Friday, September 30

Braindead (Dead Alive) (Uncut) (1992) - 1993 Shochiku Home Video Japanese VHS

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Cruising through VHS Wasteland's daily cover selections yesterday, these scans of the front and reverse cover of SHV's Braindead caught my eye. Not only because they're awesome, but because they're of the exact copy I snagged from another collector recently with the same minor damage and sale sticker on the back of the nurse/baby cover (which was cleanly removed). I don't believe he made the scans, so the origin of these is a mystery!

This makes for a good example of how Japanese tapes have a way of circulating within a niche of collectors over time. Also see that small circular holographic sticker on the nurse/baby spine? Don't remove them! They're Japan Video Morality Association stickers and are regularly seen on Japanese videos (kinda like the U.K.'s BBFC ratings). They don't peel off well, usually ripping the cover which naturally sucks and hurts resell value.

Thursday, September 29

Unrated Version of Buddy Cooper's The Mutilator (1985) available on YouTube

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I don't usually advocate full flicks being on YouTube, but after finally watching this splendidly gory slasher last night (Vestron's unrated VHS), it's worth seeing for any self-respecting fan of the subgenre. The kills to the tune of crashing steel drums by a sweaty maniac are leeringly gruesome and the bubblegum saxophone-laded theme wraps a queasy sense of '80s happiness around an over-the-top teen slaughterfest effects showcase. It's already mine if this ever comes to DVD and deserves more than a measly 4.7 IMDB rating.

Wednesday, September 28

The First Horror Film on Home Video...?

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This is a very special tape that arrived today due to its 1978 release year. I'm fairly certain Magnetic's release of Henry Cass's Blood of the Vampire is the first horror title ever released on home video. Although there's two caveats, an earlier format and Damien...

The two formats most associate with home video's birth, VHS and Betamax, weren't technically the first to market. Cartivision, an analog video format introduced in 1972 and built into specialized televisions, was the first to offer movies in the home, but only as one-time viewing rentals. The format died off after only a year and I can't find a title catalog so there's no way of verifying if Cartivision had any horror films.

In 1977, Magnetic Video Corporation was launched and became the first distributor releasing titles for both sale and rental on VHS and Beta (and soon after DiscoVision). MVC initially offered fifty titles with none falling into the horror genre. The only other title that might pre-date or match the video release year of Blood of the Vampire (1958) is Magnetic's The Omen (1976). I still need to confirm this. Although other notable early horror videos like Night Watch (1973), Blood Rose (1969), The Sorcerers (1967), Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974) and Carrie (1976) all arrived in 1979. Needless to say, this tape is extraordinarily rare like all of MVC's earliest releases.


Tuesday, September 27

Impressions and Captures of Tango Entertainment's rare Mind Ripper (1995) DVD

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An irritated Lance Henriksen semi-stars as an irritated father and scientist on the verge of a family vacation is instead called upon to calm a mishap at a top secret mountainside biological research outpost where he once worked. A human guinea pig has went on a rampage, killed some of the researchers, and is now loose somewhere in the facility. Naturally, he's not told of these details; so his daughter, her boyfriend, and slacker son (Giovanni Ribisi in his first feature role) tag along into unknown danger. After several failed attempts to contact those inside, Lance and familia unwittingly walk into the mutant's dark and dreary stalking ground.

Even if you haven't technically seen Mind Ripper (The Outpost), you've probably already been bored by something similar in the past. It's one of those lukewarm '90s sci-fi/horror programmers where most of the cast wear identical uniforms while running about in extremely dark and generic industrial sets in a trite predator/prey plot that all serve to keep the production's costs as low as possible.

It's been done better before and there's no real reason to grant a recommendation. Director Joe Gayton, who recently co-wrote the fun Dwayne Johnson vehicle Faster with his brother, simply points and shoots trying to mask blatant limitations. The "monster" amounts to some pissed buff dude brainsucker with slow transmutations who conveniently keeps his cranial feasting PG-13. Henriksen's brooding performance screams wanting to get the fuck outta there and Ribisi is merely passing time waiting to become a millionaire. Claire Stansfield fits the bill of a strong, unremarkable attractive lead actress that seems destined for television nicely. If you must, pair this one with the similar Legion (1998) or ditch both and seek out Bruno Mattei's ridiculous terminator rip-off run amok in a factory Shocking Dark (1990).

