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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Comedy > Animation > Satire > Documentary > Make-Up > Tenebrae 4K (1982/Synapse 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/*all MVD)

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2023/Sony Blu-ray)/Invaluable: The True Story Of An Epic Artist (2018/Synapse Blu-ray*)/The Leech (2022/Arrow Blu-ray*)/Loki: The Complete First Season (2021/Marvel Comics/Disney Steelbook Blu-ray Set)/Tenebrae 4K (1982/Synapse 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/*all MVD)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B+ (Loki: B-) Sound: B+ (Loki: B) Extras: C+/B/B/C/B Main Programs: C+/B/C+/C+/B

And now for more releases in time for the Halloween season...

We start with the fourth installment of Sony's animated horror satire series, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2023) which is now out on Blu-ray disc. The silly yet spooky kid's film has fun animation and characters and is easy to watch and enjoy regardless of your age, and lands on the market just in time for the Halloween season.

The film features the voice talents of Brian Hull, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, and Steve Buscemi.

When Drac goes to announce his retirement and leave Hotel Transylvania to his monstrous daughter and her kooky human husband, Van Helsing's Monsterification Ray goes wild and starts to turn monsters into humans and vice versa. Drac and his son-in-law (one now human and the other a monster) have to travel the world to an exotic location to find a replacement for the ray so things can get back to normal. The main message of the film is being able to accept others for their differences and embrace them regardless of judgement.

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania 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 an English, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mix. The animation is pretty polished and looks pretty good despite the fact that this film didn't hit theaters.

Special Features:

A Hotel Transylvania Mini-Movie: Monster Pets

Monster Mash-Up: Making Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

Selena vs. Andy: A Hotel Transyl-Trivia Quiz

"Love Is Not Hard to Find" by YEИDRY Lyric Video

and Filmmaker Commentary.

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is pretty fun for a kid's film and made me chuckle on more than one occasion. It's nice to know that there are still innocent children's films out there that don't have some alternative agenda (which I feel has sadly been the case with several Pixar productions in the past few years), and can just be watched and enjoyed for their simplicity and entertainment value alone.

Sam Raimi's original The Evil Dead is no doubt a horror classic and has only grown more popular as the years have gone by, but where would that classic status be without some of the film's most iconic props that helped tell its gruesome story? Invaluable: The True Story Of An Epic Artist (2018) is a feature length documentary on SFX legend Tom Sullivan and highlights his involvement in bringing The Evil Dead series to life.

The film features all-new interviews with Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Josh Becker, Danny Hicks, Hal Delrich, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly. The film is directed by Ryan Meade.

Invaluable: The True Story of an Epic Artist 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 an English LPCM 2.0 Stereo. The transfer looks and sounds fine and is an upgrade from the previous release.

Special Features:

Other Men's Careers: A bonus documentary about the life of filmmaker Josh Becker

Vintage Tom Sullivan "In the Spotlight" interview (1989)

Unedited interview with Tim Philo, cinematographer (aka Director of Photography) of The Evil Dead

Extended interview segments with Josh Becker

Promotional Trailers

Ryan Meade short films: Bong Fly and Cosmos Locos

Bong Fly: Behind-the-Scenes

Snap Shots: Motion Stills Gallery

New slipcover art by Joel Robinson

and reversible cover art.

The Leech (2022) was a big winner on the film festival circuit and is now on Blu-ray from Arrow Video, which is a surprise as they normally don't release modern films. The Christmas holiday themed horror/suspense film is about a kind pastor who lets a homeless man stay in his home as an act of kindness on Christmas, but his kindness is soon taken for granted when the homeless man invites a few of his friends to the party, eventually stripping the pastor of his holy stature and driving him to the brink of his own sanity and values.

The film stars Graham Skipper, Jeremy Gardner, and Taylor Gardner to name a few.

The Leech is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and two audio mixes in English, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) and English LPCM 2.0 Stereo. The film is professionally shot and produced and has a slick modern look that is translated well to the 1080p Blu-ray format.

Special Features:

Feature length audio commentary track with writer/producer/director Eric Pennycoff and producer Scott Smith

Live Chattanooga Film Festival audio commentary

Virtual Q&A with director Eric Pennycoff and the cast at the 2022 Chattanooga Film Festival

Preaching to the Void: a brand new visual essay exploring The Leech and Pennycoff's earlier films by critic Anton Bitel

The Voice of Reason: a brand new video interview with Pennycoff and actor Graham Skipper

Introduction and Q&A from the film's international premiere at FrightFest 2022

Exclusive introductions to the film by Pennycoff and Skipper

The Making of The Leech: behind-the-scenes footage from the film set

Rigo's music video

Unfortunate, The Pod and Phase II: three early short films by Pennycoff


Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love

and First Pressing Only: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Julieann Stipidis.

The DC and Marvel Comics live-action worlds do have one distinction, DC did TV shows totally separate from their feature films, while Marvel (belatedly under later owners Disney) decided to do TV series to enhance the feature films and keep fans entertained until the next feature was released. That latter strategy worked at first, but both companies eventually lost control of their multiple universes, worlds, planets, earths and endless storylines. Loki: The Complete First Season (2021) does what it can to explain some of those worlds on the Marvel side with the long-term capacity of even a limited-episodes TV show.

However, you need to know what happened before and in all this, most failed to note that this was the first time in the genre's history a supervillain got their own live-action TV show. Tom Hiddleston is very talented, nailed the character from his introduction in the role and can more than carry the lead work here as The Avengers capture him, only for a Hulk flipout giving him a chance to escape, but that may be short-lived as he crosses paths with a new organization.

We get eight hour-long shows of this and it was successful enough to lead to a new season upcoming, but being connected to the movies actually may have restrained several wild, fun possibilities and opportunities this set up could have delivered and the weekly TV grid additionally holds things back. Now my expectations might be the breakout of the next shows, but that just does not happen here. Still, it has some moments and fans have, unlike many of the feature films form both super-giants, seems to have made fans happy.

This edition we got is actually the Disney Steelbook Blu-ray set and these are fun for fans and superfans, with this one having some of the better art I have seen with these, but I look forward to seeing the 4K edition down the line because this is the kind of show that benefits from its bells and whistles, though it might be a little too much CGI for its own good.

Loki is not a cheap series to produce by any means and the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is not bad, but regular HD just cannot capture all the detail and especially color range a series produced with 12-bit Dolby Vision can deliver. The image is fine and passable for what it is, but it cannot and does not have the impact of the show at its best. The sound is also originally in Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) as is the case for the 4K edition, but the Blu-ray editions offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that are not bad, but you can tell you are missing some sound. Still, the combo is fine for those not bothered by missing some of the finer details or are not ready for 4K yet.

Extras are not bad, including (per the press release) Designing The TVA: Step into the incredible set of Loki: Season 1 with Production Designer, Kasra Farahani, and Tom Hiddleston while getting a sneak peek into Season 2.

  • The Official TVA Orientation Video: Miss Minutes explains the inner workings of the TVA timeline in her orientation video.

  • Gag Reel: Take a look at some of the fun outtakes on set with the cast and crew of Loki: Season 1.

  • Deleted Scene: Loki's Coronation: Mobius reviews some moments from Loki's timeline, in which Frog Thor makes an appearance during Loki's coronation.

  • Deleted Scene: The Standoff: Loki holds Sylvie hostage against the TVA in a standoff.

  • and Assembled: The Making of Loki: Loki explores the series centering on the MCU's chief mischief maker.

And now, the biggest classic for last. Many of Italian horror master Dario Argento's films have seen several releases on physical media over the years from various labels. Tenebrae (1982) was one of the last remaining horror classics that needed the 4K UHD treatment and thankfully it is here from Synapse Films. We are covering here the standard version which varies from the label's 3-disc set which is also available. Other Argento must-sees to newcomers that are in a similar vein are Suspiria, Opera, Phenomena, and Deep Red to name a few and which are reviewed elsewhere on this site.

In Tenebrae, an author goes to Rome to promote his new novel: Tenebrae, but finds a copycat killer who is fashioning his murder spree over the writings of the book, leading to some chaotic twists and turns!

The film stars Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, Joh, Steiner, Dara Nicolodi, Christian Borromeo, Mirella D'Angelo, Veronica Lario, and Ania Pieroni.

Tenebrae 4K is presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with Dolby Vision/HDR10, an HEVC / H.265 codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and restored original lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Italian and English 2.0 Mono soundtracks, which look and sound fantastic here. The beautiful cinematography by Luciano Tovoli (Suspiria) is on full display as is the epic soundtrack by master composer Claudio Simonetti. Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray version with identical sound specs and aspect ratio. This presentation is a co effort behind cult label giants Synapse Films and Arrow Video!

Special Features are plentiful and include:

Original Italian and English front and end titles and insert shots

Audio commentary by authors and critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman

Audio commentary by Argento expert Thomas Rostock

Audio commentary by Maitland McDonagh, author of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento

Yellow Fever: The Rise and Fall of the Giallo, a feature-length documentary charting the genre

from its beginnings to its influence on the modern slasher film, featuring interviews with Dario Argento, Umberto Lenzi, Luigi Cozzi and more

Being the Villain, a newly edited archival interview with actor John Steiner

Out of the Shadows, an archival interview with Maitland McDonagh

Voices of the Unsane, an archival featurette containing interviews with writer/director Dario Argento, actresses Daria Nicolodi and Eva Robins, cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, composer Claudio Simonetti and assistant director Lamberto Bava

Screaming Queen, an archival interview with Daria Nicolodi

The Unsane World of Tenebrae, an archival interview with Dario Argento

A Composition for Carnage, an archival interview with Claudio Simonetti

Archival introduction by Daria Nicolodi

International theatrical trailer

Japanese "Shadow" theatrical trailer

Alternate opening credits sequence

"Unsane" end credits sequence

and Image Galleries.

Dario Argento's Tenebrae is an Italian Horror classic that is a beautiful upgrade here by Synapse films and future proofs the work of one of the most important genre filmmakers of all time.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Loki) and James Lockhart



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