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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Mystery > Murder > Science Fiction > British > Monster > Camp > B Movie > Filmmaking > Ind > Prisoners Of The Ghostland (2021/RLJ Blu-ray)/Underworld 4K: Limited Edition 5-Movie Collection (2003 - 2017/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)

Children Of The Damned (1964/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Frankenstein's Daughter (1958/Film Detective Blu-ray)/Guillermo Del Toro: The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work by Ian Nathan (2021/White Lion/Hardcover Book)/Prisoners Of The Ghostland (2021/RLJ Blu-ray)/Underworld 4K: Limited Edition 5-Movie Collection (2003 - 2017/Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Children Of The Damned Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for more horror thrillers, including some restorations of classics then and hits now...

Children Of The Damned (1964) finally gets an updated transfer and release on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Archive. While you may have seen John Carpenter's remake of Village of the Damned, this similarly themed film (or was it a sequel?) features creepy possessed children with a sinister agenda.

The film stars Ian Hendry (The Avengers, The Sweeny), Alan Badel, Alfred Burke, and Barbara Ferris with direction by solid journeyman Anton Leader. The story centers on the UN conducting a test on child intelligence. They bring together a group of highly intelligent children that were all born under unusual circumstances: the mothers of the children claiming immaculate conception. After they are brought to London to be studied, the sinister truth behind these children is revealed.

Children of the Damned is presented in 1080p monochrome high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit) mix. The black and white image is pretty clean throughout; the transfer here is very nice indeed for the Blu-ray format. There is one sequence with an intentionally annoying sound that is sure to wake up the neighbors if you have your system up high. Fair warning on that.

This film has never been a simple one to track down, which makes this new Blu-ray edition from Warner Archive even more desirable.

If you love cheesy B horror, and who doesn't? Then you'll want to check out the hammy fun of Frankenstein's Daughter (1958,) which has been restored by Film Detective in this exciting new release on Blu-ray. Set in modern day 1950s Los Angeles, this film brings the infamous Frankenstein monster into the suburbs where he doesn't mind killing off teens and anyone else who stands in his way!

The film stars John Ashley (The Blood Island trilogy amongst other B films), Sandra Knight, Donald Murphy, Sally Todd, and Harold Lloyd, Jr.

Frankenstein's Daughter is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-2 codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit) mix. The black and white film has been restored in 4K from its original 35mm film elements and looks pretty good here!

Special Features:

Feature Length Audio Commentary Track with author and historian Tom Weaver

Richard E. Cunha: Filmmaker of the Unknown - a new retrospective from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, featuring an archival interview with the famed director

John Ashley: Man from the B's - a new career retrospective featuring film historian C. Courtney Joyner

and an Illustrated booklet with original essay by Weaver

Guillermo Del Toro: The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work by Ian Nathan (2021/White Lion/Hardcover Book) is a collectible book on the life and career of genre director Guillermo Del Toro, is full of beautiful images and thought provoking text. This 176-page book features many exclusive images from Del Toro's life and his impressive filmography, which runs up to his upcoming film, Nightmare Alley.

There have been quite a few books on the career of Del Toro, with his films such as Pan's Labrynth, his two Hellboy films, The Shape of Water, Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, Blade 2, The Devil's Backbone and more, but this one is likely the most informative of the book bunch as it has an easy to read guide that breaks down the films and accompanying trivia in a quite cohesive form. Other books focus more on his art, such as the Cabinet of Curiosities, which is also a great read.

It is presented in a slip case with an 8-page gatefold section that analyzes his career and work. It looks into the narrative approaches to writing and his thought process behind his films that have enchanted audiences worldwide.

If you're a casual or hardcore fan of Del Toro's work, this book is bound to teach you things that you didn't know before. It also mentions productions that may have slipped past your radar and dives into the films that he is most famous for. This is a book that any Guillermo Del Toro fan should find value with, especially when it is such a high quality production print-wise.

Nicolas Cage, Bill Moseley (The Devil's Rejects), and Sofia Boutella (The Mummy) star in Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021,) a beautifully made genre film that's full of action and outrageous set pieces and stunt choreography. A Sundance selection, this unique film is a must see for genre fans. Nick Cassavetes, and Tak Sakaguchi also star with direction by Sion Sono.

