KNB Effects

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

brideofre2

By Nick Durham

Oh Arrow Video, how you spoil me. No more having to watch that crap, out-of-print (and edited) DVD version from Artisan, here we are with a wonderful Blu-ray release of the underappreciated Bride of Re-Animator. Like they did with their Society release, Arrow has gone above and beyond with the treatment they’ve given this film, and this package is quite the sight to behold. This is a film I have held in relatively high regard, even if some of it feels a little cheaper in overall quality compared to the original.

This 1989 sequel to Stuart Gordon’s 1985 classic Re-Animator, Bride of Re-Animator finds Brian Yuzna (who produced the first film, as well as being the director of Society, Return of the Living Dead 3, and tons more) in the director’s chair this time around. The film picks up eight months after the massacre at Miskatonic, with Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) in Peru during a civil war as meatball surgeons. They’re both still testing the limits of West’s reagent serum, and eventually the two of them wind up back at Miskatonic. There’s a cop (Claude Earl Jones) scoping them out for his own personal reasons, a beautiful woman (Fabiana Udenio) that has caught Dan’s eye, and the re-animated head of Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) has returned to wreck havoc. Oh, and the boys are trying to make their own Frankenstein-ish monster from dead body parts, including the heart of Dan’s late fiancé Megan (who was played by the great Barbara Crampton in the original film).

Yeah, things are a little convoluted to say it lightly in terms of the plot and story of Bride of Re-Animator. Some of the character’s motivations, particularly Dan Caine’s, are so all over the place it’s hard to really sympathize with him, especially when he makes puppy dog eyes to any female character with a pulse. Plus, as I had mentioned earlier, some elements of it feel kind of cheap. One thing I will say is that the grotesque gore and makeup effects from the then fledgling KNB Effects group as well as Screaming Mad George and John Carl Buechler are the bloody icing on the cake. Some of the puppet effects have definitely not aged well though, but in all honesty that isn’t too much of a surprise. Those flaws aside, I still find this film to be an underappreciated sequel that sadly doesn’t get enough of the recognition that it deserves.

What also isn’t a surprise is how much love and care that Arrow Video has put into this Blu-ray release. The film has been remastered in 2K for the unrated version, and the R-rated version is here too for shits and giggles. While the unrated version looks great, there is a noticeable degradation in the picture quality during the unrated scenes of the film (which honestly makes it easy to tell what got cut from the film during its original release). There’s a bunch of commentary tracks featuring Yuzna, Combs, Abbot, Kurtzman, and more besides; as well as a retrospective with Yuzna, a few looks at the film’s FX, deleted scenes, and more. This limited edition set from Arrow also features a booklet reprint of the awesome comic book prequel to the first film. Yes, this set is a thing of beauty.

So yeah, it goes without saying that you need to get your hands on this Bride of Re-Animator set from Arrow. It’s a beautiful sight to behold, and it’s more than worth your time and attention. Pick this up while you still can.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

Boogeyman 2: Masters of Horror

By Woofer McWooferson

Boogeymen 2-1

 

Director: Mike Mendez, Dave Parker; Writers: Curtis Bowden, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Gary Shenk; Stars: Dario Argento, Bruce Campbell, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Guillermo del Toro, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, George A. Romero; Rating: U; Run Time: 90 min; Genre: Documentary; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2002

“Their movies gave you nightmares. Now the most diabolical minds in horror are coming together in the ultimate Halloween horror special – Masters of Horror.”

The 2002 documentary Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror is hosted by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.) and features some of the greatest names in horror movies, from Dario Argento to Guillermo del Toro. Divided into three parts, it asks the great questions all horror fans have:

Part 1: Why Do We Like to be Scared?
Part 2: What Scares Us?
Part 3: (Where Do They Get Their Ideas?)

Parts one and two are rather brief and hop from director to director as each answers why we like to be scared and what scares us. As to why we like to be scared, answers range from “why do some people like to ride roller coasters” to “preparation for our own deaths” and all are equally valid since why we like to be scared is as unique as each of us. When it comes to what scares us, however, most of our fears are the same, from death (of self or loved ones) to the dark (or what lies in it), and this is the bread and butter of these directors.

