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Resurrected, The (Blu-ray)



The ResurrectedStarring Chris Sarandon, John Terry, Jane Sibbett, Robert Romanus

Directed by Dan O’Bannon

Distributed by Scream Factory

The prose and peculiarity of H.P. Lovecraft’s work has proven to be difficult for feature film adaptation, with only a handful of titles – at best – getting it mostly right. Slavish translation would be pretty much impossible, and I doubt even Guillermo del Toro could have pulled it off with his unmade epic take on “At the Mountains of Madness”. The best most filmmakers can hope to achieve – and viewers hope to experience – is the essence of Lovecraft; the sensation of being in a world of arcane magic and ancient gods. For the most part, genre heavyweight Dan O’Bannon’s The Resurrected (1991) gets it right, immersing audiences in Lovecraft’s backyard, literally, as the film takes place in Rhode Island (it was lensed in Canada, though). The foggy New England countryside and forested landscapes are perfectly replicated, inspiring a good East Coast chill and springing up that back-of-the-mind fear that something could be – and oftenis – lurking just outside a smoky treeline.

After an unexplained, bloody crime scene the film flashes back a few weeks, to when Claire Ward (Jane Sibbett) hires private investigator John March (John Terry) to investigate her husband, Charles Ward (Chris Sarandon). Claire doesn’t suspect cheating, rather, she just wants to know how her conspicuously busy beau spends his time. Charles is a research scientist who practically lives in a cottage laboratory in their backyard. After Claire repeated inquests, he moves to a secluded cabin and essentially vanishes from her life. Marsh is led to Ward’s cabin “by the smell” thanks to a local tipster, but he is told off by a shady assistant and leaves, only to return later with Claire and finally gain access. Ward looks terrible; gaunt, with a raspy voice and decaying teeth. He speaks in an older form of English. Per Ward, he has been conducting arcane experiments once attempted by Joseph Curwen (also Sarandon), an ancestor of his who used science to try raising the dead at this very location.

As March discovers, the cabin has secret passageways, which Curwen would use to smuggle in his fresh corpses. His experiments using Reflux, the key to reanimating dead flesh, were hideous abominations. Based on Ward’s condition and March testimony, police raid the cabin and arrest Ward, who demands raw meat and blood. With Ward incarcerated Marsh, Claire, and Lonnie (Robert Romanus), one of March’s investigators, enter the subterranean lair where Ward has been conducting his witchcraft. There, they find the twisted results of his playing god – and Marsh soon learns Ward may no longer be the man he appears.

The heart of this picture, though not the star (as the poster art might suggest), is Chris Sarandon. Yes, he is called upon to play two characters but, really, Ward is only a fleeting glimpse whereas Curwen gets the meat of the performance – and Sarandon fully commits to bringing this foul-toothed warlock to decrepit life. The inflection in his tone, the mannerisms in his speech, the wild fire behind his sunken eyes – Curwen is a relic reawakened in modern times and Sarandon would have you believe it is the truth. John Terry is serviceable enough as the boilerplate P.I. but he has no magnetism; this picture works as well as it does because Chris Sarandon fucking kills it.

Yes, it’s also cool to see Robert Romanus pop up as a poorly-supporting character but, I don’t know, maybe it’s his very nature, but I just kept waiting for him to try selling March concert tickets. He is forever Damone. Not such a bad thing, maybe.

The special effects come in bursts but they are effectively done, thanks to the liberty of Lovecraftian anatomy and, most importantly: good lighting (read: not much). The encounter between March and his troupe and a pit filled with Ward’s discarded deformities is tense and unsettling because the monsters within are vaguely humanoid but definitely disgusting. There is a slight tendency to look a bit goofy because the sculpts only allow for so much movement to be shown, but something tangible and dripping terrorizing lead actors is still more convincing than a clear computer creation, which everything seen here would be today.

