Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Slasher > Exploitation > Mystery > Demonic Possession > Supernatural > Sexploitation > Italy > Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker 4K (1981 aka Night Warning)/Cathy's Curse 4K (1976)/Devil's Honey 4K (1986)/Great Alligator 4K (1979)/all Severin 4K Blu-rays w/Blu-rays)/Lost In The Stars (2023/Via Visi

Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker 4K (1981 aka Night Warning)/Cathy's Curse 4K (1976)/Devil's Honey 4K (1986)/Great Alligator 4K (1979)/all Severin 4K Blu-rays w/Blu-rays)/Lost In The Stars (2023/Via Vision/Imprint Asia/Region Free Import Blu-ray)

4K Picture: B+ Picture: B Sound: B- (Stars: B) Extras: B/B-/B-/B-/C- Film: C+/C+/B-/C+/C

PLEASE NOTE: The Lost In The Stars Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Imprint/Via Vision in Australia, can play on all 4K and Blu-ray players and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for a mix of exploitation films you should know about....

William Asher's Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker 4K (1981 aka Night Warning) is part of a few cycles at the time that were taking place on the big screen and in exploitation pop culture. For one thing, it was a slasher film, then it was one with some name people, it was also one with a lower budget released by an independent company versus the ones the major studios were finally issuing and it was also part of a crazy trend of each such film trying to outdo the last one (often with only weeks in between each release!) with shocks and wacky ideas. To say these were politically incorrect is obvious and besides the point.

This time, Susan Tyrell is a woman who turns out to be jealous of her married sister, who has just had a baby boy, so she kills them! Years later, she is still raising the child (now 19 years old, played by Jimmy McNichol, who goes all out to shatter his teen image and see what happens) and is about to get murderous again. She is also a little too interested in him, who is dating a young woman (Julia Duffy, later Bob Newhart's wife in the second hit Newhart show) and they seem like a nice couple, though 'auntie' is not a fan of hers. Of course, things will nto stay peaceful for long and when a strange murder happens, an angry, ignorant police investigator (the underrated Bo Svenson in a very thankless role for which he is really good in) starts to cross the line plenty and only madness can follow.

So that's the wacky set-up and good taste is nto the goal of this film, but it still plays it too loose and goes for shocks and titillation too much at the expense of a screenplay that if handled differently, would have made this film better and helped to hold up better. It is a nice time capsule of some things outside of the genre, to its advantage and is professionally done, thanks oddly to its longtime journeyman director (more on him in a minute) but the promo definitely is set on selling McNichol for the big screen and as he was that popular at the time, it makes total sense. The Toolbox Murders (1978, see the 4K review elsewhere on this site) caused enough shock, criticism and box office for one time voice of Lucy Van Pelt and very successful child actress Pamelyn Ferdin (Space Academy, et al) from the same era as McNichol that you could see why this could work and he was the brother of Kristy McNichol, an actress definitely as good as Ferdin, all three of whom should have had longer-lasting careers in front of the camera.

By dealing with so much blood, so many R-rated issues and also show almost his entire body when that was way less likely for any male actor or star than a female at the time, that really took more guts, but he had the loyal audience and the curiosity interest helped make this film a moderate hit. So what if it was disjointed, the real reason you'd go to see these films (pre-Internet; the era of far more censored network TV, etc.) was to see what they would dare do. This actually has some kind of charm, however limited, but is still light years away from the cynicism of our torture porn era.

There are times the film gets interesting before it resumes its exploitation and some of the effects (Tom Savini's groundbreaking work was only just starting to sink in throughout the industry) shows its age and might even illicit some chuckles in certain viewers, but they did do a good bit here for the limited budget and we don't see that much in any feature film of any genre these days. So how was this all tied together as well it it was?

