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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Slasher > Exploitation > Holiday > Norway > Supernatural > Comedy > Aliens > Psychological Thrill > Christmas Blood (2013/Artsploitation DVD)/House With A Clock In Its Walls 4K (2018/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Ouija House (2018/PAL DVD*)/Pet Shop (1994/MVD/Full Moon Blu-ray)/Single W

Christmas Blood (2013/Artsploitation DVD)/House With A Clock In Its Walls 4K (2018/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Ouija House (2018/PAL DVD*)/Pet Shop (1994/MVD/Full Moon Blu-ray)/Single White Female (1992/Sony/Blu-ray/*both Umbrella Region Free Imports)



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



PLEASE NOTE: The Ouija House PAL DVD (plays only on 4K Blu-ray, Bu-ray and DVD layers that can handle the format) and Single White Female Blu-ray imports are now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia and can be ordered from the link below.



And now some horror and thriller material for the holidays, but a few are for larger 'family' audiences...



Director Reinert Kiil (The House) directs Christmas Blood (2017) which is also known as Juleblod, a Norwegian holiday horror film that has some fun aspects to it, but is far from perfect. Set in a Norwegian town where there is no sunlight for months on end, a killer dressed as Santa hacks and slashes his way into their nightmares.


The film stars Thomas Felberg, Stig Henrik Hoff, Solje Bergman, Sondre Krogtoft Larsen, and May Lydia Eidsto.


Christmas Blood is presented on standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix in Norwegian with English subtitles. The overall look of the film is dark and is lit appropriately as the town is supposed to be without sunlight... but it makes for a disorienting feeling while watching the lot of the film. Overall, the cinematography by Benjamin Mosli isn't without merit, and captures the essence of a town deprived of the sun.


The only extra on the disc is the Trailer.


Christmas Blood isn't terrible and has an interesting atmosphere, but isn't bound to be a cult classic by any means.



Director Eli Roth steps out of his R/NC-17-rated comfort zone, and attempts PG fantasy with The House with a Clock in its Walls (2018), which stars Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. Aimed at the Harry Potter/Goosebumps crowd, the film is a bit silly and cooky, but more fun than I expected it to be and is even, a bit dark. The money is on the screen, and Roth managed to get some solid performances out of his cast, while the film could have easily been a disaster. Universal does another grand 4K UHD treatment in this recommended new release.


The film also stars Owen Vaccaro, Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, and Renee Elise Goldsberry and is based on the beloved children's classic book written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey.


Lewis (Vaccaro) is a social outcast yet oddly brilliant young boy. He goes to live with his Uncle Jonathan (Black) in his highly unusual mansion that's full of oddities, and an equally odd neighbor named Mrs. Zimmerman (Blanchett). It doesn't take long for Lewis to figure out that the two are magic-folk and both possess otherworldly abilities. At the center of the mansion is a beating clock that brings with it imagination and wonder... what will Lewis find as he unlocks the mystery of this clock?


The film is presented with a stunning 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image 4K UHD disc and its original 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio. Paired with exquisite tracks in Dolby Atmos (Dolby True HD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) lossless sound, this is a high end presentation of the film that's nothing short of marvelous. The CG in the film is textured and realistic for the most part, and the production design is lavish and captured nicely here. Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray edition with similar sound and widescreen specs, and a digital copy.


Special Features are packed in this edition and (per the press release) include...


Warlocks and Witches - Go behind the scenes with the enchanting cast of The House with a Clock in Its Walls


Finding Lewis - A look at the casting of Owen Vaccaro


Jack's Magical Journey - A look at the unique dynamism and magic that Jack Black brings to the character of Jonathan Barnavelt


The Great Cate - The cast discuss Cate Blanchett's wonderful performance as Florence Zimmerman


The Terrifying Isaac Izard - Watch Kyle MacLachlan's creepy evolution from living icon to undead-warlock Movie Magic


The Ultimate Haunted House - Join filmmakers for a guided tour through the incredible house at the center of the film


Automatons Attack - A behind-the-scenes look at the mechanical horrors involved in this chilling sequence


Pumpkin Puke - Behind the scenes with the cast and an army of spooky, snarling, vomiting pumpkins


Moving Pieces - Filmmakers and cast discuss the amazing clock room set


Baby Jack - A behind-the-scenes look at the creepy Baby Jack sequence


Tick Tock: Bringing the Book to Life - Filmmakers discuss how they adapted the book for the big screen


Eli Roth: Director's Journals - Director Eli Roth takes viewers behind the scenes at Candler Mansion, Newnan, GA, The Chair, Comrade Ivan, New Zebedee Elementary, and Wrap Day


Owen Goes Behind the Scenes - Armed with his own camera, Owen guides viewers on his own journey behind-the-scenes of the movie, Around the Set, Behind the Camera, The Big Interview, and Downtime on Set


Theme Song Challenge - Eli Roth and the cast are challenged to come up with a theme song for the film


Do You Know Jack Black? - The cast compete with each other to see who knows Jack Black the best


Abracadabra! - Eli Roth performs a magic trick for Owen Vaccaro


Jack Black's Greatest Fear - Eli Roth and Owen Vaccaro play a prank on Jack Black


and The Mighty Wurlitzer - Composer Nathan Barr discusses how he created the film's unique and distinct score.


This is a surprisingly solid kids film that will appeal to just about anyone. Hopefully, a sequel is in order! Either way, this is a high end presentation on 4K Ultra HD, that is the proper way to see the film if not in theaters.



Ouija House (2018) is just another average killer ouija board movie. While it could have taken its indie filmmaking roots to a more violent extreme, the film plays it safe and sticks with jump scares, pretty (and a few recognizable) faces, and loud noises that audiences have come to expect. At the end of the day, it just isn't very scary, unfortunately...


The film stars Tara Reid (American Pie), Mischa Barton (The O.C.), Dee Wallace (E.T., The Howling), Carly Schroeder (Eye of the Dolphin) and scream queen Tiffany Shepis. (Abominable).


A graduate student (Schroeder) is trying to complete her research on a book that she hopes will help save her down-on-her-luck mother (Wallace) from financial ruin. Going on a weekend getaway with friend, they enter a spooky house with a mysterious past, where the group unwittingly summon an evil entity who puts their lives into jeopardy.


The film is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition on DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. The film isn't terribly shot and shows compression issues in this edition that is evident with the format.


No extras.


Offering the same level of fear as an Insidious movie, Ouija House is a tame haunted house popcorn muncher that follows the slasher formula to a predictable degree, and wastes some of the few decent cameos it has.



Pet Shop (1994) is a Moonbeam and Full Moon (Puppet Master series) production that wants to be a Spielberg film so very badly. Presented here in its best looking presentation yet in 1080p, the film is for B movie fans solely and certainly not for an over critical crowd. This is the first time this film has been available on any format since its initial 1994 VHS debut.


An odd alien couple (dressed like cowboys) that look human land on earth, and take over a pet shop. Populating it with bizarre creatures, their main goal is to lure in tasty Earth children. When the lovable kids step into the picture, the alien animals (disguised as earth animals) tend to bond with them, and less to their alien masters.


The film stars Terry Kiser, Leigh Ann Orsi, Spencer Vrooman, and Joanna Baron with direction by Hope Perello.


The film has the standard Blu-ray treatment and is presented in 1080p high definition with its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio, and is paired with both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Dolby Digital 2.0 lossy mix when we should have lossless sound. While it claims to be a scan from the original 35mm negative, the film wasn't lit perfectly, and has some scenes that look better than others. Some of the scenes in the pet shop have a blue color to them which looks a little over saturated here and some problematic blown out exteriors that are a little overexposed. The puppets are however pretty detailed and look fine in closeups.


Special Features include...


Moonbeam Entertainment Video Zone - a collection of old trailers


Additional Moonbeam Trailers


Pet Shop looks like it was made in the 1980s, but it was made around the same time that the original Jurassic Park and Flintstones movies were just coming out. While made a budget considerably less than those films, Pet Shop is a fun PG entry in the Full Moon catalog that's over the top and VERY campy. While a little dated, it can still appeal to most kids. It does make me miss an age where puppets were more predominant on the silver screen.



And that leaves us with a psychological thriller that was a hit in its time. Barbet Schroeder's Single White Female (1992) gets the deluxe Blu-ray treatment thanks to Umbrella. Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in the infamously sexy thriller thats still frighteningly relevant today. While it's been parodied (namely by the Mike Myers' So I Married An Axe Murderer), and remade countless times under different names, this film still holds up well and looks good in HD.


The film also stars Steven Weber, Peter Friedman, and Stephen Tobolowsky to name a few.


New to the city and split from her fiance, Allison (Fonda) ends up getting a new roommate named Hedra (Leigh) thanks to an innocent ad that she puts in the paper. While the two at first form a close friendship, Allison decides to give her ex another chance. This infuriates Hedy, who ends up becoming a totally different person than she was before, as shes consumed with jealousy and grows an unhealthy obsession with Allison.


The film is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.77:1 and a nice sounding 2.0 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) English Stereo lossless mix (with Pro Logic surrounds from its original Dolby System analog theatrical release). The film is pretty sharp looking, and is shot very cinematically. There is some grain in the image, but clarity and smoothness is consistent throughout. Howard Shore's score is very intense and comes across nicely on this release. A similar looking transfer was also released on Blu-ray by Shout! Factory also recently, and while I haven't personally seen that release, we'll see how they compare at some point. I'm surprised it took this long for this film to get released on Blu-ray honestly.


No extras unfortunately. In contrast, the Shout! Factory release has several extras including new interviews and commentaries.


Single White Female remains a strong thriller with great acting, direction, and an overall great cinematic feel. While you may think you have it figured out in the first act, the film will certainly keep you on the edge of your seat in its third act! The 'high heel' kill is still very effective!



To order either of the Umbrella imports (Single White Female Blu-rays or Ouija House DVD), go to this link for them and other hard-to-find releases:


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



- James Lockhart

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


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