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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Monster > Dinosaurs > Science Fiction > Aliens > Slasher > Zombie > It Takes From Within (2014/First Run DVD)/Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary 4K Collection (1993 - 2015/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray Box Set)/Shocking Dark (1989/Severin Blu-ray)/The Strangers:

It Takes From Within (2014/First Run DVD)/Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary 4K Collection (1993 - 2015/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray Box Set)/Shocking Dark (1989/Severin Blu-ray)/The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Zombie 3 (1988)/Zombie 4: After Death (1989/Severin Blu-ray w/CD Sets)



4K Ultra HD Picture: A Picture: B-/B+/B/B+ & C+/B/B Sound: B-/A/B/B+ & C+/B/B Extras: C/B/B/B/B/B Main Programs: C/A B+ C+ B/C+/B/B/C+



This new block of horror monster thrillers covers everything from low budget bloodfests to big budget blockbusters...



An experimental and dark film, It Takes From Within (2014) is shot in glorious black and white (which we don't get often enough anymore) and feels very inspired by David Lynch (but not nearly as interesting). Dark, depressing, and at times unsettling, the film takes place in a town where a man and woman and preparing to attend a burial... but as they do they are haunted with unusual paranormal incidents that are nothing but bad news.


Directed by Lee Eubanks, the film stars Jesse Ferraro, Sabra JohnSin, and Gabriel Lopez. The film is presented in anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen black and white in standard definition on DVD with a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound mix. While the presentation is up to DVD standards, it's still heavily compressed and lacking in the detail that 1080p provides.


Special Features...


Audio Commentary with Director Lee Eubanks


While much of it is up to interpretation, It Takes From Within is an art film that has some interesting visuals and ideas but isn't quite engaging enough to reach cult status.



Now for one of the early, big 4K Ultra HD disc sets. While there aren't any new extras in this release of the Jurassic Park saga, which comes to new 4K life on disc so soon thanks to the arrival of the sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.


All four previous films have been upgraded to 2160p UHD (with HDR) and showcase the detail and craftsmanship that makes the saga so monumental. The first two Spielberg-directed films are definitely the strongest in the saga, while JP 3 is by far the weakest... with Jurassic World getting back to the roots of the original but not without its own list of flaws.


This set has great packaging (though a bit reminiscent of the previous Blu-ray release) and in the film's themselves some detail work on the dinosaurs themselves (particularly those that were made practically by Stan Winston studios) are what really make this saga worth upgrading to on 4K UHD. I've owned these films on every format and have seen them (especially the first two) an embarrassing number of times and have never seen them look this good.


Jurassic Park (1993)


There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said about Spielberg's game changing 1993 genre film. Not only was it a blockbuster, but it was the first film to really showcase the possibilities of computer generated effects. Twenty five years later, the film still holds up (and will continue to for another 25) with its bold storytelling, top notch directing and acting, and incredible musical score by John Williams. Based on the bestselling book by Michael Crichton (Westworld), Jurassic Park brings dinosaurs back to roaring life.


An adventure 65 million years in the making...


When an incident results in the death of an employee, Jurassic Park owner John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) brings in three specialists to sign off on the park to calm investors. The specialists, paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), are surprised to see the island park's main attraction are living, breathing dinosaurs, created with a mixture of fossilized DNA and genetic cross-breeding/cloning. However, when lead programmer Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) shuts down the park's power to sneak out with samples of the dinosaur embryos to sell to a corporate rival, the dinosaurs break free, and the survivors are forced to find a way to turn the power back on and make it out alive. The film also stars Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, and Samuel L. Jackson.


Extras for Jurassic Park:


The Making of Jurassic Park


Early Pre-Production Meetings


Location Scouting


Phil Tippett Animatics: Raptors in the Kitchen


Storyboards


Foley Artist


Production Archives: Photographs, Design Sketches and Conceptual Painting


Theatrical Trailers Including Jurassic Park III


Dinosaur Encyclopedia


Production Notes


Cast and Filmmakers


BD-ROM Features Including Live Web Events



The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)


Despite not following Crichton's original novel, I feel that The Lost World: Jurassic Park is one of the most underrated sequels in movie history and actually a favorite of mine. Starring Jeff Goldblum (who returns as Dr. Ian Malcolm), the film is full of intense action set pieces, awesome looking dinosaurs, wonderful performances, high production value, and an incredible score by John Williams.


