Sun (2013/Gaiam Vivendi
(1990/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Nightmare
(1973/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/The
Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)
Picture: B- DVD Picture: C+ Sound: B- & C+/C+/B-/C+/C+
Extras: C-/C-/C/C/C Films: C-/C-/C/C/C
Blu-rays are exclusively from Twilight Time, are limited to 3,000
copies, while the Nightmare
DVD is only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series and all can be ordered from their respective links below.
time for Halloween 2013, here are five more genre releases with their
own degrees of horror that are somewhat
diverse, but not all that successful.
start with James Wan's The
(2013), a dull,
bad would-be tale of a house possessed by demons. Of course, they
stay at the house no matter what instead of leaving, calling the
police, calling the media, etc. and of course, people die. An
inexplicably cynical hit, it wastes the talents of actors like Lily
Taylor (who already made one horrible haunted house film with
DreamWorks hideous 1999 remake of The
Ron Livingston, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, though it wastes the
time of the view also.
on the files of the same couple who unveiled the Amityville Horror
fiasco, there is no suspense here, the children-in-jeopardy is on the
level of a bad reality TV show, the digital effects are lame, the
sound design overdone and is so many generations away from an
original idea, that one would call that the true source of any terror
there is the mysterious devil doll Annabelle, who we see a few times,
never talks (i.e., never turns into Chucky, the doll in the so-called
real life was allegedly Raggedy Ann) and only moves on its own once.
Set in 1971, the actors never seem like they live in that era and
having old cars and supposedly period clothes do not cut it for
authenticity. A real yawner, it just gets more ridiculous as it goes
on and is one of the most overrated big releases of 2013.
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes
capable devices, the bonus DVD version and three featurettes that try
to convince us this is based on a true story in vein.
bad is Michael Robison's Exploding
(2013), the latest bad Sci-fi TV mini-=series out of canada that has
even more bad digital visual effects, bad dialogue, lame plot twists
and deadly sun flares that destroys everything but copies of the
teleplay these poor actors have to read from. The underrated Julia
Sense Of Snow)
and David James Elliott (from the overrated TV mess JAG)
are given little to do, the digital graphics are as dated on arrival
as the effects and this runs on and on for 176 minutes in the
so-called extended edition.
can see why a cut down version exists. No sleeping pills needed
cast interviews are the only extras.
(1991) are the first of our two Twilight Time Limited Edition
Blu-rays here and this is a cult curio that was the first of Fangoria
Magazine's attempts to break into feature film production, bringing
Bruce Campbell (The
films) and Angus Scrimm (the Phantasm
films) in a post-apocalyptic tale where a young woman (Marta Alicia)
becomes aware that she and her mother are being hooked into a cyber
dream system to sleep their life away and not know about the ravaged
post-nuclear world outside.
a powerful being who controls things, she is cast outside for the
worst, but the script then goes back and forth without even knowing
itself which is which as she has to deal with scavengers on a killing
spree, et al, but also a potential hero (Campbell) who she starts to
get involved with personally. The problem is that this is all over
the place and though it has some interesting moments and visuals, it
becomes a time capsule of dying independent genre film production and
is such a product of the 1980s (then-portable technology, too much
latex make-up work and clunky designs) that it is amusing at best,
but not much else.
and directing is mixed too, but at least the film (which will remind
fans of better films like the Verhoeven Total
or the likes of Logan's
(1976) or even Clonus
(1979, all reviewed elsewhere on this site) that were all better
films. At least we have a solid, quality edition of the film so
everyone can see for themselves, while supplies last at least.
include another illustrated booklet on the film including a thorough
essay by Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray disc adds an isolated music
score track and a TV spot that looks like an industrial promo for
video stores at the end.
Silverstein took over the thriller Nightmare
(1973) for MGM after the great Nicolas Roeg left it for reasons
unknown as we post this review, but from what we can see, it seems he
was likely trying to make something akin to what he did with Don't
A newlywed couple (Dack Rambo, Rebecca Dianna Smith) are at a party
thrown by her father when they engage in a weird tradition the film
(in either cut on this DVD) never explains: suddenly leaving the
party to see if the guests can catch them.
they are hidden and making out when they hear noise and witness a
brutal, cold-blooded murder, making this into a cat & mouse chase
game complete with sexual assault and a desire to compete with the
major B-movie horror hits of the day. The film's ad campaign rips
off the original Last
House On The Left.
Hingle is her father, John Beck is the main psycho and we get plenty
of two-dimensional Southern folks throughout. There are some
interesting moments and scenes, but they do not add up to enough of a
good film in the longer TV cut or better, more graphic, shorter
theatrical edition despite the potential here. Silverstein fared
better a few years later with The
(1977) showing he could direct suspense for a big screen, but this is
just not a good film despite its ambitions. It is also exploitive
(maybe Roeg left because that is what MGM wanted) and only its
original Elmer Bernstein music score keeps it going. Now you can see
include the 1.33 X 1 TV version that is unnecessarily longer and an
original theatrical trailer.
we have the supernatural thriller of sorts, Robert Mulligan's The
Other (1972) which like Roeg's Don't Look Now suggests metaphysical
spiritual connection between the living and the dead who might have
some unhealthy ideas for the mortal world. This one is set during
the Depression and Mulligan has twins playing brothers and handling
their acting performances as well as he did in his films of Summer
Kill A Mockingbird,
but we also have adults who despite their knowledge and maturity are
ultimately unaware of all the horror that is about to slowly (and I
this case, it is way too slow, it is more of a drama than horror film
despite how it was promoted, any suspense is undercut by its flatness
and the screenplay by actor/writer Thomas Tryon (who penned I
Married A Monster From Outer Space,
reviewed on DVD elsewhere on this site) never becomes campy, but is
not memorable when all is said and done. Supporting work by Uta
Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Louis Frizzell, an then-unknown John Ritter and
Victor French in an odd, thankless turn make this interesting here
and there and it has its following. I just cannot recommend it
unless you feel this is a must see.
include another illustrated booklet on the film including a thorough
essay once again by Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray disc adds an
isolated music score track by Jerry Goldsmith that keeps this going
along more than it would otherwise and the Original Theatrical
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on all four Blu-rays,
save 1.78 X 1 on Sun,
transfers are each other's equals, but for different reasons.
are stylized HD shoots with their various flaws and limits, but the
shots are generic throughout, while Mindwarp
are 35mm film shoots with prints that show their age.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Nightmare
are right behind looking fairly good, but not great. The 1.33 X 1 TV
version of Nightmare
shows more frame at the top and bottom, but has pretty much the same
for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix (derived from its
original analog Ultra Stereo theatrical release) on Mindwarp
are on even par as the best on the list. The former has many moments
of silence and an awkward mix, while the latter is not too distorted
and decodes well in Pro Logic mode.
leaves a second/last place tie between the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
5.1 lossless mix on Sun
disappointing with its limited range, recording issues & being
too close to the front channels, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on
both copies of Nightmare
showing its age despite decent recordings and transfers, the lossy
Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Conjuring
DVD being weaker than the DTS on the Blu-ray and the DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on Other
having some harshness and slight shrillness at its edges despite its
isolated music score by Jerry Goldsmith in a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
2.0 Stereo lossless mix sounding just fine.
noted above, you can order the Nightmare
DVD by going to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive
to order Mindwarp
limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at this link: