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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Comedy > Animation > CGI > Drama > Supernatural > Satanism > Science Fiction > Action > War > Literat > Addams Family 2 (2021/animated/MGM/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Brotherhood Of Satan (1971/Arrow Blu-ray*)/Demons 1 & 2 4K (1985, 1986/Synapse 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray/*both MVD)/Dune (2021 remake/Warner B

Addams Family 2 (2021/animated/MGM/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Brotherhood Of Satan (1971/Arrow Blu-ray*)/Demons 1 & 2 4K (1985, 1986/Synapse 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray/*both MVD)/Dune (2021 remake/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Penthouse (2021/Lionsgate DVD)

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

Sequels, remakes, restorations and revivals make up the latest batch of genre films...

Gregg Tiernan and Conrad Verono's CGI-animated The Addams Family 2 (2021) marks the second animated feature film version (after live action and animated TV version, plus a few live-action feature films) with some decent animation, a solid voice cast and a mixed script. After attending a school science project contest, the Family decides to take it on the road, a road trip in their haunted camper. This is to bring them together, but as expected, it does not quite work out that way.

On the down side, I thought the humor became a little too off-color for younger audiences, but voice actors Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moritz, Wallace Shawn, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg and Bette Midler (who was so good in voicing Oliver and Company) are very good here and gel very well, rising above some of the flaws and limits of this obvious outing and maybe fans will like it more than most. Maybe its time to gibe these characters a break, but this will do for now.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is not bad and has some nice color and detail, though far from the best CGI out there, is pretty good for the format and certainly sticks to its style (horror film Addams-style, et al) to a fault, appropriately. I expect this looks better in 4K to be issued as some point, but still does lose some appropriate visual darkness and color the older TV version has on it. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix is not a bad mixdown from the 12-track soundmaster, but still has some sonic limits in comparison. This sounds fine otherwise.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image DVD version is a little compressed and can be soft, but is as good as it is going to get in the format, as is the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, which is a passable mixdown from the original 12-track soundmaster.

Extras include a Digital Code, while the discs add three Making Of featurettes: We're Altogether Addams, Courage To be Kooky and The Addams Family Road Trip Checklist.

During the 1970s, you had the satanic panic period where there many devil themed movies abound such as the Robert Fuest cult classic The Devil's Rain (available on Blu-ray from Severin Films).

The Brotherhood of Satan (1971) gets a nice release here from Arrow Video that captures this colorful and weird satanic movie that has a dash of Village and Children of the Damned in its DNA. In the film a small town is being overtaken by a satanic cult that is abducting its children and killing others!

The film stars Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Charles Bateman, Ahna Capri, Charles Robinson, and Alvy Moore. The film is directed by the capable journeyman Bernard McEveety (1970s The A-Team).

The Brotherhood of Satan is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio and an audio mix in English LPCM Mono (48kHz, 24-bit). The film has been restored nicely by Arrow and has a clean and nice sounding transfer that preserves the film the way that it was meant to be seen.

Special Features:

Brand new audio commentary by writers Kim Newman and Sean Hogan

Satanic Panic: How the 1970s conjured The Brotherhood of Satan, a brand new visual essay by David Flint

The Children of Satan, exclusive new interview with actors Jonathan Erickson Eisley and Alyson Moore

Original Trailers and TV and Radio Spots

Image Gallery

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Richard Wells

and First pressing only: Illustrated booklet featuring new writing by Johnny Mains and Brad Stevens.

The Brotherhood of Satan isn't as good as The Devil's Rain and is a bit dated. As a time capsule piece for the time it was made, it is interesting to look back on in this nice Arrow release.

At long last, the definitive edition of Lamberto Bava's Demons 1 and 2 4K (1985 and 1986) has landed on the 4K UHD format courtesy of Synapse Films. Produced by Dario Argento, the Demons films are considered cult classics and are great to watch back to back. Demons are sort of Argento's answer to zombies, only a bit more ravenous into their transformation and actions. Once you get attacked by a demon you shortly turn into one itself as the sort of virus spreads from person to person. The films have simply never looked better than they do here, and this restoration is certainly one that is notable and impressive.

In the gore soaked first film, a weird masked man hands out movie tickets to a small audience who attend the Metropol movie theater, which shows a bizarre horror film. In correspondence to the actions of the film, an ancient demonic force is awakened and passes from person to person leaving a small group of survivors to escape the theater whilst in pursuit. The film stars Natasha Hovey, Geretta Geretta (Shocking Dark), Urbano Barberini, Karl Zinny, Fiore Argento, and many others.

In the lesser but still fun sequel, a high rise is the new location for a demon infestation. While not as good as the original, there's still pretty of memorable moments. The film stars David Knight, Virginia Bryant, Bobby Rhodes, and Asia Argento.

Both Demons films are presented in 1.66 X 1, 2160p 4K with impressive new transfers from the original 35mm camera negative and Dolby Vision/HDR that leave a crystal clear presentation. Both films have uncompressed, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) English 5.1 & Italian 5.1/2.0 audio mixes derived from the original archival audio masters. There's also uncompressed, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) English 2.0 Mono U.S. theatrical audio newly remastered in 2021 by Synapse Films as an option as well. The soundtrack to the first film is notorious and features music by Goblin, Billy Idol, and many other hot artists of the time. The restoration is jaw droopingly good when comparing it to previous releases as the colors (which are very Argento-like) are more vibrant and more detail is seen in the image overall.

Special Features:

Demons 1

Two versions of the film: the full-length original cut in English and Italian, and the shorter U.S. version featuring alternate dubbing and sound effects

New audio commentary by critics Kat Ellinger and Heather Drain, co-hosts of the Hell's Belles podcast

Audio commentary with director Lamberto Bava, SPFX artist Sergio Stivaletti, composer Claudio Simonetti and actress Geretta Geretta

Produced by Dario Argento: a new visual essay by author and critic Michael Mackenzie exploring the legendary filmmaker's career as a producer

Dario's Demon Days: interview with writer/producer Dario Argento

Defining an Era in Music: interview with Claudio Simonetti

Splatter Spaghetti Style: interview with long-time Argento collaborator Luigi Cozzi

Carnage at the Cinema: Lamberto Bava and His Splatter Masterpiece

Dario and Demons: Producing Monster Mayhem

Monstrous Memories: Luigi Cozzi on Demons

Profondo Jones: The Critical Perspective

Splatter Stunt Rock: interview with Ottaviano Dell'Acqua

Stivaletti Q & A at the 2019 UK 'Festival of Fantastic Films'

Original Italian and English international theatrical trailers

U.S. theatrical trailer

Newly translated optional English SDH subtitles for the English version

and newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version

Demons 2

New audio commentary by film critic Travis Crawford

Bava to Bava: interview with Luigi Cozzi on the history of Italian horror

Creating Creature Carnage: interview with Sergio Stivaletti

Demonic Influences: Federico Zampaglione Speaks

The 'Demons' Generation: Roy Bava discusses a legacy in lacerations

The New Blood of Italian Horror featuring Sergio Stivaletti

Screaming for a Sequel: The Delirious Legacy of DEMONS 2 with Lamberto Bava

A Soundtrack for Splatter: interview with composer Simon Boswell

Together and Apart: a new visual essay on the space and technology in DEMONS and DEMONS 2 by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

and Original Italian and English theatrical trailers.

Demons 1 and 2 are classic Italian horror films and look and sound better than ever in this limited 4K UHD release!

Denis Villeneuve's Dune (2021) is the third time in 37 years (and not for lack of trying) that the same Frank Hebert classic has been brought to live action life, following the 1984 David Lynch version (see the 4K review elsewhere on this site) and two TV mini-series in adapting what turned out to he a series of respectable, influential books. Timothee Chalemet is the new lead, who might be 'the one' as a potential intergalactic war starts brewing for an extremely valuable substance over-simply dubbed 'spice' that means power and will drive evil people to genocide.

With the advantage of better-of-digital visual effects than either of its predecessors, the makers tried to avoid being like Star Wars, but that would be impossible for how often Lucas was influenced by the Herbert books. Other influences include 2001, Blade Runner, Terry Gilliam's sci-fi trilogy, plus less obvious films like The Man Who Fell To Earth and Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (which it oddly samples too briefly for an action sequence) and we still get some interesting scenes and moments.

Another plus is the supporting cast, including Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Dave Bautista, Zenyada, Jason Momoa, Chang Chen, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling and a great ace of a choice in Stellan Skarsgard. Of course, there are many more, but that is a very, very strong cast. So the film is good, but also has a few off moments (including a last comment that was bad) that you would never see in the earlier versions. We will get at least one sequel, so we'll see where this goes, but if you are interested, it is very much worth a look.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer was shot on 4.5K Ultra HD cameras, transferred to photochemical film, then scanned back from there, giving it a unique look that may not be as distinct and expressionistic as the Lynch version or as more vivid than usual for a TV mini-series than what Vitorrio Storaro lensed for the mini-series. Director of Photography Grieg Frazer, A.S.C., A.C.S., works this new, slightly darkened look well to no end, but it works enough for what they are trying to do. There is some softness and slight motion blur here, but we gather the 4K edition (which we'll get to soon) should mostly correct this.

The Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown of older systems) has some great demo moments on it and may be the default highlight of the release, no matter what you think of the film. The Lynch film certainly tried to have interesting sonics and this does as well, with Composer Hand Zimmer having a great year that also included the Bond film No Time To Die. Some parts work better than others for me and might be overly loud to some, but the sound design and editing do their best to enhance the narrative.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is much softer than expected for whatever reasons, making it as difficult to look at as the DVD set of the old TV mini-series version, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is no picnic either. This is here for convenience at best.

Extras include a Digital Code, while both discs add The Royal Houses and the Blu-ray only adds:

  • Filmbooks: House Atreides

  • Filmbooks: House Harkonnen

  • Filmbooks: The Fremen

  • Filmbooks: The Spice Melange

  • Inside Dune: The Training Room

  • Inside Dune: The Spice Harvester

  • Inside Dune: The Sardaukar Battle

  • Building the Ancient Future

  • My Desert, My Dune

  • Constructing the Ornithopters

  • Designing the Sandworm

  • Beware the Baron

  • Wardrobe from Another World

  • and A New Soundscape

tly, The Penthouse (2021) starts out as a spin on the Rear Window formula and ends up being a generic thriller as it's about to get interesting. A couple goes to a Penthouse on vacation at a resort and ends up spying on a fighting couple in a boat nearby. One day they notice that the woman is missing with the man being suspected by the couple as being a murderer. Of course it isn't long but this dangerous man ends up coming after them.

The film stars Michael Pare, Vanessa Ore, Krista Grotte Saxon, and Nicholas Turturro.

The film is presented in standard definition on DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio mix. The film looks modestly made with a few million at the budget most likely.

No extras.

The Penthouse is an average thriller that isn't anything you haven't seen before.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Addams, Dune) and James Lockhart



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