When a vacationing family stumbles upon the dinosaurs of Isla Sorna, a secondary island where the animals were bred in mass and allowed to grow before being transported to the park, Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) is called in by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) to lead a team to document the island to turn it into a preserve, where the animals can roam free without interference from the outside world.


Malcolm agrees to go when he discovers his girlfriend, paleontologist Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) is already on the island, while at the same time Hammond's nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard) has taken over his uncle's company and leads a team of hunters to capture the creatures and bring them back to a theme park in San Diego. The two groups clash and are ultimately forced to work together to evade the predatory creatures and survive the second island. The film also stars Pete Postlethwaite, Richard Schiff, Vince Vaughn, Vanessa Lee Chester, Peter Stormare, and a young Camilla Belle.


Blu-ray extras for The Lost World: Jurassic Park...


The Making of The Lost World


Deleted Scenes


Illustrations and Conceptual Drawings


Storyboards


Models


The World of Jurassic Park


The Magic of ILM


Theatrical Trailers Including Jurassic Park III


Dinosaur Encyclopedia


Production Notes


Production Photographs


Cast and Filmmakers


Posters and Toys


BD-ROM Features Including Live Web Events



Jurassic Park 3 (2001)


Not as serious in tone as the first two entries and going a campier route, Jurassic Park 3) or III where the Roman numeral looks like dinosaur claw marks!) is a misfire but has grown on me more and more over the years. Bringing back original lead Sam Neill as Alan Grant (and a bit part by Laura Dern), the film loses Spielberg and boy does it show. Though he would later go on to direct the first Captain America film, Joe Johnston kind of made this film up as he went along and the result is a brief Jurassic adventure that doesn't bring anything new or exciting to the table... and some cringeworthy dialogue.


The film also stars Tea Leoni, William H. Macy, Alessandro Nivola, and Michael Jeter to name a few.


Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) is bribed by an impressive amount of money to return to Isla Sorna, Site B (which was seen in The Lost World)... a world where the dinosaurs roam free and are in no way part of a theme park-like attraction. Promised by two parents (Macy and Leoni) to be paid handsomely to help find their lost son (Morgan) on the island, their airplane crashes and they end up stranded. They soon come across genetically enhanced raptors, T-Rexes, and a vicious Spinosaurus. In short, this was the Jurassic film that first introduced the genetically mutated and enhanced dinosaur.


Jurassic Park 3 Special Features:


Return to Jurassic Park: The Third Adventure


Archival Featurettes:

The Making of Jurassic Park III

The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park III

The Special Effects of Jurassic Park III

The Industrial Light & Magic Press Reel

The Sounds of Jurassic Park III

The Art of Jurassic Park III

Montana: Finding New Dinosaurs

Behind the Scenes

Tour of Stan Winston Studio

Spinosaurus Attack the Plane

Raptors Attack Udesky

The Lake

A Visit to ILM

Dinosaur Turntables


Storyboards to Final Feature Comparison


Production Photographs


Theatrical Trailer


Audio Commentary



Jurassic World (2015)


The franchise's much needed reboot, Jurassic World, takes us back to the original Park but this time upgraded and enhanced like never before. Deemed safe to return by the public, Jurassic World became the realized dream of all that John Hammond originally intended when he made the first park. Of course it doesn't take long for things to go awry, this time with a park full of visitors and the park's deadliest genetically enhanced dinosaur to get loose and go on a killing spree. Its up to smart talking Raptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt), Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and others to get the dinosaur contained before it reaches the park visitors...


