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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Mystery > Psychological > Literature > Black Cat (1934/Universal/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/Forever Evil (1987/MVD/VCI DVD)/Girl In The Fog (2017/Icarus DVD)/The Island (2018)/Swindlers (2017/both Well Go Blu-rays)

Black Cat (1934/Universal/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/Forever Evil (1987/MVD/VCI DVD)/Girl In The Fog (2017/Icarus DVD)/The Island (2018)/Swindlers (2017/both Well Go Blu-rays)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Black Cat Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD players that can handle PAL DVDs and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a group of old and new thrillers for your consideration...

The Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi 1934 classic The Black Cat, based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe, is one of Universal's most underrated classics. While it was just released on Blu-ray in the states as part of a multi-disc collection, its presented here solo on DVD in a new transfer by Umbrella Corp. For being a standard definition presentation, the film looks and sounds great.

Made at the early height of their fame, The Black Cat stars Karloff and Lugosi (without monster attire) in a film directed by Edgar G. Ulmer (Detour, reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray elsewhere on this site). The film starts with two stranded Budapest honeymooners who get into a bit of bad luck when they follow a mad doctor (Lugosi) to a black-lipped architect's (Karloff) Art Deco manor. There, they discover a series of horrors centering around a black cat.

The film also stars David Manners, Julie Bishop, Lucille Lund, Harry Cording, and Egon Brecher. It is produced by Carl Laemmle Jr, and E.M. Asher.

No extras on the disc... over even a menu for that matter.

While it hasn't been included in any of the Universal Monsters box sets or collections, it definitely should be. (It has a part of the collection during the VHS days.) The Black Cat is an absolute classic and everyone should take the time to see it. This edition isn't as sharp as a 1080p version, but is fine nevertheless.

The 1987 low budget horror feature, Forever Evil (1987), gets a two disc DVD treatment from VCI. Directed by Roger Evans (Ghosted), is about some college kids who end up resurrecting an ancient god named Yog Kothag, who wrecks havoc on them.

Forever Evil stars Tracey Huffman, Charles L. Trotter, and Red Mitchell.

The extras include:

Director and Writer's Commentary

Deleted Scenes

2 Versions: Never before seen Director's Cut and the original Home Video Premiere Cut

Forever Evil is a pretty generic '80s horror flick and nothing too terribly special. I'm not sure why they didn't put this out on Blu-ray instead of DVD, but nevertheless, this is as close as an ultimate edition to the film as fans are going to get right now.

Donato Carrisi's Girl In The Fog (2017) wants to be a police procedural murder mystery that is a cut above the endless TV series in the cycle, but despite some star power and some effort, it does not quite work out that way and if you really know mystery stories, it will be obvious what is going on after the half-way mark when the so-so screenplay walks itself back into a corner it cannot get out of.

Toni Saervillo and Alessio Boni are joined by Jean Reno in this mystery of a 16-year-old girl who disappears from a town in the Italian Alps and no one knows how or if she is even alive or dead. At first, we do get some good scenes and some shots look good, but this eventually gets repetitive and then obvious if you know the genre. For the curio only, if the makers just tried to do more with the source book (wonder how it compares to the book?), this could have been a nice surprise. Instead, its just average at best.

There are no extras.

After a world ending prediction of a meteorite to strike earth, a small company takes a company trip to de-stress and relax. But rather than a world ending meteorite, they are caught in a storm and tsunami and they all end up on an island. What was to be a team building vacation turns into an island survival ...but can they survive each other?

In Huang Bo's The Island (2018), Ma Jin was just your typical company man, on the day of his company trip he discovers he had the winning lottery ticket in his pocket (just as they left port). Now along with his co-workers (which he has a crush on one of the girls, Shanshan) they are stuck on an island in the middle of the sea. Immediately, all the guys start fighting to decide who would be the alpha male/leader, while the girls use their wiles and sexuality to get the guys to do/give things for them.