Well, it has to do with Director William Asher, whose name you might recognize by accident from his long and extremely successful long line of directing TV comedy, especially from some of the biggest hit TV sitcoms still of all time to this day. Starting as a producer of feature films in the late 1940s, he quickly started writing and creating programs too and TV picked him up so fast, that's where his legacy would be. He wrote & directed some of the biggest 'beach movies' with Frankie & Annette, created and directed episodes of the hit
Patty Duke Show, produced The Paul Lynde Show, produced and directed almost the entire huge hit Bewitched series, key early episodes of the great Linda Lavin classic Alice and much more. His lone episode of the original Rod Serling Twilight Zone was even one of its more offbeat and odder shows.

So with all that, how does he land up directing a film like this? Well at this point of his career, he knew what he was doing and had nothing to lose, too skilled in how to helm anything and one who could bring anything in on a lower budget or on-budget, so that makes sense. It is a stretch though and though he quickly returned to comedy for the rest of the decade before retiring, he did prove he could make one of these films as well ads most of the newbies that were making a film for the first time. It also adds the the oddness of the overall film.

Underrated character actress Marcia Lewis, Britt Leach, Steve Eastin, Kay Kimler, Gary Baxley and a then-unknown Bill Paxton also star.

With all that, even with its flaws, all serious film fans, especially of this genre, need to see this one at least once just to see what they did.

Extras include a solid slipcase and reversible cover, while both discs add three feature length audio commentary tracks: one with Star Jimmy McNichol, a second with Co-Writer/Producer Steve Breimer And Co-Writer Alan Jay Glueckman, Moderated By Mondo Digital's Nathaniel Thompson and a third with Co-Producer And Unit Production Manager Eugene Mazzola and an Original Theatrical Trailer. The older Blu-ray disc also has three featurettes in Extreme Prejudice: Interview With Actor Bo Svenson, Point And Shoot: Interview With Director Of Photography Robbie Greenberg and Family Dynamics: Interview With Editor Ted Nicolaou, Cast And Crew Interviews With Actors Jimmy McNichol, Susan Tyrrell And Steve Eastin, Make-Up Artist Allan A. Apone And Producer Steve Breimer and a TV Spot.

Eddy Matalon's Cathy's Curse 4K (1976) is an older demonic possession film that was very popular, especially after The Exorcist and arrived the same year as the biggest 'devil child' movie in years, The Omen. You can read more in our original coverage at this link:


Since we last covered the film, a whole new set of demonic possession films have arrived, including more attempts to revive The Exorcist as some kind of franchise, but at least this one is somewhat ambitious and fresher versus the many others that are just really bad and cynically made in their lack of originality and the sense that they are even bored making them. Minus the bad digital we get all the time now, they actually had to be creative and think, even for a B-movie horror project like this. Both cuts are here and maybe the longer one is narrowly better, but not by much. The curious and especially horror fans should see both cuts, especially now in 4K!

Extras include a Limited Edition webstore slipcase with glowing LED eyes, plus all editions have a reversible cover, a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and essays by Simon Barrett And Brian Collins, while the discs add a Feature Length Audio Commentary track by Fangoria Magazine Contributor Brian Collins And Filmmaker Simon Barrett (U.S. Cut Only) and Original Theatrical Trailers. The older Blu-ray adds three featurettes: Tricks And Treats: Interview With Director Eddy Matalon, Cathy's Daddy: Alan Scarfe Remembers CATHY'S CURSE and Cathy & Mum: Interview With Actress Randi Allen And Costume Designer Joyce Allen, and Introduction To Cinematic Void/American Cinematheque Screening By Brian Collins.

Lucio Fulci's The Devil's Honey 4K (1986) just manages to be the best of the four films here for my tastes and I reviewed it as part of these horror genre releases at this link:


Of course, I have to confess I like Corrine Clery (Moonraker, The Story Of O) whom the camera lives and looks as great as ever, here for the first time in 4K anywhere. The script and overall narrative are all over the place, but she is as watchable here as she ever had been as as we post, she is still making movies and appearing on television, albeit mostly overseas productions sadly. No matter how off the rails this gets, she is still good here and proves she is more than just a sexy woman or sex symbol, but an actual actress with star power. If you see this film, stick with this and her until the end to get all the good parts out of it.