Directed by Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) the film was a huge success and spawned the new planned trilogy for the series. While a little corny and too jokey in some scenes (the Raptors become a bit too much like a pet at times when they were once the scariest part of the movies), overall there's a lot to like about Jurassic World that makes it an entertaining entry into the series... though it still doesn't stack up to the Spielberg ones for me.


Special Features for Jurassic World:


Deleted Scenes


Chris & Colin Take on the World


Welcome to Jurassic World


Dinosaurs Roam Once Again


Jurassic World: All-Access Pass


Innovation Center Tour with Chris Pratt


Jurassic's Closest Shaves -- Presented by Barbasol



All four films are presented in 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition on 4K UHD disc and are presented in 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratios. With HDR capabilities, there's a huge improvement in overall color and far more detail and texture on everything. The rich soundtracks are in both lossless DTS X 11.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and upgrade the sound mixes for the previous three films (but not World, which was already that way). The first two films look particularly good in 4K, with the most attention spent on the first film, which also happened to the the worldwide debut of DTS sound in theaters. Jurassic World looks amazing too for it being a bit newer. The one that isn't the most notable upgrade in the bunch is the third film, but it still looks better than it did on regular Blu-ray here. The 4K discs have only the films themselves while the also included Blu-ray editions feature the same versions as released on disc previously with all the extras.


In short, this set is great for the hardcore Jurassic Park fan that has 4K capabilities... in fact with the epic scale of these films, you'd be silly not to get them on this new and impressive format.



One of the most infamous and weirdest Italian genre B-flicks of all time gets the HD upgrade that nobody ever imagined it would... Bruno Mattei's Shocking Dark aka Terminator 2 (1989). That's right... it was actually released under the title 'Terminator 2' by its Italian pick up investors in an effort to sell it better (and yes this way before Cameron's sequel to the original classic.)


The filmmaking trio of Bruno Mattei, Claudio Fragasso, and Rossella Drudi (Zombi 3 and 4, see more below) banded together to make this film, which they were under pressure to rip off elements from both Cameron's Aliens and the original Terminator (even going as far as naming the female lead 'Sarah') from the producers. The final product is pure B-movie cheese at its best and a must-see for sci-fi and genre fans everywhere. Shocking Dark has plenty of aliens, gore, corny dialogue, and plenty of tropes that sci-fi fans will quickly embrace.


An alien infestation plagues a military base, where a group of soldiers are sent out to investigate... only to become prey to evil alien creatures in the process in Shocking Dark. (Yeah, I know the premise sounds familiar.) The film includes nearly shot for shot scenes ripped off of Aliens, one that is hilarious as it is so close to its source.


The film stars Geretta Geretta (Demons) and Tony Lombardo (RATS: NIGHTS OF TERROR) along with a host of others.


Remastered in 2K HD from the original film elements, there's no question that the film looks far better here than any fuzzy previous release to date. Presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio a nice sounding mono mix, the film looks and sounds miles better than it did in any other release. The print has been considerably cleaned and dusted off, and captures the creepy atmosphere perfectly. Even if you have seen this film, you haven't seen it look this good so in a way it's like seeing it again for the first time.


Special Features...


Terminator in Venice - An Interview with Co-Director / Co-Screenwriters Claudio Fragasso and Co-Screenwriter Rossella Drudi


Once Upon A Time in Italy - An Interview With Actress Geretta Geretta


Alternate Italian Titles


Severin Hall of Fame pin and Exclusive Slipcase available at www.severin-films.com



It's been ten years since the original Strangers was released, so when The Strangers Prey at Night (2018) was announced many were skeptical. Good news is that this sequel is actually pretty good and holds up to the same spirit of the original even if it isn't completely original. This slasher franchise brings us mortal humans that can be killed. but who also have no clear motive and who are simply out for bloodlust 'just because.' In this regard, The Strangers is a bit more scarier than The Purge because this could easily (and likely has) happen to anybody anywhere.


The film stars Christina Hendricks (Drive), Bailee Madison (Just Go With It), Martin Henderson (The Ring), Lewis Pullman (Battle of the Sexes), and Damian Maffei and is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down).


