Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Ten Minutes To Midnight – Jinga Films Ltd (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2020
Director: Erik Bloomquist
Writers: Erik Bloomquist, Carson Bloomquist
Cast: Caroline Williams, Nicole Kang, Nicholas Tucci, William Youmans, Adam Weppler, Alice Kremelberg, Greg Balla, Martin Sola

Release Date: July 6th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 72 Minutes 16 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Stereo English
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $19.95

"Caroline Williams returns to the DJ booth for the first time since her star-making turn in 1986's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 as veteran punk rock disc jockey Amy Marlowe, bitten by a rabid bat on the eve of her final broadcast. When a raging storm traps Amy, her mysterious replacement (Nicole Kang, Batwoman) and the uneasy staff inside their small-town radio station, reality begins to fracture as they move further and further into the graveyard shift. Is it rabies? Or something far more sinister?" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Ten Minutes To Midnight comes on a 25 GB single layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 21.4 GB

Feature: 19 GB

The source for this transfer is in great shape. Colors and flesh tones look correct, black levels fare well and image clarity looks strong throughout.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM stereo mix in English. Both audio mixes sound great, dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it should. Included with this release are removable English subtitles. 

Extras:

Extras for this release include Ten Minutes To Midnight teaser (50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Ten Minutes To Midnight trailer (1 minute 47 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Popcorn Frights intro (58 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Grimmfest 2020 Q&A (28 minutes 46 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), CT Style Live interview (4 minutes 59 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), TMTM at Grimmoire Academy Halloween Carnival (1 minute 50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Behind the Scenes: Take One (40 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Behind the Scenes: Immortality (1 minute 30 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Behind the Scenes: Love Story (2 minutes 25 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Behind the Scenes: Memory Play (1 minute 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with Erik Bloomquist, Carson Bloomquist, and Caroline Williams and three trailers for other films also released by Jinga Films Ltd. 

Summary:

Ten Minutes to Midnight is a tale about a protagonist who’s at a crossroads. Instead of celebrating her thirty-years as a late-night radio host, she’s confronted by her younger replacement who’s just entertaining the industry.

Though Ten Minutes to Midnight has most of the elements that have become synonymous with vampire films. The result is a unique spin on vampirism that’s laced with social commentary.

From a production standpoint, Ten Minutes to Midnight does a great job maximizing its resources. The premise is well-executed and at seventy-two minutes in length the narrative never over stays its welcome. Also, special effects are very effective and sufficiently gory. 

That said, Ten Minutes to Midnight’s heart and soul is Caroline Williams' exceptional portrayal of Amy Marlowe. She delivers an intense performance that dominates the rest of the performances. 

Jinga Films Ltd. gives Ten Minutes to Midnight a first-rate release that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a wealth of informative extras.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Son of the White Mare – Arbelos Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Hungary, 1981
Director: Marcell Jankovics
Writers: László György, Marcell Jankovics
Cast: György Cserhalmi, Vera Pap, Gyula Szabó, Ferenc Szalma, Mari Szemes, Szabolcs Tóth, Ottó Ulmann

Release Date: June 8th, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 86 Minutes5 Seconds (Son of the White Mare), 78 Minutes 24 Seconds (János vitéz)
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Films)
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Hungarian (Both Films)
Subtitles: English (Both Films)
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.99

"Traversing an otherworldly canvas, Son of the White Mare follows mythic folk heroes Treeshaker, Stonecrumbler and Irontemperer as they descend into the perilous Underworld on an epic quest to battle the forces of ancient evil and save the cosmos." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5 (Son of the White Mare, János vitéz)

Here’s the information provided about Son of the White Mare's transfer, "New 4K restoration from by original camera negative by the Hungarian National Film Institute – Film Archive in collaboration with Arbelos."

Here’s the information provided about János vitéz's transfer, "New 4K restoration by the Hungarian National Film Institute – Film Archive."

Son of the White Mare comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 44.4 GB

Feature: 20.6 GB (Son of the White Mare), 18.3 GB (János vitéz)

The transfers for Son of the White Mare and János vitéz are new 4k restorations and the results are spectacular. Colors are nicely saturated, image clarity and black levels look solid and the image retains an organic look.

Audio: 5/5 (Son of the White Mare, János vitéz)

Son of the White Mare and János vitéz each come with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in Hungarian. Both audio mixes are in excellent shape, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and ambient sounds are well-represented. Both films come with removable English subtitles. 

