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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Exploitation > Psychological > Monster > Zombie > Supernatural > Vampire > Action > Shark > Abomination (1986/Visual Vengeance Blu-ray*)/August Underground: Mordum (2003/Unearthed Blu-ray w/DVD/*both MVD)/Gangnam Zombie (2023/Well Go Blu-ray)/Insidious: The Red Door (2023/aka Insidious 5/Son

Abomination (1986/Visual Vengeance Blu-ray*)/August Underground: Mordum (2003/Unearthed Blu-ray w/DVD/*both MVD)/Gangnam Zombie (2023/Well Go Blu-ray)/Insidious: The Red Door (2023/aka Insidious 5/Sony Blu-ray)/Last Voyage Of The Demeter (2023/Universal Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The Meg 2: The Trench 4K (2023/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)

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

And yet more horror titles for the latest Halloween season...

The shot-on-analog-video horror/exploitation film, The Abomination (1986), is limited by its budget and the time in which it was made, but isn't too bad of a monster monster in that regard. Directed by Bret McCormick (who also directed Repligator, reviewed elsewhere on this site and also on Blu-ray from Visual Vengeance), the film sees a new life on Blu-ray from Visual Vengeance just in time for Halloween.

When a old woman coughs up a tumor after being religiously saved by a phony TV-show Evangelist, the tumor infects her hormonal son who is soon host to the bizarre creature. As the tumor controls his every thought and action, he ends up finding human sacrifices to feed the uncontrollable beast as it grows in size and becomes unmanageable.

By watching this film, it's easy to pick apart its filmmaking flaws and so forth, but what you cannot deny is that it was made with a lot of passion and creativity which is to be commended. Of course, the HD transfer is not the best as the source is low def, but Visual Vengeance has surely done what it can with this new SD master from the original tapes (supervised by the Director) with what they were given. The 1080p Blu-ray transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec) features a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and a lossy, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192kbps) Stereo mix. The low rating isn't the fault of the label by any means, but given the VHS source the film was shot with, this is simply what it looks like... a VHS tape. This lack of clarity and video noise, however, does help fuel the story and gives the project an extra aura that it wouldn't have it if was presented in a pristine video presentation, which if it did exist, would surely show more budget limitations that would be distracting and glaring. For what it is, this is probably the best this film will ever look or sound.

Special Features are plentiful (which is common from Visual Vengeance):

Audio Commentary with Director Bret McCormick, Rob Hauschild and Matt Desiderio of Visual Vengeance

Audio Commentary with Tony Strauss of Weng's Chop Magazine

"Monster Kid Movie Maverick" - Brand New, Feature-Length Bret McCormick Interview (2022)

Actress Blue Thompson Interview (2022)

Actress Victoria Chaney Interview (2022)

Interview with The Abomination's Original VHS distributor: Michael Jack Shoel (Donna Michelle Productions) (2022)

The Abomination: Filming Locations Tour (2022)

Super 8 Outtakes and Raw Footage, Reel 1

Super 8 Outtakes and Raw Footage, Reel 2

Behind The Scenes ''The Stairway''

Behind The Scenes ''Tumor Test''

Image Gallery

Interview with ''The Abomination''

Bret McCormick: Original Super 8 Films

Visual Vengeance Trailer

Bret McCormick Trailer Archive

6-page Booklet with Essay by Tony Strauss

'Stick Your Own' VHS Sticker Set

Reversible Sleeve Featuring Original VHS Art

Limited Edition Slipcase by The Dude: FIRST PRESSING ONLY

and a 12-page mini-comic book: FIRST PRESSING ONLY.

Rightfully proclaimed as one of the sickest movies ever to slither out of the cinematic underground, Fred Vogel's August Underground: Mordum (2003) is the second in the series to get the deluxe Blu-ray treatment courtesy of Unearthed Films. (First AU film released by Unearthed Films is reviewed elsewhere on this site.) The third entry, Penance, is expected around Christmas 2023 time.

Shot on a home video camera in Pittsburgh, the film pits the audience with a group of crazed psychopaths as they poke and torment every human they come in contact with over the course of several days. The film's execution is masterful and features hyper realistic special effects by Mr. Vogel and Jerami Cruise, which really help sell the sick reality that Mordum is selling. This is not a film that many can stomach or sit through and is considered beyond an R rating.

The film stars Fred Vogel, Christie Wiles, Michael Maggot, Art Ettinger, and Shelby Lyn Vogel to name a few.

While these films aren't meant to look good per say, the 2023 1080p HD Transfer does look better than the also included original DVD Transfer. Mordum is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and an English 2.0 PCM Stereo mix. The transfer is improved from previous releases in this definitive version. The DVD version has a similar widescreen and sound spec. Unearthed has done what they can with the look and sound of the film and enhanced it slightly, but its still bad on purpose which is the cause of the lower rating.