Even if you've seen Mind Ripper, you've probably never ran across Tango Entertainment's DVD. I never even knew this flick was released stateside on DVD before finding this disc over the weekend. After buying it simply because of that, it turned out this release appears to be out-of-print and quite scarce. Tango's intended full frame interlaced transfer is serviceable with no noticeable compression problems. In contrast, Anchor Bay's British disc is matted to 1.85:1 widescreen. The source seems to be a video master broken into six chapters with no scene selection menu.

Audio comes in Dolby Stereo, but it's clear and matrixes well into surround. The only extra is Mind Ripper's trailer and an assortment of non-horror trailers from Tango's catalog. This release certainly isn't worth the high prices seen on Amazon or eBay, but it's a nicely modest disc with nothing shouting budget title (even going through the trouble of making an animated intro to the main menu). At least if you find it cheap, mine was $3, you could eventually flip it just out of rarity.          

Monday, September 26

Manson (1973) - 1984 United Home Video Clamshell VHS

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Here's United's rare clam of Robert Hendrickson and Laurence Merrick's great, albeit salacious and opportunistic documentary chronicling Charles Manson and his murderous sheeple. This film was supposedly banned during the legal fallout from Squeaky Fromme's assassination attempt of Gerald Ford, but has been released at least three times on video by World Wide Video (as a big box), United Home Video, and VEC (in Canada).

Defunct grey-marketers Beverly Wilshire were actually sued and folded over their unauthorized DVD about a decade ago (it was like Christmas finding one at a yard sale years ago). Though the "cultish" hype surrounding the documentary is still being milked with a self-released DVD from Hendrickson. Word has it the $40 disc is a poorly authored DVD-R with an equally poor presentation. For that price range, you might as well track down one of the valuable and just plain cooler VHS releases instead...

Sunday, September 25

Unsure what to think about this...?!? (calling all Hong Kong VHS experts)

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Last week I was sorting through eBay and scored these "Mecapro" tapes of Wilson Yip's Bio Zombie. The VHS, which ended up being split on two cassettes, arrived yesterday and I'm baffled by what the deal is upon opening the package.

The whole double VHS set thing isn't the issue. For some unexplained reason, many North American-based distributors of Hong Kong films released titles that would easily fit onto just one tape spread across two tapes instead. This zombie horror/comedy only runs 94 minutes but that didn't stop Mecapro from breaking the film onto two T-60 cassettes. My only guess is that these outfits transferred films from LaserDiscs and opted to not join the two sides (@ one hour per side) considering the LD format's limitations onto one VHS.

What's the big deal? First, the seller used scotch tape to attached the two covers to "naked" hard clamshells that didn't have plastic covering. I had to very carefully "unpeel" the covers and grab two empty replacement cases. Second, the second half's cover is a PC-printed scan of the first tape's real cover (slight imperfections match). What the hell, man?!?

The catch is both cassettes definitely look official with "professional" face and spine labels. There's also no part one or two indication anywhere on the cover. So I'm hesitant to go fly off the handle at the seller. It isn't clear if the second tape's original cover was damaged or if it had a cover at all. Since the set was cheap and the VHS authentic (played perfectly as well), I'm keeping them, but it would be nice to confirm what's going on here...?
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Saturday, September 24

Dug out my working CED player for this quick clip...

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Found another CED player...that doesn't work...

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I tell ya, I got a knack for finding CEDs and their players. I have no idea what it is about my area, but I'll be damned if I don't run across this stuff on a semi-regular basis during my swap meet and yard sale escapades. This morning I grabbed another RCA Selectavision SFT100, the first model introduced in 1981, and a few select horror titles for $12. The one pictured is my working SFT100 found in July 2009 for $25. Both very decent prices along with a few other cheap dud players that were salvaged of their removable needle cartridges for reserve purposes (good to keep this in mind, these styli can go for nutty prices on eBay)

CED, or Capacitance Electronic Disc, was an analog video format introduced in 1981 by RCA that utilized a needle stylus and dense vinyl platters for video/audio playback. Basically, the format was the absolute limit of analog medium innovation before the widespread prevalence and obvious advantages of the laser revolutionized both home video and audio forever. The CED format was meant to be cheaper in end consumer cost in comparison to the others, so maybe my ease at finding this stuff reflects my region being populated by bums. Well, at least that's one possibility...

