Saturday, July 2, 2022

THE NECRO FILES (1997) (Visual Vengeance Blu-ray Review)


Label: Visual Vengeance
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 73 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HA MA 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Matt Jaissle
Cast: Steve Sheppard, Gary Browning, Christian Curmudgeon, Jason McGee, Dru Berrymore, Isaac Cooper

In the notorious underground SOV flick The Necro Files (1997) a pair of very angry cops, Set. Manners (Steve Sheppard) and Det. Sloane (Gary Browning), are on the trail of a vicious cannibal-rapist/masked serial killer named Logan (Isaac Cooper) who has left a gruesome trail of cannibalized corpses in his wake. One night they finally catch him in the act of coughing up the hard-to-digest nipple of his latest victim, but the killer cold cocks Det. Manners with a bottle and in retribution the detective pumps him full of lead. Six month later we see a group of Satanists gather at the serial killers grave (in broad daylight in full on hooded satanic cult robes) to perform a ritual in which they sacrifice a baby that was spawned from one of Logan's rape victims (a terrible looking Oopsie Daisy doll). It's goofy stuff but low and behold when the cult leader starts pissing on the infant's corpse the moldy killer is resurrected, emerging from his grave and tearing off the cultists dick before chowing down his guts.  

The detectives soon learn that the killer has returned from the grave and set about trying to thwart his ghoulish activities, only this time he's a moldy-skinned zombie with a three-foot pecker falls in love with an inflatable fuck doll, and he's horny! Compounding the issue is that Manners is a violent junkie, which makes things difficult for his partner... oh, and did I mention the sacrificed baby has also returned from the dead and is now a blood-spattered flying baby-demon who has beef with his zombie pops. It's an absolutely nutty 90's SOV entry with batshit crazy energy, loads of cheap gore, plenty of nudity and a buttload of gleefully tasteless shenanigans that are sure to elicit both disgust and laughter, it's a non-stop slice of micro-budget WTF-ery from start to finish.   

Audio/Video: The Necro Files (1997) arrives on region-free Blu-ray from Video Vengeance, a new sub-label from Wild Eye Releasing, in 1080p HD widescreen (1.78:1). It looks about as good as an SD tape master circa '97 can look upscaled to 1080p. It's soft, waxy and lacks definition, clarity and depth are never strong, it's murky and riddled with inherent compression issues, but this is a case of doing the best with what you got, just be aware of what you're in for and know it could have looked worse! For what it is it looks pretty decent, but this is a film that never looked great, not on day one and not a quarter century later, it was made on late-90's consumer grade tape and looks like it. 

Like the video the audio is not the stuff of HD legends, what we get is the choice of lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and uncompressed English DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo with optional English subtitles. The source recording is amateurish with odd acoustics at time, but dialogue is never a chore to decipher.  

Visual Vengeance come through with some terrific extras, starting off with a pair of new audio commentaries. First up is an Audio Commentary with director Matt Jaissle who gets into writing the script based on an underground comic book, aiming for it to be a send-up of SOV horror, the various cast, locations and some fun stories and anecdotes about the difficulties making a no-budget film, and how the title is an X-Files cash-in. 

The second track is an Audio Commentary with Matt Desiderio of Horror Boobs and Billy Burgess of the Druid Underground Film Festival who talk about how this film measures up against other 90's SOV flicks, what makes it special, the importance of nudity, while also having a good laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Jaissle shows up for a new 7-minute On-Camera Interview with Director Matt Jaissle, he's walking around a graveyard talking about his influences (George A. Romero, John Carpenter), shooting super 8mm films as a kid before getting into 16mm and then video, and working on other local Detroit based film productions including Mosquito. He also gets into making the most on a limited budget, how the movie is a parody of undergrown SOV films, the benefit of using cheap, free locations and maximizing production value and the skills of your free labor. 

There's also a 20-min Dong of the Dead: The Making of The Necro Files that features Jaissle discussing the decision to film this on video as consumer video was getting decent results at the time, the casting call and how after just reading a few lines a lot of actors bowed out based on the content and dialogue, casting strippers for roles and the and a few tales about the three week shoot. A lot of the same material is covered in the commentary and his 7-min interview, but he also gets into some of the locations and props used in the film, like a portrait of Anton Lavey which he says was purchased from LaVeys daughter, the flying baby oopsie prop on the end of a fishing pole, and an odd tale about SNL's Chris Farley showing up at the premiere and a tenuous connection to his death. 

A great set of extras are a collection of Jaissle's early super 8mm films, starting off with The Paroxysm Plague, a winter-set horror that borrows some still from Carpenter's The Thing with some cool lo-fi zombie gore and a fun synthetic score. Then on The Adventures of The Walla Monster which features a drunk monster main character battling dime store versions of Leatherface, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees before slaughtering neighborhood kids, newscasters and the homeless, until a P.I. tracks him down in an attempt to bring the carnage to an end. Chock full of more lo-fi blood and a monster puppet metal jam at the end. The last of the shorts is the 9-min The Corpse from '87 which tells the tale of a morgue attendant who discovers a recent corpse arrival still has some undead life left in it. 

We also get Jaissle's sequel Necro Files 3000 (2017), which Jaissle says he actually had very little to do with in one of the interviews. It's basically a weird reimaging of the first film only created with kids dolls, but still manages to be quite gory and bloody in it's own right. It's a curiosity for sure, reminding me a bit of Bill Zebub's Dolla Morte (2006) in it's execution. Another extras is the The Necro Files on Chilean TV Talk Show, a 4-minute segment from the 'Asi Somoss' show. Unfortunately there are no subtitles for it but it looks like a hoot as the hosts and guests watch clips from this film and comment on it. The disc is buttoned-up with  4-minutes of trailers for the film and it's sequel. 

The single-disc releases arrives in a clear keepcase with a sleeve of reversible artwork, with the new artwork looking like it cost a bit more to produce than the actual movie it advertises. Inside there's a 2-sided insert with Blu-ray credits which has it's own cool artwork on the reverse side, plus some fun swag like a VHS keychain and 'stick your own’ VHS sticker set, plus a limited edition fold-out poster and a Necro Files branded condom - which is not for human use! This also comes with a limited edition slipcover that has it's own unique artwork. This is the first Visual Vengeance release I've had the pleasure to get my hands on and I am quite impressed with their treatment of this trashy flick, plus we get some nice extras and cool ephemera, very cool stuff. 

Special Features:

- NEW! Audio Commentary with director Matt Jaissle
- NEW! Audio Commentary with Matt Desiderio of Horror Boobs and Billy Burgess of the Druid Underground Film Festival
- NEW! On-Camera Interview with director Matt Jaissle (7 min)
- Bonus Movie: Necro Files 3000 (2017 sequel)
- Dong of the Dead: The Making of The Necro Files (20 min)
- Matt Jaissle Super 8 Short Films: The Paroxysm Plague (4 min), The Adventures of The Walla Monster (6 min) 
- The Necro Files on Chilean TV Talk Show (No Subtitles) (4 min)
- Original Producer Trailer (1 min)
- Visual Vengeance Trailer (1 min)
- The Corpse (1987) Super 8 Short (9 min)
- Necro Files 3000 (2017 Sequel) (62 min) 
- Necro Files 3000 - Original Trailer (2 min)
- Limited Edition Slipcase
- Collectible Mini-poster
- ‘Stick your own’ VHS sticker set

The Necro Files (1997) is not for everyone, boy howdy, but is you're that special sicko someone who love batshit no-budget WTF-ery this Visual Vengeance release of The Necro Files (1997) is the tits. I love that Visual Vengeance are plumbing the depths for forgotten hairballs of SOV cinema and spiffy-ing them up with premium editions for the hardcore lovers of trash cinema.   

Screenshots of the Visual Vengeance Blu-ray: 


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