This is a film I could watch simply to soak in that Lovecraft environment. The production design and cinematography do the best job of any feature film in capturing the spirit and setting of Lovecraft. Everything is swathed in fog or darkness. Ward lives in an earthen cottage, with a secret passage leading via stone tunnels to the riverbanks. Modern trappings are minimally seen, with the bulk of the time spent in this archaic world. It feels old timey and evil. “The Resurrected” is an underrated gem that, with this release from Scream Factory, is finally getting the proper respect it deserves.

Thanks to a 2K scan of the interpositive, the 1.85:1 1080p image looks nearly pristine and highly detailed. This is a major step up from the last time Lionsgate issued the film on home video… with a full-screen VHS-quality transfer on DVD in 2005. Comparatively, this is a revelation Cthulhu itself would applaud. The gloomy Rhode Island countryside looks picturesque, with daylight scenes showing off plenty of details in the environment, close-ups, and fabric. Nighttime scenes are prone to spikes in film grain, and there are expected moments of softness, but overall this is a strong picture long overdue.

An English DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track soundly delivers composer Richard Band’s sweeping score. Dialogue is clear and nicely prioritized in the mix, with no issues. Band’s score has a solid presence, adding a true sense of action to some tense moments. Subtitles are available in English.

Audio commentary with producers Mark Borde & Kenneth Raich, screenwriter Brent V. Friedman, actor Robert Romanus, and make-up effects artist Todd Masters.

“Claire’s Conundrum – An Interview with actress Jane Sibbert” – The actress discusses aspects of her career in addition to talking about her role here.

“The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward – An Interview with author S.T. Joshi – This piece focuses on Lovecraft’s history; his hometown, his literary style, his lifestyle. Great for those who want to know more about the man.

“The Resurrected Man – An Interview with actor Chris Sarandon” – Ever the gregarious type, Sarandon has plenty of good-time recollections about his foray into horror, taking on this role, and his legacy (of sorts) in the genre.

“Abominations & Adaptations – An Interview with screenwriter Brent V. Friedman” – The scribe talks the appeal of adapting someone like Lovecraft for film and what he hoped to produce for this feature.

“Grotesque Melodies – An Interview with composer Richard Band” – Done in the studio, Band is animated and candid in his regaling.

“Lovecraftian Landscapes – An Interview with production designer Brent Thomas” – If you loved how the film looked, as I did, watch this informative piece.

“Human Experiments – An Interview with special effects artist Todd Masters” – The man behind the horrific humanoids discusses the film’s intentions behind their look and how he was able to achieve it.

A reel of deleted and extended scenes, taken from an early workprint and looking rough, runs for around 18 minutes. The majority are character additions.

“Chainsaw Awards Speech” sees Bruce Campbell introduce “the director of Reservoir Dogs and the upcoming Tony Scott film True Romance, director Quentin Tarantino”, who then gives the award for Best Direct-to-Video film to Dan O’Bannon. This is a rad extra.

A home video trailer, the film’s Japanese trailer, and a photo gallery of production stills, promotional photos, and ephemera complete the extras.

Special Features:

  • NEW 2K transfer from the film’s vaulted interpositive film element
  • NEW Claire’s Conundrum – an interview with actress Jane Sibbett
  • NEW The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward – an interview with S.T. Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft
  • Audio Commentary with producers Mark Borde and Kenneth Raich, screenwriter Brent V. Friedman, actor Richard Romanus and make-up effects artist Todd Masters
  • The Resurrected Man – an interview with Chris Sarandon
  • Abominations & Adaptations – an interview with screenwriter Brent Friedman
  • Grotesque Melodies – an interview with composer Richard Band
  • Lovecraftian Landscapes – an interview with production designer Brent Thomas
  • Human Experiments – an interview with special effects artist Todd Masters
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes from the workprint
  • Home Video Trailer & Japanese Trailer
  • Photo Gallery


  • The Resurrected
  • Special Features
User Rating 3.5 (8 votes)
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DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!



Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon

Directed by Adrian Corona

I’ve made this claim many a time on this website before, and in the company of film friends as well: Bill Oberst Jr. is one of those actors that can literally be thrust into ANY role, and deliver a performance with so much harnessed electricity that you couldn’t believe that it was possible. I was the lucky recipient chosen to get a look at his latest project, titled DIS, and I think that I can honestly say – this is the stuff that nightmares are constructed of.

Directed by Adrian Corona, this 60-minute dive into the black depths of hell, and in actuality DIS is located between circles # 6 and 9 in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and trust me when I tell you – there’s not a shred of comedic relief in this demented presentation. Oberst Jr plays an ex-soldier named Ariel, and his seemingly harmless jaunt through the woods will become anything but that, and judging from the film’s opening scenes, you are meant to feel as uncomfortable about this watch as any you might have checked out in recent memory.

Perversion is the norm here, and lord help you if you’re caught where you shouldn’t be…my skin’s crawling just thinking about what I saw. Ariel’s travels are basically dialogue-free, but it only adds to the infinite levels of creepiness – you can tell he’s being stalked, and the distance between he and the horrors that await are closing in rather quickly.

Visually by itself, this hour-long chiller can sell tickets without any assistance – hollowed-out buildings and long sweeping shots of a silent forest give the movie that look of complete desolation. Sliced up into three acts, the film wastes no time in setting up the story of a killer needing fresh blood to appease his Mandrake garden – seriously guys, I can’t type as much flashy stuff as there needs to be in order to describe this innately disturbing production.

If you’re one of those types who tends to shy away from the graphic side of things, then I’d HIGHLY advise you to keep your TV tuned to the Hallmark Channel for some holiday entertainment, because this one registers high on the “I can’t believe someone thought of this” meter. So the quick recap is this: Oberst Jr in a standout performance, visual excellence, and an unshakable sense of debasement on a cellular level – keep the kiddies out of the living room with this one. Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended, and one that I’ll throw down as a top 5 for me in 2017.

  • Film


Director Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended!

User Rating 2.92 (12 votes)
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Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End Review – A Heavy Metal Massacre In Cartoon Form



Starring Alex House, Bill Turnbull, Maggie Castle, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins, Jason Mewes

Directed by Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace

“Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil” – Canadian television’s greatest blend of Evil Dead, Superbad and Deathgasm? Yes. That answer is yes. For two face-melting seasons, Todd “protected” Crowley High from episodic villains who were bested by metal riffs, stoner logic and hormonal companionship. Musical interruptions showcased stage theatrics like Sondheim meets pubescent Steel Panther and high school tropes manifested into vile, teen-hungry beasts. It was like a coming-of-age story got stuck between Fangoria pages – all the awkwardness with 100x more guts.

That – for worse – was until Todd fell to a premature cancellation after Season 2’s clone-club cliffhanger. Indiegogo became the show’s only way to deliver a feature-length finale, except to reduce costs and ensure completion, the project would have to be in cartoon form. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End suggests an animated curtain call for this otherwise live-action production, and from a fan’s perspective, familiar maturation follies befall our favorite bloodsoaked friend group. But for new viewers? Start with the far-superior original show – you’ll be lost, underwhelmed and baffled otherwise.

Alex House retains his characterization of Todd Smith (in voice only). At this point, Todd has thwarted the book’s apocalyptic plan, Hannah (Melanie Leishman) has died, longtime crush Jenny (Maggie Castle) isn’t as horny for Todd anymore, and best friend Curtis (Bill Turnbull) has sworn Todd’s name to Hell (since Hannah was his girlfriend). Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr. (Chris Leavins) is now Janitor Atticus Murphy Jr. because Janitor Jimmy (Jason Mewes) is now Counselor Jimmy, yet Crowley High finds itself plagued by the same satanic uprisings despite these new changes. Why is evil still thriving! How is Hannah back in class! Who is the new “Pure Evil One” now that Todd has denied the book! Welcome to the end, friends – or is it a new beginning?