Sadly, the player either has a worn out belt that drives the servo arm along the disc for playback, think a record player's tonearm except motorized, or the arm motor itself has gotten goofy. The belt seems to have extreme difficultly with initially gripping the motor's spinning road but when it finally does the arm mechanism speeds along as if the fast forward button is engaged during what should be standard "Play" mode. I tried to "punch" and jiggle at the FF button to disengage it if that's the issue but there's no change. The rotating platter seems to have no problem spinning up to speed and otherwise the player appears to function properly.

Where I am going with this? Nowhere in in particular. I'm a talkative dork that just loves to overly explain things far past the point of anyone else caring. Plus this might help with this problem eventually and be useful reference in the future. I'm keeping the player for eventual repair or at least parts. The outward comestic condition matches my working deck.

Below are pictures of the odd CED loading system with Halloween II bought with the player. The vertical bar running across the top back of the machine is the servo arm with the white plastic gears and bits on right side (incorrectly) controlling it. The slender black "pull button" with the writing sticker around it on the arm is the stylus holder. You pull that black tab to the right and a latch door opens giving you access to a cream-colored plastic box of the thing containing the needle you can pull out and replace (or plastic bag for safe keeping). Be sure to check to see if it's in there before buying one. Most players have top access door on the cabinet, like this SFT100, that have be popped open without tools to check it.    
                 
cover off, no disc

cartridge fully inserted

cartridge pulled out with disc left in machine ready to play

cartidge re-inserted to retrieve disc after playback

Companeros (Vamos a matar, compañeros) (1970) - Lettuce Entertain You Canadian VHS

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Not a good presentation of this great Sergio Corbucci western (full screen, super hot colors), but this clamshell is hard to find and in such good shape. Lettuce's cheap covers were very "papery" and prone to easy damage.

Friday, September 23

Rabid (1977) - 1983 Warner Home Video Clamshell Beta

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Believe it or not, the first time I saw this film was on television as a kid and only revisited it last night. Sure to be garner criticism from his legion, let me first say that I'm not the biggest fan of Cronenberg's early work and Rabid proved no different. The filmmaker is still finding his footing in his sophomore feature that's essentially Montreal's own rendition of George Romero's 1973 maniac outbreak film, The Crazies.

There's sparks of Cronenberg's body horror fancy and Chambers turns out the best performance (stale male lead Frank Moore delivers lines like Christopher Walken with a severe concussion), but plenty of dull moments and dodgy acting fill the duration when the controversial porn star isn't on-screen.

That's another forced aspect, again Chambers is surprisingly solid yet the couple topless scenes and the seductress finding a crimson dinner in a seedy adult theater just scream of producer pressure to milk that certain angle of Rabid's star. Funny how, despite the back repeatedly stating "horror film", Warner decided to peg the film as an "ADULT DRAMA" on this cover. That actually might work better when viewing Rabid as a deadly addiction metaphor rather than most synopsizes trying to make this out to be a zombie flick.

Thursday, September 22

Trap Them and Kill Them (Emanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali) (1977) - 1985 Twilight Video Beta

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I've been battling a worsening head cold for the past few days, so in place of a ramble of words, here's another wondrous cover scan of a recent purchase from a fellow tape fiend. To my knowledge, Twilight Video only released two features on home video and I can't recall the other one right this second (anyone know?). Though Joe D'Amato's Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals is the better and more desirable of the pair.

Being distributed by the prolific Trans World Entertainment, I can only assume this branch might have represented an ill-fated attempt to capitalize on I.V.E.'s successful Thriller Video series of big box horror of the same period. This clamshell doesn't seem too hard to find popping up on eBay with regular frequency. I have three of these; two VHS copies and this Betamax. The first was a five buck swap meet find years before I ever began collecting and the second was dug out of a trash bag last year. This Betamax is in the best condition of 'em all...    

Tuesday, September 20

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986) - Mei Ah Video Hong Kong VHS

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Dropped in the mailbox today, instantly one of my favorite tapes in my collection!

(w/ MGM/UA's South Korean VHS)

Monday, September 19

Dorian Gray (Il dio chiamato Dorian) (1970) - 1983 NTA Home Entertainment VHS

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Cleaned up wonderfully, love the artwork!

Sunday, September 18

Video: Swap Meet VHS Haul

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Saturday, September 17

Probably a good idea to grab Anchor Bay's Hellraiser Blu-ray now...

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Apparently Image Entertainment has acquired the home video rights to all post-1984 New World Pictures properties from Anchor Bay including Hellraiser and its sequel Hellbound. Image has a solid history with horror on DVD but so far their budget-priced "Midnight Madness" Blu-rays reflective of this new licensing deal have failed to impress. 

Their new BD of the original The Hill Have Eyes is a standard definition-to-1080p upscale from Anchor Bay's prior DVD exhibiting no picture quality difference. But unlike Hills, which retains all the "old" special features, the Image BDs of Hellraiser, Hellbound, and Children of the Corn lack all the supplements of the Anchor Bay editions outside of theatrical trailers (in 480p). I'd bet Heathers, re-released on the 27th on Blu-ray, will be similarly stripped of the previous 20th High School Reunion Edition's extras.

So if you want the now out-of-print discs, better snag them ASAP before they inevitably become hard to find. In the case of Hellraiser's Blu-ray, I picked up an extra copy for $7.99 at the usually nutty price-wise F.Y.E. According to reports, the picture quality of Image's high def release doesn't compare to Anchor Bay's excellent presentation. And as stated, all these special features below found on the prior Blu-ray are now M.I.A. possibly never to return(?):
  • Audio Commentary with writer/director Clive Barker and actress Ashley Laurence, moderated by screenwriter Peter Atkins
  • "Fast Film Facts" Pop-up Feature
  • Mr. Cotton I Presume? - An Interview with star Andrew Robinson (16:13)
  • Actress from Hell - An Interview with star Ashley Laurence (11:58)
  • Hellcomposer - An Interview with composer Christopher Young (18:19)
  • Hellraiser: Resurrection (24:25)
  • Under the Skin: Doug Bradley on Hellraiser (12:32)
  • Trailers & TV Spots (8:41)
  • Still Galleries
  • BD-ROM Features: First Draft Screenplay & Final Draft Screenplay

Friday, September 16

Wal Mart's Annual Cheap Ass Halloween T-Shirts Have Appeared!

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Found these yesterday on a cat food trip to everyone's favorite mom 'n pop corner shop destroyer for $7.50 a pop and couldn't resist. They're from FEA Merchandising on thin 100% Cotton t-shirts. I could only find one Medium and the Large is sized as "Fatass American" Large; so they're good kick-around-the-house garbs...

Thursday, September 15

Go ahead and boycott Universal's Halloween II Blu-ray, while I sit back and enjoy...

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Profanity-laced rant henceforth...

I'm sorry, but those who are boycotting Universal's new Blu-ray of Halloween II because the credit of executive producer Moustapha Akkad is missing are making an asinine move. I understand how important producer mogul Akkad was to the series and speculation has already run wild across horror forums as to why. Questions of Qaddafi's financial involvement in Akkad 1981's Lion of the Desert and Universal getting leery over that with Libya's ongoing strife. Or is it because of this BD being released just after 9/11?

If this is the case, then yes, the studio is indeed being rather asinine themselves for worrying over such a thing in regards to a slasher flick from decades ago that probably only 2% of that part of the world has actually seen. The last thing on anyone's mind involved in or concerned about the conflict is whether a film producer's name is retained on a film. No one cares. Yes Universal, I'm sure if Akkad's credit included on this Blu-ray, jihad would have been at your doorstep yesterday. But whatever the truth may be, I couldn't fucking care less.

The following gripe doesn't just apply to Halloween fans, but the priorities horror fans decide to climb upon their collective soapboxes to stand up against in general. You know what the bigger issue is with this Blu-ray? Unlike virtually every other Universal BD, this one doesn't include a lossless audio option. The studio only saw fit to include lossy standard DTS Stereo and 5.1 surround tracks. Where's the uproar over that?

This is what I can't understand and I know I've bitched about this before here. Dare to question the picture or sound quality of a beloved film on a horror-themed forum and prepare to face an instantaneous flamewar with the usual bullshit dredged up. Garbage like image quality being "subjective" or how fans should just shut up and be grateful studios are even caring to release a Blu-ray of the given material at all. I'm not saying this is everyone, but it is a biggest factor in myself never joining in on the fray. Basically, I love horror but can't tolerate a sizable portion of its fan presence online.

