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Young Frankenstein (Blu-ray)

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Young Frankenstein on Blu-ray review (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Liam Dunn, Cloris Leachman

Directed by Mel Brooks

Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment


Now this … this is what a Blu-ray special edition is all about. We’re talking a stellar transfer of the film, a good new sound mix, and enough special features (some new and in high definition) to keep you busy for hours and hours. Does it get any better? No. Not even close.

If you’ve never heard of Mel Brooks’ classic take on the old Frankenstein flicks of yesteryear, Young Frankenstein, then I’ve got nothing for you, man. You should be ashamed of yourself. Simply put, this is required cinema viewing for fans of all genres and of any age. Instead of rehashing the plot, let’s just dive into what you can expect bells and whistles wise.

Let’s start with the film’s transfer. Though the film looks great, the added clarity comes at a price. The advent of high definition has not exactly been kind to it visual effects wise. I speak mainly of the look of Boyle’s monster. Every seam of his make-up is plainly visible, and I can’t ever recall seeing them so blatantly before. You have to keep in mind this movie was never intended to be seen in HD, but wow … it’s kind of startling. I guess some would argue that the now visible below par make-up adds to the film’s charm. Maybe so.

Young Frankenstein on Blu-ray review (click for larger image)Don’t expect the audio to deliver your home theatre system much of a workout either. Other than a few bits of stereophonic movement, your center channel is going to remain the star of this show. Again, this was not a flick made with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 in mind, so things are pretty forgivable. It should also be noted for the purists out there that the original mono track is present as well.

Now let’s talk supplemental goodness! Where to start? How about the Blu-ray exclusives? The first bit, Inside the Lab, can be watched two ways … either as picture-in-picture segments or as a near half-hour long featurette. This is basically your standard making-of that features insight from fans of the film in addition to new interviews with Brooks, Garr, and Leachman. Hell, even the cast from the new musical show up to give their take. Seriously good stuff here! Next up is the It’s Alive: Creating a Monster Classic featurette, which clocks in at over a half-hour long and is comprised of Brooks talking about the genesis of the production and the overall mania it continues to enjoy along with more interviews with others associated with the musical, etc.

Young Frankenstein on Blu-ray review (click for larger image)Transylvania Lullaby: the Music of John Morris is a ten-minute look at the film’s score (there’s also an option to watch the movie with an isolated score feature), a subtitled trivia track called The Franken-Track, and the highly coveted Blucher Button that when pressed lets out a quick horse whinny. Genius! And hey! Remember the deleted scenes from the DVD special edition? They’re all back, but along with them come seventeen(!) new bits of excised hilarity! We’re talking nearly forty-five minutes of outtakes, folks! That’s a pretty impressive haul of exclusives, no?

Once you’re done with all of that, you’ll find that every one of the standard definition extras from the DVD release can be found here as well. These include a truly funny commentary with Brooks; the Making Frankensense of Young Frankenstein forty-one minute behind-the-scenes featurette, which focuses mainly on Wilder; interviews with Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder, and Cloris Leachman; a blooper reel; nine TV spots; five theatrical trailers; and photo galleries. What more could you possibly want?

This release is up there with my picks for the best Blu-rays on the market. It’s fun and exhaustive. If you’re a fan of the film, this is the mother lode, baby! The secret of life eternal! Well, maybe not that but it’s damned close! Get this like yesterday!

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by Mel Brooks
  • Inside the Lab: Secret Formulas in the Making-of Young Frankenstein featurette (Exclusive to Blu-ray)
  • The Franken-Track: A Monstrous Conglomeration of Trivia (Exclusive to Blu-ray)
  • Blucher Button (Exclusive to Blu-ray)
  • It’s Alive: Creating a Monster Classic featurette (Exclusive to Blu-ray)
  • Transylvania Lullaby: the Music of John Morris featurette (Exclusive to Blu-ray)
  • Isolated score (Exclusive to Blu-ray)
  • Outtakes/deleted scenes (Seventeen new deleted scenes exclusive to Blu-ray)
  • Making Frankensense of Young Frankenstein featurette
  • Interviews with Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder, and Cloris Leachman
  • Blooper reel
  • Photo galleries
  • Trailers
  • TV spots

    Film:

    5 out of 5

    Special Features:

    5 out of 5

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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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    IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

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    Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

    On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

    The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

    While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

    What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

    While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

    • Alive in New Light
    5.0

    Summary

    IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

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    The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell

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    Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

    Directed by John Law


    I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

    The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

    The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

    • Film
    3.5

    Summary

    The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

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