Extras include a reversible cover, Webstore Exclusive Slipcover/slipcase, while the discs add an Original Theatrical Trailer, plus the older Blu-ray adds an Archival Audio Interview With Director Lucio Fulci By Michele Romagnoli, an Alternate Opening, Sax, Lies and Videotape: Interview With Actress Blanca Marsillach, The Devil's Halsey: Interview With Actor Brett Halsey, Wild Flower: Interview With Actress Corinne Clery, Producing Honey: Interview With Producer Vincenzo Salviani, The Devil's Sax: Interview With Composer Claudio Natili, Stephen Thrower, Author Of Beyond Terror: The Films Of Lucio Fulci, On THE DEVIL'S HONEY and Fulci's Honey: Audio Essay By Troy Howarth, Author Of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci And His Films.

Sergio Martino's The Great Alligator 4K (1979) is an infamously bad film that wants to be sleek and sleazy at the same time, but coherence and consistency are beyond the grasp of this bonkers monster movie with plenty of stereotypes and bad moviemaking from a man who started with documentaries and psychological thrillers. Starting with the slasher film Torso in 1973, he started to move more into more explicit exploitation territory while still juggling comedies, spaghetti westerns and police thrillers too. Here, he was trying to stretch or the like, but it did not exactly work out.

The opening scene has a helicopter flying to what will be the scene and location of the attacks, including Mel Ferrer, a Martino veteran at this point who also appeared in Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive. To give you a clue on what to expect if you watch this, they are in the air flying in a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter (the make and model used in all the James Bond films of the time) but when they land, it is another copter, another make and model!

Speaking of Bond, Barbara Bach, who had just been in the huge hit comeback Bond The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) is soon the female lead, with a character who will deal with much more peril in water than in that film. Like Cleary, women in Bond films at the time were not taken as seriously and landed up in lower-budgeted films at the time, which has fortunately changed since. A few years later, Bach would still be making such films, but by Caveman had meet Ringo Starr and they have been married ever since and soon quit filmmaking, sadly.

Soon, give or take prolonged segments of 'natives on the island' and the like, the cast of characters are being attacked by the killer giant in some brutal and bloody ways, though the budget is as limited as the visual effects, so some of this looked bad then. You can imagine how bad it can look now. However, you do get some nice shots, some weird moments and a good look at the good old days of bad moviemaking; somehow not as bad as such films that are made today. The digital usually looks more phony than what we see here, despite its price tag literally being tens to hundreds of times more expensive and that has nothing to do with inflation.

If you are seeing it for laughs and political incorrectness, fine, but if you are expecting much more, don't hold your breath. Bach is the best thing about this one.

Extras include a reversible cover, Webstore Exclusive Slipcover/Slipcase, while the discs add an Original Theatrical Trailer, plus the older Blu-ray adds Down By The River: Interview With Director Sergio Martino, Minou: Interview With Actress Silvia Collatina, Beware Of The Gator: Interview With Camera Operator Claudio Morabito, Later Alligator: Interview With Production Designer Antonello Geleng, Underwater: Interview With Underwater Camera Operator Gianlorenzo Battaglia, 3 Friends And An Alligator: Discussion With Cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando, Production Designer Antonello Geleng And Special Effects Supervisor Paolo Ricci, Paradise House: Christianity And The Natural World In THE GREAT ALLIGATOR: Video Essay By Lee Gambin, Author Of Massacred By Mother Nature and Alligator Land: Antonello Geleng Shares Original Production Drawings.

Finally, we have the newest film on the list, Rui Chu and Xiang Liu's Lost In The Stars (2023) which is a wild mystery about a man (Yilong Zhu) who loses his wife on vacation, then really flips out when a woman (Janice Man) shows up, says she is his wife, knows everything about them, all the facts point to her telling 'the truth' and he insists she is a fraud. Has he lost his mind, or is something wackier and crazier going on here?

