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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Slasher > Exploitation > Revenge Western > Civil War > Treasure > Science Fiction > Surrealism > Edge Of The Axe (1988/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Great Day In The Morning (1956*)/The House (2016/Artsploitation DVD)/Life Like (2019/Lionsgate DVD)/Nightwish (1989/Unearthed Films Blu-ray)/Underwater! (1954/

Edge Of The Axe (1988/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Great Day In The Morning (1956*)/The House (2016/Artsploitation DVD)/Life Like (2019/Lionsgate DVD)/Nightwish (1989/Unearthed Films Blu-ray)/Underwater! (1954/*both RKO/Warner Archive Blu-rays)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Great Day In The Morning and Underwater! Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Up next are a good mix of genre films with all kinds of action and untended humor...

We start with a forgotten '80s slasher from Spanish filmmaker Jose Ramon Larraz (Vampyres, Symptoms), Edge of the Axe (1988) gets a new remaster on Blu-ray disc courtesy of Arrow video. This killer dons a white mask that looks somewhere in between Jason's hockey mask and Michael Myers' solid white mask. Arrow once again delivers the goods with this charming B movie that will satisfy fans of '80s horror looking for something new to watch.

Edge of the Axe has a run of the mill slasher plot but basically a killer strikes a Northern California mountain town in various murderous ways. (There's a fun opening where the killer strikes in a car wash.)

The film stars Barton Faulks, Christina Marie Lane, Page Mosely, Fred Holliday, Patty Shepard, Alicia Moro, and Jack Taylor.

Edge of the Axe is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a great sounding uncompressed audio mix in English LPCM Mono. This is a brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative and it shines through very nicely here on Blu-ray. There are also new subtitles on the disc for the Spanish audio mix.

Special Features include:

Brand new audio commentary with actor Barton Faulks

Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues

Newly-filmed interview with actor Barton Faulks

The Pain in Spain - a newly-filmed interview with special effects and make-up artist Colin Arthur

Image Gallery

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn

and First Pressing Only: Collector's Booklet featuring new writing by Amanda Reyes

Jacques Tourneur's Great Day In The Morning (1956) is an action Revenge Western set in the days just before The Civil War breaks out, including in Denver, Colorado. Owen (Robert Stack) has just survived an 'Indian' attack and lands up in a potential love triangle (Virginia Mayo and Ruth Roman play the competing women) as he wins the deed to a saloon. This brings him up against a shifty cheat of an owner (a pre-Ironside Raymond Burr, still playing the heavy) and other criminals in town. He is especially interested in finding gold, but he may get more than he bargained for.

Well, the cliched Native Americans hurt the film early on, more predictability does not help and there is nothing too new here, but the cast is interesting, the use of color impressive and the film has some energy in its 92 minutes and its director can be thanked in part for that. Though not a great film, better than you might expect and worth a look, especially restored and presented looking so good here.

The 1080p 2.1 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer was shot in the SuperScope format, a forerunner of Super 35 Howard Hughes had someone invent since he did not want to pay Fox and Bausch & Lomb for CinemaScope and though it is not as good, it is not bad here. Though the film can show the age of the materials used at times, this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film with a superior representation of 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor on the best film prints made of the film. We get some demo shots as well that rank above my rating and it makes for interesting comparisons to Gone With The Wind. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix shows its age, but is not bad.

Four black and white sound short in standard (low) definition by Director Tourneur are the only extras.

The House (2016), also known as 'Huset', is an interesting 'Nazi Haunted House' film from Norway that utilizes its low budget for some interesting twists and thrills. The film is set against the snowy backdrop of Norway in World War II and has an interesting visual style that sets the film somewhere in the midst of Nazi Horror and Arthouse movie, making it the perfect title for the Artsploitation films label.

