Sunday, April 4, 2010
Hi-Def Blood Movie reviews
A Blu-ray review
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)
Review written by Brian M. Sammons
Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon.
Do I really have to go over the plot of one of the most influential, beloved, and often imitated horror films of all time? I mean come on...if you haven’t seen this movie, then you have no business calling yourself a horror fan. However, just in case you've been in a coma for the the last couple of decades, or you were recently hit on the head and now suffer from amnesia, I’ll give you the cliff notes version.
There once was a sick child murderer named Freddy Kruger who was burned alive by a group of vigilantly parents for his crimes. Unfortunately that just pissed him off. He came back from the dead some years later to seek revenge on the children of those who killed him. His trick, and the one that makes him both unique and truly frightening in the annals of slasherdom, is that he stalks his prey in their dreams. The only thing scarier than nightmares is if you can die in them. After all, you can move away from Crystal Lake, not go into the house in Amityville, but no one can stay awake forever.
Ok...now that you're up to date on this landmark film, let's talk about this new Blu-ray release from New Line Cinema.
First, the movie has never looked or sounded better. The blacks are deep and dark, the drips and hisses in the nightmare boiler room surround you completely, and even if you’ve seen this movie a hundred times before, watching it in high definition will let you see details you’ve never noticed before. But all this is expected from a good Blu-ray re-release. The reason you need to get this disc is all the extras.
There are two audio commentaries that are jammed packed with people. Director Wes Craven, actors Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, John Saxon, and others, not to mention producers, cinematographers tossed in for good measure. If you want the real behind the scenes word on this movie by the people that made it, then these two commentaries will do that for you. There are also several alternate endings, and an interactive trivia track, and something called Freddy Focus Points (that will pop up on the screen from time to time, if you turn them, that will forward you to alternate takes, interviews, and behind-the-scenes info, while you watch the movie.
However, the real stars of the extras are three very in-depth featurettes. All are brand new/ The first is a making of documentary called NEVER SLEEP AGAIN, and at fifty minutes, it is filled with all sorts of Freddy goodness. Then there’s THE HOUSE THAT FREDDY BUILT, at just over twenty minutes, which is all about New Line Cinema, and all the various horror films they've done over the years. And the last one, at fifteen minutes in length, is NIGHT TERRORS, which is about dreams and nightmares in history, myth, and legend.
Yes, that’s nearly ninety minutes of new extras, which combined, are longer than many horror films.
Talk about extra bang for the buck!
If you're a Freddy fan, then you must get this disc.
If you’ve never seen this horror masterpiece, then you must get this disc.
If you are waiting for the upcoming remake, then you must get this disc.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, no matter who you are, YOU MUST GET THIS DISC!
--Brian M. Sammons
A Blu-ray review
THE CRAZIES (1973)
Review written by Brian M. Sammons
Director: George A. Romero
Cast: Lane Carroll, Will MacMillan, Harold Wayne Jones, Lynn Lowry
Hey, guys, anyone see the new horror remake THE CRAZIES? Yeah, it wasn’t half bad, was it? Well...at least it was better than I thought it would be.
But you know what? There’s a whole lot of people out there that watched it that don’t even know the new film was a remake. And even of those that do, many of them have never seen the original.
Well, thankfully the people at Blue Underground have decided to rectify that with a beautiful new Blu-ray edition of one of horror master George Romero’s forgotten (and up to now) hard to find, fun fright films all about murder and mayhem.
George wrote and directed this small, independent film between his undead masterpieces, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DAWN OF THE DEAD, in and around his usual Pennsylvania stomping grounds, with many of his friends and cohorts that helped with his original NOTLD zombie classic.
The story is pretty simple: a nasty man made bio-weapon, codenamed Trixie, is accidentally released in a small town, causing the redneck residents to go homicidal. People begin butchering each other until the army arrives, dressed in iconic white chemsuits and gasmasks, to take control of the situation and to keep things quiet. If that means killing a whole bunch of people to get the job done, well, then that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Into this rapidly worsening situation comes the stars of our show; two buddies and volunteer firefighters named David and Clank (yes, Clank) and David’s nurse girlfriend, Judy. The trio is rounded up by the army like everyone else, but soon they make their escape, and try to not only survive all the chaos of the crazies, but get to the bottom of the mystery. Along the way they make a few new friends, like a father and teenage daughter- played by genre favorite, Lynn Lowry. But Dead-heads should pay special attention to the father. Yep, that’s none other than Richard Liberty, who would work with Romero again, as the famous Dr. Logan (aka Dr. Frankenstein) in 1985’s DAY OF THE DEAD.
This group of survivors runs from soldiers, runs into soldiers, runs from crazies, and all too soon, some of their number begins to feel Trixie’s maddening influence.
Will our heroes escape this nightmare or will they become bloodthirsty crazies themselves?
Well...this is a Romero movie, when he was still young and wild, and unconcerned with producers who wished for a happy ending, so be prepared for anything.
While THE CRAZIES has never looked better than it does on this disc, that’s really all this Blu-ray has to offer. Even the soundtrack is still in vintage 70s mono. Worse, there are only a few extras on the disc. There’s a director’s commentary with Romero, but it's at least a few years old, and a 14 minute interview with actress Lynn Lowry, about her part in this film and some of the other horror movies she’s done over the years. Then there are two theatrical trailers, and two TV spots, and that’s it.
I guess with a movie this old--and frankly, this forgotten--just having it come out in the latest and greatest video format is enough, and I am very grateful to Blue Underground for bringing it back out, I just wish there was a little more meat on these bones. That aside, this is a fun film, which still has plenty of shocks and suspense to offer, even after all these years. If you're a Romero fan, or just a horrorhead, in general, then you owe it to yourself to get this movie.
--Brian M. Sammons