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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Anthology > Supernatural > Monster > Slasher > Drama > Super Powers > Science Fiction > Superhero > Blood, Sweat and Terrors (2018/RLJ DVD)/The Darkest Minds (2018/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Gifted: The Complete First Season (2018/Marvel/Fox DVD Set)/The Originals: Final Season/Five (201

Blood, Sweat and Terrors (2018/RLJ DVD)/The Darkest Minds (2018/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Gifted: The Complete First Season (2018/Marvel/Fox DVD Set)/The Originals: Final Season/Five (2018/Warner DVD Set)/Spontaneous Combustion (1990/MVD Visual/Cheezy Flicks Blu-ray)

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

Supernatural thrills, sometimes crossing into the superhero genre, are up next...

We start with the new action/horror anthology film Blood, Sweat, and Terrors (2018) lands on Blu-ray courtesy of R.L.J.E. Nine short films have been fused together with a wraparound story that showcases grisly and diverse works from all over the globe.

The shorts include "Get Some," "Empire of Dirt," "Turncoat," Fetch," "Express Delivery," "Olga," and "Awesome Runaway." The anthology is curated from Rue Morgue and Unstable Ground's Little Terrors Short Film Festival.

Some of the film's stars include John Hannah, David Leitch, Paul Sloan, Warren Brown, and Rodney Rowland. Indie/foreign directors include Daniel Bernhardt, Adam Mason, Joe Horton, Adam Horton, Alexandre Carriere, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Banjamin de Los Santos, William Gilbey, Olaf Svenson, and Beau Fowler.

Presented on an anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix, the films are primarily in English. The image is a bit compressed but all of the films look pretty professional, though it's clear that some had more of a budget than others.

No extras.

This is a nice compilation of short films, and some of them particularly ultra violent.

The Darkest Minds (2018) is Hollywood's latest attempt at adapting a YA book series to the big screen. While better than expected, there's nothing too terribly special about the film, which is basically a mash-up of elements from X-Men, The Hunger Games, James Cameron's Dark Angel, and Star Wars. The first part of a trilogy, The Darkest Minds is directed by Kung Fu Panda director Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

A disease kills 98% of America's children, the surviving 2% develop superpowers and are placed in internment camps. A 16-year-old girl named Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) escapes her camp and joins a group of other powerful teens who are all on the run from the government and each has their own unique ability. The film also stars Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie, Harris Dickinson, and Wallace Langham.

Presented on 4K UHD disc, the 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image transfer and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 are paired with an English Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless (or Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mixdown) mix, the film looks and sounds fantastic here. There's plenty of special effects to help bring out the best in your home surround sound system. The overall look of the film isn't as visually stylized as it could have been, but rather has a fairly natural look with nicely saturated colors that have great detail. Also included is the 1080p Blu-ray version of the film with the same audio specs (and aspect ratio). A digital copy is also included.

Special Features include...

Remember - A Look Beyond Ruby and Liam's Last Kiss (Original Animatic by Jennifer Yuh Nelson)

Deleted Scene

Gag Reel

Jennifer Yuh Nelson: Heroine at the Helm

Character Profiles

Ruby: Harnessing Hope

Liam: A Complicated Relationship

Chubs: Found Family

Zu: Awakened Abilities

Clancy: Crafting a Possible Future

Storyboard to Screen Comparison

Feature Commentary by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Dan Levine and Dan Cohen

The Power of Georgia

Behind the Scenes in Georgia


and a Theatrical Trailer

For a teen audience, The Darkest Minds is fine and its clear that Fox has some faith in the franchise as the money is on the screen here. At the end of the day though, there isn't much here that hasn't been done before.

And a similar themed title also from Fox...

An X-Men spinoff for the small screen, The Gifted debuts in its first season thanks to Fox. While it doesn't feature any of the main X characters (which might have helped gain a wider audience), the show centers around a family that discovers they are anything but ordinary and, of course, mutants who are on the run from the law. While better than Marvel's Agent of Shield series and not as frantic as Legion, The Gifted isn't too bad (on par with some of the DC CW Network shows), even if some of its writing isn't too innovative.