Extras:

Extras for this release include U.S. theatrical trailer for Son of the White Mare (1 minute 50 seconds, DTS-HD mono Hungarian with English subtitles), an archival short titled The Making of János Vitéz (3 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Hungarian with English subtitles), an interview with director Marcell Jankovics titled Brighter Colors (33 minutes 42 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Hungarian with English subtitles), two shorts films: Sisyphus (2 minutes 22 seconds, DTS-HD mono Hungarian with English subtitles) and The Struggle (2 minutes 34 seconds, DTS-HD mono Hungarian with English subtitles), an Air Indian commercial Dream of Wings (8 minutes 43 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Hungarian with English subtitles) and feature film directed by Marcell Jankovics titled János vitéz (78 minutes 24 seconds, 1.37:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC, DTS-HD mono Hungarian with English subtitles) and twenty-page booklet with an essay titled The Film That Stands Alone written by Charles Solomon, an essay titled Animation Art in Context: Feature Films of Marcell Jankovics written by Eleanor Cowen and information about the restoration/transfer.

Summary:

It’s not surprising that Son of the White Mare and János vitéz are paired for this release. Thematically both films have many similarities. Most notable how both films revolve around a protagonist who goes on a mythical journey.

That said, though there are many areas where Son of the White Mare and János vitéz overlap. Ultimately, Son of the White Mare is the stronger of the two films. Son of the White Mare has a stronger narrative and its visuals are more refined than János vitéz.

Both films do a superb job drawing viewers into their worlds. Also both films are overflowing with imagination and experimental filmmaking. And though animation has come a long way since these films inital releases. That does not take away from both films' potency. 

Arbelos Films give Son of the White Mare an extraordinary release that comes with a wealth of extra content, most notably János vitéz, highly recommended.













Written by Michael Den Boer

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Ringmaster (Finale) – Jinga Films Ltd (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Denmark, 2018
Director: Søren Juul Petersen
Writers: Carsten Juul Bladt, Steen Langstrup, Søren Juul Petersen
Cast: Anne Bergfeld, Karin Michelsen, Damon Younger, Kristoffer Fabricius, Mads Koudal

Release Date: July 6th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 99 Minutes 2 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Danish/English/German, LPCM Stereo Danish/English/German
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.95

"Two young women working the night shift at a secluded gas station unwittingly become the stars of a terrifying show streamed live on the dark web. Held captive by a sadistic ringmaster and his cohorts, their survival instincts are stretched to the limit as they are forced to participate in a torture game with an unseen audience deciding their fate. Based on the award winning novel by Steen Langstrup, The Ringmaster explores our curiosity and complicity with voyeurism and violence in the age of the internet." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

The Ringmaster comes on a 25 GB single layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 24 GB

Feature: 23.5 GB

Though there’s no information given about the source, this transfer is in great shape. Colors, image clarity and black levels look strong throughout.

Audio: 4.5/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Danish/English/German and a LPCM stereo mix in Danish/English/German. Both audio mixes sound clear, balanced and robust. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles, English subtitles for Danish and German dialog and Spanish subtitles.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a trailer for The Ringmaster (1 minute 20 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and three trailers for other films also released by Jinga Films Ltd. 

Summary:

Content wise, The Ringmaster follows in the footsteps of extreme horror cinema like Hostel, Saw and The Purge. Just like those films, The Ringmaster focuses more on gory spectacle than it does the plot. With its bread and butter being its violent torture/murder set pieces.

Though The Ringmaster covers familiar ground. This is sure to not be a minus for fans of modern extreme horror cinema that's sometimes called torture porn. Structurally the narrative’s peaks and valleys make sure that there’s rarely a moment for the viewer to catch their breath. With the finale providing what has become an all too familiar climax. That said, The Ringmaster clearly knows its audience and its regard it succeeds as a film.

Jinga Films Ltd. gives The Ringmaster a solid audio/video presentation.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The House on Sorority Row: Special Collector's Edition – MVD Rewind Collection (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1983
Director: Mark Rosman
Writers: Mark Rosman, Bobby Fine
Cast: Kate McNeil, Eileen Davidson, Janis Ward, Robin Meloy, Harley Jane Kozak, Jodi Draigie, Ellen Dorsher, Lois Kelso Hunt, Christopher Lawrence, Michael Kuhn, Michael Sergio, Ruth Walsh

Release Date: July 6th, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 91 Minutes 47 Seconds (Theatrical Version), 91 Minutes 53 Seconds (Alternate mono audio version with re-timed pre-credit sequence)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Stereo English (Theatrical Version), Dolby Digital Mono English (Alternate mono audio version with re-timed pre-credit sequence)
Subtitles: English SDH (Theatrical Version), N/A (Alternate mono audio version with re-timed pre-credit sequence)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95

"Come meet the girls of Theta Pi. All through college they've lived under the tyranny of their resident house mother. But tonight will be different. Tonight the girls of Theta Pi are celebrating their graduation in the most deadly way they know. You're invited to join them for this night of terror and madness - the fatal last fling of Theta Pi - in the smash hit film The House on Sorority Row.

