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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Mystery > Crime > Horror > Murder > Supernatural > Cable TV > Slasher > Science Fiction > Aliens > After (2012/MVD DVD)/American Horror Story: Roanoke (2017/Season Six/Fox Blu-ray Set)/Before I Die (2016/Parade Deck/MVD DVD)/Bleed (2016/MVD DVD)/Down (2001)/The Lift (1983/Dick Maas/both Blue Underg

After (2012/MVD DVD)/American Horror Story: Roanoke (2017/Season Six/Fox Blu-ray Set)/Before I Die (2016/Parade Deck/MVD DVD)/Bleed (2016/MVD DVD)/Down (2001)/The Lift (1983/Dick Maas/both Blue Underground Blu-rays w/DVDs)/Earthrise (2014/MVD DVD)/The Hidden (1987/New Line)/The Man With Two Brains (1983/both Warner Archive Blu-rays)



Picture: B-/B+/B-/B-/B+ & B-/B+ & B-/B/B+/B+ Sound: B-/B+/B-/B-/B+ & B-/B+ & B-/B/B+/B+ Extras: D/C+/C/C/B/B/C/C+/C Main Programs: C+/C/D/C/B/B/C-/B/B



PLEASE NOTE: The Hidden and The Man With Two Brains Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Here's a huge heaping of horror for Halloween 2017 for your consideration...



After


From Director Ryan Smith, After (2012) is finding its way onto disc in this bare bones release. Deserving of a Blu-ray release, After is actually quite better than I expected with an interesting and twisty premise that is surprisingly clever.


When two bus crash survivors awake to discover that they are the only people left in their town, they must work together to figure out why. Part 28 Days Later, part Twilight Zone, After is an interesting and well produced little movie that I'm surprised didn't go further than it did apparently.


After stars Karolina Wydra (Crazy Stupid Love), Madison Lintz, and Steven Strait.


Presented on DVD in anamorphically enhanced standard definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, the film looks and sounds fine for the most part for being on DVD. Some of the video blacks aren't dark enough but the predominant use of blue is interesting. The score and sound mix are pretty solid as well.


No extras.



American Horror Story: Roanoke - Season 6


The hit R-rated series American Horror Story pushes the limits of what you can show on television with intense violence and unusual horror stories set in a different location each season. While not as scary as previous seasons such as Freak Show and Coven, this Sixth Season of the show boasts strong production value and centers around supernatural happenings in a North Carolina haunted house and mixes that with the 'backwoods cult' cycle.


A huge cast of big names (and many returning from previous seasons) include Cuba Gooding Jr, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Denis O'Hare, Frances Conroy, Kathy Bates, Lady Gaga, Lee Harris, and many others.


Told in a documentary TV-show style, called "My Roanoke Nightmare" which is a sort of 'show within a show' that chronicles shocking 'true' paranormal events that a family supposedly witnessed and survives seemingly unharmed. At first confusing, this way of telling the story is a tacky and obviously scripted, with lesser known actors playing the 'real victims' and Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sarah Paulson playing the couple during the 'reenactment' scenes. There's more than one instance where the tension is sucked entirely out of a scene when coming back to the 'real victims', who overact and lack authenticity in some of their line deliveries.


The story of the show start when Shelby and Matt Miller (Gooding Jr. and Paulson) experience a gang-related crime in LA, which scares and forces them to move. Starting over again, they buy their dream home in a secluded farm country in North Carolina, where they hope to focus on their relationship. After some weird things start to happen, which are at first perceived by threats from the redneck neighbors, soon reveals a story of murder involving a sadistic cult led by 'The Butcher' (Kathy Bates).


Besting the original television broadcast, the show is presented on Blu-ray disc in 1080p high definition with a a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a nice sounding English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 track. Free of network watermarks and commercials, this version is sure to give you a more uninterrupted cinematic experience when watching from episode to episode.


Special Features...


The Paley Center for Media: Q&A with Cast and Creative Team from PaleyFest 2017


Collection of American Horror Story: Roanoke Promos


Series Mode - Playback Option



There's no doubt a lot of talent involved in American Horror Story, but this season felt a little forced in its storytelling and not very scary, to this reviewer.



Before I Die


The low budget supernatural thriller Before I Die (2016), the debut feature by The Brothers Freeman, is a 'spiritual obsession'/semi-supernatural/nihilist movie that just isn't scary. Painfully slow moving and longer than it should be (about thirty minutes too long) with a cast of unknowns (some of which are better than others) and a storyline that's hard to follow, this isn't a film you will want to watch 'before you die'.


The film stars Robert McKeehen, Audrey Walker, Danny Bruno, and Robert Blanche.


