(2011/Maya DVD)/Bones – Season Six
(Fox Blu-ray)/Ghost Hunters – Season
Six, Part Two (Image Blu-ray)/In A
Glass Cage (1987/Cult Epics Blu-ray)/Sugar
Hill (1974/MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD)
C-/B-/C+/B-/C+ Sound: C/B-/B-/B-/C+ Extras: C-/B-/D/C/C- Main Programs: C-/B-/D/C/B-
NOTE: Sugar Hill is an online-only exclusive
from MGM and can be purchased from Amazon.com, which you can reach through the
sidebar of this side.
Here is a
mix of Horror releases including a gem that is only available for a limited
Daly’s Beware (2011) ought to be
renamed “Consumer Beware” as this inept as any such release I have seen lately,
barely joining the worst of them, but still very, very close. In this one, a tortured boy comes back from
the dead to kill a bunch of nit wits dumb enough to hang in the town where the
crime occurred. As they get killed one
at a time (so the film will last longer and they do not have to pay as many actors)
with zero suspense, they never get the idea it is time to leave. Oh boy.
It also has a torture porn side, but you are better off just skipping
it. A trailer is the only extra.
series Bones continues its run and
this Season Six Fox set is not bad,
though the show is starting to get worn down a bit, so the question is how long
before they call it quits. Hopefully
while they are ahead. I always recommend
you being with the first season and you can find several of the releases
reviewed elsewhere on this site. Extras
this time include a Gag Reel, Audio Commentary on Select Episodes, The Killing Pilot Episode, 2 extended
episodes and 2 featurettes: Breaking
Down: The Blackout In The Blizzard and The
Visual Effects of Bones.
reality TV mess Ghost Hunters – Season
Six, Part Two does not quit at all… being lame. The last set just arrived not that long ago,
so the owners must want to get these out while they are still hot… or is it
cold? The worst entry on this list,
there are no extras.
oddest entry is Agusti Villaronga’s In A
Glass Cage (1987) which may remind some of Apt Pupil (the book and film, reviewed elsewhere on this site)
involving an unhealthy relationship between a Nazi War Criminal and sexualized
children. We open with said Nazi
practicing his joy and craft long after WWII in the town he is hiding in. He tries to jump to his death, but lands up
paralyzed from the neck down and living in a giant glass respirator. Also, someone took his Nazi notes of child
torture. He lives with his wife and
their daughter in a big house and hires a new male nurse to help out, but
something is wrong and the film gets more twisted and twisted.
able to defend Apt Pupil against
claims that it trivialized the Holocaust, but I cannot say the same about this
all-over-the-place film, which uses that real life horror as a mere plot
point. Though the acting is good here,
the film is shot atmospherically and it has a trick ending that tries to
actually say something, the film just never works and it lands up waddling in
the very pedophilia and death worship that is supposed to be shocking. This is more obvious when compared to both Apt Pupil and Pasolini’s Salo (also reviewed elsewhere on this
site), but maybe if they just skipped The Holocaust, this could have focused
and been a better film. If you can
handle the gore and implication, you might want to see this once for yourself,
but I was not impressed.
include 2010 Q&A and featurettes with the director, plus three of his short
films: Anta Mujer (1976), Laberint (1980) and Al Mayurca (1980) which make for an
interesting comparison to this film and show he was trying to make it work.
brings us the best last, Paul Maslansky’s Sugar
Hill (1974) is not the Wesley Snipes film, but a combination
Blaxploitation/Horror/Zombie/Voodoo film that works much better than you might
expect, has aged well and is underrated.
I am surprised MGM is only going to allow this to be a Limited Edition
DVD, but serious Horror fans alone should consider this a must-see, must-own
In it, the
title character (Marki Bey, later of Starsky
& Hutch looking like a close relative of Vivica A. Fox) is horrified
that her boyfriend has been brutally killed by Italian Gangsters. So how will she get revenge? Black gangsters? Irish gangsters? Turn informant for the U.S. Government? No.
She turns to Mama Maitreese (Zara Cully, best known as George’s mother
on the TV classic The Jeffersons)
whose mastery of voodoo and the occult can give her the revenge she really
wants. The result? Mama conjures up the leader of the land of
the dead, Baron Samedi (pronounced Sam-Dee, though it was Sam-E-Dee in the
James Bond film Live & Let Die
the previous year) who can offer her zombies to kill those who wronged her and
her lover. Don Pedro Colley (THX-1138, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes) gives a fine performance in the
role (different, but equally effective to what Geoffrey Holder did in that Bond
film) and the film has some funny lines, fine suspense and is better as a
Horror flick than a Gangster or Blaxploitation film, yet does all well enough
to be a very enjoyable, one-of-a-kind film everyone should rediscover. Only some effects have dated, but I liked the
trailer is the only extra, but it is different than the other trailer I have
seen on the film circulating more widely.
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Bones (AVC @ 18 MBPS) is better than the limited HD shoot on Hunters, but it is not always perfect
and has its own style limits. The 1080p
1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Cage
should have been the best here, but the print is a bit dated and limited,
though color and style still come through.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Beware is one of the most gutted in the genre I have ever seen,
looking overexposed and faded in the worst way.
Despite a disclaimer about its condition, the anamorphically enhanced
1.85 X 1 image on Sugar may be soft
in places and have Video Black limits, but it is saved by the color range (love
those old film stocks) and decent condition of the print to the point in can
compete with Hunters.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Bones and Cage are the
best, despite their limits (Bones is
closer to the front speakers that I would like while Cage shows its age from an old analog mix not intended for
multi-channel sound originally) and Hunters
has Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with healthier-than-expected Pro Logic type
surrounds. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on Beware
is one of the weakest AC-3 lossy mixes I have heard in a while (obviously it
was not recorded this way) leaving the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Sugar better than expected for its age.
- Nicholas Sheffo