Directed by Reinert Kiil, The House centers around two German soldiers that are trekking along with a Norwegian soldier as prisoner. They take refuge in a house that seems innocent at first, but has some satanic ties that soon invade their minds. The film stars Frederik Von Luttichau, Mats Reinhardt, Sondrew Krogtoft Larsen, and Evy Kasseth Rosten.

The House is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition on DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mixes in English, German, and Norwegian with English subtitles. The image is a bit compressed, but that is evident with the aging DVD format. All in all, it looks up to standards.

Special Features include:

Behind the Scenes Doc

Short Film

Commentary with Director Reinert Kiil

Interview with the Director

and Artsploitation Trailers

Life Like (2019) is yet another spin on the Artificial Intelligence sub-genre and explores many ideas that have been brought up in previous, stronger entries.

The film centers on a young couple that adopts an A.I. machine and welcomes it into their home. Once the girl starts treating the robot a bit too much like a 'real boy', things start to get murky in their real relationship.

The film stars Drew Van Acker, Steven Strait, and Addison Timlin.

Life Like is presented in standard definition with an anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 English Dolby Digital mix, both of which are of the norm for the DVD format. Compression issues are evident throughout and would be corrected in an HD presentation. The digital effects are ambitious here and certainly aren't anything too impressive.

Special Features include:

Behind the Scenes featurette - Cast/Crew Interviews

and an Original Theatrical Trailer

Life Like is just another exploration of Artificial Intelligence goes awry and isn't anything new or different.

Nightwish (1989) is perhaps a bit ahead of its time in terms of concept and visual effects. Pretty technically dated to today's high standards, Nightwish is certainly a predecessor to Flatliners and maybe even Nolan's Inception in terms of its 'dream within a dream' scenarios. Unfortunately, the VFX are prehistoric here and there's a few laughable moments. Still, there's a lot to like in this dark, campy, little film. Directed by Bruce R. Cook, the film gets a HD upgrade thanks to Unearthed Films in this nice new edition, which also comes with a collectible insert booklet.

The plot centers around a professor and four graduate students journey to a crumbling mansion to investigate paranormal activity and must battle ghosts, aliens and satanic entities in the process. The film stars Brian Thompson, Jack Starrett, Elizabeth Kaitan, Alisha Das, Clayton Rohner, and Artur Cybulksi.

Nightwish is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a new English LPCM 2.0 (48kHz, 16-bit) Stereo mix. While the film does look better overall, there are some rough looking patches where wear to the film print is evident, even though this claims to be a new 4K transfer.

Special Features include:

Commentary with Paul White and Stephen Biro

Photo Gallery

and Trailers

Finally, a campy fan favorite that has its moments, even when the script is lacking. John Sturges' Underwater! (1954) is best known for showing off the body of Jane Russell (a constant obsession of producer/billionaire Howard Hawks, who kept her employed for years and bought the entire RKO Studios at this point) and some decent, early under between, we get a mix of good and bad scenes, though I like the cast and how they interact, but the real highlight is the extensive use of then-modern SCUBA gear, the first for a major narrative motion picture (apparently) and it has its moments. Though uneven the film is good when it works and everyone should see this one just once just to see how well some of this actually holds up.

I has not seen it for eons and it looks and even sounds better than you might imagine. Lori Nelson, Robert Keith, Joseph Calleia, Ric Roman and Eugene Iglesias round out the smallish cast, but as fun as they are, play second at times to the title locale. Yes, you can tell much of this was shot in a studio, but it manages to create its own odd world when movies were more fun and not trying so hard for all the wrong reasons.

The 1080p 2.00 X 1 digital High Definition image was shot in SuperScope (see more about that above in the Morning review) and was also originally issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor. Though not as color-rich as Morning, it still looks good and the actual underwater footage holds up well, no cheating with digital effects or faking it with dry-for-wet photography. It is still a little on the blue side, but it is fine, though not as richly blue as the Technicolor underwater work in the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is surprisingly clean and clear for its age.

There are sadly no extras.

To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, Great Day In The Morning and Underwater!, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Warner Archive) and James Lockhart



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