Friday, March 31, 2023

MARTIN (1977) (Second Sight Films 4K UHD Review)

MARTIN  (1977) 

Label: Second Sight Films
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: Cert. 18
Duration: 95 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 1.0 Mono, DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo, DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 2160p Ultra HD Fullscreen (1.33:1) 
Director: George A. Romero
Cast: John Amplas, Christine Forrest, Tom Savini, Lincoln Maazel

In George A. Romero's sublime subversion of vampire lore Martin (1977) the titular blood-drinker, played by by John Amplas (Dawn of the Dead), is a troubled teen who believes he’s an 84 year-old vampire. At the start of the film he arrives in a small Pennsylvania town by train to live with his much older cousin, the ultra-religious Cuda (Lincoln Maazel, The Amusement Park), who vows to save his vampire cousin's immortal soul before killing him. Also living in the home is Cuda's orphaned grandaughter (Christine Forrest, Dawn of the Dead, and future wife if the director), who is not fanatical like her grandfather, she doesn't believe Martin to be a vampire, but a deeply disturbed young man in need of psychiatric help.  Cuda provides Martin with a room in his home but the old man in far from hospitable, festooning the doorways with wreathes of garlic, and never missing an opportunity to yell "Nosferatu!" at him. Cuda also threatens that if Martin kills anyone in the town of Braddock that he will dispatch him with a wooden stake without first saving his soul.   

It's odd hiven the old man's hate for him that Martin begins working for Cuda at his butcher shop, which requires that he deliver groceries to customers. On one of his deliveries he meets a lonely housewife named Abbie Santini (Elyane Nadeau), who takes a liking to the awkward young man, hiring him to do odd jobs around her home while her husband is away. Eventually she makes a pass at the awkward Martin, but being a virgin he is hesitant to be seduced, but reciprocates and is pleased to find that sexual release seems to curb his blood thirst. Momentarily things seem to be getting better for Martin, but Cuda's relentless reinforcement that he is evil incarnate leaves the him unable to escape his predetermined status as a monster.

Make no mistake about it though, Martin is not an anti-hero, he's not a misunderstood teen rebel - he's a murderous blood-drinker who armed with syringes full of anesthetic and razor blades incapacitated and exsanguinates multiple victims. The film opens with a true banger, a chilling encounter on the train headed to Pittsburg with Martin stalking a young woman (Francine Middleton, Sweet Savior aka The Love- Thrill Murders), drugging her inside her sleeper car, slashing her wrists and drinking her blood, then staging it to look like a suicide. The staged suicide becomes the teens macabre modus operandi, and funnily enough, it's a legit suicide that proves to be his ultimate undoing. Later we witness Martin embarking on a home invasion in the suburbs where he has tracked a regular customer from the butcher shop, expecting her to be home alone as her husband's away on business, but instead he finds the horny housewife in bed with a lover. This puts a wrinkle in his attack plan but he improvises and makes due, draining the unlucky lothario after stabbing him in neck with a stick, but sparing the woman. 

Is Martin truly a vampire? Certainly not in the traditional sense, he has the blood cravings but there are no fangs, aversion to crucifixes, garlic or sunlight, he has no mesmerizing powers, nore supernatural allure, and he has a reflection - but he does kill for human blood, he's a very reality-based monster. He is most likely just be a confused and deeply disturbed young man who has been raised to believe he's a Nosferatu, brainwashed from birth  to become a monster. Martin himself says at one point after taunting his cousin by donning a corny vampire cloak, pale face paint and plastic fangs, "There's no real magic...ever." The earlier part of his life is not explored in depth, but we do get monochrome flashbacks to what looks to be the 1920's, but are these remembered reality or planted memories reinforced by years of being told he's a monster by a family with a shared mental illness? 

Throughout the film Martin anonymously calls into a local radio show where he is dubbed "The Count", during the calls he attempts to dispel the modern cinematic myths of the vampire, and becomes something of a sensation on the radio, which also provides an eerie eulogies to the films final moments. 

