Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Witchtrap: Special Edition – MVD Rewind Collection (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1989
Director: Kevin S. Tenney
Writer: Kevin S. Tenney
Cast: James W. Quinn, Kathleen Bailey, Judy Tatum, Rob Zapple, Jack W. Thompson, Clyde Talley II, Hal Havins, Linnea Quigley, Kevin Tenney, J.P. Luebsen, Richard Fraga, Lynn McRee, Greg Lewolt, Virginia Miller

Release Date: June 13th, 2023
Approximate running time: 91 Minutes 25 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.95

"Hello... Allow me to take you on a tour of Lauterhouse.

In the attic, we have a secret sacrificial altar where the former owner, Avery Lauter (J. P. Luebsen, Witchboard), was found dead. His heart was brutally cut from his body, and his restless spirit was rumored to still be wandering these halls.

In the living room, we find a team of experts (among them, Witchboard's James Quinn and Judy Tatum) assembled here at the request of Avery's sole heir and nephew Devon Lauter (director Kevin Tenney himself), along with the sexy Ms. Ginger Kowowski (Linnea Quigley, The Return of the Living Dead), who have no inkling as to the dangers that are about to befall them as they attempt to trap the evil spectre." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "scanned and restored in 2K in 2016 from the 35mm Interpositive."

Witchtrap comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 40.9 GB

Feature: 21.7 GB

The source used for this transfer looks excellent, and it is on par with the source that Vinegar Syndrome used for their Blu-ray release. Color saturation, contrast, image clarity, and black levels are solid, compression is very good, and the image looks organic.

Audio: 4.25/5

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English, and removable English SDH subtitles. Though the audio sounds clean, clear, and balanced, range-wise, ambient sounds and the score always sound robust, while there are a few moments where dialog is not as robust as the rest of the soundtrack. The reason for this is that the audio does bear some of the traits associated with audio tracks that feature dubbing.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a photo gallery, a trailer for Witchtrap (2 minutes 31 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an archival interview with special effects supervisor Tassilo Baur (17 minutes 11 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with cinematographer Tom Jewett (15 minutes 9 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with actress Linnea Quigley (13 minutes 40 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with director Kevin Tenney (23 minutes 36 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival group audio commentary track with Kevin Tenney, producer Dan Duncan, cinematographer Tom Jewett, and actor Hal Havins, a VHS version of Witchtrap (91 minutes 20 seconds, 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), reversible cover art, a collectible mini-poster (First pressing Only), and a slipcover (First pressing Only).

Other extras are trailers for The Dark, House on Sorority Road, One Dark Night, Mortuary, and Forbidden Zone.

Summary:

If ever there was a film that was overshadowed by the film that preceded it, then that film would be Witchtrap, a film that has often been mislabeled as a sequel to Witchboard. And to try to avoid this, when Witchtrap was first released on VHS, it had this disclaimer: "This motion picture is not a sequel to Witchboard." Another way in which Witchtrap has often been eclipsed by what is arguably Kevin Tenney’s most acclaimed film, Night of the Demons.

The narrative revolves around an owner of an inn that is haunted who hires parapsychologists to exorcise the ghost of his uncle, who has been terrorizing anyone who stays at the inn.

Though Witchtrap features all the ingredients that one would expect from a horror film, there is a familiarity when it comes to the premise that is bound to give most viewers Déjà vu. Fortunately, the end result is something that stands well on its own. Also, outside of a few lulls, which occurred in the opening act, the narrative does a good job keeping things moving forward.

Visually, this is one area where Witchtrap often excels. With its strongest moments being its gory set pieces. Which include a character who falls out of a second-story window, a shower head that impales a character’s throat, and a character whose head explodes. Another strength are the special effects, which are all well executed and free of any CGI.

During production, all of the on-location sound had to be crapped and then rerecorded in post-production. When watching Witchtrap, this is most definitely noticeable and affects the performances. That said, the performances are all greatly aided by the cast's enthusiasm. Also, for the majority of the cast, this was their first and only feature film, or their first major role in a feature film. With the most notable cast member being Linnea Quigley (Nightmare Sisters) in the role of Ginger Kowolski, a camerawoman who videotapes the parapsychologists supernatural encounters. Ultimately, Witchtrap is a solid B-movie horror film that fans of 1980s horror cinema should thoroughly enjoy.

Witchtrap returns to Blu-ray via a first-rate release as part of the MVD Rewind Collection that comes with a strong audio/video presentation, two versions of the film, and a wealth of extras, recommended.

 







Written by Michael Den Boer

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