HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: JACKALS (2017)

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JACKALS (2017)

Jackals opens in 1983 with a chilling murder of a family in the middle of the night. The film then switches to the kidnaping of a young man, Justin (Ben Sullivan) by two masked individuals. We find out they are actually Ben’s father, Andrew (Johnathon Schaech) and ex-Marine, Jimmy (Stephen Dorff). We also learn that Justin is involved with a cult and his family has abducted him to a remote cabin for Jimmy to deprogram him. But as horror fans we know remote cabins in the woods are never a safe place and soon they are surrounded by masked cultists who want Justin back and his family all dead.

Flick is written by Jared Rivet and directed effectively by Kevin Greutert (Jessabelle). The plot may be a mix of things we’ve seen before like The Strangers, Faults and You’re Next, but it works well enough. There are some chilling scenes and some intensity, especially when the cultists surround the cabin and begin their efforts to get in. There is also some brutal violence and director Greutert does give it some atmospheric visuals to support the night-set story. The film falters a bit in a few aspects. First off, the Powell Family remain far too calm and organized when the cultists make their presence known. They quickly arm themselves, make weapons and seem quite ready to defend the cabin as if they’ve done this before. Have they? Did we miss something? Did Jimmy conduct a family boot camp just in case? Also, the cultists seem like they are a large group, yet constantly attack the cabin one or two at a time, instead of rushing the cabin all at once and overrunning it…which would end the movie very quickly. That and the whole animal masked killers thing is starting to get old and is far less effective since many films have used this trope in recent years. Still the film does entertain and there are some effective moments alongside the familiar ones.

The cast are all fine enough. The vets like Schaech, Dorff and Deborah Kara Unger take the material seriously and try their best to add some dramatic intensity. Ben Sullivan is creepy as Justin and the dynamic of being a brainwashed cultist is conveyed well enough to make the story work. We also have Nick Roux and Chelsea Ricketts as Justin’s jerk brother and girlfriend/baby momma, respectively and as the cultists are masked and silent, we never really get to know any of them. Cultist “Fox Girl” (Alyssa Julya Smith) had nice abs, but that’s as far as the character development went with her.

Overall, this was a decent enough horror/thriller to pass the time and there were some effective and brutally violent scenes to punctuate the story. There visual style of director Greutert added some atmosphere and the veteran cast took the material seriously. There were some story flaws, questions and a lot of familiarity which kept this from being a real nail-biter or more original, but you could do far worse for a night on the couch with a brew or two.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 hatchets, a common weapon for jackal masked cultists.

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COOL STUFF: SLITHER SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY!

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SLITHER (2006) Blu-Ray

Slither is a fun and delightfully gory horror/comedy from Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn, that is sadly overlooked and underrated…until now! Once again the awesome folks at Scream Factory have given a flick the respect and treatment it deserves with this new special edition. This title in particular has always been a personal favorite and this disc was obviously anxiously awaited. Let’s find out if it delivered…

On a technical level the film image is clear and sharp with some nice contrast, while maintaining the original color palette that Gunn filmed it in. The flesh tones, both human and in-human being the most vibrant colors aside from the gore. The movie is presented in the original 1.85.1 aspect ratio, preserving the film’s original dimensions. The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with alternate 2.0 DTS-HD for those without home theater sound systems. The original extras from the DVD are presented in the video format ratio of 1:33:1 that they were filmed in. Remember it was 2006 and the TVs those extras were made for still came in the square format.

