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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Anthology > Supernatural > Slasher > Satire > Action > Fantasy > Martial Arts > China > Thriller > Sc > Truth Or Dare (2017/Cinedigm DVD)/Zombie (1979/Fulci aka Zombi/Blue Underground Blu-ray/CD Limited Edition Remaster)

All The Creatures Were Stirring (2018/RLJ DVD)/Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings (2018/Well Go Blu-ray w/DVD)/High Voltage (2018/Echo Bridge Blu-ray w/DVD)/Next Of Kin (1982/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Truth Or Dare (2017/Cinedigm DVD)/Zombie (1979/Fulci aka Zombi/Blue Underground Blu-ray/CD Limited Edition Remaster Set)



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



PLEASE NOTE: The Next Of Kin Import, Region Free Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment and can be ordered from the link below.



Here's a good group of thrillers, usually in the Horror genre, to hear about and they include an impressive upgrade of a classic...



We start with the latest holiday horror film, All the Creatures Were Stirring (2018), is an anthology film that doesn't follow the norm and has some ideas that are definitely out of left field. The wraparound story follows a young couple who, on Christmas Eve, go on a first date to a bizarre movie theater and are shown several unusual short films.


The film stars Constance Wu, Jonathan Kite, Jocelin Donahue, Mark Kelly, Graham Skipper, Morgan Peter Brown, Ashley Clements, Amanda Fuller, Matt Long, Megan Duffy, Stephanie Drake and Catherine Parker.


The first short, The Stockings Were Hung, is set in an office, where a secret santa goes terribly wrong. Starring Jocelin Donahue (House of the Devil), the short has a kind of Belko Experiment vibe to it and an overall fun slasher feel. The killer is a bit silly and some of the acting overall is a bit over the top. This was my least favorite of the bunch.


Dash Away All is about a guy who gets locked out of his car and is stuck in a parking lot waiting for the tow service to arrive. A mysterious van and two good looking girls offer the man their phone to use, but soon show a more malicious side when they pass on an evil curse. The campiest entry of the bunch, this one has a cool concept, but an overly convoluted explanation of what this demonic entity/ curse is.


All Through The House is a play on the classic Christmas Story formula with a Christmas Scrooge taking a bad batch of drugs and starts to hallucinate in his house. This was another weak one in that I didn't buy the lead actor too well, or some of the things that he encountered.


Arose Such a Clatter is about a guy who hits a reindeer with his car and when he goes home for a romantic evening with a young lady, he is stalked by a demonic reindeer spirit of Blitzen. This was one of the better ones and is short and sweet, which I liked.


In a Twinkling is the last short in the mix where some bizarre things happen over a Christmas Dinner Party with aliens. This one stars Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) and is probably the best one of the bunch. It has a surreal tone and some interesting filmmaking (mixing black and white and color with weird editing gimmicks) that makes it stick out from the rest. Plus, Constance Wu is really fun to watch here.


The anthology film is presented on anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The film is low budget and doesn't have too much style to its cinematography, and compression issues are apparent throughout when viewing on a 4K UHD TV. Much of the lighting is flat and the shots could have had more depth overall. For the format, the presentation is fine.


The only Special Feature is a Filmmaker Commentary by Rebekah & David Ian McKendry.


All The Creatures Were Stirring tries something different with the holiday horror formula than the normal spin on Santa, and has some interesting ideas within it. Overall, it was better than I was expecting judging by its cover art.



After saving the Empire (again), Detective Dee is awarded the highest honor and awarded the sacred Dragon Taming Mace from the Emperor in his fight against all injustice. But the wicked never rests, and again his skills are put to the test as Bureau of Investigation is being held responsible for a series of murders, mysteries that seem almost supernatural to impossible. However, Dee will have to tread carefully when he discovers there is a conspiracy afoot, the Empress herself may be plotting against the Emperor ...and he cannot act without proof in Hark Tsui's Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings (2018).


Even after countless times of saving the Emperor (and the Empire) and proving himself, there are those who are jealous of Detective Dee's success and would be more than happy to see him fail and fall from grace, including the power hungry Empress. The Empress fears Dee maybe onto her ambitions for the throne and she hires magicians, charlatans, and mystics to commit murder and get rid of Dee. With each murder or mystery seems to point to the failure of Dee, discrediting him and his Bureau of Investigation. Detective Dee is not only a martial arts master but also a man of science, and he senses there is more than meets the eye and must stop this 'mystical' coup d'etat before it is too late.


This is a martial arts filled movie set in a fantasy of ancient China, it is filled with eye candy special effects. While the plot is fairly simple there are still plenty of funny moments and witty lines. In this particular story it is about how the main character must disprove that magic is no more than mind tricks and sleight of hand.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is an impressive HD shoot looking as good as any film in the series we've covered to date, while the DTS: X 11.1 lossless sound (DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 mixdown for older systems) is often as good sonically and the combination just edges out the previous entries in playback.


There are unfortunately no extras, unless you include a few trailers, but you can read about more releases in the series on Blu-ray as follows...


Detective Dee & The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11296/Behind+The+Mask+(The+Shadow/1946/MGM+Lim


Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/12573/Young+Detective+Dee:+Rise+Of+The+Sea+Drago



Next, Luke Wilson and David Arquette star in High Voltage (2018), which certainly isn't your typical movie about an emerging rock band. Directed by Alex Keledjian, the film centers around Jimmy Kleen (Arquette), a veteran rock star, who finds an engaging new voice in Rachel (Allie Gonino) and guitar player Scott (Ryan Donowho). Once they have a hit song, they pitch it to a studio executive Rick Roland (Luke Wilson), who ends up getting the band in the spotlight. While the road to fame is a little rocky at first, there's still a great deal of potential in the group.


Shortly after Rachel and her Mother (Perrey Reeves) end up getting struck by lightning and killed. Rachel is brought back from the dead... but now has unique mutant electrical powers. Using this power, she also inherits the power to drain life from men... and creating an unforgettable rock show in the process!


Presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio and audio tracks in both 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless tracks, the presentation overall is pretty good. The colors are spot on and the film isn't terribly shot by any means. There's detail in the images and texture on production design and costumes. The anamorphically enhanced DVD isn't terrible either considering the format, with similar specs but more evident compression than the Blu-ray. A digital copy is also included with the DVD.


No Extras.


If you mix an X-Men-type storyline with a rock band story then you kinda get the gist of High Voltage. Campy but fun, it's definitely worth a watch.



Tony Williams' Ozploitation classic Next of Kin (1982) is a creepy and atmospheric flick that horror fans should definitely revisit in this new edition from Umbrella. Praised by Quentin Tarantino in the documentary Not Quite Hollywood (reviewed elsewhere on this site) by Mark Hartley, the film centers around a young girl who inherits a creepy haunted estate called the Montclare, where murders start to slowly take place amidst other weirdness...


The film stars Alex Scott, Gerda Nicolson, Jacki Kerin, John Jarratt, and Robert Rattri to name a few.


Remastered in 4K from the original 35mm inter-positive with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and paired with a new DTS HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, this is the sharpest release of the film on home video as of yet. The score by Klaus Shulze comes across beautifully here as does the excellent cinematography by Gary Hansen. Contrast levels and details are spot on and it definitely pushes the boundaries of what Blu-ray can offer.


Special Features include...


Audio commentary with Director Tony Williams and Producer Tim White


Audio commentary with cast members John Jarratt, Jackie Kerrin, Robert Ratti and Not Quite Hollywood Director, Mark Hartley.


Return to Montclare: Next of Kin Shooting locations revisited


Extended interviews from Not Quite Hollywood


Deleted Scenes


Original Theatrical Trailer


VHS Trailer


German Trailer


German Opening Credits


Before the Night is Out - Complete ballroom dancing footage from 1978


Image Gallery


and Tony Williams shorts from 1971: Getting Together + The Day We Landed on the Most Perfect Planet in the Universe.



Truth or Dare (2017) and not the Blumhouse version (or that Madonna film for that matter), is your basic supernatural horror flick and nothing more. The premise is simple: eight college friends go to a 'haunted rental' for the weekend, but in term play the haunted game of Truth or Dare. 'Do the dare or the dare does you' is the theme and ala Final Destination, the spirit lops off its victims one by one until they outsmart it. This TV movie isn't too bad, but nothing particularly special either.