Cage himself was quoted as saying that this is the craziest film he has ever made, which if you have seen anything he's been in in the last few years (Mandy, Color Out of Space, Pig, Willy's Wonderland,) then you know that's a bold statement!

A Bandit (Cage) is suited with an explosive leather suit and a mission from The Governor who set him free (Mosley) find his granddaughter (Boutella) and bring her home alive. To find this young woman, however, the Bandit will have to face hell itself as he travels into the dangerous frontier city of Samurai Town, where nothing is as it seems!

Prisoners of the Ghostland is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and a lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix, both of which are of a high standard for the Blu-ray format and packs a very clean presentation. A 4K UHD version is also available.

Special Features:

Making Of featurette

UK Premiere Q&A with Director Sion Sono, Producer Ko Mori and Moderated by Alan Jones

and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Sony's Underworld franchise, much like the Resident Evil franchise, gets a nice 4K UHD upgrade in this collectible new box set, the Underworld 4K: Limited Edition 5-Movie Collection (2003 - 2017). If you're a fan of the franchise then this upgrade is a no brainer. The picture and sound are incredible and really show off the gothic eye candy that is common in each of each films. Watching the films now, it's funny to see how they kind of drifted away from the Romeo and Juliet-esque love story of the first few films into a more anime-inspired action feel of the later installments.

The character of Selene portrayed by Kate Beckinsale is pretty iconic, and nearly invincible in these films, and has no problem dropping a guy out the window of a skyscraper or ripping open the neck of anyone to resupply herself with blood to regain energy. I'm surprised there hasn't been a video game based on this series as it seems like it would translate to such a medium pretty well.

While they were all a success in the box office, I feel that a lot of horror cinema-goers scoff at the series and don't give it the love that it deserves. While not exactly strong or groundbreaking in terms of plot, there is a lot to like about the Underworld series including its gorgeous cinematography, high-end special effects, and undeniable gore that soak the frame of each installment.

Underworld (2003)

In the dark alternate reality known as 'The Underworld' - the Vampires and Lycans (Werewolves) have been at each other's throats for centuries while human beings are caught in the middle. While thought to have been defeated, the Lycans rear their ugly heads again - this time targeting a mysterious human (Scott Speedman) - who ends up carrying the blood of both species. Interested in protecting him and finding out more about his unique mutation, the hardened vampire warrior Selene (Beckinsale) ends up doing all in her power to protect him - only to ultimately fall in love with him and cause more problems against the dueling society of monsters.

The film has a strong cast including Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, and Bill Nighy with direction by Len Wiseman (whose career has been hit and miss with the 2012 Total Recall remake, the underrated 2009 thriller Whiteout, and the 2007 popcorn-munching disaster Live Free or Die Hard on his resume). Over the years he separated from wife Beckinsale, and kind of took a backseat to later installments in the series.

Special Features:

Rated and Unrated Versions on 4K UHD and Blu-ray

Alternate Flashbacks (in 4K on the 4K disc)


and Blu-ray only extras include...

Audio commentary with director Len Wiseman, Kate Beckinsale, and Scott Speedman


Fang vs. Fiction

Storyboard Comparison

Music Video

and Seven Featurettes on the making of the film.

and now onto the rest of the saga...

Underworld: Evolution (2006)

This one expands upon the first one and follows Selene and Michael who are on the run from the vampire and lycan communities because of their forbidden love for one another. The film also brings back Len Wiseman in the director's chair, and is a fun popcorn muncher.

The film also stars Bill Nighy, Tony Curran, and Steven Mackintosh.

Special Features:

Trailer on the 4K disc, while only the Blu-ray offers...


The Hybrid Theory

The War Rages On

Bloodlines: From Script to Screen

Making Monsters Roar

Building a Saga

Music and Mayhem

and a Music Video.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

The prequel to the series that shows events eluded to in the first film, the story follows Sonya (Rhona Mitra) and Lucian (Michael Sheen); the first forbidden vampire / lycan romance. With series regular villain Viktor (Bill Nighy) and an interesting period setting there are some epic battles in this film and very cool action sequences that make it worth repeat viewing. This might be one of the more interesting takes in the franchise even though Selene (Beckinsale) isn't the main character.

The film also stars Steven Mackintosh, Kevin Grevioux, and David Aston.

Special Features:

Inside the Castle Walls

and Trailers while only the Blu-ray offers...

Behind the Castle Walls: Picture-in-Picture Experience

Filmmaker Commentary

3 Featurettes

and Music Video: "Deathclub (Wes Borland / Renholder Remix)" by William Control feat. Matt Skiba.

Underworld: Awakening (2012)

An underrated and fun fourth entry, Underworld Awakening brings back Selene and focuses on the discovery of her daughter, Eve (India Eisley), who is a half-breed. Unwelcome in the vampire community, Selene goes rogue and faces off against a genetically enhanced Lycan. Selene is awesome in this film in particular, and there's plenty of action and cool special effects to enjoy.

The film also features Theo James, Scott Speedman, Kris Holden-Ried, and Charles Dance (Alien 3, For Your Eyes Only).

Special Features:

Underworld: Endless Wars Anime

and Trailers, while only the Blu-ray offers...

Cracking the Underworld: Picture-in-Picture Experience

Filmmakers' Commentary

5 Featurettes

and a Blooper Reel.

and the conclusion...

Underworld: Blood Wars (2017)

The fifth installment in the Underworld series, Blood Wars (2017), brings back Kate Beckinsale in her most iconic role as the skilled leather-clad Vampire Selene fighting for the survival of her race against the never-ending war with the Lycan clans. Blood Wars isn't quite as entertaining as the previous installment, Awakening, yet features some fun moments and plenty of gore to keep fans of the series happy. Was this a proper send off in retrospect? Or will there will be more Underworld films in the future? Time will tell.

Directed by Anna Foerster, Underworld: Blood Wars also stars Theo James (Divergent), India Eisley, Bradley James, Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) and Tobias Menzies.

Her lover dead, her daughter wanting nothing to do with her, and constantly on the run, Seline (Beckinsale) has lived for centuries and is merciless to those who oppose her. After their evolution, the Lycans are growing even more powerful, with her former allies, David (James) and his elderly Vampire royalty Thomas (Dance), she goes up against two faced vampires, powerful Lycans, and Ancient Beings.

Special Features:

Franchise Recap, Theatrical Trailer, plus only on regular Blu-ray...

Official Movie Graphic Novel

and Four Featurettes: The Evolution of Selene, Building a Blood War, Old & New Blood and The Evil Evolved.

This box set of the five Underworld films are presented in 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the 4K version of the film is a sight to behold, with impeccable detail in the blue and black world of the film that compliments the color mix nicely. The original Underworld film was shot on 35mm film in the Super 35mm format, which for a scope film, is not as rich, strong, detailed or as excellent as using actually squeeze lenses, so it is not as good as 35mm film can look. However, it helps the film hold up better versus how bad most digital from the time was, wit h CGI effects used here and there. This was mastered in 2K at the time, but this might be a new 4K master or a lucky upscaling, plus the Atmos sound finally gets to use the original Sony Dynamic Digital Sound 8-track soundmaster to its fullest. All of the films have a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and updated lossless Dolby Atmos mixes with a Dolby TrueHD (48kHz, 24-bit) 7.1 mixdown and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit) mixes, save 7.1 DTS-MA on Awakening. The last and latest film was Atmos theatrically. The original editions of the films on 1080p Blu-ray disc are also included with digital copies and do not have the Atmos upgrades.

The Underworld series is definitely enriched on the 4K UHD format as the series has a very unique and cool overall look and hard contrast shadows. The detail in the production design and top tier special effects are more noticeable now and the sound mixes really sound great. If you're a fan this is definitely worth the upgrade. Not to mention, it's nice to finally have all the films in one 4K UHD box set.

To order the Children Of The Damned Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- James Lockhart



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