Would there be an outcry if Universal pushed off another shitty ancient high definition master struck for DVD like they historically have done on Blu-ray time-and-time again? Of course not. Apparently, many believe the omission of Akkad's credit shows that Universal has contempt for fans. Go walk off a cliff with that bullshit right now. Why? If the studio really didn't care we wouldn't even be getting a Blu-ray release; however, they went one step further and produced what might very well be their best looking catalog title on the format thus far. It looks gorgeous and completely untouched by any digital erosion. Far superior than their track record of lifeless, clumpy transfers and Anchor Bay's Blu of the original. This one ranks up there with the perfection of Warner's A Nightmare on Elm Street and Anchor Bay's The Evil Dead. Truly thank you Universal for finally using the format's true video quality potential.

So go right ahead and boycott Universal's Halloween II Blu-ray, while I sit back and enjoy. You already have a multitude of old DVDs of the sequel so let that be your sanctuary. The presentation of the film is what matters most and I'd easily accept a missing credit to a vastly worse fate of another piss poor Universal catalog Blu-ray. I wouldn't be half surprised if Universal fixed this issue while also "fixing" the transfer's problem of looking too beautifully film-like. Certainly can't have that, now can we, horror mavens? If this comes to fruition, let me be the first to say thanks, dumbasses. Forest from the trees, people.

Shot cropped from Blu-ray.com's review

Wednesday, September 14

Tuesday, September 13

Both the best and worst thing about Scott Stewart's Priest (2011)

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The one-and-only Brad Dourif appears in a tiny role as a snake oil salesman promising his holy water will ward off any vampiric threat. He's promptly chased out of town by the titular character and then runs off to tell Karl Urban's Lee Van Cleef-like head vamp of the hero's presence in the hope of some kind of barter. For his efforts, the snarky bastard unwillingly joins the bloodthirsty undead legion as Urban instructs one of his minions to "Put him to work."

I took that as a promise of Brad at least appearing once more, but in a cruel case of Dourif blue balls, he's never seen or heard from again. I honesty can say I would have rather seen more of the actor if it meant the utter annihilation of the last remnants of mankind by the planet's new dominant species. Chucky gets no respect I tells ya...

Otherwise, Stewart's Priest is another randomized pattern of Syfy Channel-friendly dystopian sci-fi/action/western/horror "cool shit" that manages to squeak into theaters every few months. An inoffensive ninety-minute workout in sickeningly slick style for the filmmaker and production crew to practice on that you'll likely never watch again.

The cover's pull quote is laughable, the word "fucking" is uttered in this PG-13 fare (the unrated cut has an identical minute runtime), and one would kick themselves if they paid any more than five bucks to see it. Thankfully, ol' Mr. Steal New Copies From Retail was shoveling off the DVD this past weekend for that very price. Hats off to Sony, despite pushing the Blu-ray format for all its worth, their standard definition disc thoroughly convinces there's no rush to upgrade, at least with this flick...




Monday, September 12

Emmanuelle (1974) - 1980 Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment "Sealed" Clamshell VHS

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VHS as art yet still functioning as VHS...

Sunday, September 11

Well, this simple LaserDisc player fix worked!

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I'm steadily getting back into collecting and watching LaserDiscs, but one thing that always bugged me was my temperamental Pioneer CLD-D503 having a tendency to unexpectedly take long pauses in-between certain commands involving the deck "parking" discs. Basically, just like CD or DVD, LaserDisc players have a mechanism that angles the drive's center spindle to fit into the disc's hole upon insertion for reading. Sounds sexy, right?

Well, the motorized spindle that spins the disc has a textured rubber ring that helps seat and grip the disc in place. Over time, this ring loses some of this ability and causes the player to "hang" during actions like initially spinning up or spinning down discs upon eject. For example, I'd hit EJECT on the remote, there would be some mechanical whining, and the player would simply seem to freeze for upwards of two minutes before the tilt mechanism would unclamp the disc and the tray would open. Same thing when inserting a LD and sometimes commanding the player to switch sides.

So I went searching around and found these archived instructions detailing how to do a little surgery to resurface the rubber to restore its gripping action. The process was extremely easy and fast and appears to have worked. I've ran a bunch of discs through the player since the fix and haven't had one slip, pause, or reluctant side switch yet. It might be in my head, but skipping chapters seems faster now as well.

I did cheat though, instead of using a cleaning stick or chamos stick, I tore a large portion of cotton off a Q-tip, re-rolled the stick with my fingers, and dipped that in Isopropyl alcohol (pinch off the excess liquid) to scrub the spindle's rubber ring. Then dipped a rag into the alcohol to clean the top disc clamp's ball bearings that had some black gunk around them. After that all you need to do is screw the top clamp back into place and pop the deck's cover back on. The 1994 Pioneer CLD-D503 is a mid-range player that has an internal layout shared with many of the company's output of the period. So hopefully this clean-up will work even if your player happens to be a little different internally.

