By Nick Durham

The fact that Scream Factory is giving Carrie the Blu-ray treatment seems like a match made in heaven. Given the fact that the film has seen many varying releases over the years on DVD and Blu-ray, it doesn’t seem like there could really be anything new added overall to make it worth picking up, but low and behold, Scream Factory has crafted a well put-together Blu-ray release. Granted there isn’t that much here you probably haven’t seen before, but it’s still a more than worthwhile pickup, and the film itself is still a classic.


If for some reason you’ve been living under a rock for the past 30 or 40 years (or if you’re 8 years old, in which case get the fuck off this site), Carrie is Brian De Palma’s (Scarface, Dressed to Kill) adaptation of Stephen King’s smash hit novel. Sissy Spacek stars as the title character: a habitually picked on teenage girl with a domineering, overly religious mother (Piper Laurie). Carrie suffers humiliating abuse at school from a bevy of assholes (including Nancy Allen, John Travolta, and PJ Soles). Unbeknownst to them though, Carrie has telekinetic abilities that are beginning to manifest themselves, culminating in an infamous prom scene in which the shit literally hits the fan. Forty years after its original release, Carrie remains an iconic film in both the horror genre, and Brian De Palma’s filmography. Granted I’ve never really thought of it as the massive kind of classic that many consider it to be, but despite that, the film still manages to be an absolute blast and one of the best adaptations of Stephen King’s work, at least to me anyway.


Scream Factory has done a pretty good job here in terms of video and audio quality. The film definitely looks better than the MGM Blu-ray that came out a few years back, and the film’s audio is outstanding. Every sound and note from Pino Donaggio’s music score sounds brilliant and chilling. This is without a doubt the best the film has ever looked and sounded. In terms of special features, this set includes two discs. The first disc includes the film itself, along with the film’s trailer, and a franchise trailer as well that features that best-forgotten sequel from the late 90s, The Rage: Carrie 2. The second disc is where the meat and potatoes of the special features are found, which include a shitload of interviews with various crew members, the film’s screenwriter, Pino Donaggio, and there’s also new interviews with Nancy Allen, Piper Laurie, PJ Soles, and William Katt. There’s a look at the film’s shooting locations, an archival piece on the infamous musical based on Carrie that hysterically bombed big time, and a handful of TV spots, radio spots, and still galleries as well. Sadly there’s no contributions from Brian De Palma or Sissy Spacek, which is a damn shame. I would have loved a commentary track from De Palma, but I guess that’s just wishful thinking.


All in all, if you’ve missed out on any of the previous home media releases of Carrie thus far, Scream Factory’s set is definitely worth picking up. Hell, even if you do own the film already on DVD or Blu-ray, this is still worth picking up just because of this edition’s video and audio quality. It’s still one of the better adaptations of Stephen King’s work, and if for some reason you’ve never seen the film before, you should probably rectify that pretty soon.


Rating: 4/5



By Nick Durham

I often cite films like John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s The Fly as films that are probably the best remakes ever made. Philip Kaufman’s 1978 take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers is in that conversation as well, and with good reason: it’s absolutely brilliant. It takes the 1956 original with all its subtext on Communism and replaces it with a late 70s setting in San Francisco where a handful of people begin to realize that everyone around them are being duplicated and replaced with emotionless doppelgangers. Scream Factory has given the film a wonderful Blu-ray treatment, and saying it’s a must have is saying it lightly.


Invasion of the Body Snatchers mainly focuses on a public health inspector named Matthew (Donald Sutherland) who, along with his pretty coworker Elizabeth (Brooke Adams), begins to suspect that some pretty weird shit is happening. Elizabeth’s boyfriend (Art Hindle) begins to become an emotionless shell, while other people Matthew comes across claim that their friends and loved ones aren’t quite themselves anymore. Soon enough Matthew and Elizabeth, along with a couple friends (Jeff Goldblum and Veronica Cartwright) come to figure out that things are indeed changing, and it’s only a matter of time before the whole damn world is affected.


