Friday the 13th Collection (Deluxe Edition) – Review

Disclaimer: This review is based on the initial set that was shipped out. Scream Factory has released a statement regarding issues with certain movies that fans have noticed: “Unfortunately, there were some unintended mistakes in our process due to human error, for which we accept responsibility, and we extend to you our genuine apologies. We plan to correct those errors by offering replacements for three discs: Friday the 13th Part 3, Jason Goes to Hell (Uncut version) and Jason X.” See the link after the end of the review as to how to order your replacement discs. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Friday the 13th, a film which lead the charge for slasher movies in the 80s and gave birth to a franchise that is influential to this date. The film would create a new antagonist in Jason Voorhees, a hockey mask wielding superhuman who became part of a new generation of monster movie icons alongside Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Leatherface. The Friday the 13th series spawned twelve movies including a remake, a spin off where Jason goes toe to toe with the nightmarish Freddy, a TV series (in name only), documentaries, fan films and all kinds of pop culture references. It’s exactly what Sean S. Cunningham had envisioned when he created the first film. He wanted to create a franchise that would be profitable and live on through the decades. To celebrate this milestone, Scream Factory has come out with the biggest collection of the film series to the consumer. The Friday the 13th Collection (Deluxe Edition) features all twelve films in the franchise spanned across sixteen discs (the 2009 remake and Freddy Vs. Jason are included). Each disc includes the feature film, Audio Commentaries and Bonus Features new and old to give the audience the full experience of watching the Friday the 13th series. The biggest features of this set are the first four entries in the series have a new 4K transfer taken from the original negative with the first Friday the 13th film getting the treatment for both the Theatrical and Uncut Versions, a new 3-D transfer of Friday the 13th Part 3, a new 2K transfer of Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, which includes the Theatrical Version and the Unrated Version, which has been released for the very first time exclusively for the Deluxe Edition and two bonus discs featuring a ton of extras including interviews, location revisits, still photos, EPKs, and trailers (’s own Jim Chandler provided the trailers for the Friday films 1-3 and 6-8 along with the TV Spots for 1 and 2 and the Radio Spots for 1-4). All are housed in a box containing new original artwork and includes a sixty-page booklet chronicling the history of the series. The first thing you’ll notice after opening the packaging that the Deluxe Set comes in is the artwork which covers 3/4th of the box. The amazing artwork done by Scream Factory celebrates the hockey masked murderer in all of his incarnations throughout the series. If you have a favorite version of Jason, he is displayed. The top of the box features the iconic hockey mask and the back is where you can see each movie stored in order and in its own Blu-Ray case. I was amazed how light the Deluxe Set felt when picking it up from the space in the package that it was cradled in. It was durable and made me feel that I indeed had the Holy Grail of Friday the 13th sets that have been released throughout the years in numerous video formats. After taking off the shrink wrap, I tilted the Deluxe Edition box to get each case to slide out. From there I began to watch each film in order along with the extras and write down my impressions at the end so that would help guide me in this review. The highlights of the Deluxe Edition are indeed the new 4K transfers of Friday the 13th Parts 1 through 4. Like many 4K transfers I’ve seen, these versions bring out the film’s natural lighting and colors to the settings and scenes. I was in awe over the vibrant l landscapes and scenery shown throughout each movie. What impressed me the most with the new transfer is during the dark rainy scenes of Part 4: The Final Chapter, you can see the characters along with their expressions. The dark doesn’t consume the entire scene, so you don’t have to worry about trying to make out what is going on in the scene. The transfers of the films also bring out not only the rustic interior shots of the cabins and lodges in each movie, but also the special effects. The blood color is a natural looking red and the tools and weaponry that Jason use gives an authentic look even though they are dummy weapons. Add the 5.1 surround sound mix filled with Harry Manfredini’s score filled with pulsing tension and the noises of every bone crushing, machete swinging and glass shattering will make you clench your teeth in suspense. It’s the best home viewing experience of the series that is available. Unfortunately, I do not have a 3D television so I’m unable to give my impressions on the new 3-D transfer of Part 3. However, reading reviews from other critics and fans, it sounds like the 3-D transfer is sharp and enhanced to give the watcher the experience of being right in the movie. Reviewers mentioning ducking down in their seats when a pole or baseball project onto the glasses and jumping during the infamous eye-popping scene. If you’re lucky to have a 3-D television and glasses (3-D glasses are not included in the Deluxe Edition), then you’re in for a real treat with Part 3. The rest of the films in the series with the exception of Jason Goes To Hell are released in standard 1080p format. Despite not getting the 2K or 4K treatment, each film looks great on screen. You don’t have to worry about the picture looking grainy or smoky. I noticed a few things in my personal favorite, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan that I’ve never seen before in previous viewings.  Each film offers the 5.1 surround sound mix for your audio listening pleasure. Each film includes the Bonus Features that have carried over through previous releases, but there are a few new additions exclusively for this release. Part VI: Jason Lives includes a new audio commentary track with actors C.J. Graham, Thom Matthews, Vincent Guastaferro, Kerry Noonan and Cynthia Kania and Jason X features new interviews with Sean S. Cunningham and his son Noel along with Kane Hodder and Kristi Angus. If you’re a fan of either film, it’s nice to hear a new fresh retrospective on these movies.  As for Jason Goes To Hell, this title was considered the most anticipated release for the set due to the fact that there would be an Unrated Version which has never been released until now in addition to the Theatrical Version. Both versions of the film look solid with the new 2K transfer from the original film negative and include an introduction from director Adam Marcus along with two new commentary tracks from Marcus and author Peter Bracke and the man who played Jason through four films, Kane Hodder. The 2K transfers are solid and I loved the sound mix of the film. The hypnotizing heartbeat blared through my surround speakers giving a sickly thud. The commentary tracks give insight on the approach and direction Marcus took for telling this offbeat story and going more into the demonic spiritual lore of Jason. The biggest disappointment of this title is the Unrated Version itself. I had high expectations thinking that the Unrated Version would add a few new scenes and the rumored alternate ending being presented for the first time. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Three minutes are added to the Unrated Version and they quickly come and go in the blink of an eye. You can tell what scenes have been inserted as they were taken from the original film stock, but they don’t do much to enhance the story or plot. I still enjoy Jason Goes To Hell as I’ve considered it in my list of the Top 25 Guiltiest Pleasure Horror Movies and I’m not going to let the underwhelming Unrated Version deteriorate my viewing experience for future screenings. The final two discs of the collection contain a whole bunch of extras including interviews, location returns and other miscellaneous content. I think Scream Factory overdid it on the interviews because there are several featuring Sean S. Cunningham and two featuring Tom McLoughlin, director of Part VI. It gets tedious to hear Cunningham repeatedly talk about the same concepts through several different interviews. One of the Location Featurettes was done by a team that runs the Crystal Lake Tours for fans. The presentation was poor with the public access looking credits and the monotonal voiceover of one of the narrators not to mention there’s not a frame by frame shot of a before and after picture of what is being shown. They could’ve shot a road from anywhere in the country and claim that it is the road where Annie is dropped off in the first Friday the 13th film. Luckily, there’s another Location Features that is vastly improved with a near perfect frame by frame look and no annoying voiceovers. My favorite content on the Special Features discs was Alice Cooper’s music video for the song “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask) from Part VI along with an interview with Cooper about writing the song and creating the music video. It never occurred to me until the end of the interview that his video was the first music video for a horror film. Great trivia to share with your friends. The Special Features discs includes Q&A panels from conventions, still galleries and electronic press kits from the 2009 remake and a flip through of the Friday the 13Th card set which will make you start looking on Amazon or eBay to pick up a deck of your own. I do wish they included the numerous documentaries including Crystal Lake Memories, His Name Was Jason and The Return To Camp Crystal Lake, which were omitted in this collection. Once again, Scream Factory has released an incredible box set of one of the best horror franchises in film history. The Friday the 13th Collection (Deluxe Edition) is the definitive box set with each movie presented in the highest resolution and sound available. With twelve movies and a treasure trove of extra features and content, Friday the 13th will consume your horror movie viewing this Halloween season, or you can hold off watching them until the real Friday the 13th, which is one month away in November.     Pros Beautiful 4K transfers of the first four movies along with a stunning 2K transfer of Jason Goes To Hell. High quality sound. Loads of Bonus Features from previous releases and exclusive to this set. Cons Unrated Version of Jason Goes To Hell underwhelms expectations. Some Bonus Features are repetitive. Previously released documentaries not included in collection. If you would like to sign up to receive the three corrected discs at no cost to you, please go and follow the instructions on the form. Replacement disc fulfillment will be handled by a third party. If you have any questions about the status of your replacement disc shipment once you have completed the form, please email: Shout! Factory customer service will not have any info on the status of your replacement disc order.

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Motel Hell – Limited Edition Steelbook Review

Scream Factory is gearing up for some huge releases this month. In addition to the hotly anticipated Friday the 13th Deluxe Edition, they are brining back some of their previously released titles in limited edition steelbooks. The steelbook editions contain upgraded audio and video along with new artwork exclusively for the particular title. One of the titles being released this Tuesday, October 13th is the sleazy horror comedy sensation Motel Hell. Scream Factory originally released Motel Hell in Blu-Ray format in 2014. Fans were critical of the transfer of the film and felt it was not up to par with the Scream Factory library. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Motel Hell’s release so what better way for the company to redeem themselves by giving Motel Hell the best home release treatment it deserves. If you’ve never seen Motel Hell before, I’ll give a brief synopsis. The film stars Rory Calhoun as Vincent Smith, a farmer who specializes in his own smoked meat products, but also runs the Motel Hello. With the help of his sister Ida (Nancy Parsons), Vincent sets traps up on the road for travelers to get into accidents and then kidnaps them and buries them alive as they are the secret ingredient for his meat products. One of the travelers, a young girl by the name of Terry (Nina Axelrod) survives her accident and spends time with Vincent and his family including younger brother Bruce (Paul Linke) who is the town sheriff. She becomes smitten with Vincent and agrees to marry him while Vincent hopes she can be trusted enough to pass on his secret recipe. The film was known as an homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with its crude humor, brutal violence and a climax that ranks up in the best moments in horror history. This version of Motel Hell includes a 4K transfer from the original negative along with a newly restored stereo audio track. It features all the Bonus Features from the original Blu-Ray release including the Audio Commentary track with director Kevin Connor, moderated by Dave Parker and several featurettes regarding the making of the film and one on one interviews with several of the cast members. Newly added to this release is the Official Teaser Trailer and TV Spots. The fist thing you’ll notice right away is the new slick original artwork done exclusively for this release. I love the use of the yellowish/green color of the light hovering above Farmer Vincent in his pighead mask holding the chainsaw with a portrayal of things blowing in the wind from the chainsaw while Terry is screaming as she is strapped down helplessly. The steelbook is firm and doesn’t feel heavy. It’s another testament to Scream Factory for putting time, money and effort into making the best home releases possible for the fans.  There’s  28.5” X 16.5” rolled lithograph of the cover that is included with the order and still available at the time of this publication, so if you like this review make sure you order your copy as soon as possible before you have to reach down to the bogs of the internet and pay a hefty price just to get a poster. The presentation of the film and the 4K transfer is a vast improvement from Scream Factory’s initial Blu- Ray release. There is a great balance of light and dark in the appropriate scenes in the movie. You never have to worry about not missing any detail in the night shots. The skin tone of the characters is natural along with the outdoor scenery. The neon sign of the hotel along with the opening credits are heightened by the colors that were used to give it a retro look. You can still see the grain in the film, but it didn’t bother me and kept that gritty look of the original release considering its dark humor and tone. When I reached the hypnotism scene in the movie, I was concerned that the white light and swirling colors would be too bright that it could blind me, but I was able to get through it without my eyes hurting. While this version of Motel Hell includes a newly restored audio track, it is only in 2.0 stereo. There is no 5.1 surround mix which is disappointing considering most of the Scream Factory releases have this remastered audio available. Nevertheless, you can still hear the sickening groans and gurgles coming from the victims who can’t speak since their vocal chords are taken out and the rusty clash of metal coming from the epic chainsaw fight that dominates the climax of the movie. It doesn’t have the range or the surround to enhance the home theater experience. As mentioned previously the Bonus Features of this steelbook edition include everything that was in the original Blu-Ray release of Motel Hell with the addition of the TV Spots and Teaser Trailer. The interviews run under a half hour in length but provide some great insight into the making of the movie including some battles with United Artist whom distributed the film to theaters. There’s even a nice retrospective on women in horror with Nancy Parsons’ portrayal as the portly eavesdropping sidekick sister Ida taking the lead. It’s nice to see Parsons get this lovely tribute considering she is indeed a great actress who could play diverse rolls in any film genre. Of course, nothing will top her performance as Ms. Ballbricker in the raunchy comedy classic Porky’s, but that’s for another day. Overall the Motel Hell Limited Steelbook Edition is a good pickup if you’re a fan of the film or if you want to upgrade from the Blu-Ray edition. It’s priced at $28 which is around the average price for most of Scream/Shout Factory’s titles. I’m a little surprised that Scream Factory didn’t present this as a 40th Anniversary Edition like some of their upcoming box sets. Motel Hell is a great underground horror release and hopefully this edition does good enough in sales to keep its head above ground before it becomes another film fritter. Pros Great original artwork and durable steelbook. 4K Transfer of film an improvement over initial Blu-Ray release. All extras from previous release are included in this version    Cons No 5.1 surround sound mix Overall 7.8

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Meet the Queen of Screams – Malvolia: Interview with Jennifer Nangle

When we think about horror hosts throughout history certain names would come to mind. You have Rod Sterling the creator of The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Joe Bob Briggs, America’s favorite Drive-In critic and of course the Crypt Keeper from Tales From the Crypt. All of them have distinct personalities and gave viewers a trembling anticipation as to what they could expect from tonight’s tale or frightening feature. There is one horror host that you should take notice as she has become one of the rising stars in the world of the macabre and morbid. Jennifer Nangle has unleashed the scary and seductive Malvolia to the online world. In her YouTube show, the Queen of Screams presents short films created by independent and ambitious filmmakers that cater to every taste in the horror genre. The series became an instant success spawning multiple seasons and several specials. This month, Malvolia will be returning for not only another Halloween special, but premiering a fourth season to fans’ delights. I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Nangle as she was finishing wrapping on the next Halloween special. We talked about the origins of Malvolia, her influences growing up and what content fans can expect from the new season. Adam Cook: Where did the inspiration for Malvolia come from?Jennifer Nangle: Originally, I had written a treatment for a horror franchise I wanted to be apart of. The director hated it, but one of the producers encouraged me to move forward with the idea. Not being under the film franchise’s restrictions, I knew I wanted to focus on something that no one was talking about. A couple months later I went to Son of Monsterpalooza where they were celebrating Elvira and I thought, “Yes! Horror Hostess! No one is talking about that!” Well, I stand corrected now since there are a bunch of hosts all over the nation still doing it, but at the time I thought I was really going to make a statement! I knew I wanted the complete opposite of Elvira – I wanted dark and evil. I did research and really learned about Vampira and where her inspiration came from: Morticia Addams. Dark humor and evil. I researched “Vampire names” and fell in love with the Italian name “Malvolia” meaning “ill-will”. The dress was a lucky find on AC: How would you describe Malvolia’s personality?JN:  Mean. Evil. Cunning. Strong. Playful. Powerful. AC: How did you come up with the concept of an Internet show where you host short horror films?JN: When writing the feature film, I was going through a “Blair Witch” phase and loved how they did their marketing. Was it real? Was it not real? Were they really dead? So, I thought if I made her seem “real” that could give the feature more of an impact and also, I could have a fan base already established for distribution. So, I set off to make a six-episode web series. However, once I launched the iconic picture on January 1, 2017 – I knew there was no turning back. People LOVED her! The strength, the power, the mysticism. There was no way to let her go. She was going to stay. I also knew I wanted to give back to indie horror and, as a filmmaker myself, I knew that shorts pretty much have no place to go after the festival circuit, so I thought, “I could host horror shorts and get more eyes on filmmaker’s work!” AC: Who were your favorite horror hosts growing up?JN:  I wasn’t really allowed to watch Elvira growing up – a little too scandalous. But I did delve into episodes of “The Crypt Keeper” (Tales From The Crypt) before going to sleep. AC: How does Malvolia separate herself from current and previous horror hosts?JN: I believe I am different because I host horror short films by indie filmmakers and that I also do little shorts acting wise that involved victims and drinking blood. Malvolia is evil and mean. Dark humor. But I don’t really research other hosts, so I’m not 100% sure if anyone else does that. AC: You’ve just finished wrapping on the fourth season of Malvolia. What can fans expect from the upcoming season?JN: I haven’t wrapped. It’s