Saturday, September 10

Friday, September 9

JUNK: Shiryô-gari (2000) - Toei Video Japan VHS

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After a group of low level thugs pull off a sloppy jewelers heist, they met up in a supposedly abandoned factory for an exchange with another group of dirty dealers. Little do they realize that hours prior an American-backed military human regeneration experiment has erupted into a zombie outbreak within the facility. Now, while like the tagline says, everybody fights, the only hope might rest on the sole Japanese scientist involved.

Atsushi Muroga's Junk is akin to a microwave TV dinner. A cheap, greasy summation resembling something better crafted to prey upon opportunistic tendencies. Sure, you could take the time and care to eat the real deal, but boy does the questionable bounty that lay before your fork hit the spot in a pinch. After all, this might be the purest combination of cheapo Japanese gangster and Italian zombie flick we'll ever see. The action is abrasive and the zombies shambled straight out of Fulci's Zombie with the score ripping off the Trioxin Theme from Return of the Living Dead. Awesome. There's nothing special about this Japanese VHS compared to Unearthed's out-of-print DVD, but just look at that cover!

Thursday, September 8

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - 1985 MEDIA Home Entertainment VHS (First Release)

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Continuing with the improptu Elm Street theme, this original Media VHS of Craven's classic was dug out of box of exercise videos at a church sale last weekend. This 1985 edition is surprisingly hard-to-find with the glut of re-issues throughout the years with similar cover designs.

Media first reissued this edition in 1987 with subtle differences, like the oval around "HORROR" missing, and more copyright information with the revised year on the back. In 1990, Video Treasures issued a widely available budget LP-speed version with once again very similar art. Outside the lightweight feel of the cassette, VT's logo along with the Media logo on the back is a dead giveaway. Anchor Bay then released a 2-VHS widescreen Limited Edition in 1996 with extras from Elite Entertainment's Special Edition LaserDisc (aside from the commentary). Finally New Line changed the artwork with a widescreen "Master from High Definition" VHS in 1997 and the last video cassette edition in '99's Parts 1-7 box set. Be on the lookout!


...just to compare this laughable description from the Blu-ray to the above, what?!?...

Tuesday, September 6

Follow-up: Unfounded worries over the Elm Street Double Features...

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I thought it would be good to address a certain worry I kept seeing on forums and comment sections while digging for information for yesterday's Elm Street Blu-ray Collection update. Specifically Warner's plan of pairing the six sequels onto three double feature Blu-rays.

First off, there's been complaints about these not being individual releases, demands for a set, and claims Warner has no respect for the series because of these budget double features. Or that the cover pictured depicts Dream Master Freddy and a house completely unrelated to the series. A few are even going as far as to proclaim they're not buying these releases until the studio issues them to their liking.

I'm sorry, but as Nancy once said, screw your pass! Judging by the Freddy's Revenge/Dream Warriors back cover and the rumored extras rundown of the set, Warner seems perfectly intent on carrying over all the extras of New Line's DVDs along with the added advantage of 1080p resolution and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. Sure, it would be nice to see re-vamped SEs, but I'm not complaining at the $15-20 price point. All the while Jason, Michael, Pinhead, Leatherface, and Chucky still languish in half-hearted Blu-ray purgatory. Some much worse off than others.

But then I hear crying over potentially shitty picture quality over placing two films onto a single Blu-ray. Though if Warner/New Line's already released BD double features are any indication, these will be 50GB dual layer discs with the films encoded with the highly-adaptive VC-1 codec at roughly 20GB file size per film.

Each sequel aside from New Nightmare hovers around ninety minutes in duration and that's nothing compared to the 247 minutes of their BD pairing of Presumed Innocent and Frantic (screenshots here). As you can see, both of those films "crammed" onto one Blu-ray look more than just fine. Hopefully the Elm Street sequels can at least look as good, but don't fool yourself, any quality difference between placing these on separate discs or two-per-disc would be negligible to non-existent. I also imagine many of those complaining the most loudly probably believe Arrow Video's frequently poor Blu-ray output to be horror-heaven sent. 