A family is in a bit of disarray as Kinsey (Madison) is being sent off to boarding school due to her bad behavior whilst her brother (Pullman) is about to graduate from high school. So their parents Cindy (Hendricks) and Mike (Henderson) decide to take them out to their relative's campground for a weekend away. But when they get to the camp site, they don't find their relatives and instead are greeted by a trio of masked persons who want nothing more than to chop them up. What starts as a vacation ends in an un-relentless battle for survival.


Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a nice sounding English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless mix. Also included is a compressed standard definition version that has similar specs, an anamorphically enhanced image and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Most of the film takes place at night so it's nice to see here that everything is nicely lit and shot interestingly. This is definitely a film worth checking out in HD. A digital copy is also included.


Special Features...


Alternate Ending


"Prep for Night" Music Video - Director's Cut: The Man in the Mask, Dollface, and Pin-up Girl get ready to terrorize an unsuspecting family in a music video directed by horror auteur Mickey Keating (Darling, Carnage Park)


A Look Inside The Strangers: Prey at Night: Stars Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson and director Johannes Roberts talk about the making of the film


Family Fights Back: Stars Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman and director Johannes Roberts review the film's characters and their fight to survive


The Music of The Strangers: Prey at Night: Director Johannes Roberts and star Bailee Madison discuss the John Carpenter-inspired score and the '80s soundtrack that keeps The Strangers killing


Prey at Night is better than I expected and surprisingly one of the better horror films so far this year.



Lucio Fulci's groundbreaking Zombi (reviewed elsewhere on this site) is essential viewing for anyone who loves zombie movies. With that film being an unofficial sequel to Romero's Dawn of the Dead, next came Zombi 3 (1988) which is a wildly insane film shot in the Philippines. Fulci was very ill at the time of the filming so collaborators Bruno Mattei, Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi came to the rescue in helping Fulci complete production. The result is a wild ride from frame one that involves plenty of arm chopping and flesh ripping madness to satisfy.


A Zombie virus is accidentally unleashed on a small tropical island and soon spreads like wildfire as a band of survivors struggle to survive...


Special Features include:


The Last Zombies - Interview With Co-Director/Co-Writer Claudio Fragasso and Co-Writer Rossella Drudi


Tough Guys - Interview with Actors/Stuntmen Massimo Vanni and Ottaviano Dell'Acqua


The Problem Solver - Interview with Replacement Director Bruno Mattei


Swimming with Zombies - Interview with Actress Marina Loi


In the Zombie Factory - Interview with FX Artist Franco Di Girolamo


Audio Commentary With Stars Deran Sarafian and Beatrice Ring


Trailer


Bonus Disc: CD Soundtrack with high quality PCM digital sound



Finally, Claudio Fragasso set out to make a Zombie film of his own and succeeded in Zombi 4: After Death (1989), which was actually one of the first films to introduce the 'talking' zombie. The idea here was that the undead would evolve from slow walking and absent minded to fast, intelligent, and scary creatures brought to life by voodoo. Given its tropical setting and carnage, Zombie 4 is a fun popcorn muncher and holds a special place in Zombie movie history.


Both films are presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono mix, the film looks and sounds far better than it did in any previous release on video. This new 2K transfer bests the foreign release of the films too as these are newly color corrected and look and sound great. In short, if you just own the DVD versions of these then this is definitely a worthwhile upgrade.


Special Features include...


Run Zombie Run! - Interview With Director Claudio Fragasso and Screenwriter Rossella Drudi


Jeff Stryker in Manila - Interview With Actor Chuck Peyton


Blonde vs Zombies - Interview With Actress Candice Daly


Behind-The-Scenes Footage


Trailer


Bonus Disc: CD Soundtrack with high quality PCM digital sound



Like I said, even if you have seen these films before you haven't seen them look or sound nearly this good. These are all new releases that come complete with new extras that fans won't want to miss out on. Be sure to order off Severin's official site for added goodies!



- James Lockhart

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


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