an ongoing process to say the least. I pretty much work off of “no budget” so I have to film as we go. Though, I will say, 2020 has REALLY taught me so much about myself and the artist I am. I was sitting one night thinking, “I am a trained actor and I work really, really hard… Why does no one cast me?” This has been an on-going dilemma since I was young participating in community theater. The same faces were cast day after day, and I was never given a real change to be creative and make a character come to life. I’ve always given chances to myself – so why would this year, of all years, be any different? So, I decided the Malvolia Holidays Specials were going to be FIERCE. I am REALLY pushing limits this season and finding ways to really showcase mine and my friend’s talents. Safety nets are gone. I’m ready to make some statements. AC: You’ve also wrapped a new Halloween special. How is this special going to be different from previous specials from past seasons? JN: 2020 has been a huge eye opener for me. I’ve been given the opportunity to see who is REAL and who is FAKE. Both personal and working relationships showed their true colors. I’ve taken a lot of the pain and realization and put it into this special. It’s really personal in an artistic way. AC: Has the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on production of the show?JN: Yes and No. The greatest part is that I film mostly by myself, so that is easy. However, writing the Halloween Special, I had to think, how can I make this work? How many actors can I have on set at one time? How can we keep it safe and act? So, I wrote a lot of one on one scenes for the story. That’s the approach I am taking for the other shorts and specials we are filming. If we didn’t have the pandemic, I would have had a bigger cast with bigger/gorier scenes this year for the Halloween Special. + AC: What has been your favorite short horror film shown on Malvolia?JN: There have been so many! People have really blown my mind on how creative and the stories they tell! So much talent out there! I’d have to say one of my favorites was “Humbug”. I thought it was brilliantly done with a great holiday twist! I also loved “Deep Sleeper” by filmmaker Ty Huffer for my “Morbid Moments with Malvolia” on Morbidly Beautiful’ s YouTube Channel. His work is incredible! AC: What has Malvolia meant to you since day one of production?JN:  Originally, it was a way to get my name out there in a unique way in the horror genre. However, now it has become a therapeutic way through art. I’ve always been able to connect with people, so a lot of my audience relates to what I showcase. But let me tell you, being able to “kill victims” lets out a LOT of aggression! AC: Does Malvolia’s personality appear in your day to day life?JN:  No. I’d probably be arrested! Though thoughts come through my mind time to time (Laughs). AC: What is your take on the state of horror movies/television/online content today?JN:  I am SO glad we are moving out of the “remakes” phase. Every time you turned around there was something being remade or redone – no thanks! I love originality! New stories! Let’s create a new slasher killer! For a while, a lot of things weren’t keeping my attention, but Hulu and Shudder have become my new BFFs and I have been really delving in their original content and old school horror. AC: In addition to Malvolia, do you have any other projects that fans should keep an eye out for?JN: Irrational Fear is out right now on Amazon Prime along with Paranormal Attraction. I filmed a feature in quarantine that I’m not allowed to talk about just yet… There are a lot of projects like that that I filmed right before or during quarantine that I can’t talk about and not sure when they will be completed. I’m always shooting with Dustin Ferguson for Socal Cinema Studios and I just returned from Mississippi from shooting a “Gothic Horrors” segment with WGUD and The After Hours Cinema crew. I’m open to any other projects that come my way, but of course, finishing up Malvolia is my main focus. AC: When will the Halloween Special and Season 4 of Malvolia air? Where can they watch the show?JN: The season is releasing on October 13, 2020 on my YouTube channel: Halloween Special will be released on October 29, 2020. AC: Do you have any social media profiles where fans can connect with you? JN:

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Review – Psycho 60th Anniversary Edition (Blu-Ray)

We’re all wanting 2020 to end quickly for obvious reasons, but it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate milestones. Sixty years ago, on September 8th, Alfred Hitchcock released what is considered not only his greatest film, but one of the best films ever made in cinema. Psycho was an intense suspenseful thriller loaded with great performances, heavy symbolism, and shocking twists. The film would give birth to the slasher genre in horror. Not only that, but the film spawned three sequels, a remake and a spin off television series. Psycho continues to be cited by many film critics and historians as an absolute masterpiece. To celebrate its sixty-year milestone, Universal has released Psycho in an all new “60th Anniversary Edition” in various home formats including 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray. For this review, I’ll be going through the Blu-Ray edition since I don’t own a 4K Television.  The Blu-Ray edition features the original cut in 1080p as well as a never before released “Uncut” edition as Hitchcock originally intended to present. In addition, there are loads of Bonus Features including The Making of Psycho documentary, In the Master’s Shadow: Hitchcock’s Legacy, Hitchcock/Truffaut (Francois) Interview Excepts, Newsreel Footage: The Release of Psycho, The Shower Scene: With and Without Music and The Shower Sequence: Storyboards by Saul Bass Feature Commentary with Hitchcock author Stephen Rebello. Let us start with the Original Version of Psycho. The 1080p transition looks great on any HD television. The camera movements are slick and smooth. There is a great balance of lighting even though the film is in black and white. The lighting reflects the mood of the scene that is playing out on screen. It works great with the night scenes especially the scene with Anthony Perkins when he looks around in his parlor before removing the picture with the peep hole to the first cabin in the motel. The darkness that shades his shifting eyes gave me that tense creepy feeling I remember having when I first watch the movie in my college’s Film Studies course. Bernard Hermmann’s score which heightens the emotion of the storyline is remastered thanks to the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 which if you have a surround sound will engulf your ears as the strings send shivers down your spine. The Original Version of Psycho has never been presented in the best format possible and Universal put in a lot of effort to give this classic the treatment it deserves for the complete home movie experience. As for the new Uncut Version of Psycho, I watched it thoroughly attempting to spot the differences between this and the Original Version. Without going into spoilers, all I will say is that the Uncut Version does not add to the story or the plot. Rather, there are three scenes that are extended for this version. These extended scenes were trimmed down by Hitchcock at the behest of the MPAA. Unless you’re great at spotting attention to detail you’re going to watch right through the scenes and ask yourself, “What’s the difference between this and the Original Version?” If you were expecting to see a new inserted scene into Psycho, you’ll be disappointed. The Uncut Version is presented in the same remastering format as the Original Cut including those extended scenes. As mentioned above, the Psycho 60th Anniversary Edition features a ton of Bonus Content to help expand your cranium on the movie including the behind the scenes, the initial reaction when it was released in 1960 and its cultural impact. The Making of Psycho documentary is the same one that was aired in 1997, so if you have never seen it prior to now, you’re in for a real treat. The documentary features interviews with numerous members of the cast and crew including Janet Leigh and Patricia Hitchcock. This documentary is presented in chronological order from the initial conception to pre-production to shooting, editing, release and final reaction. The second documentary in the Bonus Features looks at all of Hitchcock’s movies and his impact on modern day movie making. In The Master’s Shadow: Hitchcock’s Legacy includes clips from all his films with commentary from some of the best filmmakers in the business including John Carpenter, Martin Scorsese, Guillermo Del Toro and William Fredkin, just to name a few. When watching this documentary, you will see how Hitchcock’s camerawork, his approach to storytelling and everything else in between has inspired these filmmakers. Other notable Bonus Features are the Newsreel Footage of the release of Psycho along with the marketing campaign and includes a promotion narration from Hitchcock explaining why he’s informing the public to watch the film from start to end and not to give away the ending. Hitchcock knew his audience and his message was taken like a church sermon. The iconic shower scene can be watched with or without sound if you so desire and the storyboards of the film are neat to watch especially for all you inspiring filmmakers out there who want to get a look at how storyboards are made and presented. Overall, the Psycho 60th Anniversary Edition is a love of legacy. This movie is a generational movie that will continue to live on until the end of time. This is the best home release of Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic classic that you will find.  If you’re lucky to have a 4K television then you should get the 4K Version, but if you don’t, the Blu-Ray version is well worth the money. There is so much content with two version of the films and the Bonus Content that you’ll feel like you’re ready to earn your PhD in Psycho History. Good Great resolution of the film including a remastered soundtrack Loads of Bonus Features to make you a Psycho film scholar Bad Uncut Version does not add anything new or groundbreaking to the Original.

