Archive for DVD

2015 Home Video Releases: The Rest

Posted in 2015 Home Video Releases: The Rest with tags , , on January 14, 2016 by Last Road Reviews

Here’s a few releases that came close to my top 20, but just ended up missing.

MADMAN- Vinegar Syndrome (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

This release carries over all the extras from past DVD releases with a couple of new ones added. The audio and video are quite strong and this is simply another excellent release from Vinegar Syndrome.

SATAN’S BLADE- Olive Films/Slasher Video

This is an ultra rare slasher film that even the most hardcore fans didn’t know about and I gotta give major credit to both Olive Films and Slasher Video for taking a chance on such an unknown title. The HD transfer is actually very good. There’s a ton of print damage, but nothing that will take away from the film and as it goes on it becomes a little less and after awhile you probably won’t even notice it. The features are average though poorly shot, but it’s still cool since there’s basically zero information about the film. The film has its moments where it works on the so bad it’s good level and other times a bit dull.

BLOOD AND LACE (blu-ray/DVD Combo)- Scream Factory

This is an ultra rare film that didn’t even get a VHS release in most places. I love when these ultra rare films get released, but too bad the actual film was a bore. However this has become a cult favorite so others may feel differently. There’s an audio commentary and an alternate opening title sequence. Audio is fair and the video far better than expected.

HOWLING II- Scream Factory

NEW YEAR’S EVIL- Scream Factory

SLEEPAWAY CAMP III- Scream Factory (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Good release, but also a letdown. Audio and video are fair, but not as good as I hoped and extras are decent. The selling point on this is the work print version, which is sourced from a VHS. The gore footage can be seen in the deleted scenes and as far as any other differences it’s nothing major plus the film isn’t totally edited in regards to music and sound F/X plus you can hear the director giving instructions. It’s a nice thing to have, but not as cool as it sounds. I enjoyed the release, but did expect a little more.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP II- Scream Factory (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

ZOMBIES: THE BEGINNING- Intervision Film Corp (DVD)

The final film directed by Bruno Mattei.

ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD- Intervision Film Corp (DVD)

DON’T GO IN THE WOODS- Vinegar Syndrome (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

This gets a brand new HD transfer from Vinegar Syndrome and it looks outstanding and perhaps more work was put into it than the film deserves. Extras are all from past releases with nothing new added, but the upgrade in video makes this release worthwhile.

And here’s some notable releases.

Olive Films

LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN, COFFY, FOXY BROWN, IT: THE TERROR FROM BEYOND

Shout Factory (Scream Factory)

SCARECROWS, CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH, THE SENTINEL, THE EDITOR

(double feature releases by Shout-Scream) NOTE Carrie is the 2002 TV movie. 

FOOD OF THE GODS/FROGS

GHOSTHOUSE/WITCHERY

CARRIE/THE RAGE: CARRIE 2
BLACULA/SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM
METAMORPHOSIS/BEYOND DARKNESS
EASY MONEY/MEN AT WORK
EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS/EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS II: EDDIE LIVES

Kino Lorber

DERANGED, FACE TO FACE, NAVAJO JOE, ENTER THE NINJA, REVENGE OF THE NINJA, BARQUERO

A few more notable titles.

FINAL GIRLS- Sony

CHRISTINE- Sony

This is identical to the Twilight Time limited edition release from 2013. The only difference is the isolated musical score isn’t carried over. I was unable to pick up the Twilight Time release, which has since gone OOP so this is a welcomed release. Had this been the only blu-ray it would have been in contention for my top 20.

BARBED WIRE DOLLS- Full Moon (DVD)

THE LAST HORROR FILM- Troma

WE ARE STILL HERE- Dark Sky

And lastly, there’s no releases I picked up that I felt were deserving of the bottom list, but these 6 would be in consideration.

EXTERMINATORS OF THE YEAR 3000- Scream Factory

Originally this was supposed to be a double feature with Cruel Jaws, but due to Bruno Mattei stealing footage from Jaws it couldn’t be released without paying high fees unless you wanted legal trouble so Cruel Jaws was dropped. As for this film the audio and video are at best average as its one of Scream Factory’s weaker releases. This was released by Code Red on DVD and this edition carries over the subpar features and adds nothing new. The film is fun and complete knockoff of the Road Warrior only replace gasoline with water. An enjoyable bad film, but a weak release.

LOST AFTER DARK- Anchor Bay

Fun throwback to 80s slasher films and while the audio and video are strong there zero features. Lazy release.

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE III- Anchor Bay

Remember when Anchor Bay used to be among the best labels? While their days of cult cinema are more or less over and now focus on newer stuff, some of which are good, but the releases have been shoddy. This film features very good audio and video and the film itself is simply ok, but no features at all.

TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN- Image Entertainment

Strong audio and video, but no extras except for a trailer.

DELTA FORCE II- Kino Lorber

While the HD video has its moments where clarity is terrific and colors pop, but the good portion of the film has more of a DVD quality going for it and a constant amount of dirt and scratches. Kino-Lorber is one of my favorite labels and while they typically have zero features and this release is no different, but at least it’s made up for with strong quality, but not this release.

WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE- Scream Factory

I debated on this and I really didn’t wanna place it here since it’s awesome having a title like this in HD. If this was a rare title I’d rate it higher, but there’s been a couple of DVD releases and even if quality is better here it’s still subpar. The HD quality is simply ok, but not a lot of effort was put into this and the audio is fair. There’s zero extras not even a trailer. However regardless if you have the DVD or not I’d still recommend this, but it’s still a bit subpar.

2015 Home Video Releases

Posted in 2015 Home Video Releases: The Best with tags , on January 12, 2016 by Last Road Reviews

Better late than never. Since I don’t use WordPress very much all the changes are a bit confusing.

20. SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY/VAMPYROS LESBOS- Severin Films

This isn’t a double feature, but decided to lump them together.

19. SUGAR HILL- Kino Lorber

This is one of the Scorpion Releasing via Kino Lorber. Not sure who handled the HD video, but it’s simply ok. Audio is strong though. There’s actually a nice batch of extras on this release and it’s always nice to have a blaxploitation film in HD. This is the surprise release of the year for me.

18. 1990: BRONX WARRIORS/ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX/NEW BARBARIANS- Blue-Underground (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

This is NOT a triple feature release, but decided to put them together since all 3 are put out by the same company. There’s a 3-part interview with one on each disc. If I place one on the list I have to place the other 2 and it sort of takes away from other releases so seeing as the discs are so much a like it made sense to bundle them together. All 3 of these films are highly enjoyable in particular Escape from the Bronx, which oddly enough I didn’t like upon my first viewing.

17. SHOCKER- Scream Factory

16. THE JAIL: THE WOMEN’S HELL- Intervision Film Corp (DVD)

One of the final films of Bruno Mattei with a decent batch of extras.

15. NIGHTMARE CASTLE- Severin Films 

Also included are TERROR-CREATURES FROM THE GRAVE & CASTLE OF BLOOD. All 3 have some print damage with the two bonus films having the most, but all look pretty good and there’s no shortage of features from on camera to audio.

14. SPIDER BABY- Arrow Films

Identical to the Arrow UK release, which is fine since I don’t own that edition. 2015 was very much the year of Arrow.

13. ARMY OF DARKNESS- Scream Factory

There’s 4-cuts of the film. Theatrical, directors cut, international and the TV version. There’s also some really terrific features. Audio and video are strong, but there was room for improvements. However it’s still a top notch release.

12. KILLER WORKOUT- Slasher Video/Olive Films

As for the transfer and audio the same as above as this is also sourced from a Betamax. However this transfer looks a lot better than Deadly Prey, but it’s not typical blu-ray quality. Extras aren’t quite good, but that isn’t as issue as the only release was a VHS and bootleg DVD from the VHS print. No 35MM exists anymore and I’m just happy this silly and absurd cult film has a legit video release. It’s odd watching a blu-ray and seeing Betamax flaws in the picture, but oddly enough like Deadly Prey the HD Betamax adds a layer of charm to the film.

11. DEADLY PREY- Slasher Video/Olive Films

The 35MM prints of the film were destroyed so Slasher Video remastered this from a Betamax tape. Yes you read that right. It’s quite clear you’re watching a VHS source and this lacks the true HD quality, which is to be expected. However it does look better than any tape, but due to the limitations detail and color aren’t quite blu-ray quality nor even DVD. However with that said it’s better than having nothing and I for one am grateful Slasher Video through Olive Films put this out as its a fun film that is one of the best so bad it’s good films. There’s some decent extras to go along with the release. Your average person will hate the audio and video as the audio in particular is very much tape material, but fans of cult cinema will easily be able to look past the sourcing material as with no 35MM print this was the only option.

10. DAY OF ANGER- Arrow Films (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

9. CEMETERY WITHOUT CROSSES- Arrow Films (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

This is a French and Italian co-production so it fits with the spaghetti western though the film is far more French. This film is nearly forgotten, which is unfortunate since it’s a terrific film. Never released in the UK or US on home video. There is some print damage, but overall it features a strong HD transfer. Features are subpar, but it’s got strong enough audio and video and more importantly it’s great to have this forgotten cult classic out on home video.

8. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE?- Arrow Films (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

7. DRESSED TO KILL- Criterion

When Criterion released this over the Summer there were a few glitches from coloring to a stretch in the picture. It was pulled than fixed and re-released. The newer edition will have 2nd printing listed on the back. The correct version is simply terrific in both audio and video and features a solid batch of extras. This easily could have been rated higher.

6. MOSQUITO- Synapse Films

5. CONTAMINATIONArrow Films (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

4. FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM- Scream Factory

While I can’t confess to exactly loving the film, but the blu-ray release more than makes up for any issues I had. The audio and video are fair enough and if you have other Scream Factory releases you should more or less know what to expect. What makes this release one of the best of 2015 are the terrific batch of extras, which contains a documentary on the entire process of the production of the film with a running time that’s nearly 2-hours!!! It’s actually roughly 40 or so minutes longer than the actual film!

3. THE BEYOND- Grindhouse Releasing

This carries over all the features from the DVD, though some are hidden so you have to find them (aren’t Easter eggs fun) plus a bunch of new extras. Audio and video are terrific and this release also comes with a glow in the dark slipcover as well as a CD with the original soundtrack.

2. BLOOD RAGE- Arrow Films (blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Constantly delayed, but the end result was more than worth it as Arrow delivers yet another epic release with terrific audio and video plus strong extras. NOTE even though this is a dual release (UK, US) the DVD is region 2 locked, which was some sort of glitch. However the blu-ray’s are perfectly fine.

1. CANNIBAL FEROX- Grindhouse Releasing

The HD transfer is simply outstanding and by far blows away the Grindhouse DVD from several years back. All the features are carried over to go along with a number of new features. This also comes with the original soundtrack, but the big selling point outside of the improved audio and video is the 80 plus minute documentary that chronicles the Italian Cannibal Film.

10 Films in Need of a blu-ray Release

Posted in 10 Films in Need of a blu-ray Release with tags , on February 20, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

10 Films in Need of a blu-ray Release

I’ll be leaving off films that have been announced officially such as say Suspiria or Prom Night to name a couple. Though no details have been released they have been announced (both by Synapse). There are a few others announced with also no information. Its possible in future editions if still no details I’ll list them.

Also some titles listed might have a blu-ray release, but its region 2 or whatever. I am only listing titles not yet released for region 1.

This list was picked randomly and is in no particular order either.

ALICE SWEET ALICE
Cult classic that features an old and outdated transfer and in major need of an HD upgrade. Originally released on DVD in 1999 by Anchor Bay than again in 2007 by Henstooth. I have no idea if the same master was used, but it wasn’t mastered in HD.

CANDYMAN
One of the best of the 90s. This had a reissue on DVD mastered in HD, which looks alright but a blu-ray would be ideal.

THE BEYOND
Released on DVD by Anchor Bay than re-released by Grindhouse Releasing in a terrific DVD release. The Beyond has been released on blu- ray outside of the States.

THE OUTSIDERS
Excellent film with a truly great cast. I assume sooner or later a blu-ray will be released.

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST
One of the most controversial films ever made. The DVD by Grindhouse Releasing is an excellent release the only thing better would be a blu-ray.

WAIT UNTIL DARK
One of the greats and the DVD while not terrible is very outdated now. I assume someday this will get the HD treatment, but until than the DVD will have to do.

TO ALL A GOODNIGHT
Decent slasher film which was the directorial debut for David Hess (also his only feature film). Only released on VHS, which is now long OOP. I read the negatives are now lost and only print is the VHS master. If true I doubt this will see the light of day sadly. Hell I’d even settle for a DVD release.

DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING
This is my favorite Fulci film and the DVD features average video and audio. Apparently the DVD didn’t sell well and therefore Blue-Underground has no plans for a blu-ray (as I write this no idea if they still have the rights). Its a shame as this is a terrific film and for those who think Fulci is only a splatter director need to see this.

SON OF FRANKENSTEIN
The last truly great film of the series as the rest while perhaps fun weren’t nearly as good. This is out on DVD as part of a double feature with Ghost of Frankenstein. Its an old DVD and suffers from many of the problems that plagued early DVDs. Universal actually treats their classic era well, but it seems only certain films. The HD quality on their blu- ray set of the Monster collection was terrific. Here’s hoping Son of Frankenstein gets the same or at the very least a new upgraded DVD transfer.

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT
In December of 2012, Anchor Bay re-released this in a double feature with part 2 to coincide with the release of the remake. They used the same exact transfer for both films. The older Anchor Bay pre-HD aren’t as bad as other companies from the era. I mean sure those old titles can use an upgrade, but while some are horribly dated others are at least average. SNDN is sort of in the middle. As far as I know this was Anchor Bay’s 3rd release. The first being a double feature with part 2, a solo DVD for the original and another double feature with all 3 the same transfer. In this day and age I have no idea why Anchor Bay chose to use an old master and not give it a blu-ray release or at least a new DVD transfer. Anchor Bay isn’t the same as it was in the 90s to around mid-2000s, but that’s still no excuse for using an almost decade old print (the first DVD release was in 2003).

