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Sweeney Todd (DVD)



Sweeney Todd DVD review (click for larger imageReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Edward Sanders, Timothy Spall, Jayne Wisener

Directed by Tim Burton

Distributed by Dreamworks Home Entertainment

“There’s a hole in the world like a great black pit, and it’s filled with people who are filled of shit, and the vermin of the world inhabit it, and it goes by the name of London” — Sweeney

And with that, we’re off on one of the oldest and darkest journeys into madness and vengeance that the world has ever known. Johnny Depp plays everyone’s favorite demon barber with the maniacal glee of a serial killer picking up his first sharpened shiny object, and who better to give him a world to stain with blood than the great Tim Burton? No one, that’s who. Sweeney Todd is a movie so well crafted that it would be easy to sit here and gush like the many geysers of gore that escape the throats of this film’s victims, and honestly with a movie this good and a DVD set this packing, that’s just what I intend to do. Before we tackle all that (and there is a lot to tackle), let’s look at the events leading up to Sweeney’s rampage.

Based upon the Broadway musical and complete with songs by Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd tells the story of Benjamin Barker (Depp), a local barber in London with the perfect life. That is until the vile Judge Turpin (Rickman) takes an interest in his wife and daughter. It’s not long before the judge has Barker, framed for a crime he didn’t commit, sent away, leaving his spouse and child unprotected and in his clutches.

Sweeney Todd DVD review (click for larger imageYears later Barker returns to London under a new name, Sweeney Todd, and as soon as he reaches the city’s shores, he’s off to find out what happened to his wife and little girl. Unfortunately, Sweeney finds that Mrs. Barker has passed on and his kid is still being victimized by Turpin as he keeps her locked away in his home. As you can imagine, this doesn’t sit well. Todd decides to open up a new barbershop above a meat pie store run by the equally as crazed Mrs. Lovett (Carter), and together the two make quite a team. Sweeney provides the cattle and Lovett does the butchering and the cooking. This goes on as Sweeney rids London of its corrupt aristocracy shave by shave, in the hopes that one day he may be able get his revenge on Turpin and save his daughter Johanna (Wisener).

“Alright! You, sir? How about a shave? Come and visit. Your good friend Sweeney! You sir! Too, sir! Welcome to the grave. I will have vengeance. I will have salvation… Who, sir? You sir! No one’s in the chair come on, come on! Sweeney’s waiting! I want you bleeders. You sir? Anybody? Gentlemen, now don’t be shy. Not one man. No, nor ten men. Nor a hundred can assuage me.” — Sweeney

And vengeance is exactly what Todd has as this film spews blood by the bucketful at a relentless pace. In my opinion this is Burton, Depp, and Carter at their absolute finest. Brilliant is an understatement when referring to Sweeney Todd. For a more in-depth review of the film itself, check out Tristan’s Sweeney Todd review here. Our subject of the day is the two-disc special edition DVD, and WOW is there a lot of ground to cover!

Sweeney Todd DVD review (click for larger imageDisc One is home to the film and just a single supplement, the twenty-six-minute featurette entitled Burton + Depp + Carter = Todd. This bit of goodness basically documents the making of the movie from the mouths of the title stars. Covered here are casting, costume designs, character development, and recording the film’s soundtrack. While rock solid stuff, I still have to wonder where the hell the commentary is? That’s the only missing piece of the puzzle in this set, but not to worry — Disc Two more than makes up for the missing track.

Things kick off with footage from a press conference from November of 2007 with director Tim Burton, stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, and Timothy Spall, and producer Richard Zanuck. Running about twenty minutes, this is nothing earth shattering, but it’s entertaining nevertheless. The really good stuff starts with the next featurette, Sweeney is Alive: The Real History of The Demon Barber. Coming in at around twenty-six minutes, this bit of supplemental goodness covers the London legend of Sweeney Todd, which dates back to the late 1700’s. Did this happen? Could it have happened? Does this tale share anything in common with that of cannibal Sawney Bean? Everyone from historians to professors get their say, and without question this was one of the most interesting things I’ve watched in a really long time. Excellent stuff! Next up are six more featurettes to pour through, Musical Mayhem: Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (twelve minutes), Sweeney’s London (a look at how London actually was during this time period — seventeen minutes), The Making-of Sweeney Todd (twenty-four minutes), Designs for a Demon Barber (a look at the film’s costumes, set decoration and production designs — nine minutes), A Bloody Buisness (a look at the F/X — nine minutes), and the gem of them all, Grand Guignol: A Theatrical Tradition (twenty minutes).

Sweeney Todd DVD review (click for larger imageWhile a little off-topic, Grand Guignol: A Theatrical Tradition, takes a look at the birth of horror theatre in France and the impact it had on both the Broadway musical and, of course, the film itself. As a huge fan of everything Grand Guignol, seeing its history documented from its birth in 1897 to present day was an absolute dream for me! Riddled with still photos and lots of insight, this is one part of this set you just don’t want to miss. But alas, there are still a few more tasty tidbits to discuss …

Things are finally wrapped up on Disc Two beginning with MovieFone Unscripted with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp interviewing Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Running twelve minutes, it’s easy to see the chemistry these two have with each other. You won’t learn anything that hasn’t already been covered elsewhere on this DVD, but it’s still a good time. From there we have The Razor’s Refrain featurette, which is basically an eight-minute musical montage, a photo gallery, and the movie’s trailer.

In retrospect I don’t think I could have handled a commentary too. Sweeney Todd gets my vote for DVD of the year. The film itself is genius, and this set packs everything you could have hoped for and lays it on thick. Hit the link below and get yourself a copy like yesterday!

“They all deserve to die! Tell you why, Mrs. Lovett, tell you why! Because in all of the whole human race, Mrs. Lovett, there are two kinds of men and only two. There’s the one staying put in his proper place and one with his foot in the other one’s face. Look at me, Mrs. Lovett! Look at you! No, we all deserve to die. Even you, Mrs. Lovett, even I!” — Sweeney

Revenge has never been so ghastly sweet!

Special Features

  • Burton + Depp + Carter = Todd featurette
  • Sweeney Todd press conference
  • Sweeney is Alive: The Real History of The Demon Barber featurette
  • Musical Mayhem: Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd featurette
  • Sweeney’s London featurette
  • Making-of Sweeney Todd featurette
  • Grand Guignol: A Theatrical Tradition featurette
  • Designs for a Demon Barber featurette
  • A Bloody Buisness featurette
  • MovieFone Unscripted with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp
  • The Razor’s Refrain featurette
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer


    5 out of 5

    Special Features:

    5 out of 5

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  • Reviews

    AHS: Cult Review: Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters



    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)


    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.

    User Rating 3 (1 vote)
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    The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror




    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.


    • 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


    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.

    User Rating 5 (2 votes)
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    The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!



    Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey

    Directed by Alan Lougher

    The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.

    When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

    Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”

    • Film


    Ultimately chilling in nature!

    User Rating 3.29 (7 votes)
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