A small Northwest town in the middle of nowhere has a strange spiritual connection to it. When a new pastor takes over, he finds that the town is a bit 'culty' and is up to no good. Of course they attend meetings with creepy Eyes Wide Shut-inspired masquerade masks.


Presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, the film looks fine for being low budget on DVD. Surprisingly not too much grain, even in darker scenes, however an HD update would help matters. The score to the film is too synth - and not necessarily in a good way and takes some of the scare out of it.


The only extra (under the audio options on the main disc menu) is a Director's Commentary by The Brothers Freeman. Though listed on the back of the DVD cover, there is no Behind The Scenes Gallery to access.



Bleed


Bleed (2016) is a supernatural flick that is a mix of M. Night Shymalan, The Blair Witch Project, and Rosemary's Baby. Shot surprisingly well, stylized, but not without some lame digital effects, Bleed isn't a total bore with a moderately fast pace, some decent acting, and lots of time-lapse shots. That being said, there isn't anything particularly new here but that doesn't mean its completely terrible.


Bleed stars Chelsey Crisp, Riley Smith, Michael Steger, Lyndon Smith, Brittany Ishibashi, and is directed by Tripp Rhame.


What starts as a promising new life for a few couple who are married and pregnant, they soon join some harebrained friends who are brought to burned out creepy prison to go ghost hunting 'for a reason.' There are other supernatural (and natural) forces at work here as well...


Presented in standard definition with an anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossless English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the film doesn't look terrible on DVD but lacks the detail it would otherwise in HD.


The only extra features are cast interviews.



Down and The Lift


The Lift (1983)


An interesting little horror movie that wasn't previously available on disc and VHS only in low quantities, is Amsterdamned Director Dick Maas' The Lift (2001). Using the same formula as Spielberg's Duel or Carpenter's Christine in a sense, these two features center around a demonic, vicious, elevator (an everyday object that turns evil) that goes on a murderous killing spree and wipes out any human it comes in contact with.


When several passengers on a elevator in a fancy office building end up murders, the repairman Felix ends up getting a bit more than he bargained for. Partnering with a tabloid reporter, the two try to put a halt to the evil forces within the shaft that threaten anyone who goes near it!


Creative and featuring some brutal (if slightly dated) special effects and interesting production design, The Lift is definitely a slasher film that's worth checking out. Blue Underground has been restoring and bring Maas' gory and fun horror films to life with both of his creepy elevator movies The Lift and Down and the aforementioned Amsterdamned (reviewed elsewhere on this site). Maas is definitely a horror filmmaker that I would compare to Argento in that he loves gore, has a great cinematic eye, and has the same sort of morbid sense of humor with his brutality.


Presented in 1080p high definition for the first time, this newly restored 2K transfer from the original camera negative that was approved by Director Dick Maas. Presented in its original 1.66:1 widescreen aspect ratio with a Dutch language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track with English subtitles, the film has never looked as clear as it does on this definitive release. Also included is an anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD of the film with compressed, lesser picture and sound quality, but up to par with the format.


Special Features and Technical Specs:


Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Dick Maas and Editor Hans van Dongen


Going Up - Interview with Star Huub Stapel


Long Distance - Short Film by Dick Maas


Dutch Trailer


U.S. Trailer


Poster & Still Gallery


Collectable Booklet with new essay by writer and filmmaker Chris Alexander (First Pressing Only!)


Exclusive Limited Collector's Edition includes Blu-ray, DVD, bonus collectable booklet, reversible sleeve, and special packaging


Down (2001)


A big budget remake of The Lift from the same director, Dick Maas, Down (also known as The Shaft) finally comes to disc with the presentation that it deserves. Unfortunately, due to the events of 9/11, the film was delayed a US release for a startling two years due to some references to NYC terrorist attacks and Bin Laden coincidentally. Many will remember the early 2000s as a time where many older films with any sort of terrorist reference were pulled off of US cable television for a short time, which included Die Hard and other titles, in fear of being insensitive. Watching it again, Down is action packed with a great cast, including the lovely Naomi Watts, who notably broke out into the Hollywood scene big time with David Lynch's Mulholland Drive the same year, leads a cast that also includes James Marshall, Eric Thai, Michael Ironside, David Gwillim, and Ron Pearlman.


In the city that never sleeps... something just woke up.


A demonic force has turned a popular elevator into a death machine. Claiming the lives of any that step inside, the Police and Government are soon in a frenzy to figure out the cause of the blood bath. Watts plays a Reporter who is keen on covering the story, but soon gets a little too close to the case for comfort. Who will survive this unstoppable man-made menace?