Special Features are plentiful and mostly all new for this release:

Audio Commentary by EFX Artist Jerami Cruise and Ultra Violent Magazine's Art Ettinger

Audio Commentary By TOETAG

Mordum Lives

The Most Disturbing Scene

Remembering Killjoy

A Family Affair of Love and Hate: An Interview with Michael Maggot

Stephen Biro Interviews Jerami Cruise

Art Ettinger and Allana Sleeth Interview (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Zoë Rose Smith Interviews Fred Vogel (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Dave Parker Interviews Fred Vogel (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Snuff Purgatory: Severed Cinema Interviews Fred Vogel (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Necrophagia - Rue Morgue Disciple ''Promo Video''

Rue Morgue Disciple BTS Gallery

Deleted and Extended Scenes

U.S. Premiere 2003

Extensive Photo Gallery

Sickcess: A Necrophagia Mockumentary (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Sickcess Trailer (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Mordum Screening (Flashback Weekend 2004) (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Slit Throat Demo (Flashback Weekend 2004) (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Zombie Demo (Flashback Weekend 2004) (BLU-RAY ONLY)

Original Animation

and Trailers.

August Underground's Mordum will likely make you sick to your stomach more than once, and if you can finish it in one sitting you are to be commended.

Soo Sung Lee's Gangnam Zombie (2023) is an interesting fusion of martial arts and zombie movie. Set in Gangnam, Seoul, a virus outbreak turns most of the human population into flesh eating zombies. A group of survivors race through the city to get to safety and along the way one of them, who happens to be a skilled martial artist, starts beating up zombies for his social media (in one of the film's lighter moments). But the fun and games start to diminish as the hordes of (pretty Korean creepy) zombies pop up everywhere you can imagine!

The film stars Il-Joo Ji, Ji-Yeon Park, Kyoung-Hoon Jo, Min Choi, Tu-in Tak, and Jung Yi-joo.

Gangnam Zombie is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a Korean DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo lossy mixes (with English subtitles) as well. The HD transfer is clean and has no visible issues upon watching.

No extras.

The best part about Gangnam Zombie is the Zombies themselves. The film is fun and falls in line fine with the tropes of the horror subgenre.

Insidious: The Red Door (2023) is an interesting fifth film to the horror franchise, which is directed by the series star Patrick Wilson, to whom comic book movies fans will remember as The Night Owl in Zack Snyder's Watchmen film and as the villain in the Aquaman franchise, the former which is also produced by the creator of this series, James Wan.

Patrick Wilson does a fine job of directing the Insidious sequel, which isn't horrible but doesn't really bring much new to the table for the franchise aside from bringing back original cast members. The most interesting aspect to the series on the whole is its approach to the world beyond and how they shoot some moments from the perspective of the demons themselves. This is probably the best Insidious film since the first one, with the prior three sequels not being particularly memorable.

The film brings back the original's cast starring Ty Simpkins (once a child actor who was in the first Jurassic World film among others), Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne (who is barely in it), Andrew Astor, and Hiam Abbass.

Josh (Wilson) faces his family's dark past and involves Dalton (Simpkins) as they push back into the realm between the living and the dead and discover the meaning of The Red Door, which holds a key to unlocking several twisted events they have endured, hopefully separating them from the dark forces that torment them.

Insidious: The Red Door is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless mix that sounds fine for the format. The presentation on Blu-ray is fine and as good as one would expect from the aging format. No 4K UHD on launch, which is upsetting to say the least especially with a film as dark in moments as this one; that extra resolution would go a long way.

Special Features are slim with two featurettes in Past, Present, Further and A Possessed Director.

The Insidious franchise can finally be put to rest (at least temporarily) with this fifth installment, which isn't terrible, but not particularly breaking new ground either.

The Last Voyage Of The Demeter (2023) is based on a single chapter of Bram Stoker's original Dracula novel and also inspired by the classic silent horror film, Nosferatu, in more ways than one. While on paper, The Last Voyage of the Demeter sounds pretty brilliant, it does have a few flaws in its execution. All in all, this is a step in the right direction for Universal to take with their beloved Monster franchises and they should continue in this manner with other properties and stray away from modernizing these classic horror monsters too much in this reviewer's opinion.

The film stars Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, David Dastmalchian, and Chris Walley and is directed by Andre Ovredal, who also directed The Autopsy of Jane Doe and Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark, both interesting horror films in their own right.

Set in the 1800s, the Demeter is a ship carrying 50 mysterious wooden crates and is on a path from Carpathia to London. What the crew is unaware of is that a bloodthirsty Vampire dwells within one of the crates and plans to make a meal out of them, and regenerate its strength in the process.