Wes Craven

Wes Craven

Part three, however, is much longer and divided into six sections with each section focusing on one director. These sections and the featured directors are:

The Reality of Horror (Wes Craven)
The Horror of Innocence (Guillermo del Toro)
The Rebel of Horror (John Carpenter)
The Horror of Society (George A. Romero)
Transforming Horror (John Landis & Rick Baker)
The Beauty of Horror (Dario Argento)
Living the Horror (Tobe Hooper)

Highlights of the documentary include:

• Craven discussing the making of The Serpent and the Rainbow and how The Last House on the Left managed an R rating.

• del Toro recounting his introduction to the supernatural while still in his crib, the influence of Universal monster movies on him, and how he established a special effects company in order to create Cronos.

• Carpenter talking about the change in audience sensibilities and the effect it had on the horror industry in the 70s and 80s.

• Romero revealing his fear of being typecast and his eventual return to the dead films.

• Landis and Rick Baker explaining how they created Schlock and why An American Werewolf in London is a watershed film in special effects work.

• Argento discussing his films as works of art where each shot is framed for both beauty and horror.

• Hooper recounting the horrors behind the scenes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, including the effects that the gruelling shot had on the cast and crew.

Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper

Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror also includes commentary from Gunnar Hanson, Tom Savini, and KNB Effects and is full of clips from the movies being discussed as well as movies that exemplify the topics being described.

Is this for everyone? No, but it is damn good fun and a must for horror lovers.

7/10 claws

Posted by Alan Smithee in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
CON REVIEW: Fear Fete (2015)

CON REVIEW: Fear Fete (2015)

By Dixielord

This year was my second year to attend the Fear Fete in Biloxi, Mississippi. I came across the show almost by accident last year, and enjoyed myself enough to come back the second year. Sadly work obligations led me to only being able to attend on Saturday, but it was still a fun weekend.

Wishmaster's Andrew Divoff at Fear Fete

Andrew Divoff at Fear Fete

Fear Fete is a smaller convention, nothing (crowd wise) compared to more nationally known shows such as Monster Mania, or Texas Frightmare, but that doesn't mean it's not a fun show. There is a real atmosphere here of fun. The people running the show seem to work hard to make sure both the fans and celebrity guests are having a good time.

This year the guest list consisted of Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th), Brutus Beefcake (WWE), Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster), Sid Haig (The Devil's Rejects), Robert Kurtzman (special effect on Tusk) and others. I was able to meet both Andrew and Robert for the first time this year and both were really cool and friendly. While I have met Sid Haig before, it is hard to pass the man up when he's at a show. Sid is the poster child of how to be a great convention guest. Still 20 dollars, still free table pictures, that my friends is showing how much you love your fans. If you happen to read this Sid, you are the greatest man, much respect.

Me and Sid Haig at Fear Fete

Film legend Sid Haig at Fear Fete

Besides the celebrities there was a nice gathering of vendors selling everything from Jewely, to DVDs to Funko Pops. I ended up picking up a handful of Pops from the Three Alarm Comics table and wanting a lot more. They had the NYC Comic con exclusive Cthulhu Pop fer crissake!

Also there again this year was the crew from Horse Creek Productions, promoting their movie Dollface. Dollface was part of the Fear Fete film festival last year, as Dorchester's Revenge and where it won best picture. After a name change it is now available on DVD and Amazon VoD, I picked up a DVD copy for myself, autographed by the crew. It was cool to hang out with director Tommy Faircloth, and actress Elizabeth Mears again, and to meet the rest of the cast in attendance.

Just like last year, Fear Fete had a film festival, free for people attending the show. The one movie I was most looking forward to was Valley of the Sasquatch (You know I love Bigfoot movies). Sadly it was a victim to my shitty work schedule that week, but I did get to talk to one of the stars, Jason Vail, who was at the Horsecreek table. I did get to attend the Wishmaster screening and panel with director Robert Kurtzman and Andrew Divoff. It's been a while since I have last seen Wishmaster and had forgotten what an awesome cast of horror icons it contained. Then hearing Andrew Divoff do the voice afterward was priceless.

KNB Effect's Robert Kurtzman at Fear Fete

Robert Kurtzman of KNB Effects and Yours Truly at Fear Fete

There's always too much to do at conventions, and no way to do everything. I really wanted to make a whole weekend at Fear Fete, but it wasn't too be. So I didn't get to go to the zombie pub crawl, or the zombie survival experience and missed a lot of panels and movies. However there is always next year and I think Fear Fete is going to continue to grow. Hopefully, I'll catch you there next year.

Posted by Allen Alberson in EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments