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Silence of the Lambs, The (Blu-ray)

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The Silence of the Lambs on Blu-ray (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine

Directed by Jonathan Demme

Distributed by MGM and Fox Home Entertainment


“You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you’ve tried so desperately to shed: pure West Virginia. What is your father, dear? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? You know how quickly the boys found you … all those tedious sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars … while you could only dream of getting out … getting anywhere … getting all the way to the FBI.” — Hannibal Lecter to Clarice Starling

Chilling. That’s the only way to describe the eerie restraint shown by Anthony Hopkins’ performance of the evil and hungry Dr. Hannibal Lecter. One second the character can be dissecting your personality, and the next he could be dissecting your person. Though his role is relatively small there’s no mistaking that the weight of The Silence of the Lambs falls squarely upon his sturdy shoulders.

The Silence of the Lambs on Blu-ray (click for larger image)I could sit here and explain to you why this movie is a modern classic, but what’s the point? I’m guessing that by now you’ve surely seen this epic flick, and know it very well. If not, click the bottom link to pre-order, head to the store to buy, borrow from a friend, do whatever you have to do it get your hands on it like yesterday. You won’t be disappointed.

The subject of the day is this new Blu-ray release so let’s dig right into the 1080p goodness, shall we?

I’ve seen The Silence of the Lambs several times. Probably as many as ten to fifteen. I can honestly say this is (as I’m sure you expected) the best looking version of the film I’ve ever watched, though it’s still far from perfect. The main differences come in the form of depth, a slight upgrade in sharpness, and a wonderfully warm color palette. Previously released editions, Criterion and otherwise, had a weird kind of greenish tint to them. This problem has been completely fixed with this release and while there is still the occasional pop or scratch in the print every so often, everything still looks damned fine.

The audio however is just passable. Yes, this is the first time MGM has ever given the movie a hi-def audio mix, but it still kind of misses the mark. There are moments when the 5.1 track soars and swells but they are unfortunately bookended with plenty of flat moments. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s really not much of an improvement.

The Silence of the Lambs on Blu-ray (click for larger image)Then there are the supplemental materials. While quite good, we’ve seen the majority of them all before. There’s nearly two-hours worth of behind-the-scenes featurettes, a thirty second phone message from Hopkins as Lecter, and twenty-three minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes. All pre-existing, and of various sound and picture quality. One feature that’s been missing since the Laser Disc release is the awesome commentary track with Jonathan Demme, Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Really, guys? We couldn’t dig this one up for the Blu-ray release?

So, I know what you’re wondering — is there anything new? Yes! One thing — the Breaking the Silence Blu-ray exclusive trivia track which sports itself new interviews with Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Anthony Heald, Scott Glenn, and screenwriter Ted Tally. Throughout the film, via picture-in-picture pop-up, you’ll get an occasional nugget of info from one of the aforementioned subjects. It’s nice to see and hear something new, but there’s just one nagging problem — these pop-up instances were a little too sporadic for my liking. There were long stretches of time when we’d get nothing but the movie. Since so much of this Blu-ray consists of repackaged material couldn’t the slow parts have been filled with some pre-existing behind-the-scenes footage? I know. I know. I’m never happy.

If you’ve never owned The Silence of the Lambs on home video (and given the flick’s popularity and multiple releases that’s kind of a tall order), then this is without question the version of the film for you. If you’ve still got the Criterion DVD or — dare I say it — the Laser Disc … honestly? You’re still sitting kind of pretty.

Special Features

  • Breaking the Silence Blu-ray exclusive trivia track
  • Understanding the Madness featurette
  • Inside the Labyrinth featurette
  • The Silence of the Lambs: From Page to Screen featurette
  • Scoring the Silence featurette
  • Original 1991 Making-of featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Anthony Hopkins phone message
  • Outtakes reel
  • TV spots
  • Teaser trailer
  • Original theatrical trailer

    Film:

    5 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 out of 5

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    American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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    Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

    Directed by Colin Bemis


    Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

    The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

    As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

    Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

    Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

    In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

    On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

    In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

    Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

    • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
    3.5

    Summary

    Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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    We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

    In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

    Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film
    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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