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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Exploitation > Mental Illness > Experiments > Science Fiction > Japan > Puppets > The Baby (1973*)/Horrors Of Malformed Men (1969/*both MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)/Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018/RLJ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

The Baby (1973*)/Horrors Of Malformed Men (1969/*both MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)/Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich 4K (2018/RLJ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A Picture: B/B+/B+ Sound: B/B/B+ Extras: B/B/C+ Films: C+/B/C+

Here are three creepy tales of murder, distortion and mutilation that you are certain to find disturbing...

Ted Post's The Baby (1973) is a bizarre exploitation film that features a grown man forced to live a life as an infant child against his own will. Thanks to his psychotic mother and two sisters, 'Baby' is a prisoner inside of his own home... an adult man who can't talk, walk very well on his own, and is consumed with immaturity. Can he escape his family and become a real grown up man? Thanks to a social worker... Baby might stand a chance at a new life.

Previously available on Blu-ray domestically from Severin Films, The Baby has a new transfer in this new release from Arrow Video. The difference between the two isn't very drastic, however, this edition contains different supplemental material.

The film stars Ruth Roman, Anjanette Comer, Marianna Hill, Susanne Zenor, and David Manzy as The Baby.

Presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc, there are two remastered versions of the film to choose from - either the original 1.33:1 full frame version or the newly produced 1.78:1 widescreen version. The audio sounds very nice with an original uncompressed PCM Mono audio mix, both of which are of a very high standard for the format. The film looks and sounds great considering its age and the fact that it was a low budget production to begin with.

Special Features include...

Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford

Down Will Come Baby - a new retrospective with film professor Rebekah McKendry

Tales from the Crib - archival audio Interview with director Ted Post (from the Severin release)

Baby Talk - archival audio Interview with Star David Mooney

Theatrical Trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing by Kat Ellinger

The Baby is a weird film that has to be seen to be believed, though it needs to be said that Director Post was a major, mainstream journeyman director of the time with credits that include Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970), Hang 'Em High (1968), Go Tell The Spartans (1978), plenty of classic TV including two episodes of Boris Karloff's Thriller and four episodes of Rod Serling's original Twilight Zone and and both The Harrad Experiment and the Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry film Magnum Force, released the same year as this film. That should add to how you think of this film.

Teruo Ishii's Horrors of Malformed Men (1969) is a bizarre and interesting Japanese horror that is a sort of spin of The Island of Dr. Moreau. Presented here in a new 2K restoration from the good folks at Arrow, Horrors is certainly not a film for everyone and features some of the most bizarre freaks of nature you're likely to see this week.

The film stars Teruo Yoshida, Yukie Kagawa, and Teruko Yumi.

Based on the erotic horror author Edogawa Rampo's story, the film centers around a medical student who is confronted by a evil mad scientist and his malicious and deformed men. Psychedelic and over-stylized, the film has a loose narrative that centers around repressed memories and horrific visions.

The film is presented in 1080p high definition with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and an Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio with newly translated (optional) English subtitles. The film looks and sounds fantastic as this restoration was definitely well needed and deserved.

Special Features include...

Two audio commentaries by Japanese cinema experts Tom Mes and Mark Schilling

Malformed Movies: a new video interview with Toei exploitation movie screenwriter Masahiro Kakefuda

Malformed Memories: Filmmakers Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo the Iron Man) and Minoru

Kawasaki (The Calamari Wrestler) on the career of director Teruo Ishii

Ishii in Italia: Ishii and Mark Schilling visit the Far East Film Festival

Image Gallery

Theatrical trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing by Jasper Sharp, Tom Mes and Grady Hendrix.

Finally, we have the return of Charles Brand's Puppet Master franchise, which is the darling of independent horror film company Full Moon Pictures, has been in need of a reboot/ upgrade for some time now. Thanks to Fangoria Magazine, fans have a nice gory entry in the franchise to check out - Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) which brings the franchise back to form.

The film stars Thomas Lennon, Udo Kier, Charlyne Yi, Michael Pare, and Nelson Franklin.

Edgar (Lennon) returns to his childhood stomping grounds after a divorce and finds one of the puppets in his dead brother's bedroom. When a 30th Anniversary celebration of the Toulon Murders sparks a convention, Edgar decides to sell the doll to make some money... it doesn't take long for the puppets to reunite at the convention and all hell breaks loose!

The Littlest Reich is presented in 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, both of which are a noticeable upgrade over the also included 1080p Blu-ray disc (with similar sound and picture specs). There's no doubt that this is the best shot entry in the franchise, which was renowned for having a low budget VHS look for previous installments. The colors are nice and saturated and no noticeable issues.

The Cast of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich featurette

Puppets: From Concept to Creation featurette

Lightning Girl Comic: From Sketch to Final

and a Photo Gallery

While not overly groundbreaking, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich shows the the franchise still has some life left in it and is worth checking out if you're a fan of the series.

- James Lockhart



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