Director Philip Kaufman manages to craft an atmosphere of paranoia that isn’t only akin to the original, but manages to surpass it. Combine that with the great (for their time) effects work and the wonderful acting from Sutherland as well as Leonard Nimoy (as a friend of Matthew’s that happens to be a celebrity analyst and author) and you get one of the absolute best remakes ever put to celluloid. It manages to update enough aspects from the original classic that the film manages to stand on its own, and even manages to outshine the original in terms of overall creepiness and shock value.


Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is pretty damn lovely. There’s a commentary track from director Philip Kaufman, as well as a commentary track from author/film historian Steve Haberman. There’s a ton of interviews that feature Brooke Adams, Art Hindle, screenwriter W.D. Richter, and the film’s composer Denny Zeitlin. There’s a handful of retrospectives on the film’s development, legacy, effects work, and sound design (the sounds in this movie from the pod people are still creepier than shit to this very day); as well as the usual assortment of trailers, TV spots, and even radio spots. There’s an episode of Science Fiction Theater here for shits and giggles, and a photo gallery as well. All things said, this is a great release for a truly great film.


All in all, the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a classic of the sci-fi/horror genre, and deserves your time and attention. It’s one of the few (damn few) remakes that outshines the original, and still manages to hold up today as being a nightmarish and paranoid adventure. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release is just plain awesome, and you should definitely pick it up.


Rating: 5/5



By Nick Durham

When I first heard the news that Scream Factory would be giving John Carpenter’s The Thing their special blend of Blu-ray treatment, I won’t lie, I jizzed in my pants. Repeatedly. That may be too much information for most of you, but it’s true. In my opinion, The Thing is probably the best horror film of the 1980s bar none. Everything about it from its acting, to its landmark practical effects, to its ultra nihilistic tone, all help to make this not only the best mainstream horror film of the 80s, but possibly Carpenter’s best work as well. Scream Factory has gone all out giving it a lush and wonderful treatment, so much so that it makes any previous Blu-ray or DVD release of the film pretty much irrelevant.


I won’t say much about the plot of The Thing because we all know it by heart at this point: an arctic research team comes across an alien being that was buried under the ice. It can assimilate and imitate those it preys upon, creating an atmosphere of paranoia. As the body count rises, the crew (which includes Kurt Russell, Keith David, and Wilford Brimley) becomes distrusting of each other, culminating in the realization that if they don’t stop it here, the alien will assimilate and destroy the whole planet. The effects work from Rob Bottin is so legendary and masterful that the film remains a masterpiece of practical effects work, and still looks goddamn brilliant to this day almost 35 years later.


Scream Factory’s Blu-ray set of The Thing is a masterpiece to say it lightly. This may be the best audio and video transfer (in 2K) that Scream Factory has ever done without a doubt. The film has never looked and sounded as good as it does with this release, and it’s really a thing of beauty.¬† In terms of special features, here comes that jizzing in the pants part I mentioned in the beginning. There’s two discs here, with the first disc featuring the film and an older commentary track featuring Carpenter and Kurt Russell. There’s a brand new commentary track featuring the film’s cinematographer Dean Cundey, along with a handful of trailers and TV spots, plus a still gallery. The second disc of the set features the old John Carpenter’s The Thing: Terror Takes Shape documentary, which is one of the best documentary features ever produced for a home video release. In addition to that, there’s a handful of new interviews that feature Carpenter, composer Alan Howarth, and many more involved with the film. There’s a bunch vintage featurettes, as well as the TV broadcast version of the film. In addition to that, there’s outtakes, a look at the film’s shooting locations, and interview with storyboard (and comic book) artist Mike Ploog. There’s even more features included as well, making this an extremely jam-packed Blu-ray release.


If you’ve never seen The Thing before, you’ve been doing yourself a disservice. The film has aged beautifully, and remains the best mainstream horror film of the 80s, and in my opinion the best film of John Carpenter’s career. Hell, this is probably the best remake ever made period (with David Cronenberg’s The Fly a close second). Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release is an absolute must own for fans of the film, even if you already have it on Blu-ray or DVD. Stop reading this and pick this fucker up right now.