At just north of 80 minutes, structure runs a bit jagged. We’re used to Todd battling one baddie over a half-hour block – backstory given time to breathe – but in The End Of The End, two mini-boss cretins play second fifth-fiddle to the film’s big-bad monster (well, monsters – but you’ll see). A double-dose of high school killers followed by a larger, more important battle with the gang’s fate hanging in the balance. Not a problem, it’s just that more length is spent singing songs about Todd’s non-functioning schlong and salvaging relationships from the S2 finale. Exposition (what little there is) chews into necessary aggression time – fans left ravenous for more versatile carnage, underwhelmed by the umpteenth cartoon erection gag. Did I mention there’s a lot of boner material, yet?

These two mini “chapters” – “No Vest For The Wicked” (yarn demon)/”Zits Alors” (acid acne) – never come close to rivaling Hannah Williams’ doppelganger bombshell (“Songs About Boners”/”This Is The End Of The End Of the End”). Hannah [X]. Williams waking up in a room full of other Hannahs, emerging from some sleep-pod chamber; Todd’s gang facing off against this new “chosen one” in a way that erases “Sack Boy” and “Pizza Face” from memory. The End Of The End dashes dildoes-swinging into the show’s biggest mystery while dropping call-backs and bodies with equal speed – maybe too hastily for some.

Now, about the whole pivot to animation – a smooth rendering of Crowley High and all its mayhem, but never representative of Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil‘s very Ash Vs. Evil Dead vibe. All the practical death effects (gigantic man-eating cakes, zombie rockstars) are lost to one-dimensional drawings, notable chemistry between cast members replaced by edited recordings lacking signature wits. This isn’t Metalocalypse, where dismemberment and bloodshed are gruesome on levels that outshine even live-action horror flicks. There’s no denying some of the magic is missing without Chris Leavins’ “creepy uncle” overacting (a Will Forte breed) or the book’s living incarnations of evil. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End plays hooded minion to Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil’s dark ruler – less powerful, a bit duncier, but still part of the coolest cult around. Just try not to think about how much radness is missing inside hand-traced Crowley High?

It’s hard not to strike comparisons between “reality” and ‘toon, because as noted above, live actors are sorely missed in a plethora of situations. Be they musical numbers, heretic slayings, Todd and Curtis’ constant references to wanking, wangs or other pelvic nods (no, for real, like every other sentence) – human reactions no longer temper such aggressive, self-gratifying cocksmanship. It doesn’t help that songs never reach the memorable level of “Horny Like The Devil,” but the likes of House, Leishman, Turnbull and Castle were masters of selling schlock, shock and Satan’s asshole of situations. Instead, lines now land flat like – for example – Leavins’ lessened ability to turn pervy, stalkerish quips into hilarious underage stranger-dangers. Again, it’s not Metalocalypse – and without that kind of designer depth, a wall prevents inter-dimensional immersion into Todd’s extracurricular madness.

If this review sounds over-negative, fret not – it’s merely wishes of what could have been. None of this is to say Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End should be skipped. When you’re already known for masterstrokes of ballbusting immaturity, metal-horned malevolence and vicious teen-angst creature vanquishing, expectations are going to be sky high. Directors Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace successfully service fans with a smile, ensuring that rivers of red scribbled blood spurt from decapitated school children just like we’re used to. It’s just, I mean – ugh, sorry, I just have to say it one more time. BY DIMEBAG’S BEARD, this would have been an epic live-action flick. As is? Still one fine-with-a-capital-F-YEAH return to Crowley High for the faithful who’ve been waiting some 5-or-so years in a Todd-less purgatory.

  • Film


Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End brings closure to hungry fans in all the ways they’d hope – albeit turned down a notch through animation. Over-the-top kills and headbanging metal riffs still reign supreme, they’re just drawn by hand instead of oozing practical effects this time.