The film stars Cassandra Scerbo, Brytni Sarpy, Mason Dye, Alexis Lemire, Ricardo Hoyos, Luke Baines, Harvey Guillen, Christina Masterson, and a cameo by Heather Langenkamp.


The film is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen with a lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a nice presentation for DVD. The film is pretty natural throughout and not overly stylized, which is fine for the artistic direction the film goes in.


No extras.



Finally, Blue Underground presents a definitive new version of the greatest Italian zombie movie of all time, Lucio Fulci's Zombie (1979, aka Zombi, Zombi 2 and Zombie Flesh Eaters). An unofficial sequel to George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead (in Italy it was called 'Zombi') , this is the film that spawned several sequels including Zombi 3, which was also directed (mostly) by Fulci. You'll definitely want to check out Severin's new Blu-ray updates to Zombi 3 and 4 if you haven't yet, which were released earlier this year.


Check out our review of those releases in the link below:


Zombi 3 and 4 - Severin Blu-ray Review

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/15327/The+Strangers:+Prey+At+Night+(2018/Universal


In Zombie, a group of strangers including a New York reporter (Ian McCulloch) helps a woman (Tisa Farrow) on a rescue mission to find her father. But they soon end up on an island where the dead once again walk the earth and a Doctor (Richard Johnson) faces an uncharted epidemic!


This cult classic also stars Al Cliver, Auretta Gay, and Steania D'Amario.


Complete with a very cool lenticular cover (there are three in total to collect), this new edition of Zombie celebrates the film's 40th Anniversary and has the best looking transfer by far over previous editions as BU has taken the time to remaster the film in 4K.


There are so many great sequences in this film such as the 'splinter in the eye' scene, the shark scene, and the overall look and style of the production design and special effects make it a classic. If (by some chance) you have never seen this film, consider yourself a fan of horror, and are a fan of zombies, then this is one you don't want to overlook!


To horror fans in the know, this is an absolute classic so to see a zombie fighting a shark in its full 4K glory is a beautiful thing, even though it's a 1080p Blu-ray transfer and not a 4K UHD disc. The film is presented in its original 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio and beautiful sounding tracks in both dubbed English and original Italian (with English subs) in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 and DTS-HD MA Mono lossless tracks. The colors pop more overall and come across vibrant and richer in detail than previous releases of the film on various formats including the previously released Blu-ray edition. That includes the import version, neither of which can capture the color range, depth or detail as this new 4K scan does in total.


Check out reviews of previous versions of the film here:


Blue Underground's previous Zombie release on Blu-ray

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11324/Alien+2:+On+Earth+(1980/Midnight+Legacy/MVD


An older Region B Umbrella release of the film that we also covered:

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/13358/Zombie+Flesh+Eaters+(1979+aka+Zombi/Fulci)/Zo


The Special Features for this new ultimate edition are vast and include:


BLU-RAY DISC ONE


Introduction - exclusive new video introduction to Zombie by acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro. In English, not subtitled.


When the Earth Spits Out the Dead: Interview with Stephen Thrower featurette


Trailers/Radio Spots


Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth, author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films.


Vintage audio commentary features star Ian McCulloch and Diabolik Magazine editor Jason J. Slater.


BLU-RAY DISC TWO


Seven Featurettes:


Zombie Wasteland


Flesh Eaters on Film


Deadtime Stories


World of the Dead


Zombi Italiano


Notes on a Headstone


Zombie Lover



CD DISC:


Soundtrack - the original motion picture soundtrack by Fabio Frizzi. Nine tracks. (28 min).


Booklet - 22-page illustrated booklet featuring Stephen Thrower's essay "We Are Going to Eat You! Zombie vs. The Critics" and technical credits.


For hardcore horror fans this is a must have upgrade, even if you bought it before on the Blu-ray format or own multiple copies of it. This definitive edition has such a great new remastered look and paired with plenty of extras (and a few new ones too) and time taken on the packaging and overall presentation (which is sadly a lost art anymore), elevates this release above others.



To order the Next Of Kin Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and other hard-to-find titles at:


http://www.umbrellaent.com.au/



- Ricky Chiang (Dee) and James Lockhart

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


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