For Hell (1975*)/House
On Sorority Row (1983/MVD
(2003/*all Severin Blu-rays)/Spiral:
From The Book Of Saw
(2021/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B/B-/B/B-/B+ Sound:
C+/B/C+/B-/A- Extras: C+/B/B-/C/B Films: C+/C+/C+/C/C+
a creepy, bizarre set of horror releases, read on...
start with an older film that is somewhat ambitious and reminds us of
how new the idea of a serial killer was at the time. Denis Heroux's
Born For Hell
(1975) takes the horrible murders of Richard Speck and transplants
them in Belfast, Ireland. The variant of that serial killer here
(Matthew Carriere, effective enough here) arrives from elsewhere, but
we eventually cannot tell if he is telling the truth or not.
Arriving in Belfast with a terrorist explosion in a local church he
luckily survives, he starts making the rounds in town.
eventually finds a place with student nurses who turn him on to kill
and more, thus beginning the additional terror in the story.
violence can be hard for some to watch, but the makers are trying to
make a link with unrest in the world (Vietnam, Irish conflict,
Israel/Palestinian conflict, etc.) by showing such events prominently
on various TVs in the film. Unfortunately, that is all the link
made, then we get the violent side of things. Of course, we get it,
but now that the serial killer concept in real life and fiction is as
common as zombies, the shock is gone.
despite some dated aspects of the film like that, it has some
ambitions to be taken somewhat more seriously than a mere genre film,
but the results are mixed at this point. Playing some of the nurses
are Debra Berger (Inglorious
Bastards), Leonora Fani
(Giallo In Venice),
Ely Galleani (Baba Yaga),
Christine Boisson (the original Emmanuelle)
and Carole Laure (Sweet
Movie). In all this, the
acting is not bad, sometimes better than the film.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers have some
flaws and show the age of the film in parts, including slight dirt,
but this is very color accurate from the 2K scan of the original 35mm
camera negative, so detail is good and interesting. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) French and English 2.0 Mono lossless sound
is as good as it can sound, with the French being the original sound
and English being the dub with a lack of sound effects only present
on the other track.
include the Italian Original Theatrical Trailer, six Making Of
featurettes (The Other Side Of The Mirror interview with Actor
Matthew Carriere, Nightmare In Chicago interviewing filmmakers
John McNaughton and Gary Sherman about the real serial killer Richard
Speck, A New Kind Of Crime with podcaster Esther Ludlow
discussing Speck, Bombing Here, Shooting There video essay by
filmmaker Chris O'Neill, Artist Joe Coleman discussing Speck and
Inside The Odditorium again with Coleman) and Naked
Massacre, the U.S. video release version of the film.
horror cult classic is on Blu-ray again, this time courtesy of MVD
Visual and part of the MVD Rewind Collection, The House on
Sorority Road (1983) remains a fun time capsule piece and an
interesting and fun murder tale full of twists and turns. Watching
it now, it's severely dated and some of the special effects don't
hold up as well as one would hope, but it's still a charming and
welcome addition to '80s horror collector's libraries.
film stars Kathryn McNeil (Sudden Death), Eileen Davidson
(Days of Our Lives), Harley Jane Kozak (Arachnophobia)
and Jean Schertler (Runaway Bride).
group of sorority girls in the 1980s end up killing their House
Master by mistake when she doesn't agree to their intentions of
having a Graduation party. When they attempt to dump her body in a
pool, and the outrageous party begins her body goes missing... and
the girls start dying left and right by the hand of a mysterious
House on Sorority Row is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with
a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio, and paired with a lossless LPCM 2.0
stereo sound mix and an alternate version of the film with director
approved pre-credit sequence with an LPCM 2.0 (48kHz, 16-bit) mono
audio mix. The film still doesn't look perfect even in this release
and still has a SD kinda look to it. This could be due to an aging,
some style choices and/or imperfect master, but this also helps bring
a nostalgic flair to the film that's fun and almost adds to the
Features are courtesy of Scorpion Releasing and include:
Commentary #1 with director Mark Rosman
commentary #2 with director Mark Rosman and stars Eileen Davidson and
with cast and crew including: Director Mark Rosman, stars Harley Jane
Kozak, Eileen Davidson and Kathryn McNeil, Composer Richard Band and
Producer Igo Kantor
Limited Edition Retro Slip Cover - FIRST PRESSING ONLY!
