The Creatures Were Stirring
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
(1979/Fulci aka Zombi/Blue
Underground Blu-ray/CD Limited Edition Remaster Set)
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+
Import, Region Free Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at
Umbrella Entertainment and can be ordered from the link below.
a good group of thrillers, usually in the Horror genre, to hear about
and they include an impressive upgrade of a classic...
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Through The House
is a play on the classic Christmas
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
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.
is the last short in the mix where some bizarre things happen over a
Christmas Dinner Party with aliens. This one stars Constance Wu
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.
anthology film is presented on anamorphically
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.
only Special Feature is a Filmmaker Commentary by Rebekah & David
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
are unfortunately no extras, unless you include a few trailers, but
you can read about more releases in the series on Blu-ray as
Dee & The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame
Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon
Luke Wilson and David Arquette star in High
(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.
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!
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
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.
you mix an X-Men-type
storyline with a rock band story then you kinda get the gist of High
fun, it's definitely worth a watch.
Williams' Ozploitation classic Next
(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
(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
film stars Alex Scott, Gerda Nicolson, Jacki Kerin, John Jarratt, and
Robert Rattri to name a few.
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.
commentary with Director Tony Williams and Producer Tim White
commentary with cast members John Jarratt, Jackie Kerrin, Robert
Ratti and Not Quite Hollywood Director, Mark Hartley.
Shooting locations revisited
interviews from Not
the Night is Out - Complete ballroom dancing footage from 1978
Tony Williams shorts from 1971: Getting
Day We Landed on the Most Perfect Planet in the Universe.
(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
'Do the dare or the dare does you' is the theme and ala Final
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.
film stars Cassandra Scerbo, Brytni Sarpy, Mason Dye, Alexis Lemire,
Ricardo Hoyos, Luke Baines, Harvey Guillen, Christina Masterson, and
a cameo by Heather Langenkamp.
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.
Blue Underground presents a definitive new version of the greatest
Italian zombie movie of all time, Lucio Fulci's Zombie
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
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.
out our review of those releases in the link below:
- Severin Blu-ray Review
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!
cult classic also stars Al Cliver, Auretta Gay, and Steania D'Amario.
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 Blue Underground has taken
the time to remaster the film in 4K.
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
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 subtitles) 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.
out reviews of previous versions of the film here:
Underground's previous Zombie
release on Blu-ray
older Region B Umbrella release of the film that we also covered:
Special Features for this new ultimate edition are vast and include:
- exclusive new video introduction to Zombie by acclaimed director
Guillermo del Toro. In English, not subtitled.
the Earth Spits Out the Dead:
Interview with Stephen Thrower featurette
Commentary with Troy Howarth, author of Splintered
Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films.
audio commentary features star Ian McCulloch and Diabolik
editor Jason J. Slater.
Eaters on Film
of the Dead
on a Headstone
- the original motion picture soundtrack by Fabio Frizzi. Nine
tracks. (28 min).
- 22-page illustrated booklet featuring Stephen Thrower's essay "We
Are Going to Eat You! Zombie vs. The Critics"
and technical credits.
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.
Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and other
hard-to-find titles at:
Ricky Chiang (Dee)