Now on to the extensive extras which make this disc so worth having!…

Scream Factory has added some new features in addition to including all the fun extras from the initial DVD release. We get new commentary from James Gunn with Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker, aside from the original commentary with Gunn and actor Nathan Fillion. We also get new interviews with both writer/director Gunn and actor Gregg Henry and it is interesting to hear Gunn reminisce about the flick now that he’s had such success with the Guardians of the Galaxy films. From there we get deleted and extended scenes with optional James Gunn commentary. We get a step by step of some of the film’s visual FX. We get a fun tour of the set with actor Nathon Fillion, followed by an amusing profile of his character Bill Pardy. There’s a documentary from the original release called The Sick Minds And Slimy Days Of Slither. One of the FX crew humorously gives us a fake blood recipe in Brewing The Blood. There is another FX documentary about how the slimy critters were brought to life and a short video diary with Troma creator Lloyd Kaufman on set for a cameo, which sadly was cut from the final print. The extras wrap up with a fun gag reel and the original theatrical trailer. A nice batch of extras for a movie only now starting to get the notice it deserves.

This is a personal favorite and a flick that is finally finding an audience after being overlooked upon initial release. It’s a fun horror/sci-fi flick that pays homage to many of it’s influences, yet not without having it’s own identity. (my full review HERE) If you’re a fan of the film, it’s a must have disc. If you are just discovering James Gunn through his Guardian’s movies, than this is definitely an item you may want to check out. Another great disc from Scream Factory.

-MonsterZero NJ

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COOL STUFF: SCREAM FACTORY’S SPECIAL EDITION OF JOHN CARPENTER’S “THE THING” LOOKS AWESOME!

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The awesome folks at Scream Factory will be releasing a special edition of John Carpenter’s classic The Thing on 9/20/16 and here is a description, direct from Scream Factory themselves, of all the special extras this great sounding disc is going to have!…

 

** THE THING! DETAILS + SITE EXCLUSIVE OFFER!**

We’re beyond excited to present our plans today for John Carpenter’s iconic and ground-breaking remake of THE THING. Lots of information to report this morning so please read the status update all the way through!

Official street date for the 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray is 9/20/16

List of extras and specs at this time are as follows:

• NEW 2K scan of the Inter-positive supervised and approved by director of photography Dean Cundey
• NEW 4.1 created from the original 70MM Six Track Dolby Stereo soundtrack
• NEW Audio Commentary with director of photography Dean Cundey
• NEW The Men of Outpost 31 – interviews with Keith David, Thomas Waites, Peter Maloney and more…
• NEW Assembling and Assimilation – an interview with editor Todd Ramsay
• NEW Behind the Chameleon – interviews with visual effects artists Peter Kuran and Susan Turner, special make-up effects artist Rob Burman and Brian Wade and more….
• NEW Sounds from the Cold – interviews with supervising sound editor David Lewis Yewdall and special sound effects designer Alan Howarth
• NEW Between the Lines – an interview with novelization author Alan Dean Foster
• Audio Commentary by director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell
• John Carpenter’s The Thing: Terror Takes Shape – a documentary on the making of THE THING featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, special effects make-up designer Rob Bottin, legendary matte artist Albert Whitlock plus members of the cast and crew (80 minutes – SD)
• Outtakes (5 minutes – SD)
• Vintage featurettes from the electronic press kit featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Kurt Russell and Rob Bottin (12 minutes – SD)
• Vintage featurettes – The Making of a Chilling Tale and The Making of THE THING (1982 – 14 minutes – SD)
• Vintage Product Reel – contains a promotional condensed version of the film with additional footage not in the film (19 minutes – SD)
• Vintage Behind-the-Scenes footage (2 minutes – SD)
• Annotated Production Archive – Production Art and Storyboards, Location Scouting, Special Make-up Effects, Post Production (48 minutes – SD)
• Network TV Broadcast version of THE THING (92 minutes – SD)
• Teaser Trailer & Theatrical Trailers (U.S. and German Trailer)
• TV spots & Radio Spots
• Still Gallery (behind-the-scenes photos, posters and lobby cards)

1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/1982/Approximate Feature Running Time: +/- 109 minutes/English Subtitles/Special Features Are Not Rated. Region A (U.S. and Canada)

We still have a few more extras in the pipeline and will report them in the future when they have been confirmed.

