Wednesday, July 31, 2019

QUATERMASS II (1957) (Scream Factory Blu-ray Review)


Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 85 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Mono with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Val Guest
Cast: Brian Donlevy, Sidney James, John Longden, Bryan Forbes, Vera Day, William Franklyn

Smart-guy adventurer Professor Quatermass, (Brian Donlevy, Curse of the Fly), a sort of precursor to Indian Jones, is Britain's most renowned scientific mind, we catch up with him investigating reports of hundreds of meteorites landing in the Winnerden Flats area of the rural British countryside. He heads that way to investigate along with a colleague, and the pair are startled to discover an industrial complex with a series of domed buildings, which looks suspiciously like a moon base that Quatermass himself has been designing. There his colleague finds a strange rocket-shaped meteorite, picking it up to examine it the meteorite releases a gas, spraying him in the face and leaving behind a strange v-shaped scar. Suddenly from out of nowhere armed security forces arrive on the scene, with the observant scientist noting that they are also sporting similar v-shaped scars. The security forces take his his colleague into custody and force Quatermass to leave the area immediately. 

It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that something strange is afoot, and Quatermass actually being a scientist is alarmed by the encounter, inquiring with local officials in the area who tell him the base is producing a synthetic food of some sort, which doesn't really explain the heightened security and only puzzles him further. The quick-thinking scientist manages to arrange a tour of the facility through Vincent Broadhead (Tom Chatto, The Frozen Dead), a Member of British Parliament. While touring the massive industrial complex things seem a bit off, with Broadhead straying from the group to investigate one of the large domed buildings at the facility, only to reemerge covered in a thick black slime, screaming in pain. 

This ramps up the paranoia quotient quite a bit, with Quatermass barely escaping the complex while alarms rings out, fleeing to the nearby village he comes to realize that, sort of similiar to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), that the whole of the local government seems to have been turned into drones under an alien influence. With no where else to turn he teams-up with a mob of angry locals who storm the facility pitchfork and torch style, discovering that a huge blob-like aliens are living in the domes. They angry mob manages to take-over a critical building, cutting-off the life-support system sustaining the blobs, resulting in the aliens breaking-free from their domes, and succumbing to the alien atmosphere of Earth, not unlike the seminal sci-fi film War of the Worlds (1953).  

The films is directed by Val Guest (When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth) and was re titled Enemy From Space for its U.S. theatrical release, which is the title I originally saw the film under on a bad-looking bootleg some years ago, with this Blu-ray presentation thankfully looking many times superior! This is a Hammer film, and while the studio did not go onto  be remembered for their sci-fi output I have to say that I absolutely love the Quatermass films, this slice of cold war era paranoia is a lot of fun and should appeal to fans of vintage sci-fi paranoia like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Invaders from Mars (1953) with some fun blob-like aliens that brought to mind Caltiki - The Immortal Monster (1959), both of which I think used cow tripe to achieve their blob creatures.   

Audio/Video: Quatermass 2 (1957) arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory with a new 2K scan from the only surviving film element, a print of the film. Go into this one with tempered expectations, there's a few rough patches here to overcome, but overall it's a solid archival presentation with surprisingly few blemishes. Grain can be a bit course throughout with crushed blacks and a general lack of finely resolved detail, but all things considered this looks terrific. The specs on the back of the Blu-ray sleeve indicate this is a 1.37:1 full frame transfer, however the image is actually closer to 1.78:1 widescreen, a bit of a flub from Scream Factory.  

Audio comes by way of an English DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 with optional English subtitles, dialogue and effects sound good, with the  James Bernard score benefiting the most from the lossless upgrade. 

Extras begin with a trio of audio commentaries, the first is an archival commentary with  with director Val Guest and writer Nigel Kneale, plus a pair of newly minted commentaries from filmmaker/film historian Ted Newsom plus a third with author/film historian Steve Haberman and filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr - all are solid listens from people who know a thing or three about the Quatermass franchise, both n film and their earlier TV serial incarnations. 

