Of Kill (2015/Sony
DVD)/Children Of Dune
(2003/Umbrella Import Blu-ray Set)/The
Import Blu-ray)/Hell On
Frisco Bay (1955/Warner
B-/C+/B/B/B+/B Sound: B-/C+/B/B-/B+/B- Extras:
C+/D/C+/B-/B/C+ Main Programs: D/C-/C/C+/B/C+
Import Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment in Australia and can play on all Blu-ray players, while
On Frisco Bay
is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series. All can be ordered from the links below.
now another selection of genre films you should know about...
new Vampire flick, Aaron's
(2017), puts a real-world spin on the genre. Aaron (James Martinez)
is a single dad to Tate - a hemophiliac. Poor little Tate gets
picked on in school by a bully and ends up in the hospital when he
loses too much blood. Stuck in the hospital and exhausting all
options, Aaron makes friends with a Vampire. After a blood
transfusion saves his life, Tate soon ends up showing vampiric side
effects of course, much to the surprise of his unbeknownst mother.
The film has a fun concept but overall is pretty bland with no
performance or stylistic direction that really grabs the eye. When
compared to a film like Let
The Right One In),
which is sort of in the same vampire sub-genre, there's really no
comparison that this is could have been executed better.
film also stars Justin Roberts, Farah White, Michael Chieffo, Luke
Barnett, and Sterling Stovall to name a few. The film is directed by
Tommy Stovall (Sedona,
in standard definition DVD with an anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1
widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital track, the film
looks and sounds as good as it can for DVD with nothing too great
about its compressed look and dimly dark images. The score is very
reminiscent of other supernatural terrors with haunting piano cues
supported by decent sound design.
Features are standard EPK and include...
is an hour of slow build-up with so-so performances and half baked
drama until we finally get to see some vampire action. And when that
action arrives, it's a bit lackluster when compared to stronger films
in the genre. Some scenes meant to be serious and instead comical.
This is that kind of movie.
(2015) is another entry in the tired cycle of cliched terrorist
attack films, but the twists here include that this one takes place
in London (cliched though, if you have endless U.K. police
procedurals to suffer through as overly numerous as their U.S.
counterparts), it wants to evoke the current era of Daniel Craig Bond
films (which it overdoes to the point of being sickening) and it has
actor and former singer Martin Kemp (now on the endless U.K. TV soap
but best known internationally as part of the great duo Spandau
Ballet with his brother) trying to hit the best notes as the
as much as I really wanted this to work and like the idea that Kemp
could pull a Mark Wahlberg somehow (he and his brother were excellent
as Peter Medak's The
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) so both can actually act as well as
they sing!), the 86 minutes here are flatly shot (Basic
anyone?) with script that plays like a bad 'greatest hits' of
everything we've seen before and the title here might best the 'the
age of underkill'
since old episodes of The
Of The Saint,
seem elaborate by comparison. The makers of these new action
productions seem to have just arrived with zero point of reference or
point at all sadly, so any potential goes right out the window.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 at
least play well enough, though I again thought the film achieved no
new look that worked. There are no extras either, but this much is
true, Kemp will only find action 'gold' if he can find something as
classy, smart and memorable as his previous music hits. Thus, 'only
when you leave' the cliches behind should you put yourself though
this trouble again.
all the science fiction franchises, it seems that Dune has yet to
have found its so called 'definitive' film version. David Lynch's
adaption (Lynch took his name off of it at one point and never really
got his final cut) of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel in 1984 is met with
mixed reviews from fans and critics... now relevant more for with its
association with Lynch himself than as a film on its own. Then
there's this, more definitive, adaption that was originally broadcast
on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2000, followed by this 2003 follow-up:
not often you see many Dune
fans come forward as they do with other Sci-Fi franchises in that
there aren't many Dune
cosplayers or merchandise as there are with other genres as well.
