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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Martial Arts > Crime > Murder > TV Mini-Series > Hollywood > Serial Killer > British > Fantasy > P > MidSomer Murders: Series 21 (2019/Acorn Blu-ray Set)/She Wolf (2013/Film Movement DVD)/Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017/RLJ Blu-ray w/DVD)

Day Of The Panther / Strike Of The Panther (1988/Umbrella PAL Import Blu-ray)/Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark (1988/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/The Invisible Man 4K (2020/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/MidSomer Murders: Series 21 (2019/Acorn Blu-ray Set)/She Wolf (2013/Film Movement DVD)/Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017/RLJ Blu-ray w/DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Day Of The Panther/Strike Of The Panther Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can play on all 4K & Blu-ray players and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a new group of murder thriller material for you to consider...

The Australian martial arts action/thriller double feature includes Day of the Panther (1988) and Strike of the Panther (1988), which were shot at the same time and released back to back when video stores were at their peak. Lost but not forgotten, they have now been brought together in HD from Umbrella as a fun time capsule piece for fans.

The first film stars Edward John Stazak as Jason Blade, who goes after a criminal gang and its boss, who were responsible for the death of his partner and fists fly as he battles through a masked army of villains. This was a time when martial arts films were particularly popular and for being a low budget production there's a lot of fun martial arts choreography here.

The films have the feel of Ozploitation thanks to the man behind the camera director Brian Trenchard-Smith, who also directed Turkey Shoot, Dead-End Drive-In, The Man From Hong Kong and BMX Bandits a few years prior (all reviewed elsewhere on this site).

The sequel film, Strike of the Panther, follows Jason Blade again as he attempts to rescue his damsel in distress against ninjas and his arch-enemy, Baxter, who has a world threatening bomb. The films also star John Stanton, Rowena Wallace, James Richards, Matthew Quartermaine, Zale Daniel, Linda Megier, and Bill McCluskey.

Day of the Panther and Strike of the Panther are both presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc from Umbrella. Both films has a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless mixes, and both look and sound fine for the format. Shot originally on 16mm film, the '80s films have been restored decently here by Umbrella and are worth picking up.

The only special features are trailers for the films.

Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark (1988) is a B movie cult classic that finally gets a proper release stateside thanks to Arrow video. Elvira (inspired by Vampiria from back in the days of Ed Wood) is one of horror's biggest icons and her first feature film is pure schlocky fun from frame one. This disc from Arrow was delayed quite a few times, and so it is very nice to see it finally here.

Starring the one and only Cassandra Petersen as Elvira, the busty and beautiful horror movie hostess ends up clashing with the dull sunshine community when she goes to claim her inheritance from her recently deceased Uncle Vincent. As she visits the small Massachusetts community that doesn't accept her gothic sensibilities, she discovers that her uncle is very much alive and is a warlock scheming against her. The side splitting humor is on point with sharp direction by James Signorelli. Let's hope that Arrow releases the sequel, Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001) in the not too distant future.

The film also stars Larry 'Flash' Jenkins, Edie McClurg, Pat Crawford Brown, William Duell, and William Morgan Sheppard.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is presented here in 1080p high definition from a new 4K scan from the original feature film elements. The film is presented in its original widescreen format of 1.85:1 and a new original uncompressed English LPCM stereo 2.0 audio (48kHz, 24-bit). Superior to alternate editions of the film that have come out over the years, this one stands out as the most detailed and vibrant.

Special Features include:

Introduction to the film by director James Signorelli

2017 Audio Commentary with director James Signorelli, hosted by Fangoria editor emeritus Tony Timpone

2017 Audio Commentary with Patterson Lundquist, www.elviramistressofthedark.com

webmaster and judge of US TV show The Search for the Next Elvira

Too Macabre - The Making of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark - newly-revised 2018 version of this feature-length documentary on the making of the film, including interviews with various cast and crew and rare never-before-seen archival material

Recipe for Terror: The Creation of the Pot Monster - newly-revised 2018 version of this featurette on the concept and design of the pot monster, as well as the film's other SFX

Original storyboards

Extensive image galleries

Original US theatrical and teaser trailers

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck

and 'Here Comes Elvira' collectible insert booklet.

Universal still doesn't know what to do with its classic monster properties and it's become a bit sad. While Dracula: Untold and The Mummy (with Tom Cruise) were both mediocre attempts at revitalizing their classic monster franchise, their Dark Universe label was quickly swept under the rug after the big announcement they made a few years ago. Personally, I had high hopes for Dark Universe, and would have preferred to see Johnny Depp take on the Invisible Man role, and would have liked to have seen how that film would have panned out.

However, this new take on H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man (2020), produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse Films, is an interesting modernized spin, although quite different from the original film and book. It mainly serves as a showcase of talent of its leading lady Elisabeth Moss (The Kitchen, Us, Handmaiden's Tale) and rising director Leigh Whannell (Upgrade). The result is a film along the same lines (though not as campy) as Paul Verhoeven's underrated invisible man film, Hollow Man, with a more feminist and 'realistic' spin on the concept.

The Invisible Man also stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, and Harriet Dyer.

Cecilia (Moss) is a frightened woman trying to escape her rich abuse boyfriend. When he turns up dead out of nowhere, she doesn't believe that he actually committed suicide. As she brushes with death more than once, she senses that an 'invisible man' is after her. While everyone, including her own sister, thinks that she has gone insane, the bodies of those close to her and several odd occurrences start to pile up.

The Invisible Man is presented in 2160p 4K UHD disc with an HEVC H.265 codec with Dolby Vision/HDR10+ (high dynamic range) and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1, along with several different audio options in English Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless mix (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mixdown for older systems) and foreign language tracks.