Romero's Martin is a truly singular vision of vampiric violence, an interesting character study of a blood-hungry outsider-teen set to the backdrop of a small crumbling community. It was Romero personal favorite of his own  films and while it failed to find an audience with it's anemic initial theatrical showing it's become a full-blooded cult classic, especially for Romero fans and those excited by non-traditional vampire lore. The film also features Romero himself as a priest and also feature special make-up FX legend Tom Savini in small roll. It was also the first time Savini did special effects for Romero with some low-budget but effective exsanguinations, including a visceral wooden stake to the chest. 

Audio/Video: Martin (1977) makes it's worldwide 4K UHD debut from Second Sight Film in 2160p UHD, framed in the original 1.33:1 fullscreen aspect ratio. As the original 16mm reversal stock elements no longer seem to exist this new restoration is sourced from a 35mm dupe negative, supervised and approved by director of photography Michael Gornick. The image is authentically grainy and doesn't have the same depth and clarity of a 35mm original negative element scanned in 4K, but with realistic expectations checked it's a night and day comparison to previous DVD editions. The 4K resolution and HDR10 color-grading offer a superior image that looks more organic, blacks are deeper and inkier, and the primaries get a new blush with reds and greens looking quite wonderful. Depth and clarity are not on par with other 4K releases scanned from 35mm elements but the textures look terrific, and the town fallen on hard-times imagery of Braddock, PA are appropriately dingey. There are some slight blemishes visible throughout that catch the eye but you can clearly tell there's been some loving restoration applied to Romero's film, it's never looked better on home video and it;s doubtful it ever will. 
Audio on the disc comes by way of English DTS-HD MA 1.0 Mono, DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo, DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround with optional English subtitles not surprisingly I found the mono track the most satisfying. All tracks are clean with solid fidelity throughout, but the more direct mono sounded most authentic to my ears with more impactful dialogue. The score from composer Donald Rubinstein is minimalist but is served well by the mono mix, coming through full-bodied and nuanced. 

The new restoration is beefed-up with some excellent extras, starting off with four commentary tracks! We get a pair of archival tracks fro previous DVD editions by way of an Audio commentary by George A Romero, John Amplas and Tom Savini, and another Audio commentary by George A Romero, Richard P Rubinstein, Tom Savini, Michael Gornick and Donald Rubinstein. New contributions come by way of an Audio Commentary by Travis Crawford as well as 
an Audio Commentary by Kat Ellinger that are both exclusive to this release. 

The centerpiece of the extra accompaniment is the 69-minute Taste the Blood of Martin, a David Gregory of Severin Films directed feature-length extra with actor John Amplas, cinematographer Mike Gornick, Romero's wife/actress Christine Romero, sound recordist Tony Buba, Tom Debensnsky, and actor/make-up FX maestro Tom Savini. This fantastic doc also includes a walk around location tour around Braddock, Pennsylvania pointing out the various locations used in film. The surviving cast and crew talk about how they met and came to work for Romero in various capacities on a handful of his early films. Gornick talks of how producer Richard P.  Rubinstein came to rep Latent Image and got them The Winners sports doc series, and of how he let Romero have complete creative control, and how they would save the end pieces of film from the doc series for later use on Martin. He also touches on Romero's style of script writing, how he adapted the script to film, and Romero painfully editing down his originally much longer version of the film, and wanting to release the film in B&W. Romero's widow Christine Romero talks about meeting Romero when they used her parents house during the filming of Jack's Wife aka Season of the Witch, and how a relationship formed thereafter, and how she went on to act in Martin. Amplas gets into how he was tapped to star in the film after Romero saw him in a play,  and how he'd hoped it would be a break through role but that nothing really came out of it as far as notices. They talk about how it was a real-deal low-budget homespun shoot, lasting 9 weeks, everything in the film was either begged, borrowed or loaned, mentioning the importance of sound recordist Tony Buba in securing locations, including several of the main houses seen in the film. Tony Buba himself is interviewed, as is Tom Debensnsky, and special make-up effects legend Tom Savini, who talks about meeting Romero while he was still in high-school when he auditioned for an unmade Romero film. Savini also talks about his dislike of the melted-crayon looking stage-blood used in the film, and how certain blood effects were achieved, including one that was recycled for Friday the 13th. They even get Sara Venable, who played the housewife victim, for an interview. The doc also offers some speculation about the notorious longer B&W version, how the film was received critically, it's lack of distribution, and the film's cult status, and their personal feelings about the film. It's a fascinating watch with heart-felt behind-the-scenes recounting of the making of the film from the Pittsburg crew who were Romero's his pals. The only thing that I didn't like was that the contributors point out a few flubs and gaffs I never noticed before - now I can't unseen them! 

Also new is the 18-minute Scoring the Shadows, a new Severin/Red Shirt Pictures co-produced interview with composer Donald Rubinstein (Knightriders), wherein the composer talks about his early influences, how Romero was a wonderful music editor, and noting how hard he worked to compose the score, which he found demanding but ultimately satisfying. 

We also get a 9-min short film J Roy - New And Used Furniture (1974) from Tony Bubba,  which is not connected to Martin other than it was shot in Braddock, PA and chronicles the deterioration of the former steel mill town. Another nice add is the inclusion of the archival 10-minute Making Martin: A Recounting,  with director Romero recalling the making of the film. Theres also appearances from Savini, Christine Romero, Mike Gornick, Donald Rubinstein, Angelina Buba (Tony Buba's mom) who not only let them film Martin at her house but fed the whole cast and crew huge Italian meals. This originally appeared on the out-of-print Lionsgate DVD, and touches on a lot of stuff covered more extensively in the new doc. Disc extras are buttoned-up with a selection of Trailers, TV and Radio Spots that runs about 5-minutes in length. The single-disc standard 4K Ultra HD release version arrives in a black keepcase with a single-sided sleeve of artwork with the UK ratings logo on the sleeve. 

Special Features:
- A Second Sight Films 4K scan and restoration of a 35mm dupe negative supervised and approved by Director of Photography Michael Gornick
- UHD presented in HDR10+
- Audio Commentary by George A Romero, John Amplas and Tom Savini
- Audio Commentary by George A Romero, Richard P Rubinstein, Tom Savini, Michael Gornick and Donald Rubinstein
- NEW! Audio Commentary by Travis Crawford
- NEW! Audio Commentary by Kat Ellinger
- NEW! Taste the Blood of Martin -  feature-length documentary including location tour (69 min) 
- NEW! Scoring the Shadows: An interview with composer Donald Rubinstein (18 min) 
- J Roy - New And Used Furniture - a short film by Tony Buba (11 min) 
- Making Martin: A Recounting (9 min) 
- Trailers, TV and Radio Spots (5 min) 

Second Sight Films treatment of this cult-classic is on par with their fantastic Dawn of the Dead set, and while the source limitations prevent it from achieving the same stellar visual presentation, the care, passion, and attention to detail they poured into both are the same. This is stellar release for a sublime vampire tale, this comes highly recommended. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series - Own the Iconic Series for the First Time Ever on Digital & DVD June 20th

When Trouble Erupts, Whom Are You Going To Call?

Anyone But The Venture Bros.!

The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series

All 82 Episodes From The Epic Series Will Be Available To Purchase Digitally and on DVD June 20, 2023


For the first time ever, all episodes from Adult Swim's award-winning original adult animated series are brought together in one set with The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series. Get ready to experience thrilling action-packed adventure along with acute family disfunction and binge all 82 episodes from the seven season run along with all the previously released special features. The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series will be available to purchase Digitally and on DVD from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment on June 20, 2023.

The series features the voice talents of James Urbaniak as Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture, Christopher McCulloch as Hank, Michael Sinterniklaas as Dean Venture, Patrick Warburton as Brock Samson, and Paul Boocock as Dr. Venture’s deceased father, Dr. Jonas. The series was created by Chris McCulloch and Doc Hammer for Adult Swim’s late night programming block. The Venture Bros. originally premiered on August 7, 2004, and ran for 7 seasons winning numerous awards including Best Animated TV Series Award at Cineme 2003, the Chicago International Animated Film Festival.