We also get a 21-min interview with the director detailing his career at Hammer plus a pair of shorter interviews with 
special effects artist Brian Johnson (Alien)
and assistant director Hugh Harlow which total about 5-min together. 

Extras are buttoned-up with a 26-min episode of the 'World of Hammer' spotlighting Hammer sci-fi, 2-min trailer for the film, plus a still gallery. 

The single-disc release arrives in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a reversible sleeve of art, including vintage alternate artwork for the film under the title 'Enemy From Space', the disc itself featuring an excerpt from the key artwork.

Special Features:
- NEW 2K scan of a pristine archival film print
- NEW audio commentary with filmmaker/film historian Ted Newsom
- NEW audio commentary with author/film historian Steve Haberman and filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr
- NEW interview with Academy Award-winning special effects artist Brian Johnson (Alien)(3 min) HD
- NEW interview with assistant director Hugh Harlow (2 min) HD 
- Vintage interview with director Val Guest (21 min) 
- Audio Commentary with director Val Guest and writer Nigel Kneale
- World of Hammer – Sci-Fi (26 min) 
- U.S. Theatrical Trailer – ENEMY OF SPACE
- Theatrical Trailers (2 min) 
- Still Gallery (3 min) 

Quatermass II (1957) is an entertaining slice of cold war era paranoia with an adventurer-scientist and cool blob-like alien creatures, it makes for a fun watch. I am very pleased to to see this film and it's sequel finally getting a U.S. release, giving these Hammer sci-fi gems new life on home video for both vintage and future fans who have yet to discover it. 

The Death and Return of Superman Complete Film Collection -- Coming to 4K UltraHD October 1st!





The adventure that was initially too big for one animated film now arrives as a comprehensive 166-minute tale – with never-before-seen footage – in The Death and Return of Superman Complete Film Collection Gift Set, a numbered, limited edition release available October 1st, 2019 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. An extension of the popular series of DC Universe Movies, the box set of the combined films The Death of Superman & Reign of the Supermen – produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC – includes an exclusive “Steel” figurine plus a bonus disc Superman: Doomsday, and will be available as an Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack ($54.97) and Blu-ray Combo Pack ($44.98 SRP). 

The Death and Return of Superman Complete Film Collection Gift Set Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc featuring the film; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the film in hi-definition. The Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Combo Packs both include a digital version of the film, and each gift set will feature 45 minutes of new enhanced content, an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR bonus disc of Superman: Doomsday (first time in 4k) and a dazzling, four-inch figurine of the popular character Steel.

The Death and Return of Superman finds Superman in a fight to the finish when the Man of Steel becomes the only hero who can stand in the way of the monstrous creature Doomsday and his unstoppable rampage. Superman saves the planet, but not himself, leaving Earth’s citizens – and his heroic contemporaries – dealing with a world without Superman. The aftermath of Superman’s death, and the subsequent disappearance of his body, leads to a new mystery – is Superman still alive? The question is further complicated when four new super-powered individuals – Steel, Cyborg Superman, Superboy and the Eradicator – emerge to proclaim themselves as the ultimate hero. In the end, only one will be able to proclaim himself the world’s true Superman.

The Death and Return of Superman completes the quest of Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Animation and DC to craft a faithful animated version of “The Death of Superman,” DC’s landmark 1992-93 comic phenomenon. Superman Doomsday, the inaugural film in the DC Universe Movies series, told an abridged version of that comics story, as the film’s runtime of 75 minutes allowed for a narrow focus on a core, singular storyline. The 166-minute The Death and Return of Superman restores many of the moments and characters that fans hold dear to their hearts.

The Death and Return of Superman all-star cast matches its epic scope with Jerry O’Connell (Carter, Bravo’s Play by Play, Stand by Me), Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, The Librarians) and Rainn Wilson (The Office, The Meg) leading the way as the voices of Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, respectively. The potent trio is joined by the DC Universe Movies’ returning voices of the Justice League: Jason O’Mara (The Man in the High Castle, Terra Nova) as Batman, Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Rent, Daredevil) as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Nathan Fillion (Castle, The Rookie) as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, Matt Lanter (Timeless, 90210) as Aquaman, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs, Insatiable, Ugly Betty) as The Flash, and Nyambi Nyambi (Mike & Molly, The Good Fight) as Martian Manhunter.

