Monday, June 7, 2021

 The Cellar – Vinegar Syndrome (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1989
Director: Kevin Tenney
Writers: David Henry Keller, John Woodward, Darryl Wimberley
Cast: Patrick Kilpatrick, Chris Miller, Suzanne Savoy, Ford Rainey, Michael Wren, Lou Perryman, Danny Mora, Alex Pederson, Don Collier

Release Date: April 27th, 2021
Approximate Running Times: 85 Minutes 52 Seconds (Theatrical Cut), 84 Minutes 19 Seconds (Director's Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC (Both Versions)
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English (Both Versions)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Versions)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.98

"The Cashen family has just relocated from the city to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere in Texas. Upon arrival at their new home, Willy, their young son, explores the area, befriending a Native American shaman who warns him of the powerful forces and apparent curse on their land. Meanwhile, at home, Willy senses that there’s something unusual about the cellar of their home; specifically that something strange might be living down there…and unfortunately for the Cashens, it’s very hungry…" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5 (Theatrical Cut), 3.75/5 (Director's Cut)

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm original camera negative & the director’s personal 35mm lab print".

The Cellar comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 44.5 GB

Feature: Theatrical Cut 22.9 GB, Director's Cut 21.6 GB

The source used for the theatrical cut’s transfer is in great shape, image clarity, colors, contrast and black levels look solid throughout.

Though the source used for the director's cut’s transfer is not in good shape, considering the limitations of a 35mm lab print. The result is a transfer that exceeds expectations. 

Note: The first six screenshots are from the theatrical cut and the rest of the screenshots are from the director's cut. 

Audio: 4.5/5 (Theatrical Cut), 4/5 (Director's Cut)

The theatrical cut comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English and included are removable English SDH subtitles. This audio mix sounds excellent, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and range wise this audio mix sounds robust when it needs too.

The director’s cut comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English and included are removable English SDH subtitles. This audio mix is in great shape, dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and ambient sounds are well-represented.


Extras for this release include reversible cover art, a limited edition slipcover, an introduction by director Kevin Tenney (1 minute 34 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), a making-of documentary titled From Chicken Shit to Chicken Salad, Unearthing the Lost Cellar (46 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English subtitles) and two audio commentaries with Kevin Tenney, actress Suzanne Savoy and actor Patrick Kilpatrick, one audio commentary for each version.


Many times extras about a film are better than the film they're discussing. Case in point: The Cellar, a creature horror feature whose production was so troubled that it had two directors. And when the second director came in to fix most of the problems, the producers then stepped in to further muck things up. 

From a production standpoint, despite its many shortcomings, there are few things that work really well. Most notably the special effects and the acting far exceeds expectations. Unfortunately, the theatrical cut undermines the premise with unnecessary exposition. Fortunately, this release comes with Kevin Tenney’s director’s cut, which is arguably the best way to watch The Cellar. That Said, The Cellar gets a first-rate release from Vinegar Syndrome that comes with an excellent documentary about The Cellar.

Written by Michael Den Boer

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

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