Rating: 5/5



By Nick Durham

I’ve talked about my love for Tales from the Crypt and the first feature film to carry the banner, Demon Knight, at length before not too long ago, so here we go with the follow-up, Bordello of Blood. While Demon Knight is a bona-fide blast, Bordello of Blood is just…well, kind of shitty. Watching it again now for the first time in years re-affirms this notion, even though it does have its share of enjoyable moments. Those moments though are sadly few and far between, as the film as a whole feels like an uneven mess. Despite that though, Scream Factory has given the film the Blu-ray treatment, and that in itself isn’t bad.


Bordello of Blood revolves around a douche bag private eye named Rafe (Dennis Miller) who has been hired by the uptight Katherine (Erika Eleniak) to find her missing brother Caleb (Corey Feldman). Caleb was last seen at what is believed to be a local brothel, which is run by the recently resurrected vampire queen bitch Lilith (Angie Everhart). Lilith is in cahoots with Katherine’s televangelist boss Revered Current (Chris Sarandon), and it’s up to Rafe to save the day. Naturally, nothing goes particularly well for anyone here, especially the viewer.


There’s a healthy amount of gore effects throughout the film, all of which are really well done, but other than the gore and boobs, there isn’t a whole lot else here to enjoy sadly. The biggest problem with Bordello of Blood is having Dennis Miller as the lead. I’ve never cared much for Miller over the years, but he is so damn out of place here it isn’t even funny. Angie Everhart is godawful and goes between sounding like she’s reading off cue cards to overacting so hard it comes off as being not quite campy (as was probably intended) and just being downright terrible. She looks amazing though, so there’s that. Corey Feldman and Chris Sarandon are the best parts about the film bar none, with each actor clearly having a blast in their respective roles.


Like with the Demon Knight Blu-ray release, Scream Factory packed a decent amount of features here for Bordello of Blood‘s Blu-ray debut. There’s a commentary by producer and co-writer A.L. Katz, along with a lengthy making of featurette that includes interviews with Feldman, Eleniak, and Everhart; as well as the effects creator and more as well. There’s a still gallery and trailer as well, rounding out the package. The film’s transfer is alright, not the best from Scream Factory, but probably the best the film has looked thus far.


All in all, I’ve never enjoyed Bordello of Blood too much since it came out in 1996, and that hasn’t changed either upon viewing it again. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release isn’t bad though, so at least there’s that. If for some reason you enjoy this film for what it is, this may be worth picking up. For the rest of us that never got much enjoyment from it, there isn’t much here to recommend.


Rating: 2/5



By Nick Durham

Believe it or not, I’m not a huge Hannibal Lecter fan. Don’t get me wrong, Silence of the Lambs is a classic and the character himself is a horror icon, but Hannibal himself just doesn’t give me the same kind of wood that he does to a lot of other people. That being said, I’ve always fucking loved Manhunter. The first cinematic appearance of Hannibal Lecter (spelled here as Hannibal Lecktor) and directed by the great Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider), Manhunter plays more like a crime drama/thriller than straight up horror or psychological terror, but it’s so damn good that it hardly matters. Thanks to Scream Factory, the film has finally received the Blu-ray treatment that it’s always deserved.


Adapted from Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, Manhunter finds FBI investigator Will Graham (William Petersen) still recovering mentally from his encounter with Hannibal (Brian Cox). There’s a new serial killer on the prowl however, in the form of Francis Dollarhyde (Tom Noonan), and Graham is tasked with tracking him down and figuring out when he’ll strike next. There’s more to the story than that though, and those unfamiliar with this film may be disappointed to learn that Hannibal is hardly in the film at all (nor is he referred to as a cannibal, as Graham explains in a bit of throwaway dialogue that Hannibal was murdering college students), and just about all the focus of the film is on Graham dealing with his psychological scars while also focusing on the psychosis and behavior of the killer. There isn’t much here in terms of on-screen graphic violence and nastiness, but the film is a suspenseful and super taut masterpiece of cat and mouse/crime cinema.


Scream Factory has given Manhunter quite a treatment here, with the film receiving a bit of an upgrade in terms of picture and sound. Included here are both the theatrical version of the film as well as the slightly longer director’s cut, which features a commentary from Michael Mann. There’s a lengthy making of documentary, and interviews with actors William Petersen, Tom Noonan, and Joan Allen, as well as cinematographer Dante Spinotti. There’s a very lengthy interview with Brian Cox as well, trailers, still galleries, and older features ported over from the old Anchor Bay release from years back. There’s a lot to admire here for sure, and Scream Factory did pretty damn good with this set.


