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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Vampire > Mystery > Demonic Possession > Sex > Japan > Action > Martial Arts > Crime > Bloodthirsty Trilogy (1970 - 1974/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray Set)/Debt Collector (2018/Sony DVD)/Night Zero (2018/MVD DVD)/Return Of The Swamp Thing (1989/MVD Blu-ray w/DVD)/Schlock (1972/Turbine Blu-ray w/DVD

Bloodthirsty Trilogy (1970 - 1974/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray Set)/Debt Collector (2018/Sony DVD)/Night Zero (2018/MVD DVD)/Return Of The Swamp Thing (1989/MVD Blu-ray w/DVD)/Schlock (1972/Turbine Blu-ray w/DVD)/Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years V. 2 (1957 - 1961/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray Set)



Picture: B/B-/D/B & B-/B- & C+/B Sound: B/B-/C-/B & B-/C+/B Extras: B/C/C/B/C+/B Films: B/C/C-/C/C/B B B- C+ B



PLEASE NOTE: The Suzuki set is limited to only 1,500 copies!



And now for our latest onslaught of genre films...



Arrow presents The Bloodthristy Trilogy (1970 - 1974) on Blu-ray for the first time in grand fashion. These Toho horror films are highly reminiscent of Hammer Films and center around the classic monster Dracula. It's interesting to see a Japanese version of the character and the films utilize a lot of similar gothic imagery that you would expect. Even considering the age of the films now, they all hold up surprisingly well from a visual perspective on Blu-ray disc.


The films in the set are The Legacy of Dracula: The Vampire Doll (1970), Lake of Dracula (1971), and Evil of Dracula (1974) and are all worth your time, especially when seen in chronological order.


Presented in 1080p High Definition and presented in 2.35 X 1, transferred from original film elements Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio. Also included on the discs are the original Japanese soundtracks with optional, newly translated English subtitles.


Special Features...


Kim Newman on The Bloodthirsty Trilogy, a new video appraisal by the critic and writer


Stills gallery


Original trailers


Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin


FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Japanese film expert Jasper Sharp.



Scott Adkins stars as a broke martial artist who takes on a job with the mob in The Debt Collector (2018). Directed by Jesse V. Johnson (The Last Sentinel), the film isn't too bad but not entirely original either. Following in the footsteps of a Guy Ritchie-esque mob/action film, the film is slick and not without some cool stunt pieces but still comes across a little bland.


The film also stars Essam Ferris, Louis Mandylor, Vladimir Kulich, and Tony Todd.


When his karate dojo about to close and his apartment about to be evicted, French (Adkins) ends up doing some dirty business to pay the bills. Working for the mob, he goes from house to house with other shady guys to bust those who owe. Of course, he quickly gets in over his head.


Presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the transfer is typical of the DVD format. Colors are compressed and a bit murky when watching on a 4K TV, but shouldn't look too bad on a 1080p or lower television. The film is nicely shot with Los Angeles as the primarily backdrop. The score is a bit generic and adds a cheapness to the overall feel of the film. Overall, a standard and passable presentation.


Special Features, only Deleted Scenes.



Shot in Pittsburgh on a shoestring budget, the high concept film Night Zero (2018) channels the zombie, action, and alien genres. With a plot similar to a high budget Hollywood film, the film makes a lot of mistakes that lots of low budget films do: too much dialogue, bad lighting, and a sound edit in need of more work.


When aliens attack, a virus is omitted into the city, and infecting its victims into raving zombie maniacs. A small group of survivors haul up together but (much like Night of the Living Dead) end up soon facing the inevitable as the warehouse gets infected.


Here in an anamorphically enhanced widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a 2.0 stereo mix, this shot on video feature has an icky and highly flawed transfer. The color timing is way off, many shots go in and out of focus and times in the film where yelling occurs is blown out in the sound mix.


Special Feature: Behind the Scenes.



Swamp Thing is one of the more overlooked DC Comics' character and also one to have a comic book film series before it was 'cool'. The follow-up to the Wes Craven original, The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) continues with Dick Warlock's portrayal of the creature which is fun and quite heroic. This hammy sequel, co-starring Heather Locklear (Dynasty, T.J. Hooker) as the plant obsessed love interest, the film is pure cheese from frame one but like other genre films in this era, however, the film still manages to have some heart behind it and looks great in this new HD master.


The film also stars Louis Jourdan, Sarah Douglas, Ace Mask, and Monique Gabrielle.


Abigail Arcane (Locklear) visits her mad uncle Dr. Anton Arcane in his laboratory, where he is experimenting illegally with genetic mutation. Soon, she encounters the infamous Swamp Thing (Warlock) who is hell bent on fighting these creations. Along the way the two find action and love as they battle against Dr. Arcane's inhuman creations.


Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, the film has been restored in HD for the first time. The original 2.0 track is also included on the release. There's no doubt that this is the best that this film has looked on home video as this restoration is pretty clean and detailed considering the age of the film. Also included is a standard definition anamorphically enhanced DVD with similar, but compressed specs, including lossy Dolby Digital sound.


Special Features include...


Mini-Poster


NEW Audio commentary from Director Jim Wynorski, Composer Chuck Cirino and Editor Leslie Rosenthal


NEW Interview with Director Jim Wynorski (HD)


NEW Interview with Editor Leslie Rosenthal (HD)


NEW Interview with Composer Chuck Cirino (HD)


NEW Interview with Lightyear Entertainment Executive Arnie Holland (HD)


Audio commentary from Director Jim Wynorski (from 2003)


Original Theatrical Trailer (New HD Transfer from original 35mm materials)


6 Promotional TV Clips (SD)


2 TV Spots (SD)


2 Greenpeace Public Service Announcements (SD)


1989 Promo Reel (SD)


Photo Gallery (accompanied by Chuck Cirino's film score)


While not quite as good as the original, this sequel has lots of laughs and is an interesting and fun popcorn muncher to say the least.



John Landis' Schlock (1972) is an early, cheap film the later director of Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf In London and other comedy and horror hits made with future make-up auteur Rick Baker as a goofy comedy that took the idea of a 'man in an ape/gorilla suit' to its goofy, slap-happy end. A counterculture time capsule of its time, the film is barely 80 minutes and has every bad joke, lame visual gag and other attempts at humor that hardly ever work. Landis is the one wearing the suit!


Now we have a new Blu-ray/DVD set of the film so you can see it for yourself. If you are in a dumb mood (very dumb mood?), you might be more amused than you should be, but it is basically a one-joke film, though it knows it. Does work better as a time capsule, though.


The film was shot block style 1.33 X 1, but the 1080p Blu-ray only offers it at a 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image and not the 1.33 X 1 image the DVD has. The result is the Blu-ray looks good, but shows some slight flaws and softness throughout, but I wonder if a 1.33 X 1 version (which could have fit on the same disc) would have looked better. The DVD is softer, but I like the framing a little better and the visual humor is clearer in that version.


The Blu-ray has both English and German DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound, but the audio is old and has been compressed a bit. I bet this could be clearer, even if we had to deal with some tape hiss, et al. The DVD has English and German lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound that is slightly less clear than the Blu-ray options.


Extras include exclusive new introduction by creator John Landis, Exclusive newly shot interview with John Landis (approx. 41 min.), Vintage audio commentary by John Landis & Monster Maker Rick Baker (from the 2001 Anchor Bay DVD), Trailers from Hell clip: John Landis on SCHLOCK, Original trailers (theatrical release, re-release, "Banana Monster" title, the original German 35mm trailer, and a new transfer of the German version) and Original 1970s radio spots.



We conclude with a second Blu-ray movie set from acclaimed Japanese cult director Seijun Suzuki (Youth of the Beast, Branded to Kill), who has had several titles released in America and restored in HD in recent years. Many of which are now in the catalog of the esteemed Criterion Collection label (and reviewed elsewhere on this site). This new collection from Arrow video (the second volume in the series) compiles his early crime and action films from 1957 to 1961 dubbed Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years V. 2.


This set includes: Eight Hours of Terror (1957), The Sleeping Beast Within (1960), Smashing The O-Line (1960), Tokyo Knights (1961), The Man with a Shotgun (1961). These films have never before been available on home video in the US before and are a must see for fans from the Nikkatsu catalog as Suzuki continued his look early on into criminals, secrets and the darkness of this particular underworld.


Presented in 1080p high definition Blu-ray with various aspect ratios of 2.35:1 and 1.33:1, all of the films have their original Japanese LPCM Mono audio tracks with newly translated English subs. There no doubt this is the best that these films have looked and they have all aged quite well.


Special Features...


Audio commentary by critic and author Jasper Sharp on Smashing the 0-Line


Tony Rayns on the Crime and Action Movies - the critic and historian discusses the background to the films, their place within Suzuki's career and the talent involved with them


Trailers


Stills Gallery


Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

60-page illustrated collector's book featuring new writing by Jasper Sharp


Booklet/Collectible Packaging



- Nicholas Sheffo (Schlock) and James Lockhart

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


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