Synopsis: For the first time in the history of the world, every single episode of The Venture Bros. ever created! Stuffed full of your favorite evil nemeses, and larger-than-life heroes, plus a few smaller-than-life ones. It’s never not a great time to watch your favorite episode from any season, followed by any other episode from any other season. From “Dia de los Dangerous” to “The Saphrax Protocol” it’s all in one place!

It’s the Complete Series Venture Bros. Box Set, twenty years in the making. Including all the bonus materials that have been lovingly created over the years, and carefully curated for you now.

The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series Includes 82 episodes from all seven seasons
Digital Purchase - $79.99 US and Canada
DVD - $134.99 SRP ($129.99 in Canada)

Audio: English
Subtitles: English; French; Spanish
Running Time: 1,968 minutes
Rated: TV-MA

I’LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD (2003) (Imprint Films Blu-ray Review)

Imprint Collection #206

Label: Imprint Films 
Region Code: Region-Free
Rating: MA
Duration: 103 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround, LPCM 2.0 Stereo with Optional English HOH Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Mike Hodges 
Cast: Clive Owen, Charlotte Rampling, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Malcolm McDowell

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (2004) comes from hard-boiled director Mike Hodges (Get Carter), it was his last film, and it stars (Clive Owen, Sin City) as Will Graham, a mysterious day laborer in rural England who has just lost his logging job due to not having the proper paperwork. We then follow a charismatic charmer named Davey (Jonathan Rhys Myers, TV's The Tudors) in the seedy Brixton area of South London, he's a handsome scamp who dabbles in petty crime and selling drugs to the wealthy, and has no problems attracting the ladies. After bedding his fashion model sex-buddy he walks home in the dark, unaware that he is being targeted. A pair of tuxedoed good emerge from a darkened alley way and drags him kicking and screaming into a nearby garage and hold him down while a man named Boad (Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange), an unsavory car salesman of all things, sodomizes him. In the aftermath Davey wanders home dazed and ashamed, draws a bath, and the next day is found dead by his mate Mickser (Jamie Foreman, Layer Cake) in the tub, dead from an apparent suicide. 

We learn that Davey was the younger brother of Will, and when he learns of his little brothers death he returns to South London, much to the chagrin of insecure mobster Frank Turner (Ken Stott, The Hobbit Trilogy), who believes that Will is back in town to reclaim his former status as the big baddie. The particulars of the story and character are drawn out slowly, this is a story that is unfolding more so than being told, as viewers were putting the pieces together, and I think that structure makes it more rewarding as we figure the moving parts out along the way. As will begins to investigate his brother's suicide in an attempt to figure out the why and who of the situation he uneasily reconnects with his former lover,
restauranter Helen (Charlotte Rampling, Orca) and his former lieutenant Mickser, who assist him on his coldly tunnel-visioned quest to avenge those who victimized his brother. 

It's a brutal, hardboiled slice of neo-noir, tautly directed and well executed on all fronts, an absolutory sublime story about the seedy underbelly of the South London crime world, particularly heinous are the nihilistic motivations of the baddie Boad. I'll Sleep When I'm dead is a cold-blooded, bare-knuckled, revenge-thriller, one I missed out on when it first arrived on the scene just over 20 years ago, so I appreciate Imprint Films for giving this it's worldwide Blu-ray debut! 

Audio/Video: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead makes it worldwide Blu-ray debut from Imprint Films in 1080p HD widescreen (1.78:1), a rock solid transfer with attractive colors and good depth and clarity. Audio comes by way of English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround and LPCM 2.0 Stereo with optional English HOH subtitles. Both tracks are clean and well-balanced, the hypnotic score from composer Simon Fisher-Turner (Croupier) is well-served by the surround mix.  

Extras on this release include an 
Audio Commentary by director Mike Hodges and writer Trevor Preston, the Mike Hodges and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead – documentary, Deleted Scenes (one with optional audio commentary by Mike Hodges and Trevor Peston), and the Theatrical Trailer.
The single-disc release arrives in a clear keepcase with a 2-sided, non-reversible artwork housed inside a Side-Loading Slipcase with unique artwork, which is a strictly limited edition of 1500 copies - so don't wait if you're keen to own this limited edition version.  