The film is eloquently shot with an effective soundtrack that is sure to make skittish viewers jump one or two times. I think what excels most in the photography of this movie is some of the slow moving camera moments and the overall voyeuristic approach. There are many scenes in the film where we think we know where the invisible man is, but maybe we don't? This intrigue is accomplished nicely with the sharp editing and photography here.

There's also a 1080p high definition Blu-ray version with similar specs and a digital copy. I saw this film when it was released in theaters before the coronavirus pandemic, and the home presentation here is comparable and effective on 4K UHD disc.

Special Features include:

Deleted Scenes

Moss Manifisted featurette

Director's Journey with Leigh Whannell featurette

'The Players' featurette

'Timeless Terror' featurette

and a feature-length audio commentary with writer/director Leigh Whannell.

While the original Universal monster classic, The Invisible Man, will remain an untouchable classic, this new take is definitely worth checking out. It will be interesting to see what steps Universal and Blumhouse take next in this new phase of the 'dark universe.' (Not that it's being called that anymore.) It is refreshing to see horror that's well received by audiences, as this one was. To tackle the Frankenstein monster effectively with a new spin with prove to be a unique challenge for the studio in the coming years.

So here we go yet again, back to MidSomer, a beautiful county in England but with the highest murder rate and the most macabre of murders. DCI John Barnaby and his assistant DS Jamie Winter solve murders with the oddest of cases and where everyone is a suspect. And before case is done they will uncover secrets the connection between the suspects, murderer and victims in MidSomer Murders: Series 21 (2019).

DCI Barnaby and DS Winter don't carry guns they don't kick down doors (well at least not Barnaby), but they are tasked with solving all the odd murderers in their small, but picturesque county, along with Fleur their forensic investigator they must deduce how their victim was killed and who did it. Wealthy artists, socialites, CEOs who create the most oddest murders to fool the detectives and get away with murder. And because they think they can fool the detectives, the murder suspects never run. However, the hard part about solving the murders is that every other suspect also has a reasons they wanted to kill the victim and at times there not just one murderer, but murderers. At the end of every episode they have all their suspect gather together and DCI Barnaby and DS Winter exposes who the killer/killers are and what their fatal mistake was.

This one of the best murder mystery series in beautiful English countryside with a British accent. It is enjoyable to watch as the detectives banter and interrogate their suspects as well as balance their own drama in their personal lives. Extras include behind-the-scenes featurette and trailers.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 image and lossless DTS-HD MA sound are pretty much the same as they have been in the previous, recent seasons (reviewed elsewhere on this site), so that leaves us with the episodes...

The Point of Balance - A former champion dancer is found dead and it is all connected to a robotics company who claims it is industrial espionage.

The Miniature Murders - A slumlord is found murdered and the detectives only clue is the doll house they left behind.

The Sting of Death - A wealthy master beekeeper is being targeted by a murderer, but the murderer is somehow using bees to commit the murders.

and With Bated Breath - Dead bodies are being found during a mud race and fishing competition and somehow they are connect to each other and the secret of the lake.

She Wolf (2013) is an artfully made black and white serial killer film from Argentina. The story is about a woman who at first appears to be the victim, but is really a split personality who seduces and kills men in Buenos Aires. She eventually falls in love and has to fight her three inner demons. (One is a sensual woman, one a demon, and the other a somewhat normal and sensible human). One her proposed victims who she attempts to poison turns out to be a cop and ends up hot on her trail.

She Wolf stars Lujan Ariza, Guadalupe Docampo, Guillermo Pfening, and Cesar Bordon.

The film is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix with English subtitles, both of which are standard for the format. The film is shot through an interesting and artistic lens that captures the mental state of the main character in an interesting way. Being that the film is in standard definition, there are some slight compression issues evident that are native to the format.

No extras.

While it has some interesting moments, She Wolf is mainly a violent skin flick with some arthouse moments.

And finally, heavily inspired by the early Mexican films of Guillermo Del Toro (such as The Devil's Backbone), Issa Lopez's Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) takes a very real setting and adds a bit of dark fairytale magic to make it a bit more interesting. While not as effective as something by Del Toro himself, there's a lot to like about Tigers Are Not Afraid and it's definitely one of the better films that I've seen under the Shudder banner. This new edition is in a collectible steel book packaging too that is recommendable from RLJE Entertainment.

The Spanish language film, Tigers Are Not Afraid, stars Paola Lara, Juan Ramon Lopez, Nery Arredondo, Hanssel Casillas, and Rodrigo Cortes.

Taking place during Mexico's earlier drug wars, a group of orphaned children are left to fend for themselves on the dangerous streets. One of them, a small girl, is given 'three wishes' by her teacher to keep her and her friends safe. Every time a wish is made, something intense happens, however, slowly leads them to the cartel that killed their parents.

The film is pretty darn good with sharp direction by Issa Lopez, who gets strong performances from all of the children in the movie. The cinematography and overall production design is well executed as is the stark contrast of day and night scenes. CGI is used only when really needed and there was a lot of thought put into the fairy tale aspects that the film delivers upon.

Tigers Are Not Afraid is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and several audio mixes, two in English dubbed version (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo), and the original Spanish language track in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with optional English subtitles. Also included in this release is an anamorphically enhanced, standard definition DVD with the same widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy audio mix in English and Spanish in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1.

Special Features include:

Director's Commentary

The Making of Tigers are Not Afraid featurette

Interview with Guillermo del Toro and Issa Lopez at Toronto International Film Festival

Deleted Scenes

Casting Sessions

Photo Galleries

and Steel Book packaging.

A gritty and intense film, Tigers Are Not Afraid is worth checking out and shows a lot of promise in the future for director Issa Lopez.

To order Day Of The Panther/Strike Of The Panther Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard to find titles:


- Ricky Chiang (MidSomer) and James Lockhart



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