Monday, October 31, 2022

Christmas Cruelty! – Unearthed Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Norway, 2013
Directors: Per-Ingvar Tomren, Magne Steinsvoll
Writers: Eline Aasheim, Janne Iren Holseter, Anita Nyhagen, Magne Steinsvoll, Per-Ingvar Tomren
Cast: Eline Aasheim, Tormod Lien, Magne Steinsvoll, Per-Ingvar Tomren, Raymond Talberg, Nina-Shanett Arntsen

Release Date: November 8th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 94 Minutes 34 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Norwegian
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95

"We follow a serial killer and his victims as they all prepare for Christmas in their own ways. This year it doesn't matter if you have been naughty or nice, Santa is coming to town no matter what, and he knows where you live." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.25/5

Christmas Cruelty! comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 38.6 GB

Feature: 16.4 GB

Shot in 16:9 HD, the source used for this transfer is in excellent shape. The image looks crisp, the colors and flesh tones look correct, and the compression is very good.

Audio: 4.25/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Norwegian, and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio sounds clear and balanced. Range-wise, the audio sounds robust when it should.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a photo gallery with music from the film playing in the background, a teaser trailer (39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), a short film titled Tradition (6 minutes 32 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), bloopers (8 minutes 43 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), press conference (23 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), an interview with Morten Haagensen (7 minutes 3 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Norwegian with removable English subtitles), Endless Highway music video by The Last Rebels (4 minutes 40 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), three featurettes titled How Cruelty Changed Our Lives: Part 1 (2 hours 49 seconds 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English and Norwegian with removable English subtitles), Part 2 (19 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and Part 3 (9 minutes 3 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with with Per-Ingvar Tomren and Raymond Volle, and an audio commentary with titled Watch-along with Flesh Wound Horror.

Summary:

There is a long history of yule-tide horror films. Most notably, films like Black Christmas (1974), Silent Night, Deadly Night, and Christmas Evil. Even in Norwegian cinema, there have been other Christmas horror films like Red Christmas. That brings us to Christmas Cruelty!, the latest Christmas themed horror film.

Though the killer wears a Santa Claus costume, the killer is best described as Krampus, an Alpine folklore figure who is the opposite of Santa Claus. Krampus scares the children who misbehave, while Santa Claus rewards the well-behaved children.

Setting the tone with a big opening sequence is something that the best horror films are known for. And though there is a brutal pre-credit sequence where the killer slaughters a family, starting with the youngest child, an infant. All momentum from this solid opening is wasted by what follows. After that pre-credit kill scene, it is almost another hour before the killer strikes again. Most of the first hour revolves around three friends hanging out and acting silly.

If you ignore the opening sequence and only judge the next 55 minutes on content, there is nothing about what happens during this long stretch that would lead anyone to think they were watching a horror film. Fortunately, in the last thirty-five minutes, there is a drastic tone shift that matches the intensity of the pre-credits sequence. Unfortunately, it is too little too late by then. with things further undermined by an underwhelming ending.

Christmas Cruelty! gets a solid release from Unearthed Films that comes with a strong audio/video presentation and a wealth of extras.








Written by Michael Den Boer

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Videodrome: Limited Edition – Arrow Video (4k UHD)

Theatrical Release Date: Canada, 1983
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Cast: James Woods, Sonja Smits, Deborah Harry, Peter Dvorsky, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley

Release Date: October 24th, 2022
Approximate Running Times: 88 Minutes 38 Seconds (Director's Cut), 87 Minutes 21 Seconds (Director's Cut)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10 (Both Versions)
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English (Both Versions)
Subtitles: English SDH (Both Versions)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £34.99 (UK)

"Max Renn (James Woods) is looking for fresh new content for his TV channel when he happens across some illegal S&M style broadcasts called "Videodrome". Embroiling his girlfriend Nick (Deborah Harry) in his search for the source, his journey begins to blur the lines between reality and fantasy as he works his way through sadomasochistic games, shady organisations and body transformations stunningly realised by Oscar-winning makeup effects artist Rick Baker." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "Brand new 4K restorations from the original camera negative by Arrow Films of both the full-length director's cut and the US theatrical cut, approved by director David Cronenberg."

Here is additional information about the transer, “The original 35mm negative was scanned in 4K 16-bit resolution at Company 3, Burbank. Additional intermediate film elements were sourced for the Director’s cut sections. The film was restored in 4K and graded in HDR10 and Dolby Vision at Silver Salt Restoration, London.”

Videodrome comes on a 100 GB triple layer 4K UHD

Disc Size: 85 GB

Feature: 63.5 GB

Arrow Video’s 2015 Blu-ray used a dated source that was originally used for The Criterion Collection’s 2010 Blu-ray. Fortunately, this new release comes with a brand new 4K transfer that is vastly superior to all previous home video releases' transfers. Colors are perfectly saturated, flesh tones look healthy, image clarity, contrast, and black levels are solid. Also, there are no issues with compression, and the image retains an organic look. This is a solid encode that anyone who is a fan of VideoDrome should be thoroughly satisfied with.

Audio: 4.5/5

Each version comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English. This is the same track that Arrow Video used for their 2015 Blu-ray release. The audio is in great shape; dialog comes through clearly; everything sounds balanced; ambient sounds are well-represented; and the score sounds appropriately robust. That said, things sound very good range-wise. Both versions come with removable English SDH subtitles.

Extras:

Extras for this release include three image galleries: Behind The Scenes Stills (7 images), Lobby Cards (43 images), and Production Stills (77 images), a short film directed by David Cronenberg titled Camera (6 minutes 40 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), three theatrical trailers (4 minutes 33 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), seventeen deleted and alternate scenes from the TV version, this extra is titled Pirated Signals: The Lost Broadcast (25 minutes 46 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an interview with cinematographer Mark Irwin (26 minutes 27 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with executive producer Pierre David (10 minutes 20 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with Dennis Etchison, author of novelisation of Videodrome (16 minutes 45 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival promotional featurette from 1982 (7 minutes 52 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival featurette titled Why Betamax? (1 minute 11 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival featurette titled Helmet-Cam Test (4 minutes 45 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival featurette titled Samurai Dreams (4 minutes 47 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), a round table discussion from 1982 with David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, John Landis and Mick Garris titled Fear on Film (25 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival documentary by filmmaker Michael Lennick on Videodrome's video and prosthetic makeup effects titled Forging the New Flesh (27 minutes 44 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival documentary featuring interviews with Cronenberg, George A. Romero and Alex Cox on Cronenberg's cinema, censorship and the horror genre titled Cinema of the Extreme (21 minutes 4 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with Tim Lucas, the on-set correspondent for Cinefantastique Magazine and author of Videodrome: Studies in the Horror Film, reversible cover art, six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards, a fold out double-sided poster, and a sixty-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Definitely Not For Public Consumption: Videodrome Replayed written by Justin Humphreys, extracts from Cronenberg on Cronenberg titled New Flesh For Old: The Tax-Shelter Experiments, an essay titled Cutting The New Flesh: Censoring Videodrome written by Brad Stevens, Tim Lucas Remembers Michael Lennick, Somatechinics: A Videodrome Critical Roundtable by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Cerise Howard, Josh Nelson and Emma Westwood, and information about the restoration.

Summary:

Content wise, there has always been an element of sci-fi when it comes to the films of David Cronenberg. That being said, this has more to do with the themes he explores and not so much to do with employing elements that are widely used throughout sci-fi cinema. And though today, something like the Betamax tape that’s featured prominently throughout Videodrome now feels like a relic from the past. When Videodrome was initially released, it was actually a technology that was slightly ahead of where the masses were at the time when it came to how they watched their favorite television shows and movies.

Right from the get-go, Videodrome announces that it is unlike anything that you have seen or will ever see again. And though Videodrome does follow a linear narrative, it is the way that narrative evolves that goes against the norm. Every moment of Videodrome is told via the viewpoint of its protagonist, Max Renn. Thus, making Max Renn’s perception now our reality.

From a production standpoint, the neo-noir inspired visuals do a pitch-perfect job of setting and maintaining the videodrome's mood. A few standout moments visually include a scene where Max’s stomach opens up and he inserts a gun into the vaginal-looking orifice. Another standout moment is when Max discovers that his girlfriend Nikki has now become part of Videodrome. And of course, the finale, when Max finally takes control back from those who have manipulated him.

Key collaborators on Videodrome include cinematographer Mark Irwin, who worked with David Conenberg on all of his films, from Fast Company to The Fly. And composer Howard Shore, who has composed all but one film by David Cronenberg since The Brood except The Dead Zone.

From a casting and performance standpoint, there’s not a single performance that is lacking, and in most instances, excels. Headlining the cast is James Woods in the role of the protagonist, Max Renn. He delivers an extraordinary performance that easily ranks among the best performances of his career. Other standout performances include Deborah Harry in the role of Nicki Brand, a radio disco jockey and Max Reen’s love interest in the film; and Sonja Smits in the role of Bianca O’Blivion, who’s the daughter of Professor Brian O’Blivion. These two characters are also the women in Max Renn’s life, with Nicki taking up the earlier part of the film and, after her disappearance, Bianca filling the void she has left. It should be noted that these two characters serve different functions when it comes to Max Renn’s journey. Max gets satisfaction of the flesh from Nikki, and Bianca helps Max Renn connect with his new flesh via cerebral interaction.