Special Features:
- 1080p High-definition presentation on Blu-ray
- Audio Commentary by director Mike Hodges and writer Trevor Preston
- Mike Hodges and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead – documentary
- 2 Deleted Scenes (one with optional audio commentary by Mike Hodges and Trevor Peston)
- Theatrical Trailer
- Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork

RETURN TO PARADISE (1998) (Imprint Films Blu-ray Review)

Imprint Collection #209

Label: Imprint Films 
Region Code: Region-Free 
Rating: MA
Duration: 112 Minutes 
Audio: Audio English DTS-HD HD 5.1 Surround, LPCM 2.0 Stereo with Optional English HOH subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: Joseph Ruben 
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix, David Conrad, Vera Farmiga

In the 90's drama thriller Return to Paradise (1998), based on the French film Force Majeure, three 20-something friend, John "Sheriff" Volgecherev (Vince Vaughn, Psycho remake), Tony (David Conrad, TV's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix, Joker) are on vacation in Malaysia, the three young Americans take great pleasure in indulging in drugs and sex in the foreign country, having the time of their life. We catch up with them as the trip is wrapping up and Sheriff and Tony are set to return to America, but ecologist Lewis decides to stay behind and travel to Borneo to take up the cause of saving endangered species. Two years later, lawyer Beth Eastern (the late Anne Heche, Psycho remake) arrives in New York and tracks down Sheriff and Tony, informing them that their friend has been locked-up in a prison cell inside Penang Prison – sentenced to die after being busted for drugs the same day that they left. They've been unaware this whole time of his predicament, and making things worse, it was not only their shared drugs that got him busted, but because Sheriff wrecked a rented bicycle while there, it was the bike's owner looking to find his bike that brought the cops to their vacation hut. Beth tells the pair that only way he can be saved from his death sentence, which is to be carried out in eight days, is for Sheriff and Tony return to serve three years each, or if only one is willing to go, six years. It's a hard pill to swallow for the former pals, to sacrifice years of their own lives to save the life of their friend. 

The drama comes by way of Sheriff and Tony mulling over the decision with only eight days left to decide before their friend is hung as a drug dealer. In the years since the trip Tony has made something of himself as a structural engineer with a finance (Vera Farmiga, The Conjuring franchise) while Sheriff is working as limo driver. As they go back and forth about owning up to the fact they are complicit in their friend's mortal predicament the stresses of their choices build upon them, as Beth increases the pressure for them to commit to saving their friend's life. It's a very interesting premise and one that offers plenty of drama, and on top of that tough choice and the count down we have the added elements of a story-hungry reporter
(Jada Pinkett Smith, The Matrix Reloaded) who hounds Beth to publish a story about the case, convinced that international exposure will help the case, while Beth argues that any spotlight on the case could threaten to derail her efforts to save Lewis. This overlooked late-90's gem is well-made and a thoroughly engaging thriller-drama from director Joseph Robin (Dreamscape, The Stepfather), with an all-star young cast who deliver the goods. Vaughn and Heche are dynamite together with a sizzle developing between them, and Phoenix while not onscreen a ton offers a emotionally wrenching turn as someone destroyed by the penal system in a third world country. There's a few solid unexpected turns throughout that worked quite well, one was a gut-punch, and the other added a whole other layer of drama to the proceedings. 

Audio/Video: Return to Paradise arrives on region-free Blu-ray from Imprint Films in 1080p HD framed in 2.35:1 widescreen, advertised as being a 4K scan form the OCN. It looks quite good, sharp visuals with solid color-saturation. Audio comes by way of  uncompressed English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround and LPCM 2.0 Stereo with optional English HOH subtitles. Both tracks are well-balanced and clean sounding, no issues - the surround option is more front heavy but does bolster the Mark Mancina (Training Day) score. . 