Now I know I’m practically cumming all over the place praising Manhunter and its Blu-ray release, but I will say again that if you’re a diehard Hannibal Lectar fan, there’s a good chance you won’t dig Manhunter so much. That being said, it’s a wonderful mix of horror and crime with film noir-ish elements that has remained one of my favorite films over the years. Scream Factory hit the ball out of the park here, and it’s wholeheartedly recommended that you pick this up.


Rating: 5/5





By Nick Durham

Werewolf movies usually end up being shitty. Other than An American Werewolf in London and The Howling, there really haven’t been many werewolf flicks in the past few decades that are really worth mentioning. Bad Moon, originally released in 1996, appears to be one such kind of werewolf film, but it’s actually pretty damn underrated. Actually, Bad Moon has always been pretty damn underrated since it first came out. It was released by a major studio (Warner Bros.), had a decent budget, and ended up becoming a box office bomb and critical failure. Written and directed by Eric Red (who wrote genre favorites The Hitcher and Near Dark), Scream Factory has brought Bad Moon to Blu-ray in time for its twentieth anniverary, and there’s never been a better time to check it out than now.


Bad Moon follows a photojournalist named Ted (Michael Pare) who, after an ill-fated encounter with a werewolf, moves back home to be close to his sister Janet (Mariel Hemingway) and her son Brett (Mason Gamble). Ted hopes to find some way to shake turning into a werewolf and going into blood thirsty rages, but of course that doesn’t seem to work too well, and it isn’t long before the family dog Thor suspects something is up with good ‘ol Uncle Ted. Soon enough a cat and mouse (or dog and wolf) game starts between Ted and Thor, resulting in a bloody showdown. Believe it or not, what happens in the film is nowhere near as dumb as that description sounds.


Bad Moon is tautly directed and well-acted as well. The gore and makeup effects are pretty good, and there’s even some really surprisingly nasty moments for a mainstream horror flick peppered throughout the film. The opening sequence remains one of the best things about Bad Moon, even if what happens after never really reaches the heights of what this film aspires to be or equals how it begins. Not to mention the fact that the film is short, damn short. Clocking in at just under 80 minutes, Bad Moon is over before you know it. This can be either a good or bad quality depending on the viewer, but personally, I would have loved to have seen a bit more meat to this film than what we get.


Scream Factory has included some really good extras here in the special features department. Among them are the theatrical version of the film, as well as a new director’s cut supervised by Eric Red. There’s commentary tracks on both versions by Eric Red, and the theatrical version commentary also includes Michael Pare. There’s also an uncut version of the film’s opening sequence which features more sex and gore (the film was infamously rated NC-17 initially because of this opening), as well as an assortment of storyboard sequences and trailers. There’s also a making-of retrospective, featuring contributions from Red, Pare, Mason Gamble, and future Jason Voorhees actor Ken Kirzinger who served as the film’s stunt coordinator.


All in all, werewolf movies usually end up getting a bad rep, mostly because there aren’t many that manage to produce anything you haven’t seen plenty of times before. Bad Moon doesn’t offer anything particularly new per se’, but what it does do here, it does pretty damn well. This film deserved better than the reception it got in 1996, and thanks to Scream Factory, it can be discovered by a new generation of viewers.


Rating: 4/5



By Nick Durham

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die is one of those films that’s more famous for being lampooned on Mystery Science Theater 3000 than anything else, and there’s good reason for that too: it’s atrociously bad and hilariously awful. That being said, the film is also a product of its time. Originally filmed in 1959 but not released until 1962; The Brain That Wouldn’t Die is a glorious retro B-movie that takes itself a bit too seriously, but on its own merits (small as they may be) ends up being a fairly entertaining ride into ridiculousness, even without the MST3K commentary believe it or not. Scream Factory has been nice enough to release this film uncut on Blu-ray for some reason as well, so here we go.