One of the main themes explored in Videodrome is content: who controls it?, and how can it be subverted? And when it comes to artistic ambitions versus commerce, this battle for control is more relevant today than when Videodrome was initially released. Also, it should be noted that, culturally and technologically, a lot has happened since Videodrome was first unleashed upon audiences. Fortunately, despite there being a few things that date Videodrome, the result is an extraordinary film that hasn’t lost any of its potency after all these years. "Long Live The New Flesh!"

Videodrome makes its way to 4K UHD via a definitive audio/video presentation from Arrow Video, highly recommended.

                                                               4K UHD screenshots.













 Written by Michael Den Boer

Friday, October 28, 2022

Quiet Days in Clichy – Blue Underground (4k UHD/Blu-ray Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: Denmark, 1970
Director: Jens Jørgen Thorsen
Writers: Henry Miller, Jens Jørgen Thorsen
Cast: Paul Valjean, Wayne Rodda, Ulla Koppel, Avi Sagild, Susanne Krage, Louise White, Petronella, Elsebeth Reingaard, Lisbet Lundquist, Olaf Ussing, Noemi Roos, Anne Kehler

Release Date: October 25th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 90 Minutes 38 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $49.95

"Joey is a struggling writer with no money. His roommate Carl is a charming stud with a taste for young girls. Together, these two insatiable dreamers will laugh, love and screw their way through a decadent Paris paved with wanton women, wild orgies and outrageous erotic adventures." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "a brand-new restoration, scanned in 4K 16-bit from its recently discovered uncut & uncensored original fine-grain negative, with Dolby Vision HDR."

Quiet Days in Clichy comes on a 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD

Disc Size: 54.9 GB

Feature: 48.3 GB

Quiet Days in Clichy comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 37.5 GB

Feature: 21.1 GB

The source used for this transfer looks excellent. Image clarity, contrast and black levels are solid, there are no issues with compression, and the image retains an organic look. That said, it is hard to imagine Quiet Days in Clichy looking any better than this transfer.

Audio: 4.5/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English (there are a few dialog exchanges in French), and removable English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear, and balanced, and the score sounds robust.

Extras:

The extras on the 4K UHD disc are a theatrical trailer (4 minutes 19 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), and a deleted scene (6 minutes 11 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles).

The extras on the Blu-ray disc include a theatrical trailer (4 minutes 19 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), a deleted scene (6 minutes 11 seconds, DTS-HD mono English, no subtitles), book cover image gallery (24 images), court documents image gallery (12 images), poster & still gallery (76 images), an archival interview with Country Joe McDonald titled Songs of Clichy (11 minutes 13 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with Henry Miller’s editor and publisher Barney Rosset titled Dirty Books, Dirty Movies: Barney Rosset on Henry Miller (17 minutes 19 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), and Midnight Blue interview with Barney Rosset (17 minutes 19 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles).

Other extras include a reversible cover art and a limited edition NSFW embossed slipcover (first pressing only).

Summary:

Henry Miller’s novel Quiet Days in Clichy serves as the basis of Jens Jørgen Thorsen's film adaptation. In the same year that Jens Jørgen Thorsen made Quiet Days in Clichy, Joseph Strick would adapt Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. Both films were made simultaneously around Paris in 1969. When Quiet Days in Clichy first arrived in America in 1970, it was seized by the authorities as pornography. Though it would eventually win its case in federal court, Quiet Days in Clichy faded away into obscurity until it was released on DVD in 2004 by Blue Underground.

Structurally, the narrative is straight-forward. And though there is a looseness to the story at hand, there is a lot more to Quiet Days in Clichy than just a series of sex scenes. At the heart of Quiet Days in Clichy is a tale about living life to the fullest. And though some will dismiss the two main characters, a struggling writer named Joe and his friend, for the harsh language they use when discussing the women they have slept with, there are a few moments throughout Quiet Days in Clichy that counterbalance their vulgarity. Most notably, a scene where Joe is on a blind date with a woman who feels used up and unwanted. By the end of their date, he had made her feel like she did matter. That said, if there is any drawback to the story at hand, some viewers may be turned off by the lack of progression of the two main characters. When quiet days in Clichy come to an end, they are exactly where they began.

