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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Vampire > France > Documentary > Compilation > TV Horror Hosts > Murder > Thriller > Mystery > Zomb > Fright Night 2: New Blood (2013/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/Horrible Horror: The Special Edition (with Zacherley/compilation/Legend DVD set)/House Of Wax 3D (1953/Warner Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & 1933 Mystery

Fright Night 2: New Blood (2013/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/Horrible Horror: The Special Edition (with Zacherley/compilation/Legend DVD set)/House Of Wax 3D (1953/Warner Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & 1933 Mystery Of The House Of Wax)/In The Flesh (2013/BBC DVD)/100 Bloody Acres (2013/Doppleganger DVD)/Secret Of Crickley Hall (2012/BBC DVD)/Vampira & Me (2012/Cinema Epoch DVD)


3D Picture: B (on Wax) 2D Picture: B- & C/C/B/C/C+/C/C Sound: B- & C+/C/B-/C+/C+/C+/C+ Extras: D/C+/B/D/C/D/C+ Main Programs: D/C+/B-/C/C/C-/B-



The Horror titles for Halloween are arriving, including a classic and a few featuring genre legends...



Eduardo Rodriguez's Fright Night 2: New Blood (2013) is a sequel of sorts to the disappointing remake of the 1985 fan favorite (see how many generations we are down already!) taking place in France (?!?) where a new set of vampires have turned up. Some of the film in in French, other parts in English and the rest in hisses and grrrrrs, the latter summarizing how bad the writing and plotting really is. The Fright Night name is now the name of a lame reality TV show where the host investigates haunted places (yawn!) and this whole enterprise is just a mess. Here in boring unrated and cut versions, it is our big dud here and nothing is memorable or original.


Extras include Digital Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, a feature length audio commentary track by Rodriguez and Co-Producers Alison Rosenzweig & Michael Gaeta, Webisodes of the faux TV show and Dracula Revealed featurette.



Horrible Horror: The Special Edition is an interesting compilation DVD set from Legend featuring the regional Horror movie show host Zacherley in vintage clips that on the main disc is 2 hours, 40 minutes of movie trailers, sometimes with the host inserting himself in them. Some may find that annoying, save fans of the host, but a few trailers here have not been on the many other compilations we have covered so it is not bad. All host footage is vintage analog NTSC color videotape.


A second DVD has all the extras which include a spoof of The Blob (see the Criterion Blu-ray reviewed elsewhere on this site) of the stop-motion Gumby called The Glob & Gumby, 1986 prep of the host on set, 1960 Zacherley appearance on the What's My Line? TV game show, his appearance on a 1951 TV episode of the hit radio horror drama anthology classic Lights Out! and a so-so print of the film Frankenstein's Daughter (1958). Not bad.



Andre de Toth's House Of Wax 3D (1953) was one of the big 3D films from the original 3D craze Hollywood had all too briefly in the early half of the 1950s and along with Bwana Devil, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, It Came From Outer Space and (hardly issued in the format at the time) Hitchcock's Dial 'M' For Murder is one of the major premiere releases of the time. Vincent Price was already an established actor who proved his versatility with all kinds of roles when this film put him permanently on the Horror map as a brilliant sculptor who has a few dirty, deadly secrets as he runs a wax museum that has become very popular, but when dead bodies start piling up in ways that start to get noticed, business will not only be booming, but even when it is dead, it will be alive!


A fun, creepy film that has aged pretty well, but is really even better in 3D, though it remains a fine gothic genre classic on its own. Far superior to the recent, unnecessary remake and itself a remake (more on that in a moment), it's pacing and suspense still work, as well as the cast and Warner did put the money into this one. Carolyn Jones, Frank Lovejoy and Phillis Kirk are among the cast that makes this a real must-see for all serious film fans, Horror and otherwise. It is easy to forget how good this one is, so see it again if you have not seen it in a while and if you can see it in 3D, it is an experience you'll never forget.


Extras include a Newsreel, feature length audio commentary track by David Del Valle & Constantine Nasr, Original Theatrical Trailer, featurette House Of Wax: Unlike Anything You've Seen Before! and standard definition copy of the original version of the film, the two-strip Technicolor chiller, Michael Curtiz's Mystery Of The Wax Museum (1933) with Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray, the same year she made the original King Kong. Now that's a good year!



Johnny Campbell's In The Flesh (2013) is the BBC's attempt to do an intelligent zombie invasion TV Mini-Series, but it plays it too safe and we see everything that I being done to death lately (no pun intended), especially this year and is too retrained to be original or different, so while the pacing is consistent and not sloppy and unknown actors not bad, but this is far from justifying its three hours of running time with some overlap to boot. For the curious only, I was not impressed.


There are no extras.



Colin & Cameron Cairnes' 100 Bloody Acres (2013) is a dark Australian comedy about a pair of sick brothers using human bodies to naturally fertilize, et al, their organic farming operation. This gets into zombie territory and is obviously shades of Motel Hell (1980), but without the consistency, ironic distance, originality or enough of the humor required to pull things off. The lack of suspense does not help and though the cats is not bad, the co-directors are as inconsistent as the script. It also does not work as Oz-ploitation, so don;t expect much in that respect either, but genre fans might want to see it out of curiosity for what and what does not work. At least they were somewhat ambitious, but it just does not work out.