Gifted stars Emma Dumont, Natalie Alyn Lind, Stephen Moyer, Jamie Chung, Amy Acker, Blair Redford, Coby Bell, and Sean Teale to name a few. The series has some pretty big names behind the camera including Stan Lee himself, Len Wiseman (Underworld), Bryan Singer (Director of many of the X-Men films), and X-Men movie producer Simon Kinberg.

Season One spans three DVD discs and include the following episodes: eXposed, rX, eXodus, eXit strategy, boXed in, got your siX, eXtreme measures, threat of eXtinction, outfoX, eXploited, 3X1 and eXtration/X-roads.

Presented here in anamorphically enhanced standard definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, both of which are of the norm for the format. The show is shot in a cinematic fashion and definitely has a considerable budget around it. An HD scan would certainly clear up some of its compression issues seen here on DVD. At least the show is commercial and watermark free, so it makes it easier to get into and binge watch without interruptions.

No extras.

The Originals concludes with its Fifth and Final Season, now available uncut and commercial free (versus its CW Network broadcasts) on DVD. A spin-off of the highly successful Vampire Diaries, the show centers around Klaus whose a vampire/werewolf who tries to constantly stay one step ahead of the competition...

The Originals stars Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies, Phoebe Tonkin, Charles Michael Davis, and Claire Holt.

Episodes include Where You Left Your Heart, One Wrong Turn on Bourbon, Ne Me Quitte Pas, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Don't It Just Break Your Heart, What Will I Have Left, God's Gonna Trouble The Water, The Kindness of Strangers, We Have Not Long Enough To Love, There in the Disappearing LIght, Til the Day I Die, The Tale of Two Wolves, and the season/series finale: When The Saints Go Marching In.

The Originals is presented on anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, both of which are the norm for the format. Compression issues aside, the show looks and sounds as good as it can for the format.

Special Features...

The Originals: Come Visit Georgia PSAs

ComicCon Panel San Diego 2017

Unaired Scenes

and a Gag Reel

If you're a fan of Twilight and/or other Vampire dramas, then this show will likely appeal to you. It gets a little soapy at times and feels a little cheesy, but it obviously has its fan base and some fans will get emotional towards the final episodes here.

From the Director of Poltergeist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tobe Hooper, comes one of his less celebrated works, Spontaneous Combustion (1990), which stars genre favorite Brad Dourif (voice of Chucky from the Child's Play series, Lord of the Rings) and some ultra cheesy looking special effects. This is the second time that this film has been released on the Blu-ray format, with the latter being a Code Red release that was limited to 3,000 units.

The film also stars Cynthia Bain, Jon Cypher, Melinda Dillion, William Prince, and Dev Young.

Sam's (Dourif) parents were part of a top secret atomics weapon experiment and as a result spontaneously combusted shortly after his birth. Now coming to an adult age, Sam starts to find out that his parent's experiments have made some lasting effects to his body... Flames and other unusual things start to burst from his body, and it quickly becomes clear that Sam is some sort of a mutant.

The film starts out alright but grows more and more ludicrous about it goes on, with the last act being about as schlocky and predictable as you can imagine. If you're able to shut your brain off and not take it too seriously, there's some cheesy fun to be had with this flick.

Presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and, oddly, a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix, when the Blu-ray format really should have lossless sound to go with the HD Image. The transfer here isn't terrible but is heavy in contrast with some clarity missing on some of the finer character details. While I haven't seen the Code Red version (which has lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo) to compare the two, this is likely the best the low budgeted film is going to look until someone (if anyone) does a 2K remaster of it at some point.

The only extras on the disc are Trailers.

I have always been a big fan of both Hooper and Brad Dourif so it was nice to check this film out for the first time on this new release from Cheezy Flicks. It's a shame that the transfer isn't a bit better and that the extras are lacking, but all in all this film is a fun time.

- James Lockhart



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