Blue Underground presents the film on 1080p High definition with a 2K Director's Approved restoration of the original transfer. Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen with a English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix, the film looks and sounds better than before on the HD format. As with The Lift, there is an anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD also included with a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track and anamorphic widescreen transfer.


Special Features include...


Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Dick Maas and Stunt Coordinator Willem de Beukelaer


The Making of Down


Behind-the-Scenes Footage (2.5 hours) [Blu-ray Exclusive]


Theatrical Trailer


Teaser Trailers


Poster & Still Gallery


Collectable Booklet with new essay by author Michael Gingold (First Pressing Only!)


Exclusive Limited Collector's Edition includes Blu-ray, DVD, bonus collectable booklet, reversible sleeve, and special packaging


Hardcore horror fans will definitely want to do a double feature with these two fun and creative thrillers that put others in the same genre to shame.



Earthrise


An ambitious low budget Sci-fi film, Earthrise (2014) has a big imagination but doesn't quite reach the cinematic level that its attempting. Winner of several film festival awards, the film may attract hardcore Sci-Fi fans that don't mind budgetary restraints and bad digital effects. The film is essentially a play with three characters that play off one another well but none particularly standout.


Earthrise stars Todd Barnett, Meagan Burke, and Jennifer Hamilton Collins.


The premise looks into the future, where the human race has colonized on Mars. The remaining few travel to Earth to help rehabilitate the planet. Along the journey across space, shocking revelations are had.


Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphically enhanced widescreen and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, the film looks and sounds up to par with the DVD format but isn't anything particularly impressive or recommendable.


Special Features include a Commentary and a Trailer.



The Hidden


The best film by far from Director Jack Sholder (who had just finished his work on A Nightmare on Elm Street 2) The Hidden (1987) is a little reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Terminator. This was my first time seeing The Hidden and I absolutely loved it! I'm surprised it hasn't been released in grander fashion before on disc as it's a fun ride and better than most other genre films that get put out in the spotlight. It's also evident that some films have mimicked it since, namely the first Men in Black film. There was also a direct-to-video sequel to the film, The Hidden 2, which came out some time later in 1993 and surprisingly no remakes or reboots since.


Starting with an epic bank robbery that leads into a high speed car chase, the film adapts a David Cronenberg-esque feel when its revealed that an alien organism is causing havoc and jumping from body to body. Nearly impossible to catch as its identity changes and jumps from city to city, FBI Agent Lloyd Gallagher (Twin Peaks' Kyle MacLachlan) is dead set on tracking this vicious human/alien hybrid down and bringing it to justice. Along the way the alien isn't afraid to steal expensive cars, commit armed robbery, murder, and other acts that could only be condemned by playing the video game Grand Theft Auto. There's something a bit off about Lloyd Gallagher too, despite his loyalty to his job. Befriending another cop named Tommy, the two cops are always one step behind the killer, as its revealed that the alien murdered Gallagher's former wife, child, and partner making his mission to find him all the more personal.


The Hidden also stars Michael Nouri, Clu Gulager, Ed O'Ross, and Claudia Christian.


Presented in 1080p high definition, this new remaster of the film looks great and is presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo track with Pro Logic surrounds for lesser systems). Colors on the film are vibrant with detail on characters and production design with no visible signs of wear and low grain. Some of the film feels a little dated but the (then modern) '80s era suits the film well.


Special Features include...


Audio Commentary by Director Jack Sholder and Tim Hunter


SFX Footage with commentary by Jack Sholder


Theatrical Trailer



This is a great disc to add to any Cult or Sci-Fi film lovers' film collection.



The Man With Two Brains


Steve Martin stars in Carl Reiner's hilarious The Man With Two Brains (1983), which is finally finding its way onto Blu-ray disc courtesy of Warner Archive. Very slapstick in its comedic approach similar to a Mel Brooks film in some regards, Reiner and Martin work well together as proven with The Jerk and All of Me, however this underrated gem could be their best. The film also stars David Warner, Paul Benedict (The Jeffersons), George Furth and Peter Hobbs.


Martin stars as a brain surgeon who meets the love of his life (Turner) after accidentally hitting her with his car. Too gullible to realize that Turner's character is completely evil, Martin marries her anyway and she teases him sexually until he's goes nearly insane. However, the situation shifts when he meets another brain specialist (Warner) who introduces him to his top secret brain research. When Martin finds that his true love is in fact a brain amongst the Specialist's specimens, its up to him to find a body for this perfect brain so that he can find true love... or is it all in his head?


Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless track, the film looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-ray disc. The 2K HD remaster makes the film look brand new, besting previous releases of the film on lesser formats. There's great detail on characters, production design, and cinematography evident in this release that will make you see the film in a new light.


The only special feature is a remastered original trailer.



To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- James Lockhart

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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