The plot, and I use that term loosely, of The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, revolves around a mad doctor (are there any other kinds?) named Bill, who has some crazy transplant ideas to keep patients alive. Bill gets to further test his theories when his fianc√© Jan is hilariously decapitated when the pair get into a car accident. Bill manages to revive Jan’s severed head, much to Jan’s dismay because she just wants to die, and begins setting out on female victims to recover body parts to patch Jan in a pan back together. Of course, things get more whacky and zany as the film goes on, leading to an even more hilarious climax. Oh, and there’s lots of late 50s-era strippers on display too for shits and giggles.


Like I said, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die is hilariously awful, and always has been too. Still, it’s easy to see that somehow this film managed to inspire some very enjoyable films down the road, including the Re-Animator films and Frankenhooker. The acting is all over the place in terms of tongue-in-cheekness and seriousness, and the film manages to be an out and out laugh riot at certain spots. It’s a terrible film to be sure, but you can’t help but get some degree of enjoyment out of it. That’s the thing with terrible movies: you can have an enjoyably bad terrible movie like this, and then you can have a terrible movie that provides no enjoyment whatsoever, like They’re Watching or Transformers.


Scream Factory went a little out of their way with this Blu-ray release of The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, which is actually kind of surprising. The film itself has been restored from its original negative, and is presented here in its uncut version that restores more of the stripper catfight scene and the film’s super tame gore scenes. There’s an audio commentary track featuring film historians Steve Haberman and Tony Sasso as well, along with an alternate scene from an international cut of the film, and even a still gallery as well. The best feature here however has to be the full MST3K episode riffing on the film, which is included here in standard definition. This actually makes this disc worth picking up on its own if you don’t already own any of the various MST3K sets that include this episode.


All in all, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die is hilariously awful vintage horror trash. That being said, it’s still a lot of fun, with or without the MST3K riffing, just based on the fact that it’s over the top ridiculous. Grab some beer, check this turd out, turn your brain off, and enjoy the atrocious hilarity. You’ll be glad that you did.


Rating: 4/5



By Nick Durham

Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight will always have a special place in my heart. Released in 1995, this was the first horror film I got to see in a theater at the tender young age of ten after sneaking into the theater. I had seen what I could of Tales from the Crypt on TV at that point (usually when the cable service would have an HBO free preview on some weekend or the edited episodes that would play late at night in syndication), and I absolutely had to see Demon Knight no matter what. Ever since I first saw it, it has remained one of my absolute favorite horror films just because of how much of a blast it is alone. It’s far from perfect, but even twenty years later, Demon Knight is super fucking enjoyable. The fine folks at Scream Factory have brought the film to Blu-ray finally, and what a release it is.


The story of Demon Knight involves a man named Brayker (William Sadler) on the run from the demonic Collector (Billy Zane). In Brayker’s possession is a mysterious key containing human blood. Brayker barricades himself in a rundown hotel along with some others (including Jada Pinkett, Thomas Haden Church, CCH Pounder, genre stalwart Dick Miller, and Roger Rabbit himself Charles Fleischer) in an effort to survive the night. The Collector and his crew of demonic offspring however have other plans, and what results is best described as a live action horror comic book on cocaine.


Looking back on Demon Knight, which was its own original story before the Tales from the Crypt show was ever a thing, the film is a manic blast. The over the top gore effects and the mix of tongue in cheek gallows humor and bone-chilling horrific imagery perfectly represent the show. It has its share of flat out dumb moments, I won’t lie about that, but it delivers on nearly everything one could hope for. Scream Factory has poured a more than healthy amount of special features into this Blu-ray release as well, including a couple commentary tracks that feature director Ernest Dickerson and members of the film’s effects crew as well. There’s a making-of featurette containing interviews and bits from Dickerson, Billy Zane, William Sadler, and more besides, and there’s also a panel discussion with Dickerson, Dick Miller, and effects legend Rick Baker.


Looking back on it, Demon Knight is every bit as enjoyable today for me as it was in my youth. It got a bit of a mixed reception back then, and it still does today as well, but it doesn’t negate the fact that the film is a total fucking hoot. You’ll rarely see a horror film from the mid-90s that is this energetic and flat out fun from a mainstream studio. Thankfully it’s finally on Blu-ray and has gotten the treatment it deserves. Check it out if you’ve never seen it before, or check it out again if it’s been a long time. As for its follow up Bordello of Blood…well, we’ll get to that one eventually.


Rating: 5/5



By Nick Durham

After years of scouring Netflix for any kind of horror films that manage to catch my eye that I haven’t already seen, any time anything (and I mean anything at all) new gets added I almost automatically watch it, regardless if I have any knowledge of the film at all. The Hallow is one such film, of which I personally had not heard much of before seeing it recommended to me. After reading the brief synopsis of the film, I decided to say fuck it and give it a look. The end result of The Hallow is half creature-feature, and half surprisingly good chiller that shockingly even has a little bit of fairy tale elements to it as well.


The story of The Hallow revolves around married couple Adam (Joseph Mawle) and Claire (Bojana Novakovic) who, along with their baby son Finn, travel to a remote Irish village from Britain. Adam is a conservationist and the family is happy, but it doesn’t take long for some very unsettling things to happen to our happy family, and it appears that there is something very unhappy living in the large wooded area surrounding the village. What unfolds next is a series of jump scares and some actual genuine frights, along with revelations that are also a mix of things you’ll see coming a mile away, and some genuine surprises. Game of Thrones vet Michael McElhatton (he played Roose Bolton on the show) is here as well to offer up some scowls and give exposition when needed as well.


For most of its running time, The Hallow has an almost split tone between standard horror fare and almost a darker fairy tale. In that regard alone, the film is quite interesting on its own, but there isn’t enough substance here I’m afraid to make it any more than a relatively average chiller. The movie itself doesn’t really do anything wrong: the cast is pretty good, the film’s monsters are inventive, the atmosphere is creepy, and the film’s ending is fucking wonderful. Everything in between all that though? It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, and at its heart, the film is an environmental horror flick that ends up being fairly predictable.


Flaws aside, The Hallow is a fairly enjoyable and technically well-assembled chiller that is a pretty nice diversion. Predictability and flaws aside, there is a lot to admire here with what the film offers, which is already more than what you get most of the time with flicks of this type. It’s still streaming on Netflix, check it out while you can if you have an hour and a half to kill.


Rating: 3.5/5





By Nick Durham

Women in prison movies are a dime a dozen throughout the decades: most of them are terrible, some are tolerable, and some are a hilariously trashy good time. Hellhole falls somewhere in the middle of all that, and it’s unique because it seems to be one of the more lost films of the genre. I say lost film because not many people may have heard of it, and it boasts a relatively well-known cast given what kind of movie it is.


Hellhole revolves around a young woman named Susan (Judy Landers), whose mother is murdered by a scumbag named Silk (Ray Sharkey). Susan subsequently suffers amnesia, and finds herself locked up in an asylum. Her problems don’t end there though, as the asylum’s insane head doctor (Mary Woronov) is experimenting on the inmates using a form of chemical lobotomy. Oh, and Silk is lurking around, looking to finish Susan off once and for all. Maniac Cop star Robert Z’Dar (credited here as Robert Darcy for some reason) is also here as a scumbag guard (that jaw gets me every time), and even Dyanne Thorne from Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS is here for shits and giggles.


Special features wise, Scream Factory didn’t pack in as many extras as one would hope, but what is here is worth checking out. The film has been remastered and looks pretty good, although there are some noticeable shots that don’t look so hot. In fact, Scream Factory includes a disclaimer before the film begins explaining why this is. There’s a new interview with Mary Woronov that is interesting, and the film’s trailer is included here as well. In addition to the film on Blu-ray, a DVD version of the film is packaged in here too, so there’s some decent value.


Hellhole does nothing original, but for what it is, it’s pretty fun exploitation garbage. There’s plenty of boobs and bush on display (yay bush!) and there’s so many gleefully trashy moments peppered throughout the film’s hour and a half running time that you’ll find enough here to enjoy…you sick fucks. In all seriousness though, you could do a lot worse than what Hellhole has to offer, and you won’t hate yourself too much after watching it either.


Rating: 3/5