None of the films have been box office/ratings smashes (but this
series obviously was enough for this follow-up to exist), so this
could be one reason why. The story and world of Dune
is pretty desolate, epic, and dark so I'm surprised Hollywood studios
haven't tackled it yet as they go through remake after remake (though
story is a bit complicated honestly, but to sum it up: The twins of
Paul "Muad'dib" Atreides, who both hold supernatural
abilities, become embroiled in the political landscape of Arrakis and
the rest of the universe. Unlike Star
this series is a bit political, with lots of drama and sparse action.
I would definitely suggest watching the 2000 mini-series before
this, which you can read more about at this link...
a then-unknown but now huge star James McAvoy (Wanted,
Prequel films, Atomic
and Susan Sarandon, plus Alec Newman, Edward Atterton, Steven
Berkoff, Daniela Amavia, and Julie Cox to name just the leads with
direction by Greg Yaitanes (Banshee)
and a screenplay by filmmaker John Harrison, who often collaborated
with George A. Romero on such classics as Creepshow
of the Dead.
Running a staggering four and a half hours long and spread over
three parts, the mini-series is presented on Blu-ray from Umbrella.
in 1080p high definition with a 1.77:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a
5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless English track, this is easily
the best way to watch the series at home. Commercial and watermark
free and sporting a clean image and strong mix, fans will definitely
choose to binge the story in this release. Some of the digital
effects are lacking but this is quite an ambitious production with
overall impressive production value on all fronts.
Entertainment is the place to go if you want to get this series on
either Blu-ray or DVD as they have the first original 2000 series
(which features William Hurt) and this series available on both
my knowledge either series hasn't gotten a Region A release from the
studio as of this writing on Blu-ray. There have been talks that
rising Director Denis Villeneuve (Blade
is taking Dune
as one of his upcoming projects. Could this be the so-called
definitive version that fans have been waiting for? Either way, this
series is fine for what it is and presumably for hardcore fans that
have read the books, but not really engaging to even someone like me,
who is obsessed with Sci-Fi.
the meantime, also check out the earlier feature film version of Dune
by Alejandro Jodorowsky that fell through, yet influenced a few later
our most favorable coverage of the David Lynch 1984 feature film...
like Robert Fuest as a director and his ambitious camera style puts
most pseudo-slick HD productions with their lazy Go Pro cameras to
shame, but he went irrecoverably overboard when he made The
(1975) in conjunction with the actual Church of Satan itself.
Jumping on the Rosemary's
bandwagon, we reviewed the DVD release of the film many years ago at
a big initial success at the time of its release, it found curiosity
interest because of its name cast and was reissued by another company
after its original distributor Bryanston (the gangster-controlled
distributor soon busted for good by the U.S. Government, but not
before releasing films like the original Texas
Chain Saw Massacre
among other memorable releases) was gone, selling the film on
then-unknown John Travolta who became a big star in between releases
by that time.
has picked up the film for home video in the U.S. and issued a
well-upgraded Blu-ray with a ton of new extras never seen before.
The film has not improved with age and if anything, its clearness
reveals how much more standard of an approach Fuest took with
shooting it and that may have hurt it all around despite having the
use of the underrated anamorphic Todd AO 35mm scope format in his
hands. Still, for better and worse, it is worth a look, but just
don't get your hopes up too much. However, you may be laughing
unintentionally at all the odd, unexpected and outright bad moments
in the film. I guess Satan and company cannot spot bad scripts and
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the
age of the materials used a little bit here and there, but this is
far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film, was
(again) shot in the great Todd AO 35mm anamorphic scope format (based
on their brilliant 70mm lenses) and it does give it all an odd look
and feel throughout that does help the film. Early posters and press
promotion suggest it would be issued in 35mm dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor print versions of the film, but that process
had ended the year before in the U.S., so any such print that might
exist now would have to come from the U.K. or unexpectedly from
another market and be very valuable. In many shots though,
you can see in many places how good it must have looked in such
copies, but then the Lord is said to work in mysterious ways, so
Satan loses again!
prints would be on Eastman Color, Kodak, 3M/Ferrania or other film
stocks that might or might not fade, depending on how they were
developed, stored and saved. I cannot imagine this looking much
better than we see here and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono
lossless sound mix is not bad and as clear as we could expect for a
theatrical monophonic film of the time with such a limited budget.