Extras include an SFX featurette, Morgan Brothers TV commercials, short films, Storyboard Gallery, Cast/Crew Interviews and a Behind The Scenes featurette.



Joe Ahearne's The Secret Of Crickley Hall (2012) is another too-safe BBC Horror TV Mini-Series, this time involving the title haunted house and this one goes on for 175 minutes, yet is even more lost and David Warner even shows up supporting a cast of mostly unknowns (though Suranne Jones from the current Doctor Who era is also cast) in what is a boring tale (based on a novel by James Herbert; could it have been better than this?) that is more of a collections of cliches than anything suspenseful or scary. Too bad because it is at least a disciplined shoot, but the teleplay needed much help.

There are no extras.



Last but not least is R.H. Greene's new documentary Vampira & Me (2012), a remarkable work from the maker/director of the documentary Schlock! (reviewed elsewhere on this site) which starts with interview footage of actress/Vampira creator Maila Nurmi, who created the character all on her own with the simple intent at first to simply attend a costume party. Eventually, she landed up the host of her own TV show introducing B-movies and to the shock of her local TV station where she produced the show, it became their #1 hit!


From there, things started to go from great to so good to very problematic and before she knew it she was cancelled and in poverty. She was also close to a then-unknown James Dean only to see his star become greater than hers and then, he died in a horrible car accident, which did not help her personally. When she was blamed for his death and accused of being a Satanist who made it happen, she would be vilified in the press henceforth.


Greene, who is a major fan and was a real-life fan before her death, used interviews from his previous film plus all the interview footage he did not use, added what little footage of her performances in character survived (including some footage just discovered after her death) and adding voice-overs from others, audio from tapes Nurmi intended to use as the basis for an autobiographical book, he manages to give us one of the great untold stories of a showbiz innovator who never got her due. This helps to change that.


Of course, she is also known for her appearance in Ed Wood's infamous Plan Nine From Outer Space in her character, but she sadly never speaks in that one and that was not all her character was about. The result here is a priceless document every serious horror fan needs to see and was painstakingly assembled by someone who loved and respected the woman, someone you too will respect all the more when you see this key chapter of Horror history. Hope we see a sequel, but know you can see more of Miss Nurmi, Vampira, Zacherley and other TV Horror show hosts in the very compatible American Scary documentary reviewed elsewhere on this site, but Vampira & Me is one of the best showbiz documentaries of the year.


Extras include Lobby Cards images, Sam Fullerton's all-audio interview with Greene on this project and its subject and five video segments: the 2012 Hollywood premiere of this release, interview with the punk rock band Satan's Cheerleaders who worked with Nurmi on a few songs, Nurmi remembering the day James Dean died in on-camera interview footage not in the final documentary, 1955 Magic In The Air industrial film short (in black and white) explaining how Tv was developed & works and Restoring Vampira short featuring Greene opening up a reel of kinescoped footage of Nurmi as Vampira making an appearance on The George Gobel Show in which she plays the character in great form seen for the first time in 60 years! Great stuff!




The 1080p 1.33 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Wax looks good, is fun, has only minor moments where things don't align like a digital production and has a superior use of the format throughout. A big hit in its day, 3D 35mm prints were originally issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor and Warner reissued the film often over the years, including for special events, 3D festivals and new waves of 3D. They even made 70mm 3D prints at one point, showing the film's enduring popularity and how great the 3D is and to keep the dual images from the Natural Vision 3D process in razor sharp focus. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 2D digital High Definition image transfer also looks solid with fine depth, definition and color that has the best range ever seen on this film for home video release. The total result is a classic 3D title looking as good as possible and the vest performer om the list.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Fright is a mixed presentation due to stylized shooting, faux HDTV footage and some general sloppiness throughout, so it is not as good as the 60-year-old Vincent Price film or its predecessors on Blu-ray. The result also turns out to be generic and the anamorphically enhanced DVD is among the worst performers on the list along with the 1.33 X 1 compilation of Horrible. The rest of the DVDs are in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image presentations and all are softer than they should be.


Vampira is the only one with an excuse since much of the footage is so old and even degraded, so even millions of dollars would not be able to fix the footage much. Cheers to the editing too. The exception of the DVDs is Acres, which has more consistent definition for its format and budget, making it the third best presentation of all on this list.



The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Fright should easily be the best sonic presentation on the list, but the recording quality is inconsistent, mix too much in the front channels and sometimes simply off the mark, with the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD even more problematic and choppy. As a result, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix on Wax can more than compete and using Pro Logic, has more consistent surrounds by default. The film was originally designed for 4-track magnetic stereo sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects, but that original soundmaster seems to be missing, though 70mm blow-up prints had 6-track magnetic sound, so who knows what remains in Warner's vaults on the film. The fact is that the presentation is warm, clean, clear for its age and does not sound any generations down and that is impressive.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Horrible is the poorest here as expected with the old audio of all the trailers, clips and vintage Zacherley footage, but its not a mess. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Acres and Vampira are better, but not spectacular, though Acres is an all new recording and should have sounded better. That leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Flesh and Hall being passible, but well recorded and mixed for TV productions.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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