Imprint offer two new extras for this flick we get the Force Majeure: Directing Return to Paradise – interview with director Joseph Ruben, plus A Godless Place: Scoring Return to Paradise – interview with composer Mark Mancina. Additionally there are Archival interviews with actors Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche and Joaquin Phoenix, plus the Theatrical Trailer. The single-disc release arrives in a clear keepcase with a 2-sided, non-reversible artwork housed inside a side-loading slipcase with unique artwork, which is strictly a limited edition of 1500 copies - so get at it if you want it! 

Special Features:
- 1080p High-definition presentation on Blu-ray from a 4K scan of the original negative
- NEW! Force Majeure: Directing Return to Paradise – interview with director Joseph Ruben (28 min) 
- NEW! A Godless Place: Scoring Return to Paradise – interview with composer Mark Mancina
- Archival interviews with actors Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche and Joaquin Phoenix
- Theatrical Trailer
- Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork

Sunday, March 26, 2023

DEAD SILENCE (2007) (Scream Factory Collector's Edition 4K Ultra HD Review)

Collector's Edition 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray 

Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: Region-Free, A
Rating: R (Theatrical), Unrated (Unrated) 
Duration: 89 Minutes 8 Seconds (Theatrical), 91 Minutes 33 Second (Unrated) 
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo, 5.1 Surround with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: Dolby Vision HDR10 2160p Ultra HD Widescreen (2.35:1), 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: James Wan 
Cast: Rwan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Bob Gunton, Laura Regan, Keir Gilchrist, Judith Roberts

From James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the duo responsible for Saw, The Conjuring and Insidious comes Dead Silence (2007), a supernatural frightener about the local legend of Mary Shaw, a murdered ventriloquist that haunts the town of Ravens Fair - it is said that if you scream when she appears she will rip out your tongue. The film opens with  young married couple Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten, True Blood) and his wife Lisa (Laura Regan, Minority Report TV series), who receive an anonymous gift of a ventriloquist doll called "Billy" on their doorstep. That night when Lisa is left alone while hubbie runs out for Chinese food she is attacked and killed by the creepy doll, her tongue having been ripped out of her mouth. In the aftermath Jamie is arrested as the prime suspect but is released for lack of hard evidence. He heads back to his hometown of Ravens Fair to bury his wife, and to get to the bottom of the mystery of who murdered her, as there was a note inside the box the dummy arrived in indicating the dummy is tied to Raven Fair. While their he checks in with his estranged father Edward (Bob Gunton, The Shawshank Redemption), and his much-younger wife, Ella (Amber Valletta, What Lies Beneath), and his pops tells him of the local legend of Mary Shaw, which he dismisses as superstition. He also learns more about Shaw from the local undertaker Henry Walker (Keir Gilchrist, Mulholland Drive) who tells him about how he saw Shaw's creepy ventriloquist act as a kid and how he was convinced she had something to do with the disappearance of a kid-heckler after the show, which lead to her being hanged by the locals. 

Of course things get spookier and Mary Shaw's presence becomes a major factor in the proceedings, with Jamie attempting to get to the bottom of why his wife was murdered by her spirit. It's a stylishly slick and moodily atmospheric slice of millennial horror, not one I remembered liking all that much when I first saw it at the cinema, but upon re-watch I think it's aged pretty well. There's some not unexpectedly iffy CGI effects but overall it looks damn good. I didn't care much for the blue-tint that hangs over most of the picture creating  an unnatural coldness, but I dig the creepy dolls and Judith Roberts (The Swinging Barmaids) as Marty Shaw is absolutely frightful in both the flashbacks of her when she was still alive in flashbacks and as the vengeful specter. Her flaking skinned make-up effects are superb, and that Victorian dress she's wearing adds a Gothic elements to the fright-fest. 

We also getting Donnie Wahlberg (Dreamcatcher) as the ineffectual Detective Lipton whose defining trait seems to be his five o'clock shadow and an electric razor that he's constantly using. Kwanten is fine in the lead role but feels pretty shallow, when he should be mourning or freaking out his pulse barely seems to rise, but he's fine, just not great. 

Visually the movie has some fun set-pieces, including Mary Shaw's dilapidated theater, the Guignol Theater, which is located in the middle of small lake - which seems like a poor choice for a location but it looks great, and expensive to build. In reality I don't think a ventriloquist was raking in that kind of dough, not even in the vaudeville days as seen in the flashbacks, but it looks cool as Hell, reality be damned. This one is also packed with some fun twists, one of which I forgot about completely which made the finale all that more exciting this time around. 