Donovan & Maura O'Connell's Siege
(1982) is trying to be a Canadian answer to John Carpenter's original
Assault On Precinct 13,
but instead, the police go on strike for higher wages (guess they
decided not to work while negotiations were in progress?) and that
means small groups of troublemakers get nuttier and start committing
crimes more in the open and more often.
is also based on an actual strike that happened in Halifax, but the
style (down to some of the poster art on the Blu-ray case) just
screams Carpenter. So this focuses on an apartment building where
the residents with no expectation they would ever have to deal with
any violence have to defend themselves against a group of
particularly bad criminals. The shorter version shows it age and
looks cheaper than the longer version which I would recommend you see
first if you catch this one.
still exist with some so-so-acting, some bad dialogue and some mixed
pacing, but being set in Canada makes it a little more interesting
because a different look results and that makes for an interesting
and slightly unusual viewing to its advantage. Doug Lennox (Breaking
Point), Tom Nardini (Cat
Ballou), Jack Blum (Happy
Birthday To Me) and Keith
Knight (the original My
Bloody Valentine) lead
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the
age of the materials used in parts, but this looks good in both cuts
and also makes for as nice time capsule. Color is very accurate in
this new 2K scan from the original 35mm negative. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound shows its age and
the low budget of the film, including the limits of the location
audio, but it has been remastered as well as possible and will
probably never sound better.
include a feature length audio commentary track with Co-Director Paul
Donovan & Filmmaker Jason Eisener, an Original Theatrical Trailer
and both cuts of the film.
Bartalos's Skinned Deep
(2003) is a very belated entry into the slice-and-dice world of
killers with a certain costume, look and way of killing. So tired
this all was at this point, the film has an odd sense of humor, but
it is hard to tell when they are laughing and they do not know how
unintentionally funny or bad this all is. Three decades after the
original Texas Chain Saw
Massacre, you can pretty
much know what to expect for the long, long 98 minutes this runs.
time, a family gets stuck in a small town with strange strangers and
it includes the killer we see in action in the opening sequence of
this film. From there, it gets dull and is obvious as it goes on and
on and on and on and on and on and on and on, blood and guts
included. Warwick Davis is wasted as an assistant to the main killer
who has zigzag steel teeth as part of his active death mask. Famous
Monsters Magazine publisher and film scholar Forrest J. Ackerman
also shows up, but it too late to do anything with him either.
Playing like an on auto pilot slasher film trying to get as many
horror magazine covers as possible, there is nothing 'deep' about
this one and is only for the very, very, very curious.
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer may be a newer
production, but the new transfer shows more flaws than expected,
sometimes even sloppiness in the way it was produced. Color is
accurate. The DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix can sound too forward or oddly loud,
but it is inconsistent either way. The result is a bizarre
combination 'worthy' of the film.
include a feature length audio commentary track with cast & crew,
archival Making Of featurette, Original Theatrical Trailer and a new
Deep Cuts Making Of featurette with Writer/Producer/Director
Gabe Bartalos, Actors Jason Dugre & Karoline Brandt and Weapons
Machinist Jake Lee.
the SAW franchise continues with Spiral (2021), which changes
up the formula and spins it into a detective story starring Chris
Rock, whose most known for more comedic roles. Taking more than a
little inspiration from David Fincher's Se7en, and also
featuring Samuel L. Jackson, the film is more entertaining than
previous tired installments, but can't be saved from a highly
predictable and silly twist that's aided by anti-police propaganda
that you are beat over the head with until the film's conclusion.
tortured cop (Rock) is on the pursuit of a cop killing serial killer
who mimics the actions of the (thought to be dead) Jigsaw Killer.
Digging into Rock's personal life and involving his Father (Jackson)
as well, the once thought closed book of Saw seems to be open once
film also stars Marisol Nichols, Max Minghella, Tobin Bell, Nazneen
Contractor, and Josh Stolberg to name a few with direction by Darren
is presented in 2160p native 4K with an HEVC/H.265 codec, a
widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35 X 1, and audio mixes in lossless
English Dolby Atmos, and English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit).
Being a newer film, it looks stunning on the 4K UHD format, and
leaves little to be desired in terms of presentation. There's also a
1080p Blu-ray version of the film included as well that looks fine
for the format.
Consequences of your actions: Creating Spiral Featurette
Inspiration: Trap Breakdowns
SAW movies have never really been more than torture films, and in
this regard, there are some pretty inventive deaths in Spiral.
Chris Rock makes for a more fun than usual lead in a film of this
kind, but feels out of place in some instances. This is a movie you
will either really enjoy or really hate, depending on your own
personal and semi political views presented within.
Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (4K, House)