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Re-Animator: Anchor Bay Collection (DVD)

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Re-Animator: The Anchor Bay Collection DVD (click for larger image)Starring Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, Robert Sampson

Directed by Stuart Gordon

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment


Re-Animator. What is it about this film that just keeps on going, much like its undead stars? To date there’s been a myriad of versions of this gut-wrenching gore-fest. Let’s tally them up for a moment, shall we? For starters there were the original VHS releases — rated and unrated. Then there was the Laser Disc version. God, remember them? You could friggin’ kill somebody with one of those things! Fast forward to 1997, and Elite Home Entertainment finally released the film on DVD. Elite then went on to re-release the film in a 2002 Millennium Edition. Now this baby was packing! It had everything a fan wanted and more. So is there a need to go to the well yet again? If you’re Anchor Bay Entertainment and you’re launching your new Anchor Bay Collection line, then the answer is a resounding “yes”! But before we get to what’s included, let’s take a quick look back at the film itself.

In 1984 Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna had a vision. A grisly vision. Having no money and no one willing to back their project, they started raising funds for their endeavor themselves. After many promises and deals production finally began on their little film. Re-Animator was unleashed around a year later, and it kicked the living shit out of audiences everywhere. To this day it remains one of the most beloved films of our genre and for good reason … it has it all. Blood, sexuality, more blood, zombies, great acting, more blood, spot on writing and directing, and oh yeah — more blood. Horror fans fell immediately in love, and the little film that nobody wanted has continued to rake in the dough.

I’m not going to bother to give you a plot synopsis. If you don’t know what this movie is about, then you shouldn’t be reading this website. Although, on the off chance that there is a budding horror fan out there that has not seen it yet, I order you to see this movie immediately. Click the little link below. Buy this NOW! It’ll change your life, man.

Re-Animator: The Anchor Bay Collection DVD (click for larger image)Maybe the reason for all the different editions of Re-Animator is because the film has changed so many lives. Honestly, I don’t think this is just your standard studio cashing in type bullshit. Companies like Anchor Bay make these discs not only to turn a profit, but to give fans the absolute best package they could hope for. So, do they succeed? Almost entirely.

The first thing you’ll notice about the DVD is its abnormally large box. So what’s the deal with that? Inside the box you’ll find not only the new two-disc set but also a neon green highlighter shaped like a syringe! Dude. It may be a little thing, but it’s pretty fucking cool. Still that’s not what the $24.99 price tag on this puppy is about. It’s about the DVD’s inside.

Let it be noted that this collection contains almost every single extra found on the Elite Millennium Edition (only the isolated score audio track is missing, along with some photos from the original galleries). This is where Anchor Bay’s newest Re-Animator release hits and misses. Truth be told, the features, while mostly the same, were just laid out better on the last release. On the Elite disc there were scene comparisons that accompanied the storyboards. Here we just get the boards themselves. Even more annoying the deleted/extended scenes play as one continuous feature void of any chapter stops. In the Millennium Edition you could skip to whatever you wanted to watch instantly. Mind you, these are minor quibbles, but if you’re trying to decide if you want to buy this newest release, they need to be addressed.

Re-Animator: The Anchor Bay Collection DVD (click for larger image)Now let’s talk about what you’re waiting for — the new shit! Kicking off the supplemental disc of this release is a feature film in and of itself titled Re-Animator Resurrectus. Clocking in at about seventy minutes, Re-Animator Resurrectus is probably the most in-depth look at the film ever. Everything is covered, from Re-Animator‘s birth as a half hour long TV show for PBS(!) to its afterlife, if you will. Once the ball gets rolling, this feature plays as if it were a near scene-by-scene discussion of the film. The best part here is that it’s not just your usual suspects being interviewed. Included are looks back from a great deal of the crew, and while you may not learn anything you didn’t know from them, it’s still great listening to folks with fresh perspectives. If only David Gale were still with us. I’m sure he’d have the best tales to tell. Considering he had the best view of the lovely Barbara Crampton, I’m sure he died happy.

Also new are a few picture galleries comprised of rather candid on-set shots courtesy of Yuzna and his pal Jack F. Murphy. These are a blast to check out and are pretty damned funny for still pics. Last but not least, for you DVD-ROM users we have the screenplay and finally the inclusion of H. P. Lovecraft’s masterpiece, Herbert West, Re-Animator. Pretty snazzy.

Anchor Bay shoots and scores yet again. If you don’t already own the film, this is without question the best package out there even with its slight shortcomings. Uber-fans and completists (You know who I’m talking about. Yeah, you with the thirty-seven editions of Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn on your shelf) will no doubt be chomping at the bit to add this to their prized collection, but the average Joe just may want to take a pass. That is if he can live without that snazzy highlighter!

Special Features
Disc One:
Commentary by Director Stuart Gordon
Commentary by Producer Brian Yuzna and Actors Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, and Robert Sampson

Disc Two:
All-new 70-minute documentary: Re-Animator Resurrectus
Interview with Director Stuart Gordon and Producer Brian Yuzna
Interview with Writer Dennis Paoli
Interview with Composer Richard Band
Music discussion with Composer Richard Band
Interview with Fangoria Magazine Editor Tony Timpone
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Galleries of Production Stills, Behind-the-Scene Stills, Poster and Advertising
Storyboard Gallery
Stuart Gordon Bio

DVD-ROM:
Screenplay
Herbert West, Re-Animator” by H. P. Lovecraft

Film

5 out of 5

Special Features

5 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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