A female detective (Ni Ni, who really takes over when she shows up) gets together with him and starts to investigate what is really going on. So besides the sick person or sick world question (Polanski's Rosemary's Baby is a great example of such a film) and the film has its moments, but the problem is the the early part goes on a little longer than it should, then it takes so many twists and turns that it actually does nto add up as it should, whether the makers realize it or not. An ambitious production, as elaborate as any of its Hollywood, European or indie counterparts of late, that made me all the more disappointed when this did not add up. It looks good, has some real style and the cast is exceptional. I hope to see more of them in other films along with other films from Asia overall. Though I cannot recommend the film, if you like visuals and seeing the ambition, it would be worth a look for those curious about that. Better luck next time to the writers and directors if they try this kind of thing again.

A trailer is the only extra.

Now for playback performance. Like Criterion, Arrow, Blue Underground, Synapse and the better work by the major studio labels, Severin has been building up a great library of 4K masters knowing the next format was going to happen and to have an exceptionally strong, accurate, rich and real pleasures to watch as if you are watching a nice film print. All four films were shot on Kodak 35mm color negative, but save The Devil's Honey, it was Kodak film before they (and all the rest of the color movie film producers) had major fading issues, so the fact they still look this good in amazing. The labwork might not be as good as what Technicolor or Metrocolor was doing at the time, which could lead to some of the flaws and aging issue, but they put much hard work into restoring and saving these films, often orphan or indie-owned.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on all the 4K discs (save 2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Alligator, which is in 2.35 X 1 framing) are the best they have looked since their original theatrical releases and surpass their still-impressive 1080p digital High Definition Blu-ray presentations, also included in every release.

Since these are horror thrillers, they are going to be shot with more grain, less lighting, more styling and using other purposely unusual lighting and camera set-ups, ultra-clear fidelity is not always the intent. That these 35mm filmed productions look better than most of the HD shoots I have seen lately says something about the ambition of these productions and their desires to be hits.

Though not credited anywhere on the film or its posters, the 2.35 X 1 framing from Alligator is actually shot in the two-perforation Techniscope format, also known as Chromoscope when Technicolor did not produce dye-transfer 35mm prints. That gives them less fidelity than using real scope lenses (Panavision, Technovision, HawkScope, etc.) or just shooting flat like the other three films, but this still looks good, so Director of Photography Giancarlo Ferrando knew what he was doing. True, the underwater sequences are not James Bond/Abyss clean and clear, but they are nice and dirty for a horror/monster film.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes all come from the original monophonic mixes and any surviving sound stems, usually magnetic tape. You can hear the budget and sonic limits of the films from their time, but Synapse and company (as usual) have done everything they can to clean them up without compression, warping or other harmonic distortion issues. As was the case with most movies soundtracks until the last few decades, the music was usually recorded in a studio with higher fidelity, so music and some sound effects can have better fidelity than the location recording. All offer English language tracks, but Curse has a French dub track that is not as good but fairly good, while Honey and Alligator also add Italian tracks. It is the original sound for Honey, while in the case of Alligator, both soundtracks are valid since they used both languages during production.

And finally, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Lost In The Stars is one of the best HD shoots I have seen in a while from anywhere with a superior use of color and some good lighting choices, even if some shots have some unintended softness, it is impressive and is at least a 4K shoot. The sound is here in a Mandarin DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix and a lesser, flatter, boring English PCM 2.0 Stereo dub. Though the sound has some off moments, it is still consistent enough and being the newest film on the list, definitely the best sonically. The end credits say this was produced, finalized and issued in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, so I can see a possible 4K edition and despite my disappointment with the film, I would still watch that upgrade just for what works here.

To order the Lost In The Stars Region Free import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more hard to find and exclusive titles from Imprint:


- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com