When these inventive senior sisters decide to do in their demented house mother, it's an easy task. But, someone has seen, someone who wants revenge. And no college class could have prepared the girls - or you - for the horrifying mayhem that greets them on that last fateful night in The House on Sorority Row." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature from the original internegative".

The House on Sorority Row comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 46 GB

Feature: 22.7 GB (Theatrical Version), 13 GB (Alternate mono audio version with re-timed pre-credit sequence)

The source used for this transfer is in excellent shape and it's on par with the transfer from Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray. It should-be noted that Scorpion Releasing’s logo is on the cover/slipcover.

Any source related debris is minimal, colors look correct, image clarity and black levels look strong throughout.

Audio: 4.5/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM stereo mix in English. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear, balanced and ambient sounds/the score are well-represented. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a collectible mini poster, a slipcover, reversible cover art, The House on Sorority Row radio spots (4 minutes 36 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), The House on Sorority Row theatrical trailer (3 minutes 10 seconds, Dolby Digtal stereo English, no subtitles), alternate ending storyboards (7 minutes 11 seconds), original pre-credit sequence (2 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actress Harley Jane Kozak (41 minutes 39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actress Eileen Davidson (7 minutes 14 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actress Kate McNeil (14 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with director Mark Rosman (21 minutes 24 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with composer Richard Band (45 minutes18 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with composer Igo Kantor (10 minutes 11 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), alternate mono audio version with re-timed pre-credit sequence (91 minutes 53 seconds, 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with Mark Rosman, an audio commentary with Mark Rosman, Kate McNeil, and Eileen Davidson and trailers for Mortuary, Dahmer, Mikey, and Mind Games.

Summary:

After the success of Halloween in the late 1970’s this spawned a new subgenre of horror, the slasher film. And though many elements from the slasher film can-be traced back to the thriller genre. Ultimately, the way Halloween took these familiar elements and turned them on their head transformed said elements into something unrecognizable.

By the early 1980’s the slasher film was in full bloom and though there are many slasher films from this era that had stood the test of time. Like any genre that becomes over saturated there’s bound too be a lot of dreck.

That said, over the years there have been a handful of films that I was not impressed by upon my first viewing, only to have my mind changed when revisiting said film years later. Case in point The House on Sorority Row, a film that has won me over after additional viewings.

What starts off as a tense thriller, quickly transforms into a well-executed slasher film that successfully exploits all the slasher film genres tropes. Though the premise features elements that can-be found in countless slasher films. The result is a film that often exceeds the sum of its parts.

Content wise, The House on Sorority Row has all the elements that one would want and expect from a slasher film. The narrative has an ample amount of twists, and turns and the murder set pieces are sufficiently gory. And though the characters are cliched, this is easily forgivable since most of the performances are very good. With the standout performance being Eileen Davidson in the role of queen bitch character named Vicki. 

The House on Sorority Row returns to Blu-ray via a solid release that carries over the wealth of extras from Scorpion Releasing’s Blu-ray, highly recommended.









Written by Michael Den Boer

Mortuary: Special Collector's Edition – MVD Rewind Collection (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1983
Director: Howard Avedis
Writers: Howard Avedis, Marlene Schmidt
Cast: Mary Beth McDonough, David Wallace, Bill Paxton, Lynda Day George, Christopher George, Alvy Moore

Release Date: July 6th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 93 Minutes 4 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: R
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95

"Christie Parson (McDonough) has been having terrifying nightmares ever since her father, Dr. Parson, drowned in the family swimming pool. She knows his death was not an accident, but no one will believe her... until her boyfriend, Greg Stevens (Wallace), sees the hooded figures that Christie describes in her dreams, in the town's mortuary. Greg's and Christie's curiosity plummets them into a series of bizarre and terror-filled circumstances, leading them to the ghastly truth behind her father's so-called accidental death." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature from the original internegative".

Mortuary comes on a 25 GB single layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 22.6 GB

Feature: 21.1 GB

The source used for this transfer is in excellent shape and it's on par with the transfer from Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray. It should-be noted that Scorpion Releasing’s logo is on the cover/slipcover.

Colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look correct, image clarity and black levels look strong throughout.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. There are no issues with background hiss or distortion, dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced, ambient sounds are well-represented and the score sounds robust.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a collectible mini poster, a slipcover, an interview with Composer John Cacavas (15 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a trailer for Mortuary (2 minutes 30 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and trailers for The House on Sorority Road, Dahmer, Mikey, One Dark Night and Mortuary (2005).

Summary:

Though Mortuary has all the ingredients that should have translated into a fairly successful horror film. Like a creepy place – the mortuary and satanic cult members. The end results is a rather pedestrian affair that would have been forgotten all together if it weren’t for a few memorable set pieces. Most notable a scene in which the killer is outside of the window of the young woman’s, who is investigating her father’s death.

Another area in which this film is lacking are its bland characters, none of which evoke any sympathy and are all devoid of any charisma. Also to make matters worse the performances from the entire cast are at best mediocre. If any performance of note, that would be Bill Paxton (Weird Science, Near Dark) in the role of the mortician’s eccentric son.

By their design Horror films are mechanical almost to a fault. And yet despite this fact, the ones the rise to the top of pack and have lasting legs at least bring something new to the table. This is not the case with Mortuary, a film that is predictable that one has an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu while watching it.

Mortuary returns to Blu-ray via a solid release from MVD Rewind Collection that carries over the main extra from Scorpion Releasing’s Blu-ray release.









Written by Michael Den Boer

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Death Has Blue Eyes – Arrow Video (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Greece, 1976
Director: Nico Mastorakis
Writer: Nico Mastorakis
Cast: Jessica Dublin, Maria Aliferi, Peter Winter, Hristos Nomikos

Release Date: April 5th, 2021 (UK), April 6th, 2021 (USA)
Approximate Running Time: 80 Minutes 29 Seconds
Aspect Ratios: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC & 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK), NR (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: £24.99 (UK), $39.95 (USA)

"When local gigolo Chess (Chris Nomikos) greets his vacationing friend Bob Kovalski (Peter Winter) at Athens airport, the pair embark on a string of scams and erotic dalliances that eventually lead them into contact with an elegant wealthy woman, Geraldine Steinwetz (Jessica Dublin), and her glamorous daughter Christine (Maria Aliferi). Geraldine blackmails the two cheeky bachelor boys into acting as bodyguards for Christine, whom it transpires has telepathic abilities and has had her eye on them for some time. After fleeing from a series of assassination attempts, it soon becomes clear that Geraldine herself might not be quite whom she seems, as the two young men find themselves caught up in a political conspiracy of international dimensions." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Brand new restoration from the original camera negative approved by the director".

Death Has Blue Eyes comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 46.3 GB

Feature 1.85:1 Ratio: 19.3 GB

Feature 1.33:1 Ratio: 19.3 GB

Though this release offers two aspect ratios to choose films. Quality wise both transfers are very similar. Print debris is minimal, colors and flesh tones look correct, black levels and image clarity look very good.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. There are no issues with hiss or distortion, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.

Extras:

Extras for this release include reversible cover art, an image gallery, theatrical trailer (2 minutes 25 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles ), extended theatrical trailer (3 minutes 32 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), Dancing with Death: tracks from the Death Has Blue Eyes original soundtrack (42 minutes 3 seconds - 14 tracks), an interview with director with Nico Mastorakis titled Nico Mastorakis (In His Own Words) (24 minutes 43 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actress Maria Aliferi (17 minutes 49 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Greek with English subtitles) and twenty-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Nico Mastorakis; The Greek Tycoon written by Julian Grainger and information about the transfer. 

Summary:

Nico Mastorakis was a versatile filmmaker who had a knack for capitalizing on whatever genre was popular. Nico Mastorakis followed up his brutal debut Island of Death with Death Has Blue Eyes, an action-sci-fi hybrid.

Though Death Has Blue Eyes like its predecessor Island of Death had limited resources to work with. The result is two films that couldn’t be farther apart. Where Island of Death successfully maximized its resources, the same cannot be said about Death Has Blue Eyes.   

Content wise, Death Has Blue Eyes is equal parts giallo and Carrie, with some soft-core erotica thrown in for good measure. And though the narrative moves forward to a conclusion. Along the way there are many nonsensical moments, which ultimately affect the pacing.

That said, anyone who’s familiar with the cinema of Nico Mastorakis is sure to get the most out of Death Has Blue Eyes, while everyone else will find it a chore to get through.

Arrow Video gives Death Has Blue Eyes a strong audio/video presentation and a pair of insightful interviews.













Written by Michael Den Boer

Cold War Creatures: Four Films From Sam Katzman (Limited Edition) – Arrow Video (Blu-ray) Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1955 (Creature with...