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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Exploitation > Murder > Slasher > Creature > Shark > Italy > Cannibalism > Fantasy > TV > Western > Wit > Broil (2020/Well Go Blu-ray)/Cruel Jaws (1995*)/Massacre In Dinosaur Valley (1985*)/The Outpost: Season Two (2019/Electric DVD Set)/Pale Door (2020/RLJ Blu-ray)/Primitives (1980/*all Severin Blu-rays)

Broil (2020/Well Go Blu-ray)/Cruel Jaws (1995*)/Massacre In Dinosaur Valley (1985*)/The Outpost: Season Two (2019/Electric DVD Set)/Pale Door (2020/RLJ Blu-ray)/Primitives (1980/*all Severin Blu-rays)

Picture: B-/B-/B-/C+/B-/B- Sound: B-/C+/C+/C+/B-/C+ Extras: C-/C/C/D/C/C Main Programs: C-/C+/C/C/C/C

Now for a new set of B-movies, old and new, plus another fantasy TV series....

We start with a film that was especially lame, Edward Drake's Broil (2020) which has some family members trying to poison the grandfather of the family, but some kind of 'secret' might cause all of this to backfire (it is a 17-year-old gal who is most interested in doing this) and then the goofy script throws in everything but the kitchen sink, and they almost likely did that. Is it supernatural suddenly or are some of the people here mentally ill?

The script, what there is of it, never adds up and we land up caring less about anything here, while the acting is not that great and all more slightly exaggerated than it should have been. When it is all over, after 90 lame minutes, only the filmmakers might know what they were trying to say or do here. Yawn!

Bruno Mattei's Cruel Jaws (1995) is a very belated Jaws-wanna be, but such films somehow keep getting made, despite the original Spielberg film (now in a decent 4K edition) being widely available. We will likely never see a Jaws 5 (Back To The Future II jokes notwithstanding) but the first film (and the first two sequels, we gather) will always have a following and sooner or later, someone will get the bright idea to do a take-off, legalities or not.

This one was shot in South Florida and has some good shots, but they are not enough to offset how bad the film can get, though Mattei can obviously direct and he is not concerned with gore or blood (especially evident in the more uncut of the two versions here) and though Florida is having all kinds of troubles (esp. since this was made) they have not allowed the environment to be destroyed totally... yet.

So if interested, see it for the half-baked acting, better scenes and to see how much they ripped of the original film(s) and got away with it. At least there are no bad digital effects here, though expect plenty of stick footage of sharks that does not match the rest of the film.

Michael E Lemick's Massacre In Dinosaur Valley (1985) has a paleontologist going into the jungle, knowing cannibals and deadly animals abound, but that does not strop this Italian production form letting the expert go dumb in his travels and all hell breaks loose. A part of the cannibal cycle of the time, it is also part of the cycle of 'natives' films that becomes more obviously racist and stupid every day and is also an action film on some odd level, so it is just not flesh eating.

That's no relief as the 89 minutes here just get dumber, the editing sloppier and story more and more empty and unlikely. We don't really get any dinosaurs either, but you know those budget limits. The actors are truly bad, if it is acting we are even getting from many of them. Still, it has some kind of following and it is hard to believe cheap, wacky films like this were still being produced by the mid-1980s, but here it is.

The Outpost: Season Two (2019, not to be confused with Outlander) is the latest (and late for that matter) entry in TV series dealing with magic, fantasy and battles, usually plastered with more digital visual effects than a bakery is with cake frosting. Made in Europe, the look is all you've seen before with dialogue you've heard before and fights you have seen before, but not as good as the best. As this reached a second season and a few other such shows are still lensing, there is apparently some audience for this kind of thing left, but that would be for devoted fanboys (and gals) only.

Also, this could have been worse and is not a jokey and tired as it might have been, but this genre is played out and this may be among the last such shows that get made, even if the Lord Of Te Rings TV version gets produced. It is confusing to start watching this one without starting with the debut season, so if interested, you might want to get both and binge on them.

Aaron B. Koontz's The Pale Door (2020) wants to mix the Horror and Western genres as a crooked gang picks a 'ghost town' that happens to be run by witches (guess they got a bad map?) and they have to fight to survive, but this is miles away from From Dusk Till Dawn, so don't expect anything that exciting or witty. At least the cast is trying to give good acting performances, but the director seems lost, cannot infuse this with enough energy to work and you might feel pale after watching all 96 minutes of this one. Oh well.

Finally is Sisword Gautama Putra's Primitives (1980) that is part of a cycle of cannibalism films that started in the 1960s and were ultra-cheap to make. This is just as cheap and bloody and gross, though you only get so much of a storyline as three anthropology students just pick up and go into the jungle, despite their college educations telling them that there might be cannibals there!

Made in Indonesia, the 89 minutes look and feel very cheap throughout and never fail to be dumb for whomever may find that entertainment (it is not for children, of course) and of all things, in a move that shows genres crossing, martial arts actor Barry Prima shows up in a move to try to break the obvious monotony. To bad that did not help. For fans of the cycle only.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Broil is a weak HD shoot that has its share of flaws and is a sloppy, lousy shoot overall. I would have lowered by letter grade if it had been any worse, so don't expect much here either.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on all three Severin releases are low budget affairs and show their age, but these are new HD masters (Massacre is from a 4K master) and they look about as good as they ever will. You know it took some serious, hard work to make these look this good, but that's been what Severin has been delivering constantly, so no surprise there.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Door is almost the best-looking release here, but still misses some of the color range of the older Severin films at times. Other times, it looks generic, so only expect so much here.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Outpost is also an HD shot series with plenty of digital effects, but it could have been worse and this is probably the best it can look on what is now such an old format.

As for sound, Broil and Door are both presented in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, but they both sound like the multi-channel sound was an afterthought or they just did not have the money or known how to make these sound good. Broil has a few spots that are on the dull side too.

All three Severin films are here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless mixes, but Cruel Jaws was a belated Dolby A-type theatrical mono Dolby System theatrical release, so it is Stereo with Pro Logic surrounds, while the other two are monophonic from their original mono theatrical outings. They show their sonic limits for their age and low budgets, including obvious dubbing in many cases, but they sound as good as they ever will.

That leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Outposts episodes which should have at least been 5.1, but decoded well enough in Dolby Pro Logic and are passable at best.

As for extras, Outpost has none, Broil only has a trailer for it and other Well Go releases, Door has an audio commentary track, editing featurette and Making Of featurette and the three Severin discs all have Original Theatrical Trailers and more. Cruel Jaws adds a second, more violent version from Japan of the film and Behind The Scenes featurettes The Great White Way and These Things Got Made! Massacre adds Italian Credits, Deleted & Extended Scenes reel and two interviews on camera with Michael Sopkiw (Valley Boy) and Co-Writer Dardano Sacchetti (Lost In Brazil) and Primitives rounds it all out with an Alternate Title Sequence and two interviews of its own: Producing Primitives (with Producer Gope T. Samtani) and Way Down In The Deep Jungle (with screenwriter Iman Tantowi).

- Nicholas Sheffo


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