To further prove my point, the main feature size of Warner's absolutely stunning A Nightmare on Elm Street transfer is only 23GB. On top of all this, encode the standard definition supplements for the sequels in VC-1 to save even more file space and there's nothing to worry about in terms of disc capacity. On the other hand, the real threat is digital noise reduction which Craven's original exhibited none of on the format. If Warner avoids that temptation and doesn't use ancient masters (HD broadcasts of the sequels look quite solid), we'll be in for a treat once these are all out and many will be eating crow...    
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Monday, September 5

Rumored Extras for the U.K. Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray Collection

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1, 2, Freddy's coming to Blu...

These specs are from a member of Blu-ray.com's forum who e-mailed Warner UK's customer service regarding the supplements in the studio's upcoming October 3rd debut of the A Nightmare on Elm Street Collection on Blu-ray. So they're still tentative...

It has been confirmed that like all other Warner Blus (or most), this set will be region free and fully compatible with BD players worldwide. Though I'd wait for the inevitable domestic announcement since this set also has later dates in Spain (9/4), Germany (9/30), and Japan (11/2).

Technical specs are still not official, but I'd expect 1080p/24fps 1.85:1 widescreen transfers and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks for all seven features. I'd also bet that (hopefully) all the theatrical trailers will be in HD along with the new "Fear Himself: The Life and Crimes of Freddy Krueger" featurette. The ported extras will probably be in standard definition since much of the footage was shot that way.

Being on five presumably 50 gigabyte discs, it looks like Part 1 is on Disc 1, Parts 2/3 on Disc 2, Parts 4/5 on Disc 3, Parts 6/7 on Disc 4, and the fifth being the Bonus Disc. If correct, the below supplements of Craven's original, all in HD, mirror Warner's existing individual Blu-ray. It also appears Warner did the right thing by porting all the extensive extras of New Line's prior DVD Collection.

What looks to be new additions are two episodes of the Freddy's Nightmares TV series and the MTV Freddy Krueger Special as an easter egg. The Spanish set, announced here, also includes an Elm Street mini-comic from Wildstorm and indicates Parts 2-7 will be available individually as double-feature Blu-rays along with the set.

A Nightmare On Elm Street
  • Commentary with Wes Craven, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, & Jacques Haitkin
  • Commentary with other Cast Members and Crew
  • Focus Points PiP Feature
  • Never Sleep Again - The Making of A Nightmare on Elm Street HD | 49:50
  • The House That Freddy Built - The Legacy of New Line Horror HD | 22:26
  • Night Terrors - The Origins of Wes Craven's Nightmares HD | 15:55
  • Scary Ending HD / Happy Ending HD / Freddy Ending HD
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge
  • Heroes and Villains | 06:22
  • Psycho Sexual Circus | 03:27
  • The Male Witch | 02:46
  • Freddy of 8th Street | 05:29
  • Original Theatrical Trailer | 01:20
A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
  • Fan Mail | 00:45
  • Onward Christian Soldiers | 09:00
  • Snakes and Ladders | 06:04
  • Trading 8's | 04:10
  • That's Show Biz | 02:00
  • Burn Out | 01:13
  • The House That Freddy Built | 03:03
  • Dokken - Dream Warriors Music Video | 04:52
  • Original Theatrical Trailer | 01:28
A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
  • Krueger, Freddy Krueger | 08:17
  • Hopeless Chest | 03:46
  • Let's Make-Up | 02:20
  • The Finish Line | 02:26
  • Original Theatrical Trailer | 01:28
A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
  • Womb Raiders | 06:23
  • The Sticky Floor | 05:45
  • Take the Stairs | 00:56
  • Hopkins Directs | 00:41
  • A Slight Miscalculation | 01:26
  • Fat Boys - Are You Ready For Freddy? Music Video | 05:17
  • Whodini - Anyway I Gotta Swing It? Music Video | 03:16
  • Original Theatrical Trailer | 00:40
A Nightmare On Elm Street 6: Freddy's Dead - The Final Nightmare
  • Rachel's Dream | 02:48
  • 3D Demise | 02:18
  • 86'D | 01:40
  • Hellraiser | 00:39
  • Original Theatrical Trailer | 02:04
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
  • Commentary by Wes Craven
  • Becoming A Filmmaker | 07:54
  • An Insane Troupe | 00:52
  • Two Worlds | 02:04
  • The Problem with Sequels | 01:35
  • Filmmaker | 04:38
  • Original Theatrical Trailer | 02:34
A Nightmare On Elm Street - Bonus Disc!
  • NEW "Fear Himself: The Life and Crimes of Freddy Krueger" | 29:38
  • NEW Freddy's Nightmares Episode 2: It's a Miserable Life (1988) | 46:48
  • NEW Freddy's Nightmares Episode 3: Killer Instinct (1988) | 46:46
  • NEW The Freddy Krueger Special [1988 MTV Special] Easter Egg | 05:09
  • "Welcome to Prime Time" Documentary / 13 Segments | 49:24
  • Conclusion: 10 Segments

