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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Vampire > Post Apocalyptic > Monster > Thailand > Animation > Martial Arts > Zombi > Bloodthirst (2023/Lionsgate DVD)/Creepy Crawly (2023/Well Go Blu-ray)/Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match 4K (2023/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)/Tombs Of The Blind Dead (1972/MVD/Synapse Blu-ray Set)

Bloodthirst (2023/Lionsgate DVD)/Creepy Crawly (2023/Well Go Blu-ray)/Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match 4K (2023/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)/Tombs Of The Blind Dead (1972/MVD/Synapse Blu-ray Set)

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

Here's a group of new thrillers and a classic older one...

Michael Su's Bloodthirst (2023) is an R-rated independent post apocalyptic vampire film that borrows from several other genre films in the same mold. While its efforts are commendable and it does do a decent job with locations and production design, the film suffers from lackluster make-up effects, acting, and way way too much dialogue. It's hard not to compare the plot to The Book of Eli, The Walking Dead, and others when watching. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but makes it feel a little familiar. Its desert locations definitely help tell its story, however, and some decently constructed moments of action here and there.

The film stars Tara Reid, Costas Mandylor, Sarah French, Elissa Dowling, Johnny Huang, and Robert LaSardo.

In a dark post apocalyptic world, vampires rule the world and humanity is on the brink of extinction. A vampire hunter faces off with a vampire master before the last bit of survivors in his area become turned.

Bloodthirst is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio mix. The film has decent cinematography, but could have used a more polished pass on color correction to make it feel more stylistic and cinematic. Many scenes are shot with shaky camera movements and close-ups which grows a bit tiresome and not enough wide shots or scenes that play out without excessive cutting. The presentation on home video is fine for the aged DVD format.

No Extras.

Bloodthirst is an honest independent vampire movie effort, but falls a bit short.

Chalit Krileadmongkon and Pakphum Wongjinda's Creepy Crawly (2023) is a Thai monster movie where alien centipedes freely crawl and people can shift into mutated (and deadly) centipede creatures that infest people in the same way that Venom mutates Eddie Brock in the Spider-man universe.

This Thai action/horror/monster thriller is partly a throwback to foreign bug films from the '60s, but also feels very Hollywood-esque in terms of execution as it has a pounding soundtrack score and an abundance of digital VFX enhancement. In fact, I wonder if they actually used any real insects in the making of this film or if all of the insects are digitally created. Aside from a few moments of drama that feels out of place, Creepy Crawly is more entertaining than I thought it would be and has a few intense moments, even if the creatures feel a little much like Marvel supervillains in some moments. I could see this being remade as an American film under a filmmaker like James Wan or Blumhouse as it has that same kind of vibe that Malignant had.

The film stars Pirat Nitipaisalkul, Chanya McClory, Benjamin Joseph Varney, and David Asavanon.

Travelers in Thailand quarantine in a hotel where a manager has been inhabited by a group of twisted managers, one of which has been infected by a mutant bug parasite. As the hotel starts to come alive with creepy crawlers, the guests must run for their lives from the parasite that infects and consumes any one it comes across. Some American influences to this film aside from the Venom series is obviously Resident Evil as the grotesque transformation scenes reminded me a lot of those.

Creepy Crawly 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 Thai DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) with English subtitles and lossy Thai Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. The more modern-looking film looks and sounds slick and nicely produced. Well Go USA did a nice job with the HD presentation here and its look on Blu-ray disc.

No extras.

Mortal Kombat continues to expand in its R-rated animated incarnation in the newest outing, Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match 4K (2023) which lands on the 4K UHD format courtesy of Warner Bros. The film focuses on Johnny Cage, a nerdy child who ends up being a smart talking, handsome, foul mouthed, rich Hollywood superstar, and martial artist worthy of Mortal Kombat.