The robust cast also spotlights Cress Williams (Black Lightning) as Steel, Cameron Monaghan (Gotham) as Superboy, Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) as Hank Henshaw, and Tony Todd (Candyman) as Darkseid. In addition, the cast includes Charles Halford (Constantine) as Bibbo Bibbowski and The Eradicator, Rocky Carroll (NCIS) as Perry White, Toks Olagundoye (Castle) as Cat Grant, Max Mittleman (Justice League Action) as Jimmy Olsen, Paul Eiding (Ben 10: Omniverse) as Jonathan Kent, Jennifer Hale (Green Lantern: The Animated Series) as Martha Kent, Trevor Devall (Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay) as Dabney Donovan & Bruno Mannheim, Erica Luttrell (Salvation) as Mercy, Jonathan Adams (Last Man Standing) as the Mayor, Rick Pasqualone (Mafia II & Mafia III video games) as Turpin, AND Amanda Troop (Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts) as Sawyer.

Producer Sam Liu (Gotham by Gaslight, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract) co-directs The Death of Superman portion of the combined film with Jake Castorena (Justice League Action) from a script by New York Times best-selling author Peter J. Tomasi (Green Lantern: Emerald Knights). Liu produces and directs the film’s Reign of the Supermen second-half from a script by Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Tim Sheridan (Scooby-Doo and the Gourmet Ghost). Amy McKenna (The Death of Superman) is producer, and Alan Burnett (Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay) is co-producer. Executive Producers are Sam Register and James Tucker (Justice League Dark).

“The collected work of The Death and Return of Superman, with its two films and added footage, is truly an epic, authentic animated retelling of ‘The Death of Superman’ saga, giving fans the complete tale just as they have craved since the inception of the DC Universe Movies,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing.  “The Warner Bros. Animation filmmaking team and the all-star cast have gone far beyond expectations to bring this important Superman story to life.”

Special Features: 
- Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital
- Long Live Superman (Featurette) – Superman is a symbol for hope across the world. Hear the story of how the Man of Tomorrow will always be the hero we need today. Long Live
- The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All (Featurette) – Experience the battle between Superman and Doomsday like never before as creators of the iconic comic and the new film explore the nuances of “The Greatest Fight” with the help of a martial arts expert.
- Lex Luthor: The Greatest Nemesis (Featurette) – Evil Genius. Archenemy of Superman. Misunderstood hero? This documentary will look at one of the most renowned villains in literature and debate his ethics and motivations throughout his publication history and as the calculated anti-hero of Reign of the Supermen. We’ll also explore how Lex Luthor is emblematic of technology without limit, often demonstrating what effect unbridled power, resources, and influence can have on humanity. We’ll discuss the affinity for storytellers to associate Lex Luthor and with the field of science as they challenge our morals and integrity with real world issues such as cloning and what can happen if science fiction became science reality.  
- From the DC Vault: Legion of Superheroes, “Dark Victory: Part 1”
- From the DC Vault: Legion of Superheroes, “Dark Victory: Part 2”
- From the DC Vault: Superman: The Animated Series, “Heavy Metal”
- From the DC Vault: Justice League Unlimited, “Panic in the Sky”

The Death and Return of Superman will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

Fans can also own The Death and Return of Superman via purchase from digital retailers beginning October 1st, 2019.

4K UHD Combo Pack - $54.97
Blu-ray Combo Pack - $44.98

4K and Blu-ray Street Date: October 1st, 2019
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French,
Duration: 166 minutes
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of action violence and action including bloody images,
and for some suggestive comments.

Thursday, July 25, 2019




Well, it's been over a month since the last installment of The Epitaph capsule reviews, so it's good to be back with a fresh batch of genre cinema for you horror-loving fans with some spare cash! This time around we've got a little bit for everybody coming from one of our favorite labels, Scream Factory, who offer-up some vintage 40's Universal horror, an 80's stalker thriller starring the lovely Morgan Fairchild, millennial cannibalism from Eli Roth and a visually stunning video game adaptation from Christopher Gans. 

Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 66 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Mono with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Full Frame (1.37:1) 
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Cast: Dennis O'Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell, James Bell

The 1940s horror cult classic The Leopard Man (1943) gets a brand new 4k scan of the original nitrate camera negative courtesy of Scream Factory who have been killing me with their string of vintage Universal and Hammer horror films this year! This is another team-up with producer Val Lewton (The Body Snatcher, Bedlam, The Ghost Ship) and Jacques Tourneur, the director of the original Cat People. When a leopard - but what looks to actually be a black panther - escapes during an ill-conceived publicity stunt it launches a string of savage deaths around a small border town, the deaths look to be the maulings of the wild feline, but questions linger, is this the work of a leopard or a serial killer? This sleek murder mystery has a shadowy noir look about it, balancing suspense, horror and some good old fashioned dread throughout the film. It's the sort of judiciously executed movie that proves sometimes less is more, with the first victim, a young girl, being attacked behind a closed door to the terror of her mother and brother. Though the audibly horrific attack is unseen by us a trickle of blood begins to pool from beneath the door, it's so effective and creepy. The film is noted as possibly the first film ever about a serial killer, and while it's not as well recognized as some of Val Lewton's stuff it's an absolute stone-cold serial-killer classic. The new 4K scan looks phenomenal, the 1.37:1 fullframe image is presented in gorgeous 1080p HD with a healthy amount of grain and fine detail throughout, and contrast and black levels are rock solid for a film of this vintage. Audio comes by way of English DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 audio with optional subtitles. Extras include a vintage audio commentary with filmmaker William Friedkin (The Exorcist) plus a new commentary with filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr, both of which are excellent, plus a trailer for the film and an extensive image gallery. I definitely recommend this for fans of vintage mystery and horror films, love seeing these Val Lewton produced classics getting new life on Blu-ray! 

Special Features:

- NEW 4K scan of the original nitrate camera negative
- NEW Audio Commentary with filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr
- Audio Commentary with filmmaker William Friedkin
- Theatrical Trailer (1 min) HD 
- Still Gallery (9 mi) HD


Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 104 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: David Schmoeller
Cast: Morgan Fairchild, Michael Sarrazin, Vince Edwards, Andrew Stevens, Colleen Camp, Kevin Brophy

The 80's stalker-thriller The Seduction stars Morgan Fairchild (in her big screen debut) as popular L.A. anchorwoman Jamie Douglas who finds herself stalked by an admirer named Derek (Andrew Stevens, 10 to Midnight). While she politely  rebuffs his advances he quickly becomes increasingly obsessed with the TV personality, secretly watching her and making her life a living hell. This is a solid thriller from the 80's, one that was addressing the issue of stalking when not many other films were, but it's bit tame for exploitation-loving tastes. That aside, I will say it is well acted by all parties and Fairchild is a stone-cold stunner, her turn as not-so-helpless victim there at the end was a fun stuff, turning the tables on her stalker. The film arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory with a 1080p HD image framed in 2.35:1 widescreen, looking solid if not offering perfection. We get an English DTS-HD MA Mono audio track with optional subtitles, plus about an hour and half of extras including brand new interviews with both Morgan Fairchild, Andrew Stevens and Producer Bruce Cohn Curtis. Not a real gripper for me but a solidly made 80's thriller from director David Schmoeller who made this in-between his seminal supernatural slasher Tourist Trap (1978) and the Klaus Kinski creeper Crawlspace (1986). 