Sunday, September 4

Revisiting One of the Worst Ever: Children of the Living Dead (2001)

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"Well, this one's gotten some really negative reviews, but I'm going to judge for myself", I said to a friend one fateful day in Saturday Matinee shortly after this abomination to all-that-is-zombie first hit shelves. After trying to endure Children, I realized that much to my eternal shame, I actually paid to see this crap and it even felt wrong to own a copy. It certainly couldn't sit with my other zombie discs...

It's obvious judging by those involved this was another ultimately failed attempt at either trying to ape or capitalize off of George A. Romero's 1968 criterion of undead cinema, Night of the Living Dead.

The fact is NOLD co-writer John Russo and Bill Hinzman, the original cemetery zombie, have constantly attempted to practically shove Romero off the pedestal as modern zombie pioneer through a variety of means. Some innocuous like flesh eating-themed comics or novels. In particular, Russo's 1978 Return of the Living Dead eventually became, albeit heavily altered to be less like Romero's work, Dan O'Bannon's 1985 film of the same title. Though other attempts, like the utter mutilation of the '68 classic in 1999 in "celebration" of its 30th anniversary, have left many wondering just how far these two (especially Russo) are willing to go to sledgehammer their way into horror history.

Children of the Living Dead was meant to be a "direct" continuation of events in the original Night. After the initial outbreak was contained in 1968, another popped up in 1986 (which we see a brief glimpse of), and another is about begin. Why didn't these otherworldly events catapult the quiet town into forever must-see tourist status? No idea, but through all these thirty-plus years, the sleepy farmland community has feared the name of resurrected rapist/murderer Abbott Hayes who is said to still shamble around by night claiming victims.

A young businessman moves into the homestead Haynes is said to lurk, sets off to build a giant car dealership, and hires a construction outfit to transform the land--even the old cemetery comprised of painted foam tombstones (seriously). Naturally this pisses off the zombified Haynes who, with a gaggle of fresher zombos, goes on nightly missions to eat those responsible. That's right, let's not go on a rampage to grow our legion into world domination, let's instead just kill a few people trying to pave our graveyard...?!?

And that's about the best wrap-up of the painful events in Children. I know that I recently condemned even watching The Dead Matter, but at the least that was a very competent bore over the total living dead trainwreck in question. Literally everything sucks in the worst fashion; from the dubbed-over performances, flashlight cinematography, and right down to how ineffective Haynes is as a villian. For being so feared for decades and having solid make-up, he walks with a laughable hobble and just sneers at the camera menacingly while his minions do the dirty work dragging the living down to feast off-camera.

And yes, I said dubbed performances, the vast majority of the dialogue was very poorly dubbed in post-production. It's so bad that two actors, one undubbed and the other dubbed, engage in conversation on-screen at the same time. Or sometimes in a mixed group. Or go all Godzilla and move their lips without a peep. It's actually surprising how distracting this problem becomes despite seeing plenty of post-dubbed Italian horror and western features. Not to mention a gun-totin' Tom Savini in black wifebeater and fatigue pants gets killed like a pussy in the first five minutes. What movie in their right mind would commit such an act? Hell, watching Savini continue shooting zombies in a open field for ninety minutes would have been vastly more entertaining.

So please, let this be a warning. Artisan's VHS and DVD are both out-of-print and for good reason. It's hard to reach the impact level of "wasted ninety minutes of life" achieved from this experience. A decade later and things haven't changed. Children of the Living Dead is still unbelievably terrible and best only for the sadomasochistic in search of viewing material during genital torture. As a final cherry on top, read director Tor Ramsay's awesome apology/explaination/roast concerning his awful experience with this awful movie. And for those who bash Savini's '90 Night of the Living Dead remake while Children continues existence, for shame. Really.
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...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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