2013 Video Releases (Best and Worst)

Posted in 2013 Video Releases (Best and Worst) with tags , , on February 17, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

2013 Video Releses

I would love to give a whole big write up for each release, but the post would be far too long. So I’ll only comment on certain titles. I might be a little late with this, but better late than never.

All selections are based on quality of the release and not the actual films for the most part. I’m sure there are big Hollywood films with better releases, but I tend to avoid modern films plus most people reading this probably feel the same as I do.

All the films listed are blu-ray unless otherwise noted. Some are blu-ray/DVD combo packs and my rankings are based off the blu-ray versions.

BOTTOM 7

7. Conjuring- Warner Brothers
A huge hit, but subpar release in terms of extras.
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

6. The Nest- Scream Factory
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

5. I Spit on Your Grave 2- Anchor Bay
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

4. Paranormal Activity 4- Paramount
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

3. Hellrasier: Deader- Echo Bridge

2. Teaching Mrs. Tingle- Echo Bridge
If I walked into a room with this playing I would think high quality VHS.

1. Weird Science- Universal
Clearly an old master was used as this looks like an early stage DVD only up converted. Certain shots rival VHS. This to is totally un-acceptable coming from a major studio.

TOP 30

30. The Devil Bat- Kino Lorber

29. Black Sabbath- Kino Lorber

28. Schoolgirl Hitchhikers- Redemption

27. Nightmares Come at Night- Redemption

26. Night of the Hunted- Redemption

25. Action Packed Movie Marathon- Shout Factory (DVD)
Set includes; EXTERMINATOR 2, ALIENATOR, EYE OF THE TIGER, CYCLONE

24. House on Straw Hill- Severin Films
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

23. Prince of Darkness- Scream Factory

22. Body Bags- Scream Factory
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

21. Lifeforce- Scream Factory
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

20. Maniac- IFC

19. Dark Angel (I Come in Peace)- Scream Factory

18. Zombie Lake- Redemption
For me a great so bad its good movie for others just bad. However the HD transfer is terrific. This is the only time Zombie Lake makes a best of list.

17. Massage Parlor Murders- Vinegar Syndrome
Never released prior on any format.
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

16. Awful Dr. Orlof- Redemption

15.The Burning- Scream Factory
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

14. Night of the Comet- Scream Factory
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

13. X-Ray/Schizoid Double Feature- Scream Factory
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

12. Grapes of Death- Redemption

11. Psycho II- Scream Factory

10. Psycho III- Scream Factory

9. Phantasm II- Scream Factory

8. The Fog- Scream Factory

7. Prison- Scream Factory
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

6. Scream Factory TV Terrors (The Initiation of Sarah, Are You in the House Alone)- Scream Factory (DVD)
Both only VHS releases until this DVD. Audio and video are average even for DVD, but since it was long OOP I felt a worthy selection.

5. Town That Dreaded Sundown- Scream Factory
Blu-ray/DVD Combo (DVD copy comes with a bonus film the Evictors)

4. Halloween- Anchor Bay
In terms of features this is the weakest release, but audio and video more than make up for and blow away every other release including the 2007 blu-ray. This is as close to the original theatrical look we’ll probably get.

3. Maniac Cop 2- Blue-Underground
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

2. Maniac Cop 3- Blue-Underground
Blu-ray/DVD Combo

1. Vincent Price Collection- Scream Factory
Set includes; HOUSE OF USHER, PIT AND THE PENDULUM, MASQUE OF RED DEATH, HAUNTED PALACE, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES

Honorable Mentions

Bad Girls Behind Bars Collection- Blue-Underground (DVD)
Very good set, but all the films were previously released in solo editions. This is great for those who don’t have the single releases. Set includes- AMAZON JAIL, BARE BEHIND BARS, 99 WOMEN, SADOMANIA, WOMEN BEHIND BARS.

Schizo, House of Whipcord, Die Screaming Marianne, The Comeback- Redemption
Excellent releases. However all were released in a set in 2012 than solo editions in 2013

Assault on Precinct 13- Scream Factory
Already released on blu-ray. This has 2 new interviews. Only worth it if you don’t own the first blu-ray

Friday the 13th Collection- Warner Brothers

Chucky Collection- Universal

When a Stranger Calls/Happy Birthday to Me- Mill Creek

Witchboard 2: Devil’s Doorway- Olive Films

Day of the Dead- Shout Factory

Day of the Animals- Scorpion Releasing

The Unseen- Scorpion Releasing