain has been nicely managed offering a crisp and clean image with some nice depth and clarity, this look great. Audio options include the choice of English DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0 or DTS-HD Surround 5.1 with optional English subtitles. There's some good meaty depth to the surround sound, when the car revs the engine you can feel the bass kick in and that ominous horn from the car sounds menacing. 

Onto the special features we have new interviews with Producer/Director Elliot Silverstein and Actresses Geraldine Keams and Melody Thomas Scott. They're short but informative and loaded with some great info, director Silverstein seems overly apologetic about the movie, apparently not a fan of his own movie, pointing out numerous times that it was a Jaws knock-off. I grew up watching actress Melody Thomas Scott as the character Nikii Newman on the soap opera The Young and the Restless, she is only in the movie for a few fleeting moments but I loved seeing her here, still a cutey! There's also a selection of trailers, TV and radio spots, plus a gallery of images from the movie. 

The Arrow Blu-ray has a leg up on this release in my opinion, with a very similar technical presentation, but they push it over the edge with a more robust set of a extras, beginning with an audio commentary with director Elliot Silverstein. They also have a half-hour interview with  Special Effects Artist William Alridge, a ten-minute interview with actor John Rubinstein who played the unfortunate hitchhiker, plus the Trailer From Hell commentary with John Landis, plus a hidden away Easter Egg, an interview with Elliot Silverstein. Arrow als offer a reversible sleeve of artwork plus a 40 page booklet with new writing on the film from Cullen Gallgher and an interview with co-writer Michael Butler. 

Scream Factory's new Blu-ray is great, but I will say that if you are a serious collector with a NEED for the most complete package available I do give the edge to the Arrow Blu-ray - which is Region B locked - but if you're just looking to chill with a fun movie and aren't concerned with extras the Scream Factory release has the marginally more pleasing A/V presentation and a fine set of extras.  

Special Features:
- NEW Mystery Of The Car – Interview With Producer/Director Elliot Silverstein (9 Mins) HD
- NEW The Navajo Connection – Interview With Actress Geraldine Keams (12 Mins) HD
- NEW Just Like Riding A Bike - Interview With Actress Melody Thomas Scott (12 Mins) HD
- Theatrical Trailer (2 Mins)
- TV Spot (1 Mins)
- Radio Spots (3 Mins) HD
- Still Gallery (125 Images) HD

Often described as 'Jaws on land' the description is both apt and short shrift in my opinion, The Car is a wildly entertaining slice of '70s b-movie cinema. It may not get the accolades of Steven Spielberg's Duel (1971) or John Carpenter's Christine (1983) but it has made a mark on popular culture, if you need proof just watch the were-car episode of Futurama. 3.5/5