Special Features:
- NEW “Beauty and Strength” Interview with Actress Morgan Fairchild (22 min) HD 
- NEW “The Seducer” Interview with Actor Andrew Stevens (11 min) HD 
-  NEW “Flashbacks” – Interview with Producer Bruce Cohn Curtis (22 min) HD 
-  Audio Commentary with Producer Irwin Yablans, Bruce Cohn Curtis and Writer/Director David Schmoeller
- “Remembering The Seduction” featurette featuring interviews with Bruce Cohn Curtis, Irwin Yablans, David Schmoeller, Actress Colleen Camp, Actor Kevin Brophy and Associate Producer Tom Curtis (11 min) HD 
- “Remembering the Locations and Production” featurette with Bruce Cohn Curtis and Location Manager Charles Newirth (11 min) 
-  “Remembering The Seduction and The Law” featurette (8 min) HD
- Original Theatrical Trailer (2 min)
- TV Spot (1 min) HD 
- Still Gallery (5 min) 

Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 101 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1)
Director: Eli Roth 
Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton

The Green Inferno (2013) from Eli Roth, the director Hostel (2005) and Cabin Fever (2002), is an homage to the gut-munching cannibal films of the 70's and early 80's, stuff like the grisly Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and the tit-on-a-meat-hook Cannibal Ferox (1981). He does good work bringing the the flesh-stripping charms of those films into the modern age with a group of really annoying student activists flying to Peru to protest the deforestation of a big-bad oil company. They more or less do what they set out to do and hop on a plane back to the U.S. only to crash-land deep in the Peruvian jungle and, irony of ironies, fall prey to the bloodthirsty indigenous people they came there to protect! I make no bones about loving this movie, it's a fun throwback, and should be viewed as such, with a group of reprehensible westerners falling prey to their own idiocy and hunger of the cannibals who capture them. We have some excellent and gory practical make-up effects from the legend himself, Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead), with no shortage of grisly grue and geysers of blood throughout the gritty film, making this a gory delight. I don't care that the character are not fleshed out to any deep degree, it's a damn cannibal film and what we get is on par with what I'd expected coming into it, and not much else.  The film arrives on 2-disc Blu-ray/CD Collector's Edition from Scream Factory sporting the same transfer as the previous Universal release, which was already solid, with a English DTS-HD MA Surround 5.1 audio track with optional English subtitles. The release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a reversible sleeve of artwork featuring a fantastic new illustration from Devon Whitehead that is repeated on the slipcover that accompanies it. I do believe this is a first for Scream factory, they've included a 28-track CD soundtrack of the film composed by Manuel Riveiro (The Stranger), which is something I would love to see them continue with select releases going forward. The Blu-ray is packed with extras, including everything from the previous Universal release, plus new interviews with the director, cast and crew. The Green Inferno is a grisly and fun throwback to the cannibal films of yesteryear, a ton of fun for those inclined to enjoy such things, and I most certainly do, this comes highly recommended.   

Special Features:
- Includes The Exclusive Original CD Soundtrack By Manuel Riveiro: CD Track Listing: 1. Opening Titles 2. Justine
3. In the Pastry Shop 4. Go Ahead 5. The Jaguar by the River 6. Intervention 7. The Plane Crash 8. Lost in the Jungle 9. Someone Is Coming 10. The Tribe 11. The First Sacrifice 12. The Banquet 13. "I'm Really Sick" 14. A Night in the Cage 15. The Virgin 16. Run Samantha Run 17. I Don't Remember 18. The Suicide 19. The Plan 20. Poor Funny Boy 21. The Flight 22. A Dangerous Place 23. A Girl for a Ritual 24. Tribe at War 25. The Good Child 26. Back Home 27. The Big Green (Bonus Track) 28. Running Across the Jungle (Bonus Track)
- NEW Into The Green Inferno – An Interview With Co-writer/Producer/Director Eli Roth (50 min) HD 
- NEW Uncivilized Behavior: Method Acting In The Green Inferno – Featuring Interviews With Actors Lorenza Izzo, Daryl Sabara, And Kirby Bliss Blanton (35 min) HD 
- Behind The Scenes Footage – Nearly An Hour Of Never-Before-Seen Footage
- Audio Commentary With Co-writer/Producer/Director Eli Roth, Producer Nicolás López, And Cast Members Lorenza Izzo, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, And Daryl Sabara
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage (55 min) HD  
- Making-of Featurette (16 min)HD
- Lorena Izzo Featurette (1 min) HD)
- Meet the Villagers Featurette (1 min) HD
- Amazon Jungle Featurette (1 min) HD
- Movie Gallery (5 min)HD
- Behind the Scenes Gallery (13 min) HD
- Village Construction Gallery(3 min)HD
- Storyboards and Makeup Test Gallery (6 min) HD
- Publicity Gallery  (1 min) HD
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) 
- TV Spots (2 min) 

Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
rating: R
Duration: 125 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-JD MA Surround 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: Christopher Gans
Cast: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige, Jodelle Ferland

I am not currently or have ever been a big gamer, the last game I obsessed over for a short while was Tony Hawk Pro Skater on the original Playstation, before that it was Goldeneye on the N64 system, and everyone once in a while I'll play Mortal Combat or Call of Duty n the XBOX One with my son, but it's never been an addiction, i was always way more into playing Galaga or Spyhunter in the arcade at the mall, that was my gaming heyday, y'know, because I'm an old fart! Horror has always been my jam though, but the Silent Hill games have always eluded me, and when this movie adaptation arrived in the cinemas in 2006 I just couldn't be bothered to go see it. Anyway, that's the long way of saying this new Blu-ray release is my first time watching the film, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. Directed by Christopher Gans (The Brotherhood of the Wolf) the film is creepy with surreal imagery, set in town that was deserted years earlier after an apocalyptic disaster, a coal-fire burning beneath the town's streets. A mother's sleepwalking young daughter is drawn to the town, so she of course takes her there, and weird shit happens, including the appearance of deformed creatures and nightmarish knife wielding faceless nurses, and the hulking menace known as Pyramid Head. Even creepier than all the monstrosities populating this nightmarish ghost-town is a cult leader, played by the ethereal Alice Krige (Ghost Story) who sent shivers up my spine. I dig this adaptation a lot, but it has some issues, like the fact that it runs for over two hours, and the circa'06 CGI is not doing it any favors, but there's no denying that this is a visually stunning film, even if I think the story is a but muddled and confusing.  The 2-disc Blu-ray Collector's Edition from Scream Factory presents the film in 1080p HD framed in 2.40:1 widescreen with a solid DTS-HD 5.1 audio track that really takes advantage of the surrounds to create a wholly immersive experience, optional English subtitles are provided. We get well over three-hours of archival and new extras, plus a reversible sleeve of artwork including a new illustration by Devon Whitehead that looks cool as hell. Glad I finally caught up with this one, it's not gonna top any best of the 2000's lists for me, but if you're a bigger fan than myself this release it packed with extras and looks and sounds great.   

Special Features:
Disc One:  
-NEW Audio Commentary With Cinematographer Dan Laustsen
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) HD 
Disc Two:
- NEW Interview With Director Christophe Gans (26 min) HD 
- NEW A Tale Of Two Jodelles – An Interview With Actress Jodelle Ferland (26 min) HD 
- NEW Dance Of The Pyramid – An Interview With Actor Roberto Campanella (37 min) HD 
- NEW Interview With Makeup-Effects Artist Paul Jones (31 min) HD 
- Path Of Darkness: The Making of Silent Hill Six-Part Documentary (63 min) 
- The Making Of Silent Hill Vintage Featurette
- On Set Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage (15 min) 
- Poster Gallery (3 min) 
– Photo Gallery ( 7 min) 

Thanks for checking out the latest installment of The Epitaph, always appreciative of the support! Do me a favor and let me know what you think about the shorter capsule reviews, do you prefer it to the longer more in-depth reviews, do you care one way or another, let me know, and go buy some movies! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

TWO EVIL EYES (1990) 3-Disc Limited Edition & 4K Restoration arriving 10/29 from Blue underground

The Dario Argento & George A. Romero team-up 'Two Evil Eyes' returns in a new 30th Anniversary 3-Disc Limited Edition with a New 4K Restoration from the uncensored original camera negative, plus  the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on CD for the first time ever!