The film has a strong narrative, but the issues lie within the use of the Vampire itself in some moments. You don't really get that the Vampire is Dracula per say as its just a non-speaking monster throughout, where it could have been more interesting to have it be a human that turns into a vampire instead. Not humanizing the Vampire is an interesting choice, but does stray a bit from the original Dracula text. The result is a film that at some times feels more slasher/monster movie in tone where I think making the monster be more Dracula-like could have made for a more effective payoff in the end. Still, there are some funny nods to other classic characters in this film (namely the rats being reminiscent of Nosferatu and Universal's 1931 Dracula and the addition of Lawrence Talbot's cane from The Wolfman).

The Last Voyage of The Demeter is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems in 48kHz, 24-bit) which sounds fantastic on the HD format. Sadly, Universal has decided to hold off on releasing the 4K UHD version, which is a sad trend that they have been going with in the past year. Also included is a standard definition DVD with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. The film itself is well photographed, though with a digital look in most cases. The vampire here is inspired by the look of Nosferatu and should have been executed using make-up effects more than relying so heavily on digital enhancements, but it does look pretty good in a few moments.

Special Features include:

ALTERNATE OPENING: Commentary available with Director Andre Ovredal and Producer Bradley J. Fischer

DELETED SCENES - Commentary available with Director Andre Ovredal and Producer Bradley J. Fischer

Clemens Picking up a Stone in Varna

Bosphorus and Constantinople

Clemens Following Huck's Blood Trail

Clemens and Anna Talk on Deck

Crew Discuss Where the Beast Is Hiding

Finding the Corpses in the Crate

Wojchek Finds the Captain

Clemens Visits His Father's Grave

FROM THE PITS OF HELL: DRACULA REIMAGINED: Learn how the creative team behind THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER conjured a new nightmare.

EVIL IS ABOARD: THE MAKING OF THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER: Set sail for an exclusive journey inside the making of the movie with the filmmakers and cast.

DRACULA & THE DIGITAL AGE: Visual effects supervisor Brad Parker leads a detailed look at the imaginative work that adds fresh layers of fear to Dracula, creates realistic water, and enhances scenery with bleeding-edge VFX.


The Last Voyage of the Demeter isn't perfect, but is very entertaining and one of the better studio horror films to come out in a while. A film that was clearly made by fans of the classics and feels more in line with what Hammer and Universal should be doing more often when re-doing classic horror stories.

And last but not least, Jason Statham returns in the Hollywood popcorn franchise sequel, The Meg 2: The Trench 4K (2023) which begins with a fun time travel back to the age of the Dinosaurs where we see a T-Rex (not too dissimilar in design from Stan Winston's Dinos in the Jurassic Park / World franchise) get swallowed whole by a massive shark (known as a Meg) on a beach. As we travel to the present, we jump into a futuristic aquatic facility (which gives me some vibes of a similar one seen in the far superior shark flick, Deep Blue Sea.)

A team of rich scientists (and Statham and his adopted daughter) are trying to mine into the The Trench, an aquatic underworld where giant sea beasts dwell. Along the way there is corruption among the humans and many brainiacs turn into shark food. Once the film goes back to land we get introduced to multiple killer megalon sharks, a giant octopus, and smaller dinosaur-like creatures that wreck havoc. Of course, Jason Statham does the impossible more than once and is able to fend off prehistoric creatures without barely breaking a sweat along the way. He must have taken some notes from Tom Cruise on how to narrowly avoid catastrophic situations.

The film stars Jason Statham, Jing Wu, Shuya Sophia Cai, Cliff Curtis, and Page Kennedy.

Meg 2: The Trench 4K is presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with HDR10, an HEVC / H.265 codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and an audio tracks in lossless, English Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems, both at 48kHz, 24-bit). There is a nice layer of detail in the HD on the digital creatures and the actors throughout and production sign comes off nice and fresh on disc with beautiful colors and more depth than a normal HD Blu-ray transfer. Overall, a solid 4K UHD presentation, even if the film itself isn’t too mind blowing.

Only two bonus features here and they are featurettes: The Making of Meg 2: The Trench and Up From the Depths: Even More Beasts.

Meg 2: The Trench 4K delivers many of the same thrills as its predecessor and is basically an animated live action film at some points as there is so much CGI. Some of it works and other parts are groan-worthy, resulting in a standard Hollywood summer blockbuster flick that seems a tad too long and overblown for its own good. Not the worst film of the year, but not too memorable upon popping it out of the player either, but if you are craving some giant shark action then it delivers on that front!

- James Lockhart



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