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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Thriller > Drugs > Action > Comedy > Murder > Cyberspace > Slasher > Cold War Creatures: Four Films From Sam Katzman (1955 - 1957/Creature With The Atom Brain, The Werewolf, The Zombies Of Mora Tau, Giant Claw/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray Box)/Flashback (Blu-ray*)/Hitman's Wife's

Cold War Creatures: Four Films From Sam Katzman (1955 - 1957/Creature With The Atom Brain, The Werewolf, The Zombies Of Mora Tau, Giant Claw/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray Box)/Flashback (Blu-ray*)/Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (Blu-ray w/DVD)/Midnight In The Switchgrass (Blu-ray*)/Profile (2018/Universal Blu-ray)/Room 9 (DVD/*all 2021/Lionsgate)

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

Wild and crazy monster and horror films await you in this group of new releases...

We start with an awesome genre film set from Arrow Video includes four films from genre film producer Sam Katzman and include Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), The Werewolf (1956), The Zombies of Mora Tau (1957), and The Giant Claw (1957). All of these are the so called Cold War Creatures, and interesting products of their time, which was the height of the cold war.

If you're a fan of B-movie monsters then you will want to check out this highly detailed box set from Arrow that is packed full of goodies. In Creature with the Atom Brain, a new race of supermen are created and bodies start going missing at the morgue... only to re-emerge inhuman! The Giant Claw sees a giant bird attacking the skies, whilst The Werewolf and Zombies of Mora Tau are fun in a B movie kind of way.

The films star Morris Ankrum, S. John Launer, Jeff Morrow, Richard Denning, Gregg Palmer, and Steven Ritch. Directors include Fred F. Sears and Edward L. Cahn.

Cold War Creatures presents these restored and remastered films in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc in black and white, with original widescreen aspect ratios of 1.78:1 / 1.85:1 and audio mixes in English PCM Mono 1.0. The films also look fantastic here and are this release certainly bests previous versions that have been released. We recently covered an Umbrella release of The Werewolf / The Giant Claw which shared this same scan, but that is an Australia-only release.

Special Features and other goodies within this set include:

Fully illustrated 60-page collector's book featuring extensive new writing by Laura Drazin Boyes, Neil Mitchell, Barry Forshaw, Jon Towlson and Jackson Cooper

80-page collector's art book featuring reproduction stills and artwork from each film and new writing by historian and critic Stephen R. Basset

2 double-sided posters featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin

Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork for each film by Matt Griffin


Brand-new introduction by historian and critic Kim Newman

Brand-new audio commentary by critic Russell Dyball

Sam Katzman: Before and Beyond the Cold War Creatures, a brand-new feature-length illustrated presentation on the life, career and films of Sam Katzman by historian and critic Stephen R. Bissette

Condensed Super 8mm digest version of Creature with the Atom Brain, produced for home movie viewing

Theatrical Trailer / Image Gallery


Brand-new introduction by critic Kim Newman

Brand-new audio commentary by critic Lee Gambin

Beyond Window Dressing, a brand-new visual essay exploring the oft-overlooked role of women in the films of Sam Katzman by historian and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Condensed Super 8mm home movie version of The Werewolf, produced for home cinema viewing

Theatrical Trailer/Image Gallery


Brand-new introduction by critic Kim Newman

Brand-new audio commentary by critic Kat Ellinger

Atomic Terror: Genre in Transformation, a brand-new visual essay exploring the intersection of mythical horror creatures and the rational world of science in the films of Sam Katzman by critic Josh Hurtado.

Theatrical Trailer

Image Gallery


Brand-new introduction by critic Kim Newman

Brand-new audio commentary by critics Emma Westwood and Cerise Howard

Family Endangered!, a brand-new visual essay examining the theme of Cold War paranoia in Sam Katzman monster movies, by critic Mike White

Condensed Super 8mm version of The Giant Claw, produced for home movie viewing

and Theatrical Trailer / Image Gallery

This is a beautiful and fun box set from Arrow that isn't to be missed by B-movie and genre fans alike!

A decent psychological drug thriller, Flashback (2021), centers on a young man named Fred (Dylan O'Brien, Maze Runner franchise) who deals with an early life crisis as his mother is slowly dying, his relationship is on the rocks, and he's about to start a new job. One day, he takes a turn down an alley and runs into a drug addicted homeless man in an alley. His encounter makes him have flashbacks to when he was a teenager and hooked on a drug called Mercury. During that time he was in love with a girl (played by the underrated actress Maika Monroe who was in The Guest (2014) and It Follows) who doing drugs with them, yet can't seem to remember what happened to her. He can't find any trace of her online, and even after meeting up with a couple old friends from that time, can barely remember anything from the time either since they were all druggies. Slowly, the memories start to come to light and we begin to remember what happened to this woman and why she has disappeared.

The film also stars Hannah Gross, Keir Gilchrist, Amanda Brugel, and Emory Cohen.

Flashback is presented in 1080p high definition with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and an audio mix in lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. The film is shot very cinematically and has a very good soundtrack as well. There's a lot of weird effects that make the viewer feel like they are on drugs at some point with blurry movement and music that makes you sound seasick at times.