User Rating 3.27 (11 votes)
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The Shape of Water Review: A Quirky Mix of Whimsy and Horror That Does Not Disappoint



Starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stulbarg, Doug Jones

Directed by Guillermo del Toro

“True Blood,” Beauty and the Beast, and Twilight aside, the notion of romantic love between humans and otherworldly creatures has been a popular theme throughout storytelling history. The ancient Greeks told tales of Leda and the swan, while stories of mermaids luring sailors to their lusty demise were met with wonder worldwide, stemming from Assyria c. 1000 BC. To this day, there’s Creature From the Black Lagoon fanfic that’s quite racy… for whatever reason, some people are fascinated by this fantasy taboo.

The new period film from co-writer/director Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water, dives right into the erotic motif with the tale of how Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and Amphibian Man (Doug Jones) fell in love. (While I personally could have done without the bestiality angle, I do applaud del Toro for having the balls to show what’s usually implied.) Having said that, The Shape of Water is about more than just interspecies passion.

The Shape of Water is a voluptuous, sumptuous, grand, and melodramatic Gothic fable at times (there’s even a lavish 1940s style dance routine!), but mostly it’s an exciting and gripping adventure, pitting the good guys against one very bad buy – played with mustache-twirling (minus the mustache), bug-eyed glee by Michael Shannon. Shannon is Strickland, a sinister and spiteful Cold War government operative who is put in charge of a mysterious monster captured in the Amazon and shipped to his Baltimore facility for study. When using cruel and abusive methods to crack the creature’s secrets doesn’t work, Strickland decides to cut him open to see what’s ticking inside.

Elisa, a lowly cleaning lady at the facility, has meanwhile grown fond of “the Asset,” as he’s called. She’s been spending time with him on the sly, not even telling her two best friends about her budding tenderness for the mute and isolated alien. She relates to him because not only is she lonesome, she’s unable to speak (an abusive childhood is alluded to – which includes water torture). Using sign language, she first tells out-of-work commercial illustrator Giles (Richard Jenkins), then her co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer), about the need to rescue her waterlogged Romeo from Strickland’s scalpel. Needless to say, it won’t be easy sneaking a classified government experiment out of the high security building.

The Shape of Water is vintage del Toro in terms of visuals and accoutrement. The set-pieces are stunning to say the least. Elisa and Giles live in cozy, cluttered, age-patinaed apartments above a timeworn Art Deco moving-pictures palace; Strickland’s teal Cadillac is a collection of curves and chrome; and the creature’s tank is a steampunk nightmare of iron, glass, and sturdy padlocks. DP Dan Laustsen (Crimson Peak) does justice to each and every detail. Costumes (Luis Sequeira) and Creature (Legacy Effects) are appropriately stunning. The velvety score by Alexandre Desplat (“Trollhunters”) is both subdued and stirring.

While the film is a fantasy-fueled feast for the senses, it’s really the actors who keep you caring about the players in such an unrealistic, too-pat story. Jones, entombed in iridescent latex and with GC eyes, still manages to emote and evoke sympathy as the misfit monster. Jenkins is endearingly morose as a closeted gay man surrounded by his beloved cats and bolstered by the belief his hand-painted artwork is still relevant in an ever-more technical world. Spencer is the comic relief as a sassy lady who’s hobbled by her station in life but leaps into action when the chips are down.

Del Toro cowrote the screenplay with Vanessa Taylor, whose credits in the television world are numerous – but she’s probably best-known for her work on “Game of Thrones” – which adds an interesting and feminine perspective. The story definitely feels more comic-book than anything, which is okay I guess, but I prefer del Toro’s deeper delves into history and character (The Devil’s Backbone is still my fave). But, for those who love del Toro’s quirky mix of whimsy and horror, you will not be disappointed.

The Shape of Water is a dreamlike, pulpy adult fairytale that dances on the surface of reality while remaining true to the auteur’s vision.

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The Shape of Water is a dreamlike, pulpy adult fairytale that dances on the surface of reality while remaining true to the auteur’s vision.

User Rating 3.67 (15 votes)
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