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Review – Immortal (2019)

Anthology movies have always been associated with the horror genre. Instead of a film focusing on a single story, anthology movies have anywhere from three to five different stories that focus on allegory and metaphorical themes. When you think of horror anthology movies, the titles that pop into your head include Creepshow, Trilogy of Terror, Trick R’ Treat, etc. Each of those films have monsters that represent a theme in the story they are in. What if there was an anthology movie that had various stories that dealt with one concept? Writer/Director John Dabach along with collaborators Tom Colley, Danny Issacs and Rob Margolies have made a new film that deals with the inevitable outcome for human begins, which is death along with the unanswered question of is there life after death. Immortal features four stories that focus on specific individuals who find themselves in realistic scenarios that result in their deaths only to be mysteriously brought back to life and ending in a surprise twist. Dabach wrote all four stories and directed one of them while Coley, Issacs and Margolies were each assigned a story to give their visual interpretation that flowed with the concept of the film. Each story shows how fragile we as humans are and how our temptations and actions have a consequential effect. The titles of each story are based on the main character or characters that its centered on.  The first story titled “Chelsea,” stars Lindsay Mushett as a high school track star who finds herself in a predicament involving her coach. This catches the attention of her literature teacher, Mr. Shagis played by veteran actor Dylan Baker. Shagis sits with Chelsea after class to lend a sympathetic ear to what is going on and offers to help her resolve her issue. As Chelsea walks to the car after school, she is shot in the neck by a tranquilizer dart and collapses only to wake up in the woods with Shagis appearing in front of her wearing camouflage and carrying hunting equipment as he seems to take a liking to her for his own amusement. Rob Margolies directed this story which features great performances from its two leads with Mushett being the cautious girl whom warms up to her teacher as someone she can trust while Baker plays a likeable character on the outside, but there’s something about him you can’t quite put your finger on until you see what happens next. I felt that the story needed to be fleshed out more. The impression that I got was Baker’s character was trying to teach Chelsea a lesson on how to be strong and surviving in the real world. The story ends on a humorous cliffhanger. The next story in Immortal deals with “Gary and Vanessa.” Gary (Brett Edwards) is not only dealing with a potential bankruptcy, but he is going to be a father as his wife Vanessa (Agnes Bruckner) is nearly due with their son. Gary comes up with a scheme to make sure Vanessa and the baby will be financially secure. Of course, the scheme does not go as planned. Danny Issacs takes the helm of this story which features a strong performance from Bruckner as the concerned wife and features a guest appearance from well known actor/writer/director Mario Van Peebles as a cable guy. While the story starts out sappy it quickly turns a one eighty which has horrific consequences at the end due to the greedy nature of the characters that you could see it as an act of karma. Isaacs delivers without a doubt the most gruesome story in this film. The third story, which is the heart and soul of the film involves “Ted and Mary.” A TV crew interviews Ted (Tony Todd) and Mary (Robin Bartlett). Mary is dealing with terminal cancer and only has hours to live. Ted and Mary talk about their life together and how has Ted prepared for the inevitable. After the interview, Ted plans on ending Mary’s suffering by assisting her in a slow suicide. This story is the centerpiece of the film and is filled with emotionally driven performances from the legendary Tony Todd and Robin Bartlett that are deemed Oscar worthy. Obviously, horror fans know Todd as the iconic Candyman, but he has played a diverse range of characters throughout his career and this is his finest performance to date. You shed a tear for him and his wife as you see the life drained out of both and how will they cope with being apart. All the credit goes to Tom Colley for creating a focused piece that has the most unexpected twist at the end which made me shed a few tears. The finale of Immortal titled “Warren” is perhaps the most horror themed story in the film. Warren (Sam Levine) dies due to a hit and run accident only to emerge moments later as being alive despite breaking his necks along with a few other bones. After cutting his finger with a knife only for the would quickly heal, he does one final test to determine if he is indeed everlasting. After passing the test, he seeks revenge on the woman that ran him over. John Dabach directs this story as it is indeed very dark in nature as Levine essentially takes the matter into his own hands rather than contacting the authorities. Like a predator stalking his prey, he learns as much as he can about the woman that hit him before he strikes. The payoff in the end is indeed an eye for an eye moment which may leave viewers questioning Warren’s motives whether justified or not. Overall, Immortal is a different take on the horror anthology concept. There is no host to give an introduction or wraparound segments as the film goes straight into the first story and then they next story after that with no room for a breather. There is little in terms of blood and gore. There’s no over the top monsters, instead the monsters are inside the characters which shows how evil natured we as humans can be when we’re willing to do what is necessary to achieve our own goals. The acting and the directing for me were the key moments of the film. Except for the final story, I found myself taken aback from the twist endings as I did not expect those to happen. Immortal is a nice breath of fresh air to all the other macabre anthology horror flicks and is worth a viewing especially if you enjoy films that deal with real world situations.

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