They started out as one group, but soon broke into 2 groups because Group 1 was just a bunch of bullies forcing those at the bottom to do all the work. The Group 2 finds a wreaked cargo ship and makes it their base, the ship is loaded with food and supplies and other comforts of civilization. Group 2 then uses trade and barter system to get Group 1 to do the menial labor on the island. Ma Jin and his brother eventually break away and form a 3rd group and he realize to truly find a way to escape the island everyone must work together instead of fighting to be King of the Island.

After many months, their escape from the island comes in the form of the mysterious noise they keep hearing every few weeks, turns out to be a cruise liner that passes nearby the island and it was it's horn. However, in order to get a signal big enough for the cruise liner to see them, they have to burn/sacrifice their 'home' with all their food, supplies, and tools. Ma Jin sets their home on fire, and he is chased all over the island by a lynch mob.

This was a comical movie of a group of people trying to survive on a beautiful island paradise. It was like a mix of Lord of the Flies and Robinson Crusoe, but with a Chinese cast and a bit of comedy. It basically explores human nature in how do we value and interact with others if we take away our money, position and rank in society. Would we still even work as a society or would we revert back to survival of the fittest? Bo is among the cast.

Extras include trailers.

A legendary con man steals $300 million dollars, but after 8 years of escaping with the loot is rumored to be alive and well after faking his own death. Prosecutor Park has decided in order to catch the ultimate con man to use a team of con artists. He assembles an illegal and off-the-books team to bait and catch the legendary bandit. Their newest recruit, Ji-sung has a past with master thief and seeks revenge for the death of his father. But everyone has their secrets and the last thing a con man does is reveal the tricks of his trade in Chang Won Yang's Swindlers (2017).

Ji-sung is a young con artist with much potential, but he finds himself reluctantly recruited by Prosecutor Park to find the man who was responsible for his father's death. Prosecutor has given each of his 'teammates' a choice, work for him or go to jail. While they all work together to catch the Legendary Bandit, they goals are very different. Truth is, the government helped the Legendary Bandit and Prosecutor Park was hired to clean up all evidence job, but now they want the Legendary Bandit's score. But secretly, Prosecutor Park wants to steal the money for himself and then kill the rest of his team in a heist gone wrong. Ji-sung and his fellow con artists are conning the con within the con, they knows more than Prosecutor Park thinks, they know how the government help covered up the and fake the Bandit's death (that's why Ji-sung's father was killed). Ji-sung and his team seek to find proof and evidence to bring those involved with the heist to bring justice for all the pain they caused.

Conning and scamming is a way of life in Korea and politics, the only difference between a con man and a politician is the nice suits they wear. This is a con job movie about con artists trying to bait and catch another con artist, while their employer only cares about the money, between the con artists they still have a code of honor among thieves, they know their boss plans to get rid of them after the job, but they instead turn the tables on them with a con within the con. Extras include trailers.

Presented in black and white and a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono English mix, The Black Cat looks and sounds as good as it can in this release. While there are instances of compression, the film being older looks passable on DVD.

Forever Evil is presented on standard definition DVD with a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and features a newly enhanced, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 (and 2.0) mixes of the film. Compression issues are evident, as is the norm with the format, but the older lower budgeted film looks as good as to be expected here. The soundtrack by Rod Slane is a highlight and helps boost production value but overall, the film would look much better in 1080p.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Fog is not an awful HD shoot, but has softness and flaws throughout, a combo of the format and production, while the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix is on the weak side and it is not just because this is dialogue-based often.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Island and Swindlers are HD shoots and the best performers on the list, not always by default either. It is not to say they are perfect and minor flaws can be found, but they should be interesting 4K contenders. Both also offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes in Mandarin and Korean respectively and lesser English dubs that do no0t play as well. They both have fine soundfields, but Swindlers is simply better.

To order The Black Cat Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard to find releases:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Fog), Ricky Chiang (Well Go) and James Lockhart



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