The voice cast includes Joel McHale (Animal Control, Community) as Johnny Cage and Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing, Red Oaks) as Herself. Also starring in the movie is Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin, Royal Crackers) as David Doubldy, Dusan Brown (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) as Chuck Golden, Grey DeLisle (Teen Titans Go!) as Kia, Robin Atkin Downes (Luck, DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery) as Shinnok, Zehra Fazal (Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe) as Jataaka, Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin, Royal Crackers) as David Doubldy, Kelly Hu (Arrow, X2: X-Men United) as Ashrah, Matt Yang King (Elemental) as Concierge, Phil LaMarr (Futurama) as Brian Van Jones, Matthew Mercer (Resident Evil: Death Island) as Director/Bully, Dave B. Mitchell (Call of Duty franchise) as Raiden and Armen Taylor (Justice Society: World War II) as Master Boyd.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match 4K is presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with HDR10, an HEVC / H.265 codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and an audio track in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio at 48kHz, 24-bit) 5.1 lossless mix. The animated style is similar to a Japanese anime style and looks and sounds clean on the 4K UHD format and is detailed and polished than a normal HD Blu-ray and captures the animation with clarity.

Special Features (per the press release):

What Would Johnny Cage Do? (featurette): Step inside the VO Booth with Joel McHale and Jennifer Grey and go behind the scenes with the filmmakers to learn the challenges they withstood to bring Johnny Cage's 80s action film to life.

Ninja Mime Trailer: Relive the trailer for the greatest 80s action film ever made: NINJA MIME!

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match Audio Commentary: Join Producers Rick Morales and Jim Krieg and Screenwriter Jeremy Adams on an audio adventure recounting the totally tubular tale of bringing Johnny Cage's '80s awesomeness to life.

Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match 4K likes to frequently remind its audience that its watching an R-rated cartoon by excessively dropping the F-word, and having scenes of gory violence whenever it can get away with them. Overall, the film is more fun than the usual Mortal Kombat animated outings in that the main character is a lot more on the funny side than many of the other more serious characters. That said, the film is an enjoyable watch.

The Spanish/Portuguese horror classic, Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972) gets a new life on a new two Blu-ray set courtesy of Synapse Films. Just in time for Halloween, the new restoration from Synapse looks and sounds great in HD as significant improvements have been made to the sound and image. The film is atmospheric and creepy and captures the zombie in a unique way. It begins in the 13th Century where Knights sacrifice virgins to obtain eternal life. Moving forward to modern day, a few friends board a train to go to a social gathering, when one of them jumps off the train and stumbles upon the sacred grounds where these zombie knights dwell. When the friends go to look for her, they become overrun by the thirsty undead who have no remorse or emotion as they close in on their victims.

You can see how this film ended up fitting well into the slasher genre archetypes by creating slow moving and silent killers that lumber towards their victims with no emotion, similar to how Michael Myers would later be in 1978's classic Halloween. This is the first in a series of films that hopefully sees HD upgrades much like this one!

The film stars Lone Fleming, Cesar Burner, Maria Elena Arpon, Jose Thelman, and Rufino Ingles.

Tombs of the Blind Dead is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and Spanish LPCM Mono (48kHz, 24-bit) with English subtitles and lossless English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit). The presentation on both discs is from a new HD restoration and looks and sounds pretty solid. There are a few moments where film damage is still apparent and likely nothing could be done to repair, but it doesn't take away from the overall great looking restoration here. Likely the best that this film has ever looked or sounded or any format before.

Special Features include three, separate, feature length audio commentary by star Lone Fleming, Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn of the NaschyCast podcast and horror film historian and author Troy Howarth respectively.

MARAUDERS FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN, a feature-length documentary exploring the history of the Spanish zombie film, featuring interviews with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD writer/producer John Russo, Sitges Film Festival deputy director Mike Hostench, film critic John Martin, academic Calum Waddell, THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE director Jorge Grau, TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD star Lone Fleming, actors Helga Line, Manuel de Blas, Antonio Mayans and Jack Taylor, Paul Naschy's son Sergio Molina, author/film critic Kim Newman and academic/writer Steve Jones

REVENGE OF PLANET APE: alternate U.S. opening sequence

Awakening of Spanish Horror Cinema featurette

Salem's Pop "Templar's Tears" music video

Original theatrical trailer / Still Gallery

and the re-edited U.S. theatrical cut of the film

While it's not on 4K UHD (yet), Tombs of the Blind Dead looks and sounds pretty solid in this HD transfer with little damage on the negative. This is a fun foreign horror classic that genre fans should check out for sure. Recommended!

- James Lockhart



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