From a production standpoint, there are not many areas where Quiet Days in Clichy does not excel. Whether it be its stark black and white cinematography, carefully framed compositions, well balanced pacing, or Country Joe McDonald's pitch perfect score, it often illustrates what is going on. Many will find the performances lacking. Fortunately, there is a rawness to the performances that lends itself to the story at hand. Ultimately, Quiet Days in Clichy does a phenomenal job of retaining the spirit of Henry Miller’s source novel.

Quiet Days in Clichy makes its way to 4K UHD via a definitive release from Blue Underground, recommended.

                                                            4K UHD screenshots.













Written by Michael Den Boer

Machine Gun McCain – Blue Underground (DVD)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1969
Director: Giuliano Montaldo
Writers: Mino Roli, Israel Horovitz, Giuliano Montaldo
Cast: John Cassavetes, Britt Ekland, Peter Falk, Gabriele Ferzetti, Pierluigi Aprà, Luigi Pistilli, Florinda Bolkan, Tony Kendall, Salvo Randone, Gena Rowlands

Release Date: August 24th, 2010
Approximate Running Time: 95 Minutes 37 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Region Coding: Region Free NTSC
Retail Price: $14.99

"After serving 12 years behind bars for armed robbery, tough guy Hank McCain finds himself the pawn of a ruthless mob runt’s rebellion against a high level don. When McCain discovers that he’s been betrayed and abandoned by his new employer, he retaliates with a high stakes Las Vegas casino heist that erupts into all-out war on the streets of Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Not blood, nor lust, nor wedding vows can come between McCain and his money…or his machine gun." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 3.75/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "High Definition transfer for the first time ever on home video!"

Machine Gun McCain comes of a dual layer DVD.

The source used for this transfer looks great. Colors are nicely saturated, the image looks crisp, black levels are strong, and there does not appear to be any digital noise reduction.

Disc Size: 5.2 GB

Audio: 2.75/5

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Despite the fact that this track sounds clean, clear, and balanced. It is limited range-wise. Also, there are removable English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a English language theatrical trailer (3 minutes 15 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), a Italian language theatrical trailer (3 minutes 15 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Italian with non-removable English subtitles), and an interview with director Giuliano Montaldo (22 minutes 35 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles.

Summary: 

Giuliano Montaldo directed Machine Gun McCain. Though his career spanned five decades, he is most remembered for his output from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Notable films he directed are Grand Slam, The Fifth Day of Peace, and Sacco & Vanzetti.

In terms of content, Machine Gun McCain has a lot in common with an earlier film that Giuliano Montaldo directed, Grand Slam. Both films fit firmly into the Euro-crime genre, which rose to prominence in the latter half of the 1960’s. And, of course, both films feature an elaborate heist sequence.

Machine Gun McCain is best described as Ocean Eleven meets Casino. The narrative is equal parts a crime caper and a gangster film. And though the heist is Machine Gun McCain’s main set piece, it is not as drawn out as the heist sequence from the similar-themed Grand Slam. The narrative is not much more than the bare essentials. Very little time is devoted to character motivations. And, while in most cases, this would be a major flaw, there are an ample number of double crosses that ensure there is rarely a dull moment.

Without a doubt, the most impressive thing about Machine Gun McCain is its cast, who all excel in their roles. With the most surprising performance being John Cassavetes (Rosemary’s Baby) in the role of the protagonist, Hank McCain. He delivers a brooding performance that perfectly captures his character's state of mind. Another performance of note is Gena Rowlands (A Woman Under the Influence) in the role of Rosemary Scott, an old love interest of Hank McCain. Though her character has limited screen time, she has Machine Gun McCain’s most memorable moment. 

Not to be overlooked when discussing Machine Gun McCain is its score, which was composed by Ennio Morricone, who once again provides a playful and menacing score Another strength is cinematographer Erico Menczer's (The Cat o' Nine Tails) stylish visuals. Ultimately, Machine Gun McCain is a first-rate thriller that immediately pulls you in and stays with you long after its bittersweet finale.

Machine Gun McCain gets a solid release from Blue Underground, who also released this film on Blu-ray, which unfortunately is OOP.





Written by Michael Den Boer

Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Mummy (1932) - Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection – Universal Pictures (4k UHD)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1932
Director: Karl Freund
Cast: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron, Edward Van Sloan, Bramwell Fletcher, Noble Johnson, Kathryn Byron, Leonard Mudie, James Crane

Release Date: October 11th, 2022
Approximate Running Time: 73 Minutes 8 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 Aspect Ratio / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / HDR10
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono French, DTS-HD Mono German, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $79.99 (Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection)

"The Egyptian, Imhotep, who is accidentally revived by a team of archaeologists after 3,700 years. It is revealed in a flashback that he was a high priest, embalmed alive for trying to revive the vestal virgin whom he loved, after she had been sacrificed. Alive again, he sets out on an obsessiveand deadlyquest to find his lost love." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

The Mummy (1932) comes on a 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD. 