are the new highlight and include
a feature length Audio Commentary track with Director Robert Fuest,
- Interview with Actor Tom Skerritt, The
- Interview With Special FX Artist Tom Burman, 1975 Archive Interview
with Actor William Shatner, First
- Interview with Script Supervisor Ana Maria Quintana, Consulting
with the Devil
- A Conversation with the High Priest & High Priestess of the
Church of Satan, Hail
- Interview with Anton LaVey Biographer Blanche Barton,
Filmmaker/Horror Collector Daniel Roebuck On The
On Set Polaroid Gallery Of Script Supervisor Ana Maria Quintana
Accompanied By Radio Spots, Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots and a
back of the Blu-ray
case says the bonus content was approved by Lucifer himself! 42
years after the original film, that is really very odd, goofy and a
little unnecessarily desperate. Otherwise, see this once for what
stars in this supernatural thrill-ride of Sidney J. Furie's The
(1982), a film that was defiantly inspired by The
in its raw depiction of horror violence. Based on true events, the
film centers around Hershey, a mother of three, who is raped and
tortured by a demonic spirit. Though made years before, the film
reminds me a bit of the original Poltergeist,
with some elements of other horror films of the year. Interestingly
photographed with a convincing performance by Hershey and a
nerve-racking score, The
is an effective piece of horror cinema. The film also stars Ron
Silver, Robert McNaughton, and David Labiosa and is directed by
Sidney J. Furie (The
Sings The Blues,
IV: The Quest for Peace).
a typical night after work getting ready for bed, Carla Moran
(Hershey) is raped and attacked by an invisible force in her very
bedroom. With no sign of any intruder and other supernatural
occurrences happening, she begins therapy with Dr. Phil Sneiderman
(Ron Silver), a psychiatrist who believes Carla's traumatic past is
motivating her to commit self-induced injuries, rather it being a
ghost. However, she knows that it's not in her past and that she's
not just seeing (and feeling) things. Finally, with the help of some
college students/paranormal investigators, Carla gets the help she
needs to figure out what is happening.
film is presented in 1080p high definition with a 2.35:1 widescreen
aspect ratio and a 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless track, the
film looks and sounds surprisingly great on Blu-ray disc. While
there was an Anchor Bay release of the film on Blu-ray in 2012, I'm
unsure of how this disc compares to that one, however from what I've
read and heard, it appears that this version is superior.
a Voice: A Conversation with composer Charles Bernstein
McNaughton Remembers The Entity
and Stills gallery
On Frisco Bay
On Frisco Bay
(1955) is a slightly melodramatic big screen gangster film with Alan
Ladd as a former cop just getting out of jail for being a dirty cop,
immediately bad to his woman and out to get the man who sent him
there. That won't be easy because it is a powerful gangster (Edward
G. Robinson still playing to type, even if it is in color and scope)
who he will not be able to easily get to, but can the element of
surprise work to his advantage in revenge?
doubt the film looks good, has some fine location shots (though I
kept thinking how much better Hitchcock's Vertigo
was at those moments) and it is slow moving often, hoping to coast on
the color, widescreen and impressive cast that also includes William
Demerest, Joanne Dru, Paul Stewart, Perry Lopez and even Fay Wray!
some of it plays as very dated and other parts are actually
interesting, making it worth a look at least once, but it is a more
commercial release and the studio knew it. You may even be amused
(unintentionally?) at times, but it is no classic of any genre. At
least this well-restored Blu-ray from Warner Archive offers fine
playback and though the 1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image
transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is far
superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and it is
very well restored. We still get some of the imperfections of the
older CinemaScope format and the WarnerColor
has its limits, but it looks fine otherwise and the DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix will have to do until a good copy (if
one still exists) of the original 4-track magnetic soundmaster with
traveling dialogue and sound effects for this film is ever recovered.
only extra is the Original Theatrical Trailer.
order the Children
Umbrella import Blu-rays, go to this link for them and other hard to
to order the Hell
On Frisco Bay Warner
Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at:
Nicholas Sheffo (Age,