The 3-Disc Exclusive Limited Collector’s Edition includes 2 Blu-rays and a Soundtrack CD, collectible booklet, reversible sleeve, and lenticular slipcover (First Pressing Only)


Label: Blue Underground
Region Code: region-FREE
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD; English: 2.0 DTS-HD; Français Dolby Digital Mono with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Directors: George Romero & Dario Argento
Cast: Harvey Keitel, Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, E.G. Marshall, Tom Atkins, Madeleine Potter, John Amos, Sally Kirkland, Kim Hunter, Martin Balsam

Synopsis: A Double Dose of Terror from the Directors of DAWN OF THE DEAD and SUSPIRIA

The Masters of Modern Horror – George Romero and Dario Argento – bring you an unprecedented pair of shockers inspired by the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. In Romero’s The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar, a conniving wife (Adrienne Barbeau of THE FOG) and her lover use a hypnotic trance to embezzle a fortune from her dying husband, only to receive some chilling surprises from beyond the grave. Then in Argento’s The Black Cat, a deranged crime scene photographer (Harvey Keitel of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN) is driven to brutal acts of madness and murder by his girlfriend’s new pet. But will this cunning feline deliver a final sickening twist of its own?

Martin Balsam (PSYCHO), E.G. Marshall (CREEPSHOW), John Amos (THE BEASTMASTER) and Tom Atkins (NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) co-star in this wild horror hit that also features grisly makeup effects by Tom Savini (MANIAC). In celebration of its 30th Anniversary, Blue Underground is proud to present TWO EVIL EYES in a new 4K restoration from its original camera negative, packed with exclusive new and archival Extras!

Special Features:
Disc 1 (Blu-ray) Feature Film + Extras:
- NEW! Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth, Author of Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento
- Theatrical Trailer
- Poster & Still Gallery

Disc 2 (Blu-ray) Extras:
- Two Masters’ Eyes – Interviews with Directors Dario Argento & George Romero, Special Make-Up Effects Supervisor Tom Savini, Executive Producer Claudio Argento, and Asia Argento
- Savini's EFX – A Behind-the-Scenes look at the film's Special Make-Up Effects
- At Home With Tom Savini – A personal tour of Tom Savini's home
- Adrienne Barbeau on George Romero
- NEW! Before I Wake – Interview with Star Ramy Zada
- NEW! Behind The Wall – Interview with Star Madeleine Potter
- NEW! One Maestro And Two Masters – Interview with Composer Pino Donaggio
- NEW! Rewriting Poe – Interview with Co-Writer Franco Ferrini
- NEW! The Cat Who Wouldn't Die – Interview with Assistant Director Luigi Cozzi
- NEW! Two Evil Brothers – Interview with Special Make-Up Assistant Everett Burrell
- NEW! Working With George – Interview with Costume Designer Barbara Anderson

Disc 3 (CD):
- TWO EVIL EYES Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Pino Donaggio
- BONUS! Collectible Booklet with new essay by Michael Gingold

REFORM SCHOOL GIRLS (1986) (Umbrella Entertainment DVD Review)


Label: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: M
Duration: 95 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.77:1) 
Director: Tom DeSimone
Cast: Linda Carol, Sybil Danning, Wendy O. Williams, Pat Ast, Sherri Stoner, Darcy DeMoss, Tiffany Helm 

Reform School Girls (1986) was directed by Tom DeSimone who not only brought us the cult-classic revenger Savage Streets (1984) (The Exorcist) and the co-ed night slasher Hell Night (1981), both starring Linda Blair (The Exorcist), but also the talking-vagina xxx-film Chatterbox (1977)! This film offers a teen detention variation on the women-in-prison genre. The film is set inside the Pridemore Juvenile Facility, a soul-breaking facility for troubled teens run by Warden Sutter (Sybil Danning, Howling II: Your Sister Is A Werewolf), a stern militant woman with fondness for biblical quotes and  slapping a riding crop into the palm of her as she asserts herself. Sadly Danning is not in the film all that much, with the warden leaving  the daily operations of the reform school to the sadistic big-girl Edna (Pat Ast, Foul Play), a ruthless woman who gives leniency to those who play nice with her, treating everyone else with scorn, cruelty and contempt. 

The newest arrival at the facility s first-time offender Jenny (Linda Carol, School Spirit), she's sort of good girl who got caught up in the crime-life after joining her boyfriend during a small-time robbery turned deadly. Inside Pridemore she befriends another newbie, shy-girl Lisa (Sherri Stoner, the voice of Slappy Squirrel in the Animaniacs TV series), a young girl with an unhealthy childhood attachment to a stuffed animal, who is woefully under-prepared for the harsh life on the inside of Pridemore.  

The pair of young ladies end up on the wrong side bad-girl Charlie - played with piss and vinegar by the late shock-rocker Wendy O. Williams of punkers the Plasmatics - who turns her legion of lingerie-wearing bad-girls, among them Knox (Darcy DeMoss, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives) and Fish (Tiffany Helm, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning), against the newbies when they turn out to not play so nice with the lady-loving bad-girls. Williams was clearly in her late-30's when she made this, so buying her as a crime-hardened teenager is a bit of a hurdle, but it makes about as much sense as the Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie sponsorship that this reform school seems to have going on!

The film has all the seedy women-in-prison tropes lovers of this brand of exploitation cinema have come to expect, including lots of gratuitous nudity in the shower scenes, solitary confinement, lesbian-tinged naughtiness, sex-for-favors, a protection racket, attempts to escape, and plenty of in-fighting among the inmates, we even get cruel Edna stomping a poor kitten to death! All this sleaze and seediness aside DeSimone manages to wrap all the WIP filth and grit up inside a sour-candy veneer of camp that renders it all rather palatable and fun, which makes for an entertaining watch from start to finish, with Edna winning the day for me with her sour-faced cruelness, really coming off as a kindred spirit to Ms. Balbricker (Nancy Parson, Motel Hell) from teen-comedy classic Porky's (1981), but way more sadistic and only slightly more unhinged.

Not sure why but Sybill Danning doesn't get all that much to do here, even the do-gooder psychologist Dr. Norton (Charlotte McGinnis, Hardcore) get more screen time, with all the best wickedness coming by way of Edna with bad-girl Charlie coming a close second. Punk Goddess Wendy O. Williams as Charlie is the defacto third in command at the detention facility, with her menacing growl and snarling attitude keeping a smile on my face for the whole film. Despite her alliance with Edna she eventually turns against her following the death of Lisa, resulting in a chaotic prison riot with Charlie riding atop a driverless school bus into spotlight tower where a shotgun-toting Edna is holed-up,  providing a truly satisfying finale to this ridiculous and often over-the-top 80's teen delinquency film.

Audio/Video: Reform School Girls (1986) arrives on region-free DVD from Umbrella Entertainment framed in 1.77:1 widescreen, slightly cropped from the original 1.85:1. The image is solid enough, a bit soft in places but the source looks clean and the colors are generally well saturated throughout. It's a damn good looking standard-definition transfer, now for the love of Wendy O. would someone please give this film a new 2K scan on Blu-ray? 

Audio comes by way of English Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 with no subtitle options with everything coming through clean and free of hiss, the songs from Wendy O. Williams, Girlschool and Etta James sound terrific. The disc is bare-bones without even a start-up menu, it's too bad Umbrella do not - or were not able - to carry over the audio commentary from director Tom DeSimone and humorist Martin Lewis from the out-of-print Anchor Bay release from 2001. 

The single-disc release comes housed in a standard looking DVD keepcase with a one-sided sleeve of artwork,wisely using the gorgeous original movie poster illustration on the wrap, not sure who did this one but it looks terrific, giving it some nice shelf appeal, and the disc itself featuring an excerpt of Edna from the artwork. 

Reform School Girls (1986) is a late-entry in the WIP-tinged troubled-teen genre, an entertaining slice of 80's exploitation that is so campy and fun that it sort of comes off as a send-up, and I totally dig it, a highly recommended piece teens-in-detention trash.