Winterbeast (Home Grown Horrors: Volume One) – Vinegar Syndrome (Blu-ray)
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1992
Director: Christopher Thies
Writers: Joseph Calabrese, Christopher Thies, Christopher Thies
Cast: Tim R. Morgan, Mike Magri, Charles Majka, Bob Harlow, Dori May Kelly, David Majka
Release Date: April 27th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 76 Minutes 46 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $79.98
"Weird things are happening in and around the Wild Goose Lodge, a snowy inn located in rural Massachusetts. People are being found dead and mutilated, while others are vanishing without a trace. Realizing that the violence might have something to do with Native American black magic and the ancient secrets of the area's historic totem poles, a trio of cops decide to investigate the goings on, and are faced with an array of monsters, ghouls, and even a sampling of murderous locals!" - synopsis provided by the distributor
Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its original 16mm and Super 8mm film elements".
"Winterbeast was produced primarily on 16mm, but some sections were shot on super 8mm. You may therefore notice periodic image clarity differences when switching between formats. Furthermore, the films' soundtrack was recorded and mixed with rudimentary equipment resulting in less than ideal and occasionally distorted audio quality."
Information about unfinished early workprint version of Winterbeast.
"The following presentation is of an unfinished, early version of Winterbeast. It is sourced from the 16mm workprint and was never fully mixed, resulting in periodic sections of silence on the soundtrack."
Winterbeast comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.
Disc Size: 44.7 GB
Feature: 22.3 GB
The information provided by Vinegar Syndrome about the transfer gives a clear idea of what to expect. Colors fare well, the image generally looks crisp and though the moments when the image shifts from 16mm to 8mm are noticeable, these transitions are ultimately not distracting.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. When one factors in the limitations of this audio track's source, this track sounds very good. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. It should-be noted that there is a few instances where the audio sounds distorted.
Extras for this release include reversible cover art, archival ‘soap opera’ footage (11 minutes 49 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles), an archival audio interview with composer Michael Perilstein (3 minutes 44 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles), deleted scenes (13 minutes, Dolby Digital mono English with English subtitles), an archival making of documentary titled Oh, Dear, What can the Matter Be? (19 minutes 36 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles), an interview with filmmaker Simon Barrett titled A Movie For Filmmakers (18 minutes 44 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles), an interview with actor Mike Magri titled He Wears Sunglasses at Night (14 minutes 15 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles), an interview with actress Dori May Kelly titled So Bad, It’s Good (10 minutes 19 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles), an interview with actor David Majka titled My First Career (13 minutes 36 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles), an interview with actor Charles Majka titled I Saw it in a Dream (10 minutes 35 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles), an interview with producer Mark Frizzell titled Sweat & Persistence (27 minutes 39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles), an archival commentary track with director Christopher Thies, producer Mark Frizzell and cinematographer Craig Mathieson, an audio commentary track with producer Mark Frizzell and It Came from Lone Peak an unfinished early workprint version of Winterbeast (73 minutes 22 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with English subtitles).
Content wise, Winterbeast has all the elements that one would want from a creature feature. And though Winterbeast’s narrative is anemic, it more than makes up for with a series of outrageous moments that fans of Z grade cinema should thoroughly enjoy. Also, Winterbeast’s use of stop-motion animation is reminiscent of Ray Harryhausen’s films, albeit on a more primitive, smaller scale. That said, Winterbeast gets a first-rate release that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a wealth of insightful extra content, recommended.
It should-be noted that Winterbeast is part of Home Grown Horrors: Volume One, a box set that also has Fatal Exam and Beyond Dreams Door.