Special Features include:

Deleted Scenes

Director's Commentary

and Trailer

Flashback is a weird film in that it's a sort of romance story, but a commentary on drugs too and how quickly one can succumb to a path of becoming a junkie or stay on track. If you like trippy drugged out movies with addiction commentaries then this may be one for you to watch.

Ryan Reynolds plays up his comedic presence (out of a Deadpool costume sadly) In The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (2021,) an action sequel that reunites him with Samuel L. Jackson after hit 2017 film The Hitman's Bodyguard. There are a few other pretty famous faces in the film too with Morgan Freeman, Salma Hayek, and Antonio Banderas. For those of you familiar with Desperado and Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi Trilogy, it's a fun casting choice to see Hayek and Banderas together onscreen again, only this time instead of being husband and wife, they are enemies. It did kind of make me yearn for another El Mariachi movie in that sense. That casting tidbit aside, Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is pure action / comedy silliness and doesn't hold back from being a popcorn munching romp from frame one.

While both very different people, they are highly efficient at murder. Daius (Jackson) and Michael Bryce (Reynolds) get into another crazy caper when they cross paths with Darius' wife (Hayek) and stuck in the midst of a global takeover plot with Banderas at the helm.

The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and paired with nice sounding audio mixes in lossless Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown, both 48kHz, 24-bit) sound. This mix is quite nice and the same on the 4K UHD version of the film, which we sadly aren't covering here. While the image isn't as defined as that version, the sound mix is the same. There's also a standard definition DVD of the film, which lacks even more definition. All in all though for the format they are top of the line.

Special Features:

Ryan, Sam, Salma: One F'd Up Family Featurette

Gone Soft: The New Michael Bryce Featurette

Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard: #stuntlife Featurette

On the Set of Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard Featurette

Gag Reel and Theatrical Trailers

If you like loud silly Hollywood action comedies with a big cast and lots of bullets flying, then The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard will sure to entertain.

Megan Fox, Bruce Willis, and Emile Hirsh star in Midnight in the Switchgrass (2021). The crime drama is pretty well made and has some strong performances in it. The film has a pretty real feel to it as if it could actually happen or has happened. The story follows an FBI agent and a Florida State Officer who team up to solve some missing murders involving young women. Lukas Haas (Mars Attacks) is an actor you don't see too much of nowadays but who plays the killer and does a decent job at it. Overall, I'd say that Midnight in the Switchgrass isn't necessarily bad, but more like nothing too original that hasn't been done before.

The film also features Machine Gun Kelly, Sistine Stallone, and Jackie Cruz. The film is directed by Randall Emmett, who has directed a bunch of other Bruce Willis starring movies in recent years such as Hard Kill, Survive the Night, Out of Death, 10 Minutes Gone, and Trauma Center.

Midnight in the Switchgrass is presented in 1080p high definition with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix, both of which are of the norm for the format. The movie is nicely shot, color-corrected and there aren't any visible flaws in the presentation.

Special Features: Director's Commentary and a Trailer.

Timur Bekmambetov is an interesting genre filmmaker even if he may have a few interesting efforts such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Nightwatch and the once popular Angelina Jolie film, Wanted. In Profile (2018), we get sucked into a computer and see everything and we would if we were on a fly on the wall between a woman and a man. This concept gets really tiresome after a few moments, but Timur sticks to his guns and makes us prisoners inside a computer for the full runtime in what is pegged 'Screenlife' format.

The film stars Valene Kane, Morgan Watkin, and Christine Adams.

In the film, a British journalist in her quest to bait and expose a terrorist recruiter through social media. However, she ends up getting in over her head and may become the very thing she originally sought to expose.

Profile is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. The film looks and sounds fine on the Blu-ray format and due to the nature of the film doesn't really leave one wanting to see it in a higher format.

No extras.

Profile tries to put its audience inside a computer as a fly on the wall, and while this concept may have been okay for a short, it just gets so boring after a while in a feature.

Last and least, making an independent horror film isn't easy, but usually if you have a big name or two attached then you might get the interest of some horror movie fans. In the case of Room 9 (2021), they cast a few lower end horror icons such as Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Kane Hodder (Jason from Friday the 13th films 7 through 10), and the underrated actress Scout Taylor Compton (Rob Zombie's Halloween films) in an attempt to spice up the film. Unfortunately, none of these actors have much to work with here and the result is an editing nightmare and a story that makes hardly any sense. I can usually be forgiving for low budget horror, but there isn't much of anything you can take away from this steaming pile. It's just... bad.

The story of the film centers on a black couple who were brutally slain in a small hotel in the late 1970s, and now decades later the bloody ritual killings have begun again. A masked killer tortures and murders people in the name of this forgotten crime. A young woman named Star (Compton) is haunted by horrific visions that could be tied to these killings... That's about all I could pull out of this plot-wise.

Room 9 is presented in standard definition, anamorphically enhanced DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, both of which are the standard for the format. Lionsgate did what it could with what it had to work with, but this low budget film was shot on a lower-grade digital camera with some video noise evident at times. It kind of works for the kind of movie this is though.

The only special feature is a trailer.

- James Lockhart



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