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Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray / DVD)

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Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray / DVD)Starring Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jim Beaver

Directed by Various

Distributed by Warner Home Video


“Supernatural” has always been a snake in the grass among quality TV shows. While programming such as “Breaking Bad”, “The Walking Dead”, “Dexter” and “Game of Thrones” garner much acclaim from fans and critics alike, I don’t have a problem citing “Supernatural” as an equally excellent television experience. Sure, it was a little rocky in the beginning – with the “ghost of the week” plotlines paling in comparison to the over-arching storyline – but damn if this series didn’t find its footing in the third season. Since 2007, the series has been nothing if not top notch, delivering quality writing, surprising moments and excellent performances on a consistent basis.

When series creator Eric Kripke left the show at the end of the fifth season (where it was originally intended to conclude), there was much speculation around the ensuing quality. Admittedly, Sera Gamble had some pretty big shoes to fill when she was chosen as the new show runner, but fears were alleviated as season six hit the ground running with a brand new storyline involving a newly minted Sam Winchester, straight from hell and without any memory of it.

Season six impresses for a number of reasons: Most importantly, it never feels like a tacked-on addendum to the previous years. It explores a few lingering threads (ie- the fallout from Heaven’s civil war) as the logical progression of events. Sam’s re-acclamation to Dean comes off a bit awkward in the beginning – an element I mistakenly (and prematurely) identified as weak writing and acting. Turns out it’s all a means to an end in revealing why Sam was allowed to escape from hell, and exactly what’s wrong with him. Before long, a possible weakness becomes one of the show’s major strengths as it reveals Jared Padalecki to be an extremely capable actor. His “Odd Sam” and “Regular Sam” are very different entities and it’s a credit to the writers and actor that they pulled it off so perfectly.

Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray/DVD)It’s also quite unpredictable. Nothing progresses as expected, with the eventual confrontation with what’s assumed to be the season’s “big bad” turning out to be … something altogether different. That a show in its sixth season is able to keep things fresh and fun is a real testament to the creative team involved. Of the earliest episodes, “Weekend at Bobby’s” is easily the most memorable. Directed by our own Jensen Ackles, fans are finally treated to a Bobby-centric show that chronicles his daily routine. As an added bonus, the great Steven Williams reprises his role as Rufus, sharing some wonderful camaraderie with Jim Beaver. It’s a completely irreverent show, one that has the cajones to progress the season storyline further while always cracking a smile.

“Caged Heat” is another winner. Here the Winchesters make an uneasy alliance with their favorite demon, Meg, launching a desperate attack on Crowley’s compound. It’s a fast-paced and exciting episode that offers all the double-crosses and confrontations you could ask for. There are some major revelations along the way and it’s an instrumental episode in establishing the path for the rest of the season. The “mythology” episodes of “Supernatural” are always great, and this ranks among the best.

Among the most delightful episodes in the history of “Supernatural” is “The French Mistake”, the wonderfully meta storyline that forces Sam and Dean out of their world, and into one where they inhabit the bodies of actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. As expected, it’s non-stop hilarious. Between the actors’ countless jabs at their past careers and egos, the presence of Misha Collins as himself and an angel who goes on a mass shooting spree, claiming Eric Kripke as one of his victims, it just never stops.

Hot off the heels of that comes “…And Then There Were None”, an episode of fear and mistrust that, unsurprisingly, features more tension and suspense than the recent (and misguided) Thing premake. It finds Sam, Dean, Bobby, Samuel and Rufus trapped, and at the mercy of what’s dubbed a “Khan Worm”. An invasive little parasite that slips into a victims ear, turning them psychotic and hostile. It’s the kind of no-nonsense horror that reminds us of the show’s roots, and how it’s never really been afraid to kill of some of its “important” characters for the sake of good drama. Simple, yet effective, this is a thrilling experience.

The season’s final stretch is absolutely terrific: time travel (complete with Back to the Future part III nods), preventing the Titanic disaster to get rid of the James Cameron movie and the Celine Dion song (the most brilliant motivation of ALL time), a confrontation with Eve (of Adam and Eve), a Castiel-centric episode (the expertly written “The Man Who Would Be King”) and a conclusion loaded with surprises, it’s amazing how well the sixth year turned out. Knowing the behind-the-scenes drama beforehand, I was certain this would be a lacking season, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Instead, “Supernatural” offered a season perfectly in step with its predecessors. Other shows may reap far more prestige, but this one holds up as well as anything else on television. On its own merits, it’s fast, fun and more entertaining than any genre stuff we’ve seen in theaters this year. With no signs of slowing down, I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Winchester boys.

Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray/DVD)Technically speaking, the Blu-ray of “Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season” looks/sounds amazing. It’s a stunning show on HD, with rich, black shadows that give the show LOTS of atmosphere. Detail is through the roof, with actors’ pores clear as day. Audio reproduces dialogue with perfect clarity while the kickass soundtrack is wonderfully textured. I also was able to sample the SD presentation. It’s pretty solid for SD, though black levels and textures just aren’t up to snuff. If SD is all you’ve got, however, this presentation is no slouch.

“Supernatural” always comes to home video with fun, if unspectacular, special features. Season six is no different, boasting two audio commentaries right out of the gate. “Clap Your Hands if You Believe” and “The French Mistake” are this season’s beneficiaries and both talks are fun stuff. Robert Singer, Sera Gamble and Ben Edlund deliver thoughtful, enjoyable discussions on keeping the show (and its quality) going strong. And while Jensen Ackles didn’t record his own commentary for his “Weekend at Bobby’s”, we do get a 30 minute documentary called Jensen Ackles: A Director’s Journey. It’s a fun little piece that shows how Jensen acquainted himself with a director’s responsibilities, and how he settled into the routine.

Another documentary is Supernatural and the Quest for the Soul, a largely pointless discussion with religious and occult folks who weigh in on the existence of a soul. Meh. There’s a few outtakes from “The French Mistake” as well as the now-legendary outtake reel. There’s also the inclusion of two episodes from the “Supernatural” animated series. These were exactly what I expected and, to be honest, not enough to make me want to check it out.

Finally, there are two Blu-ray exclusive features. A picture-in-picture informational track that is available on every episode. Very cool stuff for those who want to know everything there is to know about the world of “Supernatural”. Then there’s a trivia track on “The French Mistake”, containing all sorts of commentary-like information surrounding this episode. Pretty fun.

It turned out to be another excellent year for “Supernatural” with the sixth season. As usual, Warner Bros. does the show right on home video, offering superb PQ/AQ and an amiable assortment of supplements. The storytelling hasn’t suffered under the watch of new show runner Sera Gamble (and season 7 has been fun thus far as well), who successfully maintains the right elements to keep this one of the best shows on TV. Highly recommended.

Special Features

  • Blu-ray Exclusive: The Hunter’s Guide to Season Six
  • Blu-ray Exclusive: The French Mistake Trivia Track
  • Jensen Ackles: A Director’s Journey featurette
  • Supernatural and the Quest for the Soul featurette
  • 2 episodes of the animated series (to be released on its own DVD July 26)
  • Commentary of “Clap Your Hands If You Believe” and “The French Mistake” by Robert Singer, Ben Edlund and Sera Gamble
  • Gag Reel
  • The French Mistake Outtakes

    Season Six:

    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 out of 5

    Discuss “Supernatural” in the comments section below.

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    Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review

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    Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

    Directed by Charles Martin Smith


    I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

    Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

    Now let’s get to it.

    First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

    Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

    I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

    Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

    It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

    And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

    Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

    This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

    And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

    Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

    In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

    That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

    Rockstar lighting for days.

    Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

    Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

    More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

    Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

    Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

    All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

    Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

    • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5
    3.5

    Summary

    Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

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    User Rating 3.59 (22 votes)
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    AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

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    Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

    Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


    ** NO SPOILERS **

    It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

    Spoiler free.

    To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

    That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

    Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

    Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

    Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

    Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

    But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

    But let’s backtrack a bit here.

    Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

    And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

    Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

    With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

    Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

    I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

    Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

    Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

    Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

    On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

    That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

    In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

    While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

    Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

    Bring on season 12.

    • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
    3.5

    Summary

    The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

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    User Rating 4.13 (23 votes)
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    The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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    Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

    Directed by Nicholas Woods


    The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

    The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

    The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

    The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

    The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

    The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

    ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

    • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
    • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
    • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
    • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
    • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
    • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
    • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
    • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
    • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
    • The Axiom
    4.0

    Summary

    In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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    User Rating 3.95 (20 votes)
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