Avid fans of the film will want to take note of two exclusive offers on the release—which are only available at www.shoutfactory.com while supplies last:

STANDARD OFFER
– Receive the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray with slipcover
– Receive a limited-edition 18” x 24” poster of the newly-designed art from artist Paul Shipper
– Product will be shipped two weeks earlier than National Street date of September 20th
Pre-order @ https://www.shoutfactory.com/…/the-thing-collector-s-edition

DELUXE OFFER (Limited to 1,500 orders only – pictured below)
– Receive the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray with slipcover
– Receive a limited-edition 18” x 24” poster of the newly-designed art from Paul Shipper
– Product will be shipped three weeks earlier than National Street date of September 20
– Receive a second slipcover—made exclusively for this promotion and newly-designed from artist Nat Marsh
– Receive a second 18” x 24” poster of the newly designed art from Nat Marsh
Pre-order @ https://www.shoutfactory.com/…/the-thing-deluxe-limited-edi…

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Source: Scream Factory/Shout Factory

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: BITE (2015)

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BITE (2015)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Flick starts out with three pretty friends Casey (Elma Begovic), Jill (Annette Wozniak) and Kristen (Denise Yuen) traveling to a tropical island to celebrate Casey’s engagement. The girls are coerced into to going to a secluded spot deep in the jungle by a stranger and while in this little spot of paradise, Casey is bitten by something while swimming in a pool of water. Once home, as Casey starts to have cold feet about her wedding, she starts to feel sick and thinks the bite is infected. But each day Casey appears sicker and starts to change physically. Worse still, she discovers she’s pregnant…but with what?

Basically this is a female version of David Cronenberg’s The Fly, but with the female lead there is an the added caveat that she is also pregnant. As directed by Chad Archibald from a script by Jayme Laforest, it is still an effective little movie despite the obvious comparisons with Cronenberg’s classic. The film has similar elements, as Casey starts to physically degenerate like loosing her hair and pulling her own nails off. She also can spit corrosive digestive fluids like Brundle-Fly and uses it against people who piss her off like he did. It still works well enough, especially as Casey starts turning her apartment into a nest/nursery with thousands of gelatinous eggs all over the floor, walls and ceiling with Casey herself starting to look like some slimy otherworldly creature. We feel for her and even if we didn’t, Archibald, gives the film a very unsettling look and atmosphere and it is consistently grotesque without going too over-the-top. And that’s where it really works, as this touch of restraint keeps it from getting laughably disgusting and instead remains effectively disturbing. There are some flaws. Casey, even in her more creature-like form, has a jealous spat with Jill over attention towards her fiancé Jared (Jordan Grey). It’s a tad silly and obviously doesn’t bode well for Jill, though does lead to the violent final confrontation between Jared and insectiod future wife. Also, as numerous characters remark about the smell coming from Casey’s apartment, why aren’t the authorities ever called? For a low budget film, though, the make-up effects are well done. Not up to Chris Walas’ standards on The Fly but still very effective. Keeping most of the action confined to Casey’s apartment also serves the budget and works in putting us in there with the gruesomely transforming woman on a more personal level.

A small cast and they are all pretty good for fairly unknowns. Elma Begovic does really well as Casey and is actually stronger once in make-up and having to wade around in thousands of slimy eggs. She’s fairly likable as the uncertain fiancé to start, but seems to really rise to the challenge of acting out this grotesque situation that gets increasingly worse. A real trooper considering all she does. Wozniak plays the scheming bitch part well as Jill and Denise Yuen’s Kristen is solid as the more compassionate and caring of Casey’s two friends. Finally, Jordan Grey rounds out as the workaholic Jared, who is a bit too involved in his own life to notice something is really wrong with Casey…until it’s too late. An efficient cast to help make the flick work.

