Before Dawn (2011/Vivendi
DVD)/The Last House On The
(1972/Atlas/Umbrella Import Region B Blu-ray)/My
Boo (2013/MVD Visual
(2006/Universal/Umbrella Import Region B Blu-ray)/Stag
C+/B-/C/B-/C Sound: C+/C+/C/B-/C Extras: C/C+/D/C-/C-
The Region B Import Blu-rays of Last
House On The Left
are only available from Umbrella Entertainment, will only play on
machines capable of that version of the format and can be ordered
from the link below.
for some new and classic genre releases in time for Halloween 2013,
not a great success, April Mullen's Dead
(2011) is a high school horror comedy that actually grasps the
concept of... comedy! Here, they have combined currently popular
zombies with demons, resulting in Zemons! Funny and they almost make
it work, plus some scenes on their own stand out a bit, but the
problem is that despite there energy and the obvious fun all are
having here, it never becomes a whole narrative the coheres into the
world of the horror genre. Children
Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) comes to mind as a version of this
set-up that works.
this one, there is a cursed skull in a pawn shop and its owner
(Christopher Lloyd playing his nervous guy persona, not here enough
either) warns them about. Of course, things go quickly wrong and it
is a patchy 89 minutes. Mullen actually plays in the cast and with
more thought and effort, this could have been the most popular horror
comedy since Shawn
Of The Dead,
but it does not work out that way. At least it is close and fans
might like it more than myself.
include a Behind The Scenes featurette and Original Theatrical
Last House On The Left
(1972) continues its Blu-ray arrivals in different countries and
after a U.S. Release recently from MGM, Umbrella has come up with it
in Australia and it is basically the same transfer material on both
editions. We reviewed their import PAL DVD which at the time was
better than any U.S. copy, but this new version is as definitive as
it is going to get picture-wise unless someone gets crazy and spends
a few million dollars to further save it.
my DVD review, a hideously offensive, cynical, horrid remake happened
that thankfully no one liked and most would like to forget, further
highlighting what does work here. However, I still find the film
overrated and am still not Craven's biggest fan despite his talents.
Sadly, 41+ years later, the tale of two gals lost in the woods, then
abducted, tortured (pre-Torture Porn, so things have become worse
cinematically as this is still more cinematic than anything in that
cycle) and worse still has some cynicism and contempt to it no matter
the “realism” intended.
of the shots and suspense to work, but a hatred for the
counterculture (not to mention feminism) that always comes out of
nowhere and is overdone still shocks people (I always get “what
is that film's problem”) and as compared to Pasolini's Salo
(1975, reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) has all
kinds of short comings. It is remarkable that it was a success over
so many similar films (the ad campaign at the time really helped out
this one) being more convincing with the now long played-out “based
on a true story” schtick. This now seems like an everyday
event on the national news. Sad, but it has its fans and some scenes
do work, so it is required viewing for anyone serious about the
genre. I think the trailer is better than the film.
still do not include that classic trailer, but we get expanded
goodies including two feature length audio commentary tracks (one by
Craven and Producer Sean S. Cunningham, the other by co-stars David
Hess, Marc Sheffler & Fred Lincoln), two Behind The Scenes
featurettes in Celluloid
Crime Of The Century
Original U.S. & German Theatrical Trailers, Deleted Scene: Mari
dying in lake, 14 minutes of Outtakes & Dailies, a 7 minutes-long
Image Gallery and 8 minutes of Forbidden
(2013) is an African American thriller with the best horror title of
late, but the cover (pictured above) is misleading. A good looking
woman is on the cover with what looks like the ghost of her
(implied-to-be-dead) lover unseen, looking like a ghost. Does he get
killed and she assaulted, then he comes back as a disembodied hoodie
for revenge, possibly with Trayvon Martin intertextual references?
Is he a dead ghost? That title would work for such a story, but the
cover is highly misleading.
there is a hooded figure going around killing people who is not the
living dead and some crazy story is behind it including the killer is
watching people on surveillance equipment. What we get is the Philip
Noyce thriller Sliver
(finally just issued on Blu-ray, if not uncut) on a very low budget
with no suspense or point. If only they made a motion picture to go
with the cover, then we might have had a breakthrough work.
are no extras.
(2006) has yet to be issued by Universal on Blu-ray in the U.S., but
it somehow apparently is popular enough in Australia that Umbrella
has issued it on Blu-ray. The lame tale of slimy creatures coming to
kill everyone in their nice neighborhood stars Michael Rooker and
Brenda James, but it is now a curio because Elizabeth Banks and
Nathan Fillon have become bigger names in 7+ years. Too bad this is
as silly and weak as ever. Is it an improvement over the U.S.
on that below, but it does have the same extras including a
Gunn/Fillon feature length audio commentary track, 7-part Behind The
Scenes piece, 11 minutes of thankfully Deleted Scenes, 11 minutes of
Extended Scenes and a 8-minutes Gag Reel.
leaves us with the outright Brett Heard comedy Stag
(2012) in which Donald Faison is pulling pranks at everyone else's
stag parties, but he is going to get married and they intend to turn
the tables on him for fun. Too bad the script does not grasp quite
how to make this work, despite some good comic actors and energy, a
also has, but that was at least a bit more consistent and ambitious.
mixed time killer at best, I kept hoping it would get better during
its long 84 minutes, but the more it was predictable, the more any
chance of picking up slowly died.
include a Trailer.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Last
is superior to the previously reviewed import PAL DVD and any
previous US DVD we have seen, but it has some softness and the print
can show its age, yet it is on par with the 1080i 1.85 X 1 digital
High Definition image transfer on Slither
which never looked good, has aged poorly and is no improvement over
the long out-of-print U.S. HD-DVD. Still not available in the U.S.
on Blu-ray, we can see why.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Dead
has some detail issues and other problems, but they are typical of
the genre in this format, leaving the other two DVDs softer, less
defined and with more motion blur than they should have.
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on Slither
is the only lossless presentation here and is no major improvement
over the lossy, obsolete Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 (remember that pumped
up version of the old codec?) on the old HD-DVD. Last
retains the same lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono the DVDs have had and
it is the one aspect of the film that needs more attention. The
owners need to get some money, go back to the original sound sources,
clean them up and upgrade them with a new transfer. By default, it
would improve the sound. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Dead
is too much towards the front channels and cannot get ahead of Last
sonically, but the same kind of 5.1 mix on Stag
is much more compressed, loud and worse overall, making it harder to
watch. That leaves lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on Boo
barely stereo, on the weak side with some issues of its own and even
having location audio issues, tying Stag
for worst audio on the list.
order either Last
House On The Left
on Umbrella import Region B Blu-ray, go to this link: