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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Demon > Exploitation > Mystery > Action > Martial Arts > WWII > Devil's Workshop (2022/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Face Of The Devil (2014/DVD*)/Lust (2007/DVD*)/Magnificent Warriors (1987/88 Films*/Blu-ray/*all MVD)/Roh (2019/Film Movement DVD)/Straight To VHS (2021/Indie

Devil's Workshop (2022/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Face Of The Devil (2014/DVD*)/Lust (2007/DVD*)/Magnificent Warriors (1987/88 Films*/Blu-ray/*all MVD)/Roh (2019/Film Movement DVD)/Straight To VHS (2021/IndiePix DVD)

Picture: B+/B-/B-/B/B-/B- Sound: B- (Devil: B+) Extras: D/D/C/B/C/C- Films: C-/C+/C+/C+/C+/C

Here's a new group of B-movie genre films, including a curio with a big star who is an Oscar nominee....

The Devil's Workshop (2022) is a mean spirited horror/ drama that stars Radha Mitchell, Timothy Granaderos, and Emile Hirsch. Centering on a struggling actor (Granaderos) whose trying to beat out a fellow actor (Hirsch) for the role of a demonologist in a movie. Desperate to nail his audition, he shadows a real-life demonologist (Mitchell) for the weekend at her secluded home, where she dives into his past and breaks him down in a satanic ritual. Mitchell is pretty creepy in the film, which is a different sort of role for her to play. The climactic scene (SPOILER) sees Radha as a demon in full body make-up, which is pretty well done, however, the digital fire effects that follow are a bit rough and drawn out to an obnoxious degree.

The film is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit). The film has a music video feel at moments in its transitions where it randomly cuts to fast moving images set to hip hop music. Perhaps in an attempt to make the film flashier, but instead makes it feel a bit disjointed.

For reasons unknown, the film employs a sound effect from Jurassic Park for the opening title card. Not sure how they got away with this as the sound of the T-Rex roaring is pretty iconic and has nothing to do with the film otherwise. Guess they just thought it sounded cool.

The only extra is a trailer.

The Devil's Workshop has some moments, but all in all feels a bit disjointed and angry.

Frank Perez-Garland's supernatural horror Face Of The Devil (2014) lands on disc stateside from MVD. A Peruvian supernatural horror film, young city-goers go to the Peruvian Amazon where they encounter the Tunche, a supernatural demon that kills them off one by one. Not terrible for a lower budgeted film, there are some interesting filmmaking moments and the unusual setting makes it worth checking out for horror fans.

The film stars Vania Accinelli, Sergio Gjurinovic, and Vanessa Saba.

Face of the Devil is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital Spanish 5.1 surround mix with English subtitles. The presentation isn't bad for the aging DVD format and would be nice to see on Blu-ray.

The only extra are trailers.

Lust (2017) is a silly Norwegian gore-film with huge plot holes and a lot of predictable moments. A famous crime writer (Magdalena From Delis, who does a pretty good job in the role all things considered) gets attacked in her home when a hand grabs her by the ankle whilst she's leaving bed. She's unable to shake the trauma of this stalker, who keeps sending her videos of her sleeping and out in public and freaking her out.

Eventually, she even gets a very disturbing video of sexual assault whilst she was sleeping. Instead of being smart about things and going to the authorities, she ends up consumed by the terror and eventually becomes a psycho killer herself. Not even her psychiatrist can help her! What the film is trying to say I'm not really sure. I guess that she is just plan crazy as the ending makes little to no sense.

The film also stars Severin Eskeland, Jimmi Salomonsen, and Fredrik Skavlan.

Lust is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix. The film is shot on video and mainly takes place in a home. The style is professional and looks and sounds pretty decent considering the budget and resources they likely had. Compression is evident due to the format.

Special Features:



Behind The Scenes featurette

and Behind The Scenes: SFX.

David Chung's Magnificent Warriors (1987) is a martial arts import from decades ago that was also part of a cycle of films anxious to imitate Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981) and (though not here) its Temple Of Doom (1984) sequel. Looking as good as many of them and about as good as any of them (I thought most just did not work and were way too late to the Jones party) and has a female lead, which is progressive versus all the male-lead imitators and female lead films that were disappointments at the time (Supergirl) or disasters (Sheena).

The twist here in this film set in 1938 during WWII, the female heroine is an ace fighter pilot for China fighting invading Japanese Imperialists and best of all, is played by Michele Yeoh!

Yes, this was when they kept giving her last names that were allegedly easier for audiences in the states and English-speaking countries to 'relate' to, but even here as was the case in all her early films, the camera loves her and she is a star. Nothing like an action star (including one of the most underrated of the Bond Gals) who can actually act!

So we do get comedy here with some good fight scenes and even when the budget limits show, none of the effects are bad digital effects and the outdoor cinematography is consistently good. Unfortunately, it is much of what we have seen before, but unlike the other raiders imitators, this can harken back to the huge old hit silent Perils Of Penelope serials at times and is worth a look if you like this kind of film and Yeoh herself. I won't spoil any surprises, but it has the pace expected for the genre and the supporting actors are just fine.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is from a new 2K scan of the 35mm full color camera and like the Indiana Jones films and (surprisingly, its many imitators) was shot with real anamorphic Panavision lenses. It looks good, has some fine color, better definition and detail than you might expect and even some demo shots, so be prepared to be a little surprised.

The PCM 2.0 Mono sounds as good as it can for its age, though by this time, almost all major Hollywood films were being issued in older A-type Dolby Stereo, the lesser imitator Ultra Stereo or even (like the Indiana Jones films) offering 6-track sound on 70mm blow-up prints. Dolby even introduced its most advanced analog system this very year, SR (aka Spectral Recording) starting with the original Robocop. In all that, it sounds fine. A lesser PCM 2.0 Mono English dub is included.

Extras include a full color poster, reversible cover and nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and great illustrations, while the disc adds a stills gallery, several trailers, original U.S. opening, a feature length audio commentary track with Asian cinema expert Frank Djeng and separate vintage interviews with Michelle Yeoh and Tung Wai.

Roh (2019, also known as Soul) is an interesting Malaysian Malay-language horror film from Film Movement that's worth checking out. The film centers on a strange young girl encounters a mother and her two children who live in a forest full of evil spirits. They encounter a young girl who warns them of incoming death. Soon, the evil of the forest engulfs them and things get pretty wild and deadly. Effective filmmaking and an interesting folk horror tale.

The film stars Farah Ahmad, Mhia Farhana, Harith Haziq, Namron, June Lojong, and Putri Qaseh. The film is directed by Emir Ezwan.

Roh is presented in an anamorphically enhanced, standard definition DVD with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 Malaysian sound mix with English subtitles. Compression is evident due to the aging format's limitations and maybe the budget.

Special Feature is a making of featurette.

Finally, a fun fan documentary of a lost cult film that turns into a feature of its own, Straight to VHS (2021) explores Act of Violence Upon a Young Journalist, a 1988 Uruguayan cult film shot on VHS and created by a enigmatic filmmaker Manuel Lamas. This documentary film by director Emilio Silva Torres dives deep into the mysterious movie's making as he attempts to track down the makers and ends of becoming a part of the film himself. The result is kinda silly but an interesting way to make a sequel nonetheless.

The film stars Alfonso Tort, Manuel Lamas, Rozana Blanco, Agustin Ferrando, and Martin Buscaglia.

Straight to VHS is presented in an anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a full frame aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio mix. The film bounces between nicely shot modern day footage and VHS footage from the film and so there is a contrast between the the two styles. I'm not sure if DVD was the best format to release the film since it's trying to show this, but here we are anyway. Compression is evident due to the format.

Special Features:

The original film with subtitles

Trailer for this film and other titles from the video company.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Warriors) and James Lockhart



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