Despite the glaring similarity to David Cronenberg’s classic The Fly this film still remains an effective little horror. Director Chad Archibald, whose story Laforest’s script is based on, keeps the film creepy and icky enough to make it still work. He gets help from a solid performance from his leading lady, who rises to the challenge of acting from under prosthetics and slime for most of the movie. The film has atmosphere and is solid on a production level for a low budget film with high aspirations. Derivative…yes, but still effective and entertaining.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 slimy eggs

bite rating

 

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COOL STUFF: THE HALLOW on BLU-RAY

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THE HALLOW (2015) Blu-Ray

The Hallow is an atmospheric and spooky Irish horror (see full review here) that has arrived on blu-ray from the awesome folks at Scream Factory, as part of their partnership with IFC Midnight…a partnership that has been yielding some great discs!

As for the disc itself…

The picture is gorgeous, the colors vibrant and really presents the visual style of director Colin Hardy and the wonderful cinematography of Martijn Van Broekhuizen, perfectly. The disc is presented in the original 2.35.1 widescreen aspect ratio, preserving the filmmakers’ vision. The sound is in 5.1 DTS and there is an alternate 2.0 track for those without the home theater set-up.

Now on to the extensive extras which make this disc even more worth having!…

The extras start out with a wonderful 50 minute documentary Surviving The Fairytale: Making The Hallow, which is a chronicle of the making of the film from story development, casting and even the training of the creature performers. It uses interviews with the director, cast and crew, with on-set footage to detail the film’s journey starting with Colin Hardy’s story and his decision to use practical make-up effects and prosthetics to portray the fairy creatures and the actual making of those creature FX for the screen. We then travel with Hardy and crew to the Galway, Ireland locations as the film begins production. Here we get to see all facets of how this dark fantasy was created, from staging FX sequences, to Hardy directing the actors in their scenes. It’s extensive and fun. We then go to post production to see the film start to come together and then on to it’s initial test screenings and finally it’s premiere at Sundance. It is a very enjoyable and thorough look at the making of the film, made by the filmmakers themselves with as much heart as they put into their film. You really get a sense of the passion that went into this project by all involved. We also get three ‘making of’ features derived from the documentary and then finish up with director’s storyboards, some illustrations from the Celtic  Book Of Invasions, which is featured in and influenced the film, as well as, Colin Hardy’s sketchbook and creature concepts. There is also an audio track with Colin Hardy commentary, too. It’s over 75 minutes of extras and if you love the filmmaking process, simply enjoy this movie, or both, these are a host of extras you’ll want to have!

I really enjoyed this movie and agree with star Joseph Mawle that the more you watch it, the more you see. It’s a very charming and yet spooky dark fantasy from a filmmaker to watch and Scream Factory has delivered it on a beautiful disc with a host of must-have extras…which has become their forte.

-MonsterZero NJ

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: THE HARVEST (2013)

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THE HARVEST (2013)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Thriller is the return to the director’s chair of James McNaughton, who is most known for the cult classic Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer. The story is of Andy (Charlie Tahan), a very ill young boy who lives a secluded and guarded life in his rural home. His over-protective mother Katherine (Samantha Morton) is a doctor and surgeon herself and oversees his treatment while his meek father Richard (Michael Shannon) follows along. A young girl named Maryann (Natasha Calis) moves into a house nearby and becomes curious about her reclusive young neighbor. She visits Andy and the two quickly bond. Katherine, however, takes a very quick dislike to this new development and as Maryann continually finds ways to see Andy, Katherine’s behavior becomes more unhinged and aggressive. Worst still, while hiding from Katherine in the basement of the house, Maryann makes a shocking discovery that could not only turn Andy’s odd life upside down but, quite possibly mean he’s in danger as well!

McNaughton directs Stephen Lancellotti’s script well enough, though, there should have been more tension and suspense, especially in the last act. The story starts out almost as some kind of Lifetime drama about an ill boy befriending a spirited girl then turns into something more like Misery when Katherine’s behavior degenerates and she starts to go all Kathy Bates. There are some very disturbing moments here, especially with the big reveal about two thirds of the way through. What we discover is unexpected, a bit twisted and takes an even more bizarre turn later on. While it is very unsettling, the film never gets truly as intense as it should considering what is happening and what is at stake. It becomes a bit of a fight for life that just felt like it needed more urgency. The film also comes to a sad and tragic “Frankenstein-ish” climax that is oddly appropriate, though that gets a bit neutered somewhat by a corny, happy ending last scene that almost feels tacked on. McNaughton is given upsetting enough material to work with here, but, never really brings it to a full boil to really make this thriller the gut punch it should be. It’s a little too laid back. It still works well though, and George S. Clinton provides an atmospheric score and there is crisp cinematography from Rachel Morrison in support of the story and it’s events.

The acting from the cast is very good with Samantha Morton really delivering a disturbing performance as the unstable Katherine. She goes from concerned and a bit smothering to overbearing, paranoid and outright psychopathic by the story’s end. While she does remind us of Kathy Bates’ Annie, she is all the more frightening as she is a mother and a doctor and her behavior contradicts both by her actions. Michael Shannon is intriguing as Richard. A docile man who has gone along with his much stronger-willed wife for far too long and it is starting to break him. No more evident than his tolerance of Maryann and his affair with a pretty drug company rep (Meadow Williams) which seems in direct rebellion to Katherine’s demented wishes. Natasha Calis is very good as Maryann. A strong-willed young girl and quite feisty and resourceful in her fight to free Andy from his suffering at his parents’ hands…even without much support from the adults around her. As Andy, Charlie Tahan gives us a frail and sympathetic young man who we care about, especially when we find out the hidden truths Maryann uncovers. He also can be quite rebellious in his own way, when he wants to be. Rounding out are Leslie Lyles and Peter Fonda who are perfectly charming as Maryann’s kindly grandparents who, unfortunately, don’t seem in a hurry to get involved when Maryann tells of Andy’s plight.

Despite needing a bit more intensity to the proceedings this is a disturbing thriller and a very well-acted one. There are some unsettling revelations that are legitimately surprising and very likable characters in Andy and Maryann. Samantha Morton creates a character that is both Mommie Dearest and Dr. Frankenstein and even if the film needed a bit more strength, she creates a very unnerving portrayal, as does Michael Shannon as a man who has been following her lead for far too long. A film that entertains and disturbs even if not fully living up to it’s potential or the reputation of it’s director.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 scalpels.

harvest rating

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BRUCE McDONALD’S “HELLIONS” GETS A RELEASE DATE!

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Beauty, Power and Grace

First we got a trailer for the new Halloween set horror Hellions from Pontypool director Bruce McDonald. Now, word comes from the awesome folks over at Arrow In The Head that IFC Midnight plans to release this spooky looking horror on VOD and in limited theatrical release on September 18th! As Scream Factory is in cohoots with IFC Midnight currently, that probably means a Scream Factory disc soon after! Hellions stars Robert Patrick and Chloe Rose.

-MonsterZero NJ

 

Source: Arrow In The Head

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COOL STUFF: WYRMWOOD on BLU-RAY

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WYRMWOOD (2014) Blu-Ray

Wyrmwood is a bloody blast of a fun time (see full review here) and has arrived on blu-ray from the awesome folks at Scream Factory as part of their partnership with IFC Midnight…a deal I couldn’t be happier about.

The picture is absolutely gorgeous and brings Tim Nagel’s digital cinematography to vibrant life. The 1080P HD aspect ratio of 1.78:1 has been preserved, as has the ‘sumptuous-on-a-small-budget’ visual style of director Kiah Roache-Turner. The sound is in 7.1 DTS (though the packaging mistakenly says 5.1,  the disc itself is 7.1) and there is an alternate 2.0 track for those without the home theater set-up…and if you don’t have a 7.1 set-up, I advise you use the 2.0 instead. The sound is much more evenly mixed for playback on simple stereo speakers. Now on to the extras which make this disc even more fun…and worth having!

There is audio commentary from director Kiah Roache-Turner and co-writer and brother Tristan and the two seem like very laid-back fellows and their insights into the three year making of the film is easy-going and informative. There is a really fun ‘making of’ feature called “The Wyrmdiaries” that chronicles the long journey to make this flick and it looks like there was a a real fun time on set, despite all the hard work. It’s made by the Roache-Turner Brothers themselves and the on-set footage and cast and crew interviews show a set filled with fun-loving, good-natured people having a great time together. It is a healthy 50 minutes and is as much of a blast of fun as the film itself and gives you a nice inside look at guerrilla filmmaking in action, Down Under style. There is the 7 minute teaser scene used to garner interest for the planned film and it’s fun to see where the flick began. There are also two videos made to entice crowd-funding…one of those featuring the filmmaking brothers as zombies. Add to that, almost 20 minutes of deleted scenes. As, the film moves like a rocket, it was easy to see why these were jettisoned but, they are fun to see, nonetheless. Rounding out the bonus materials are director storyboards and the theatrical trailer for the finished film. A healthy amount of extra material for a modestly priced disc.

I really enjoyed this movie and it will appear on my “best of” list for 2015. The disc not only beautifully transfers the digital film but, gives us a some really fun and insightful extras that take us behind the scenes with two fun guys with a passion for filmmaking. For a blu-ray disc priced around 12.99 at most retail outlets, it’s definitely worth having if you are a fan of the film or zombie/Road Warrior-ish movies like it.

-MonsterZero NJ

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COOL STUFF: ESCAPE FROM N.Y. COLLECTOR’S EDITION on BLU-RAY

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ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK COLLECTOR’S EDITION Blu-Ray

Escape From New York is one of my all time favorite films (see full review here). It’s the film that cemented John Carpenter as one of my favorite directors. A starkly original idea featuring one of the greatest, and sadly underused, film anti-heroes of all time. There have been a few editions of the film on VHS, DVD and even a feature-only blu-ray, but, now Scream Factory has delivered this classic flick in a special 2-disc edition loaded with extra features that gives this quirky Sci-Fi adventure the treatment and respect it deserves!

The print is a new remaster from the original negative and is absolutely gorgeous. The image is crisp and clear and the colors are vibrant without betraying the look and feel intended by the filmmakers. The movie has never looked better and having seen it on screen, on VHS, on DVD and on previous blu-ray, I can say that with the utmost confidence. It’s never looked better. The audio is DTS-HD 5.1 and sounds great. It’s like seeing and hearing the movie again for the first time. It’s a beautiful presentation of this classic movie. Now on to the fun stuff…

We get some nice audio extras… not one but, three commentary tracks. There is a new track featuring actress Adrienne Barbeau and cinematographer Dean Cundey. Also, previously released tracks from Joe Alves and Debra Hill, as well as, the classic John Carpenter and Kurt Russell commentary, which is almost as entertaining as the film. More on-set insight than you could ever hope for. As for video treats and featurettes, the second disc holds a mix of new and previously released material. The first featurette is new and is a really cool look at EFNY’s SFX. It contains behind the scenes stills and interviews with Dennis and Robert Skotak, who worked at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, which did the visual effects for the film. The Return To Escape From New York documentary from the MGM collector’s edition DVD is also included here and is filled with interviews from all the principles. We get the now legendary deleted bank robbery/arrest scene with an added new interview with actor Joe Unger, who played Snake’s partner Taylor in that deleted sequence. There’s a fun new look at scoring the film and the legacy of the soundtrack, with co-composer Alan Howarth. There is a great interview/slide show with on-set photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker, who recently released a book (review here) featuring her work as a photographer on a number of Carpenter’s films. We get an interview with filmmaker David DeCoteau, who was working as a PA with New World Pictures at the time and got to visit the EFNY set. The disc then finishes up it’s extra’s section with theatrical trailers and two photo galleries on top of all the rest of the features. A great selection of extras to compliment the film.

As fan of Escape From New York, you couldn’t ask for a better special edition. The film looks great, sounds great and there is a nice selection of nostalgic and informative features and interviews to bring you back to 1980 when the film was being shot. I personally had the opportunity to see this flick in a theater…my beloved Oritani Theater…back in January of 1981 and it instantly became one of my all time favorites. Now I can enjoy it like never before thanks to this newly remastered, extra-filled, loving tribute from Scream Factory.

-MonsterZero NJ

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: HAPPY 35th ANNIVERSARY to JOHN CARPENTER’S THE FOG (1980)

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JOHN CARPENTER’S THE FOG (1980)

John Carpenter’s The Fog was released on February 8th 1980 and my butt was there in a theater to see it! So, in honor of the 35th anniversary of one of my all-time favorite horror flicks, I am re-posting this look back at Carpenter’s classic!

One of my all time favorite horrors and one of my favorite John Carpenter flicks, in fact, since I was too young to see Halloween when it came out, this was the first Carpenter film I saw in a theater and the flick that started me on my love of his movies.

The Fog tells the story of the 100 year anniversary of the small coastal California town of Antonio Bay and as the town prepares for it’s centennial celebration, a dark secret is revealed. Legend has it a leper colony paid the founders of Antonio Bay a lot of gold to let them settle nearby but, they were betrayed and murdered, as their ship was lured onto the rocks to crash and sink on a fog laden night. All were lost but, now a horde of vengeful spirits returns from the sea, wrapped in a surreal fog, to make the descendants of those who wronged them, pay with their lives.

The Fog focuses not on a main character but, a group of central characters whose individual experiences during this supernatural crisis bring them slowly all together for it’s tense and creepy final act set in the town church. A good cast, including Jamie Lee Curtis as hitchhiker Elizabeth, Tom Atkins as local fisherman Nick, Janet Leigh as centennial chairwoman Kathy Williams and Adrienne Barbeau as single mom and radio DJ Stevie Wayne, give life to this ensemble and make them characters we like and care about so, we fear for them when they are placed in harm’s way. Add to that Hal Holbrook as the town’s alcoholic priest and a host of Carpenter regulars…with even a cameo by Carpenter himself…and you have a film wonderfully filled with a variety of characters who are all potential victims for the marauding phantoms. As for those phantoms, lets not forget to mention the ghostly Captain Blake (FX man Rob Bottin) and his vengeful crew who are portrayed with in-camera practical FX. This makes them quite spooky and gives them a heavy dose of menace and a lot of effectiveness when they are on the attack. There is loads of atmosphere and some very solid scares and suspense created by Carpenter, along with some great cinematography from frequent Carpenter collaborator Dean Cundey, which makes this a good, solid, old-fashioned ghost story and a fun Halloween season treat. Carpenter again delivers a score which adds chills and foreboding to his tale of ghostly revenge, much like he did for Halloween and he starts the film off perfectly with a chillingly fun opening sequence featuring veteran John Houseman as a crusty sailor who likes to tell kids scary stories. It sets the mood for the thrills and chills yet to come. This classic was made back when there was no phoney CGI, just solid make-up effects from master Rob Bottin (who went on to do The Thing’s FX for Carpenter) and some very basic down to earth smoke and mirrors style visuals, that are as beautiful as they are scary. A great flick the likes of which they rarely make anymore and one of MonsterZero NJ’s must-watch flicks during the Halloween season!

The film is available, for the first time, on blu-ray from Scream Factory with all the extras from previous releases plus, an added new commentary track with Barbeau, Atkins and Tommy Lee Wallace and two really fun and informative interviews with Jamie Lee Curtis and Cinematographer Dean Cundey who also supervised the absolutely gorgeous new transfer!

4 spectral sailors!

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