Disc Size: 60.1 GB

Feature: 43.5 GB

When Universal Pictures released The Mummy (1932) on Blu-ray in 2014, the source used for that transfer looked fantastic. For this new release, Universal uses that transfer as its source.

For a ninety year old film, The Mummy (1932), the source used for this transfer looks exceptionally good. Contrast, black levels, and image clarity look solid throughout. I did not see any compression related issues, and there were no issues related to noise reduction. This transfer retains an organic look.

Audio: 4.5/5

This release comes with four audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English; a DTS-HD mono mix in French; a DTS-HD mono mix in German; and a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian. For this review, I listened to the DTS-HD mono English track. There are no issues with distortion or background hiss; dialog always comes through clearly; everything sounds balanced; and ambient sounds and the score are well-represented. That said, for a film that’s ninety years old, this audio track sounds excellent. Removable English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish subtitles.

Extras:

Extras for The Mummy (1932) include an image gallery with music from the film playing in the background titled Production Photographs (posters/lobby cards/stills), a trailer gallery: The Mummy 1932 (1 minute 34 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian subtitles), The Mummy’s Shroud (1 minute 36 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian subtitles), The Mummy’s Tomb (1 minute 6 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian subtitles), The Mummy’s Ghost (1 minute 7 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian subtitles), and The Mummy’s Curse (1 minute 36 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian subtitles), a featurette titled 100 Years of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era (8 minutes 42 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian subtitles), a featurette titled Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy (8 minutes 6 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian subtitles), a featurette titled He Who Made Monsters: The Life and Art of Jack Pierce (25 minutes, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian subtitles), a featurette titled Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed (30 minutes 10 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian subtitles), an audio commentary with Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steve Haberman, Bob Burns, and Brent Armstrong, and an audio commentary with film historian Paul M. Jensen.

Included with this release is a Blu-ray that has all the extras that are on the 4K UHD. Also, the Blu-ray only comes with two audio options: DTS-HD mono English and DTS-HD mono French. There are only two subtitle options: English SDH and Spanish.

Also, the Blu-ray is the same as Universal’s 2014 Blu-ray.

The Mummy (1932) is part of Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection, a box set that also has The Bride of Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera (1943) and Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Summary:

The thing that stands out most about Universal’s classic monster films is how each film that introduces a new monster is tonally different. Universal's monster movies would become more homogenized with each new sequel. These later films would be a shift more towards humor.

Just like the first two Universal monster films, Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931), which were adapted from literary sources. The Mummy (1932) would emerge from a literary source. The main difference between The Mummy (1932) and the two Universal monster films that came before it is that the first two were straight-up horror films, whereas The Mummy (1932) is a fantasy/horror hybrid with a dash of adventure thrown in for good measure.

Karl Freund directed The Mummy (1932), and though he is most remembered for his work as a cinematographer, notable films he worked on as a cinematographer are Varieté, Metropolis, Dracula (1931), and Key Largo. He did direct a handful of films, most notably Mad Love (1935).

Choosing Karl Freund to direct The Mummy (1932) is a great choice since the Universal monster films that preceded it rely heavily on visuals. And his background as one of cinema’s most gifted cinematographers makes him a perfect choice for The Mummy (1932). Needless to say, there are many visually striking moments in The Mummy (1932).

As good as the performances are across the board, the main attraction of The Mummy (1932) is Boris Karloff’s (The Bride of Frankenstein), in the role of a mummy named Imhotep who is brought back to life. He delivers another forbidding performance that is in line with his best work as an actor. Another performance of note is Zita Johann (The Sin of Nora Moran) in the role of Helen Grosvenor, a woman who looks like Imhotep’s lost love.

From its opening moments, it is easy to see why The Mummy (1932) is a film that entrances an audience. It is a very satisfying blend of adventure, horror, and fantasy. Its deliberate-paced narrative does a fantastic job of building tension, and a solid finale wraps everything up nicely. Another strength is how well the special effects hold up. Ultimately, The Mummy (1932) is a timeless tale that still shines brighter than all of the sequels and remakes that followed it.

The Mummy (1932) gets a solid 4K upgrade, highly recommended.

                                                             4K UHD screenshots.












Written by Michael Den Boer

Yes, Madam! – Eureka Video (Blu-ray) Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1985 Director: Corey Yuen Writers: James Clouse, Barry Wong Cast: M...