Audio/Video: Dead Silence arrives on 2-duisc Collector's Edition 4K UHD + Blu-ray from Scream Factory, framed in 2.35:1 widescreen in both 2160p UHD and 1080p HD. Originally shot on 35mm film this new scan offers a lush grain field with sharp detail and excellent shadow delineation. The color balance looks fantastic as well, while the film is largely cool and cold looking when primaries get the chance to shine the Dolby Vision HDR10 allows primaries to shine, especially the reds. The Blu-ray also offers a pleasing viewing experience minus the 4K resolution and wider color gamut, but still quite sharp looking. 

Both the UHD and Blu-ray feature English DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround sound with optional English subtitles. On the Blu-ray we also get the Director's cut of the film, with the same audio options. It's a solid track with excellent fidelity, dialogue and effects are well-balanced, and the score from Charlie Clouser (the Saw franchise) has a nice presence in the mix. 

Previously released on Blu-ray Scream Factory go the extra mile with new extras produced by Reverend Entertainment. 
The 16-min Masters of Puppets – an interview with director James Wan features the director talking about his early attempt at horror, his love of Raimi and Romero, and Full Moon. How he came to work with his writing partner Leigh Whannell, and how post-Saw they were looking for go in a more supernatural direction, not wanting to be know as the Saw-guys, which resulted in Dead Silence. He mentions he got into creepy dolls after seeing Poltergeist at far too young of age, which I think a lot of us can relate to. He also gets into how the film didn't do so well upon initial release but has since gone onto garner quite a cult following. 

The 12-min Dead Assignment – an interview with writer Leigh Whannell features Whannell talking about his early love of film, meeting Wan at film school, and their shared love of genre filmmaking and their collaboration process, including the rushed way they put together Dead Silence. He also touches on his research into ventriloquism, even buying a few replicas of classic dummies, and talking a bit about various other script ideas that didn't make it into the film, such as a vaudeville era period setting. 

The last of the new extras is the 12-min No Children, Only Dolls – an interview with ventriloquist dummy creator Tim Selberg who talks about his early love of the form, and how he started creating his own dummies, which was cheaper than buying one prefabricated. Eventually he gets to how he came to make the dummies for Dead Silence, including "Billy", and how he plans out the design of a dummy. It's a cool look behind-the-scenes of designing and building a dummy, and includes highlighting the inner working of the dummy head, plus a demonstration minus the throwing of voices. 

Archival extras carried over from past releases include the Unrated Cut of the FilmAlternate Opening and EndingDeleted Scenes, and a trio of  archival featurettes - The Making of Dead Silence featurette (12 min), Mary Shaw’s Secrets featuretteEvolution of a Visual Effect - plus the Theatrical Trailer. The 2-disc release arrives in a dual-hub black keepcase housing the UHD/BD discs. It comes with a one-sided sleeve of artwork featuring the original theatrical artwork, which is also featured on the limited edition first-pressing only slipcover. 

Special Features:
Disc 1: 4K UHD (Theatrical Cut)
- NEW! 2023 4K Master In Dolby Vision (HDR 10 compatible)

Disc 2: Blu-Ray (Theatrical and Unrated Cuts of the film)
- NEW! 2023 4K Master (Theatrical Cut)
- NEW! Masters of Puppets – an interview with director James Wan (16 min) 
- NEW! Dead Assignment – an interview with writer Leigh Whannell (12 min) 
- NEW! No Children, Only Dolls – an interview with ventriloquist dummy creator Tim Selberg (12 min) 
- Unrated Cut of the Film
- Alternate Opening (2 min) 
- Alternate Ending (4 min) 
- Deleted Scenes (4 min) 
- The Making of Dead Silence featurette (12 min) 
- Mary Shaw’s Secrets featurette (7 min)
- Evolution of a Visual Effect featurette (3 min) 
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) 

Screenshots from the Scream Factory Blu-ray: