Blu-Ray Reviews

Victor Crowley – Blu-Ray Review

Victor Crowley (Blu-Ray Review)

By

Westley Smith

Victor Crowley returned to slash his way through screens last year with the surprise unveiling by director Adam Green on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at a sold-out show at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood. Guests thought they were there to see a 10th Anniversary showing of Hatchet, only to find out they were, in fact, about to see a new movie.

Since Victor Crowley’s premiere on August 22nd the film has been hitting the festival circuits and theaters before landing on Blu-Ray February 6th 2018, with rave reviews and numerous awards from fright festivals in tow.

Victor Crowley marks the fourth movie in the Hatchet franchise, which started in 2007. Filmed under the fake name “Arwen’s Fancy Dinner” and later “Arwen’s Revenge” to keep the production a secret to the rest of the world, who by now, had thought Victor Crowley, and the Hatchet series, was buried in the swamps. But, like Crowley’s slasher brethren, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger, you can only keep a good killer down for so long before they find a way of coming back from their graves.

The film follows Andrew (Parry Shen, Hatchet 1-3) the only survivor from the grizzly Crowley murders. Andrew has written a book about his harrowing ordeal, and the fallout that happened after the murders, including him being the prime suspect in the killing spree. Andrew, along with his publicist, Kathleen (Felissa Rose, Sleepaway Camp) are back in New Orleans to promote his book, I Survived. While at a signing, Andrew is approached by three filmmakers: Director Chloe (Katie Booth), her boyfriend/actor, Alex (Chase Williamson, John Dies at the End, Beyond the Gates) and make-up artist, Rose (Laura Ortiz The Hills Have Eyes ’07, Holliston) to see if they can get him to participate in their “fake trailer” about the Crowley murders. But in a twist of fate, Kathleen tells Andrew they just landed a deal of a lifetime – a “true crime” series wants to interview him at the scene of the murders and are offering one million dollars for the interview. Reluctantly, Andrew agrees and boards a plane only to realize that he is going to be interviewed by his ex-wife (Krystal Joy Brown) and her crew consisting of Casey (Tiffany Shepis), and Austin (Impractical Jokers’ Brian Quinn). But when the plane crashes in the swamp, and Victor Crowley is resurrected, (no spoilers on how that happens) once again played by the imposing Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7,8,9,10, Hatchet 1-3) things really get bloody

SIDE NOTE: the line “played by the imposing Kane Hodder” is taken right from the back of the VHS for Friday the 13th: Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan.

Like with all previous Hatchet films, they are throwbacks to 1980s slasher films. Victor Crowley sticks with this formula: bloody, funny, and scary; with enough plot and thrills to keep the movie going forward at a steady pace.

Green’s writing is planted firmly in cheek; he knows exactly what he’s making and knows when to make the audience laugh, afraid, or even emotional at times. His characters (in the Hatchet films) have never been the overly serious trope, and they are not meant to be – they are fodder for Crowley’s hands. What he does, instead, is create quirky characters that are likeable and funny - characters that you know are going to do something dumb that gets them killed, but you don’t really want to see them die because he adds just enough subtext to make them relatable. He pulls this off in Victor Crowley better than he had in previous Hatchet films, with turns in characters that one won’t see coming. He also casts these roles very well, using a mix of horror veterans, comedians, and new comers and sometimes himself or his buddy, fellow director Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2, Mayhem) to give these films something fresh, as well as a wink to the fans – look for other horror veterans to show up thoughout the film too.

Green’s direction is spot-on with a lean 83 min runtime; the film never feels that it outstays its welcome and gives enough character development, plot, scares, tension, and bloody gore that most fans should be happy with the end result.

As always, Kane Hodder is great as Victor Crowley: mean, menacing, big, ugly, and scary. He brings so much life to Crowley with just his movements and grunts that it’s hard not to be terrified when Hodder/Crowley is on screen, smashing his way through something or about to rip a character limb from limb.

There were several standouts performances in the film: Felissa Rose was fantastic as the Long Island accented publicist; she had several scenes in the film that were hilarious. Parry Shen held the film together as Andrew; he did a great job conveying the tortured emotions and feelings of the character, while at the same time being the voice of reason when everything turns and Crowley comes looking for blood. Laura Ortiz, who at first looks to be the snarky sidekick friend, ends up making a drastic character turn that is not foresaw - a hard thing for any actress to pull off.

The biggest surprise though was Brian Quinn. The Impractical Jokers star was great in his role as Austin, and he could act! His character is likeable, funny, and caring. Quinn pulled this off effortlessly, like he’d been acting his entire life.

The Blu-Ray comes with the following:

Cast Commentary with writer/director Adam Green, Actors Parry Shen, Laura Ortiz and Dave Sheridan

Technical Commentary with writer/director Adam Green, Cinematographer Jan-Michael Losada, Editor Matt Latham, and Make-Up FX Artist Robert Pendergraft

Behind the Scenes Featurette – which is a must watch if you’re a fan of how movies are made; it’s a very in-depth look at the making of Victor Crowley and shows Green and crew in the mix of the process of bringing the film together.

Raising the Dead…Again: An Interview with Adam Green – this may be the most powerful, emotional interview ever put on a Blu-Ray. Fans of Adam Green’s NEED to watch this. Words written here would not do the interview justice, and it is better left if the viewer watches the segment and listens to what Adam has to say.

Victor Crowley is a welcome addition to the Hatchet series, and one can only hope that there are several more Hatchet films in the years to come…

10 out of 10 Stars.

Warlock: 3 Film Collection: Vestron Blu-Ray Review

By
Frank Ford

Since the re-launch of the Vestron Label, bringing a catalog of films (now owned by Lionsgate) to Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray, has been a trip down memory lane to a time when VHS ruled the world and mom and pop video stores were on every corner.

Gone now are those days of old, but the films live on, long after the video stores have closed and VHS has become obsolete – except to some who still collect VHS. To see these films coming back around, and given the Blu-Ray treatment, to be enjoyed by this generation (a generation who missed out on the VHS craze and stores) is a wonderful experience, and Vestron is doing a fantastic job rescuing these more obscure films from falling into the abyss.

Vestron’s latest releasing: Warlock: 3 Film Set Collector’s Edition is the eleventh releasing from the studio that began with Chopping Mall and Blood Diner last September. To say these releasing’s have been a huge success may be an understatement; people are screaming for more, the next announcement from Lionsgate, anticipating what the next film in the series is going to be – at this time there has been no announcement on the next films in the Collector’s Edition Series.

But for the time being, we are going to have to make do with their latest releasing, Warlock.

Let’s dive into the films and Blu-Ray, shall we.

WARLOCK: A Brief History

The first Warlock film was directed by Steve Miner (Friday the 13th: Parts 2&3, Halloween: H20, and House) written by David Twohy (Pitch Black, Riddick, and Below) and was originally to be distributed by New World Pictures – founded by Roger Corman – in 1988 on an estimated budget of seven million dollars.
But that was not to be.

New World Pictures filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy prior to Warlock’s releasing, only after the film’s trailer had played in theaters and on TV, causing the release of the film to fall into the unknown at the time.

Would anyone ever see Warlock or would it be lost forever, buried in a vault somewhere?

The fan buzz around Warlock in the late 80s was huge, and people were question where the film was, and, what happened that it was no longer getting a release. No one, at that time, knew Warlock’s fate. Some thought Warlock would be dumped onto the home video market (director Steve Miner thought that’s what actually happened for years), but thankfully Trimark Pictures acquired the rights to the film and instead of putting Warlock out on home video, they decided to released it theatrically where it would go onto gross over nine million dollars in just its theatrical run.

But much like the black magic powers the Warlock possess in the film, the movie seemed to proses its own magical powers when it hit VHS. VHS was the saving grace for Warlock; it was one of those rare movies that wouldn’t stay on the shelf as it was repeatedly rented out over and over, quickly making a lot of money and gaining a huge cult following in the process.

PLOT:

In 1691 Boston, a warlock is being tried and sentenced to death for his crimes of practicing black magic. He escapes, magically, to future 1989 Los Angeles where he begins searching for parts of the Devil’s Bible that has been scattered across the US. Trailed by a witch hunter from the warlocks own time and a woman he’s put a curse on, they must stop him before he can collect all the pages and find the true name of God, which he can use to destroy the world.

REVIEW:

First off, the upgraded Blu-Ray looks fantastic! To be perfectly honest, I had only ever seen Warlock (and including its sequels) on VHS. I had, just in the past year, revisited all of them, unknowing at the time that Vestron was going to be releasing this edition. I knew what the picture looked like on VHS, so I was excited to watch them on Blu-Ray for the first time. WOW! I was blown away. It was like I was watching Warlock for the first time again; seeing things crisper and brighter than I ever had before, with detail that was so sharp it nearly hurt my eyes.

The first film in the three film series is loaded with extra features that are sure to please any fan of the movie.

“Satan’s Son” and interview with actor Julian Sands: is great fun, with the actor discussing how he became involved in the film, how he viewed the warlock character, and what it was like working on the film, as well as the sequels and why he was not involved in the third film – which I will go into a little bit later.

“The Devil’s Work” with Director Steve Miner: is also a must watch if you are a fan of Warlock. Miner goes into how he became attached to the project, what it was like casting, shooting, editing, scoring, and releasing the film when New World filed for Bankruptcy. In the interview, Miner doesn’t hold back when talking about the film, his feelings about the final product, and some of the stuff he does and doesn’t like about the film.

“Effects of Evil” with Make-Up Effects Creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz: is a fun little segment where the two effects guys talk about working with the actors, creating effects, and go into great detail on the lost scene (that was reworked) that involved a woman’s nipples turning into the eyes of Satan. The segment is well worth your time.
The commentary with Director Steve Miner and a moderator is fun to listen to with an insightful look into the film and what it was like shooting some of the scenes, as well as Miner having no knowledge of the film ever played in a theater - which was shocking to hear that the film’s director didn’t even know Warlocks fate at the time of its release.
The rest of the disc is filled with Vintage behind the scenes footage, interviews, TV and theatrical trailers, as well as a still gallery that shows some of the aforementioned deleted nipple scene.

WARLOCK SPECIAL FEATURES (Disc 1)
• BRAND NEW Audio Commentary with Director Steve Miner
• Isolated Score Selections/Audio Interview with Author Jeff Bond
• All NEW Interviews
• “Satan’s Son” with Actor Julian Sands
• “The Devil’s Work” with Director Steve Miner
• “Effects of Evil” with Make-up Effects Creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz
• Behind-the-Scenes Footage
• Interview Segments with Cast and Crew
• Featurette with Make-Up Effects Creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz
• Vintage Featurette with Visual Effects Supervisors
• Theatrical Trailer
• Video Trailer
• TV Spots
• Still Gallery

Warlock: The Armageddon: A Brief History

After the success of Warlock, and the rights now fully in Trimarks pocket, a sequel was inevitable. Released under Trimarks horror/schlock banner, Vidmark, on September 24th 1993, Warlock: The Armageddon opened to dismal reviews and a poor box office return.

This time directing duties had been turned over to Anthony Hickox (Waxwork, Waxwork 2: Lost in Time, Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth).

Warlock: The Armageddon, is a lot different from the first one; the stories are not connected and only share the title. Where the first film there are little pockets of humor, a fish out of water story at times to break the tension, this one is played dead serious with a dread filled tone of doom and dismay. It’s a mean and nasty film, filled with blood and gore, violence and death. Warlock: The Armageddon feels every bit of a 1990s Vidmark movie, right down to the way it’s lit and shot.

Though Hickox does bring a lot of his normal flair to the film, and the skill behind and in front of the camera is there (Sands is particularly great in this one and is loving every moment), Warlock: The Armageddon falls into that 1990s sequel trap where everything the second time around had to be bigger, bloodier, nastier than the first.

PLOT:

An order of Druids train their children to battle an evil Warlock determined to unleash Satan upon the world by bringing a collection of six mystic rune stones together.

REVIEW:

Much as I’ve stated with the first disc, the picture on Warlock: The Armageddon looks amazing. The upgrade to Blu-Ray is well worth the price to add to your collection of Vestron’s Collector’s Series.

The extra features are minimal with only Anthony Hickox commentary on the film. It’s a fun listen, and he talks about some of the things he doesn’t like about the movie, especially the love story between the kids and the lack of the warlock being in the film. He also says that this is one of his least favorite films that he’s made. I can’t say I agree with Hickox, as I do really like Warlock: The Armageddon for its mean and downright nasty tone; there is something about this film that gets under your skin the way the first one didn’t. Also, the way Sands plays the warlock in this movie is scary; he’s much meaner, darker, and more sinister than before.

The vintage making of featurette with behind-the-scenes footage that was pulled from an old VHS (yes, it does show) and the vintage interviews with Actors Julian Sands and Paula Marshall, and Director, Anthony Hickox are both fun to watch and listen to them talk about the film as it was being made.

WARLOCK: The Armageddon: SPECIAL FEATURES (Disc 2)

• NEW Audio Commentary with Director Anthony Hickox
• Vintage Making-of Featurette Behind-the-Scenes Footage
• Extended Vintage Interview Segments with Actor Julian Sands, Director Anthony Hickox, and Actress Paula Marshall
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spots
• Still Gallery

Warlock lll: The End of Innocence: A Brief History

After the failure of Warlock: The Armageddon, Warlock lll was released on October 12th 1999 direct-to-video. Julian Sands did not return this time to play the warlock; he felt the script, the production, and everyone involved seemed to be lacking the know-how of bring the film together. Though Sands passed on the third Warlock film, he is still very much open to the idea of returning to the roll that made him famous.

Warlock duties this time went to Bruce Payne (Drop Zone) and Ashley Laurence (Hellraiser) was cast as the female lead.

What Sands says in his interview “Satan’s Son” about Warlock lll is not far from the truth: Warlock lll feels cheap – which is was with only a two million dollar budget. The plot is slow. Payne isn’t scary as the warlock, nor very menacing, and he’s rather a bore to watch in the film. Though there are a few spots in the film that do build some tension and scares, especially when Kris (Ashley Laurence) first gets to the house, they are few and far between, and the runtime is extended with endless amounts of dialog that’s just a snooze-fest to sit through. And the ending is rather anticlimactic to say the least.

PLOT:

A college student unexpectedly finds that she has inherited a derelict house. Accompanied by a group of friends, she goes to clear it of heir-looms before the structure is demolished. Almost immediately, she and her friends are targeted by a powerful warlock who is interested in her bloodline.

REVIEW:

Much like Warlock: The Armageddon the extra features a minimal. This time there is no director’s commentary, only a vintage making of segment, and vintage interviews with cast and crew. Trailer and Video Sales promo. And a still gallery.

There really isn’t much to talk about here…

WARLOCK lll: The End of Innocents: SPECIAL FEATURES (Disc 2)

• Behind-the-Scenes Footage
• Vintage Interview Segments with Cast and Crew
• Trailer
• Video Sales Promo
• Still Gallery

Final Thoughts:

Warlock: 3 Film Collection is a must have for any lover of the films, or even if you’re just collecting the Vestron Collector’s Series. This collection will not disappoint. Though I would have liked more special features on Warlock: The Armageddon, (I really don’t care about Warlock lll – I know that’s mean to say, but it is what it is) but most of my questions about that film were answered by Sands in his “Satan’s Son” interview of the first disc.

This collection is well worth your hard earned money. So continue to support physical media and pick up a copy before they are all sold out.

9 out of 10 Stars.

If you like our blog and what to help keep us going, donate through Paypal. Just a few dollars can help us continue to bring you awesome movie and Blu-ray reviews, toy reviews, and other Dark Cinema related topics you crave. Thank you!

Slither Collector’s Editon: BLu-Ray Review

By
Frank Ford

Slither crawled its way onto a Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray today from Shout! Factory with an abundance of bonus content, new art work, and slipcover.

It’s strange, now twelve years after its theatrical run, to see Slither getting some well-deserved love it was owed upon its initial releasing. But back in 2006, when Slither came to the big screen, it was a dismal release at the box office pulling in just over seven million dollars, only making back half of its fifteen million dollar budget. Though critics were nice to the film, as it was the best reviewed horror movie of 2006, this still wasn’t enough to make Slither a massive hit.

Penned by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & 2,) as a side project to sell while he was working to get his first directorial effort (Super) off the ground, Slither follows the story of a small town that is overcome by and alien lifeform, turning the residents into zombie-like hosts, and other mutated creatures.

Why this movie was not a hit back in 2006 is beyond any sci-fi/horror fan’s knowledge. It has just about everything a sci-fi/horror lover could want in a film. Good, likeable and unlikable characters. Gore. Comedy. A good story. Exciting, nail-biting sequences of action and tension. And even a few well-timed jump scares that really slither up your spine with frightful delight. And let’s not forget all of the Easter Eggs hidden throughout the film that call back to sci-fi/horror’s past – some of them you have to really listen or look for, others are in full view – R.J. MacReady’s Store comes to mind; R.J. MacReady is Kurt Russell’s character from John Carpenter’s The Thing (1981).

Thankfully Shout! Factory rescued this movie from falling into total obscurity and released it out in a Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray.

Though the additions to the Collector’s Edition are only three NEW features, (the rest are pulled from the old DVD release of the film) they are well done and exciting to watch.

The NEW interview with director James Gunn is entertaining and listening to his insight into how the film came about, what it was like to shoot the picture, writing, distribution, and ultimately the response of the film when it originally opened and how it’s changed over the years is a treat to anyone who really loves this film.
The second NEW interview is with Gregg Henry. The interview is slightly shorter, but well worth checking out and hearing his stories and time on the film.

But I think the highlight of the NEW bonus edition to the Collector’s Edition of Slither is the NEW commentary track with Actors Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, and Director James Gunn. This may be one of the funniest commentary’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening too; not only do these guys go into details on the making of the film, but one can tell they are three very good friends who love to get together and have a good time while talking about the movie, and while slinging shit at one another for fun – especially James Gunn to poor Michael Rooker. You can’t help but listen to this commentary and not laugh with them, smile as they are telling stories, and be truly invested (and enthralled) as they come along with us for the duration of the movie.

Check out the GAG REEL (also on the DVD) – you won’t stop laughing.

The updated picture to Blu-Ray looks fantastic in 1080p (much better than the old DVD transfer) and it was surprising to see, even with better picture quality, that most of the CGI effects still hold up very well today, as do all the practical effects - naturally.

The slipcover artwork really captures the feel of the film, while at the same time hankering back to the 1980s monster movies and the wonderful VHS artwork.

The Blu-Ray jacket sleeve is reversible, with the new artwork on one side and the original artwork on the other.

Slither is a worthy addition to Shout! Factory’s Collector’s Edition Line and one any fan of this film needs to pick up right away. And even if you already own Slither on DVD, I highly recommend picking it up on Blu-Ray as the picture and sound are far superior.

Bonus Features
• NEW Audio Commentary With Writer/Director James Gunn And Actors Nathan Fillion And Michael Rooker
• NEW The Genesis Of SLITHER – An Interview With Writer/Director James Gunn
• NEW The Other MacReady – An Interview With Actor Gregg Henry
• Audio Commentary With James Gunn And Nathan Fillion (From 2006)
• Deleted And Extended Scenes With Optional Commentary By James Gunn
• Visual Effects: Step By Step
• Slithery Set Tour With Actor Nathan Fillion
• The Sick Minds And Slimy Days Of SLITHER
• Brewing The Blood – How To Make Blood
• Bringing SLITHER's Creatures To Life
• Lloyd Kaufman's Video Diary
• Gag Reel
• Who Is Bill Pardy? Featurette
• Theatrical Trailer

10 out of 10 Stars.

If you like our blog, please help keep us going (and add free) by donating.  By donating as low as $1.00 YOU can help us continue to bring you awesome articles, reviews, movie and toy news for years to come.


Kill’em All: Blu-Ray/Film Review

By
Westley Smith

Kill’em All is the latest Jean-Claude Van Damme film to hit Blu-Ray and VOD yesterday, and since we here at The Crimson Screen Collectibles are huge fans of JCVD, we thought we’d review the film.

Kill’em All is directed by Peter Malota. You may not know the director’s name, but any fan of Van Damme’s films has seen Peter before; he’s been in several JCVD’s movies: Nowhere to Run, Universal Soldier, The Quest, and The Order. But most people will remember him as the cowboy boot, spur-wearing bad guy from Double Impact – his scene with Alex (JCVD) where he’s jumping in and out of the shadows is one of the best scenes in Double Impact.

Going into the movie, I was interested in Peter’s direction as this was his very first time at the helm of a film. My mind was running the gambit on how this film was going to turn out: good, bad, or…worse?

I had been following the film’s production since it was announced and was eager to see it (as I am with all of JCVD’s films) and was hoping for the best. The released stills for the movie looked good. The cast was impressive with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Peter Stormare, and Maria Conchita Alonzo headlining. And then I got to see the trailer and was blown away. My first reaction was “Wow! This is going to be a kick ass Van Damme movie”.

Peter’s direction had won me over with just the trailer to his first film. I was sold!

And to my delight, I got even more than just a kick ass Van Damme movie, I got a really good, well-thought out action/thriller from the first time director.

The story follow’s Philip (Jean-Claude Van Damme) in the moments after a shootout leaves him wounded and with a concussion. He, along with several other gunshot victims, have been rushed to a local hospital E.R. for treatment where he meets nurse Suzanne (Autumn Reeser) who treats Philip’s injuries. Soon, a gang of men storm the hospital looking to kill Philip. Now, Philip and Suzanne must fight for their lives against an army of well-trained killers.

What I liked about Kill’em All was that it wasn’t a straight forward action movie, as most of them tend to be, moving from A to B to C. It was more of an action/thriller with mystery and intrigue wrapped around a story that unfolds complexly before us. Most of the story is told from Suzanne’s perspective as she is being interviewed, after the events in the hospital, by two F.B.I. agents – Peter Stormare and Maria Conchita Alonzo, both who suspect Suzanne may be somehow connected to Philip since she survived. Is Suzanne telling the truth? Or was she just a helpless victim caught up in this mess by happenstance? You won’t know till the very end.

The scenes with Peter Stormare and Maria Conchita Alonzo as the F.B.I. agents interviewing Suzanne are really well done. Tight. Tense. Funny. Both are giving fine performances and really makes us, the viewers, second guess if Suzanne’s story is true or not.

I thought this part of the film was handled well by Director Malota. He really leaves you guessing until the final moments of the film. Just when I thought they were going one way with the truth, they turned it around on me. And then, when I thought it was going that way, they turned it on me again. When the final scene came, and the truth was exposed, I actually chuckled because I did not see it coming. Well done!

The plot jumps around a lot, but not to the point where it’s hard to follow, allowing for the story to unfold from not only Suzanne’s point of view, but also the F.B.Is. By giving these different point of view narrative, it allowed time to develop the characters and explain a bit of their backstory and actions in the movie, without bogging the run time down. I did like that each bad guy was given some history (at least how deadly they were) so when they went up against JCVD, (who is injured throughout the film) we know he’s in for a real fight.

And boy does JCVD do a lot of fighting in this movie! And it was fun to see JCVD doing what JCVD does best…kicking bad guy butt. I could not wait until he and Daniel Bernhardt (who actually took over for JCVD in the Bloodsport sequels) had their big fight at the end, and I was not disappointed with the result. It was fun seeing these two exceptional martial artist go at it in a movie and giving it their all. Both of them still have what it takes to put a good fight scene on film and are in tip-top shape.

That brings me to the action set pieces in Kill’em All. Malota knows how to shoot an action scene well. He knows that he has real martial artist on set and he can pull the camera out far enough to show what they are capable of; he allows them to show off their skills without cutting every second. The film was not overly edited, like a lot of modern action films tend to do (to hide stunt doubles) and it was easy to follow the action and where the characters were in the frame.

Everyone was fantastic in their rolls. Jean-Claude Van Damme was great at the mysterious Philip – you never knew if you could fully trust him or not, which Van Damme nailed with his quiet and very restrained performance. Daniel Bernhardt was perfectly cast opposite JCVD for the films top baddie and with his martial arts skills going up against Van Damme’s it was a treat to watch. Autumn Reeser as Suzanne really stood out to me, she was a funny, smart-assed, intelligent, take no prisoners woman and there were several times in the film where I laughed out loud at some of her retorts to Peter Stormare’s Agent Holman – I really hope to see more from her in the future.

I do wish we would’ve seen more of Kris Van Damme (JCVD’s son). He, like his father, is very skilled in martial arts, and when he throws a kick it’s very impressive on screen, just like his daddies, and is very good in the action scenes that he’s in. I’ve been seeing Kris in JCVD’s movies for a while now and keep wondering when he’s going to get his own movie. He’s handsome, has a lot of charm and charisma, and could easily hold his own in an action movie. Hopefully we’ll get one starring him soon.

If there is one problem with the film, it is the budget. You can tell they were working on a smaller budget for the film, and some of that does show from time to time. But it doesn’t really matter since the complex story is so engaging you can’t help but want to see what’s going to happen next, and how it is all going to unfold.

I want to end with this: if this is Peter Malota’s first film as director, I cannot wait to see what he does next – he truly has an eye for directing action/thrillers and I hope this opens up a huge door for him to helm other action movies. He had his hands full with this movie, balancing a complex plot, decent character development, and action scenes; he pulled it off effortlessly in the final product.

As for the Blu-Ray releasing of the film, I was a little disappointed that it did not have any extra content like a behind the scenes featurette or commentary – that would have been nice and added a lot to the releasing. That is my biggest complaint about the Blu-Ray releasing, but it has nothing to do with the film itself.

Kill’em All is a great action/thriller that any JCVD fan should add to their collection.

Pick up your copy of Kill’em All here at www.thecrimsonscreencollectibles.com
9 out of 10 stars.

Psycho Cop Returns on Blu-Ray – Review

By

Frank Ford

This month marks the return of Psycho Cop 2 on Blu-Ray Special Edition from Vinegar Syndrome in a fully uncut, newly restored 2K scan from 35mm vault prints.

Before I get into the restored releasing from Vinegar Syndrome, l want to take a moment and explain a little about Psycho Cop (the first film) and Psycho Cop Returns (or Psycho Cop 2 as it was labiled on VHS).

Psycho Cop (the first film) was released to home video on November 28th 1989 from South Gate Entertainment. The film was directed by Wallace Potts from his script. The plot is simple: Officer Joe Vickers (Robert R. Shafer, who goes by the name Bobby Ray Shafer for both Psycho Cop movies) is a devil worshiping serial killer who targets his victims by the laws they break – or what he considers breaking the law. After six college students, on a getaway trip to a remote house in the woods provoke him, Vickers follows them and kills them one-by-one.

To say the first film is good would be giving it a lot of undeserved praise; it’s slow and boring, the production looks cheap, and the direction and cinematography are absent with flat, bland shots that lack any artistic skill behind the camera. The kills in the movie are mostly bloodless, unlike Psycho Cop Returns, and there isn’t a stich of nudity, also unlike Psycho Cop returns. The characters are your normal trope of college kids found in almost all 1980s horror flicks, and Psycho Cop follows the rules Halloween, or more-so, Friday the 13th, set up in films before it, but here they seem to be somehow dumber than any characters in slasher film history. The acting (with exception to Shafer) is horrendous and truly laughable at how bad some lines are delivered.

Psycho Cop came out a year after another slasher cop was covering the screen in crimson – Matt Cordell from Maniac Cop. Psycho Cop was a lower budgeted rip-off of Maniac Cop, without William Lustic’s masterful direction or Larry Cohan’s writing skills. And boy, it shows.

But that’s not to say Psycho Cop isn’t without its charm and appeal. It came out in a time when home video was in high demand, and production companies were producing low budget horror movies by the truckloads to get on to rental shelves. Looking back on the film now, Psycho Cop looks like a time capsule trapped in the late 1980s when these types of B horror movies littered every mom and pop video store shelf. With that, comes fond memories of a time long past, when Friday Nights were spent scouring the video store shelves looking for a new horror movie. How can that alone not bring an otherwise bad movie up several notches on anyone’s belt?

But there is another shining star hidden in Psycho Cop, that being Officer Joe Vickers and Shafer’s crazy, yet menacing performance as the devil worshiping serial killer cop. Shafer plays Vickers just over the top enough that he comes off truly scary, crazy, and funny all at the same time. Shafer is the saving grace of the first film, and unlike Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees (or even Matt Cordell), Vickers actually speaks and has several puns (‘Sarah, now stop this, you’re obstructing justice’; ‘You have the right to remain…dead’).

If you have not seen the first film its okay, you don’t need to to watch Psycho Cop Returns as they are not connected, except for Vickers. Finding a copy of Psycho Cop can be hard; it has never been upgraded to DVD or Blu-Ray, so the only way to get the film is on VHS and they do pop up on eBay every so often.

Four years later in 1993 we would see the return of the Psycho Cop. This time direction was turned over to Adam Rifkin (under the name Riff Coogan- which he also directed The Invisible Maniac under). Rifkin is known for such films as The Chase and Detroit Rock City.

Adam Rifkin used the name Rif Coogan so he could also direct grindhouse/schlock films. Rifkin has a great love for all types of films, including horror and grindhouse style movies. So he created the name Rif Coogan to direct these types of movies, and it would allow him to keep the Adam Rifkin filmography separated from the Rif Coogan films, much like writers such as Stephen King did when he was writing as Richard Bachman or Nora Roberts does as J.D. Robb.

From the start of Psycho Cop Returns, from the opening shot, you can tell that it is a much better film than the first, with people behind the camera (and in front) that know what they are doing. When the film needs to be suspenseful or scary, it is. When it needs to be funny, it is. Because of Adam Rifkin’s skill behind the camera he delivered a movie that is suspenseful, scary, sleazy, and really funny at times and that’s not an easy task to take on for any director but Rifkin pulled it off seamlessly.

Shafer returns to play Vickers and is in top form in this movie. Everything you liked about him in the first film is taken up and played to the max. He’s a real treat to watch.

This time around, Vickers targets a group of yuppies who are throwing their buddy a bachelor party at the office where they work – for some unknown reason; I guess they couldn’t find a house to have this party in?

Unlike the first film, which at times takes itself too serious and tries to be scary, Psycho Cop Returns plants its tongue firmly in cheek and goes for this whacky grindhouse style of filmmaking that really doesn’t exist anymore. The comedy is ramped up, the kills are bloodier and gorier, Vickers’ sadistic puns are everywhere, and naked girls (including Julie Strain) are abound and showing off the goods – everything a home video release in the 1990s needed to be successful.

The movie was shot in about a week. But with Rifkin’s skilled direction you wouldn’t know that. Most shots look good and the angles were well chosen and appear that they were thought out long beforehand. But Rifkin has said that he shot most of the film on the fly and it taught him how to be looser with the way he films a scene for future movies.

The film was released on home video on July 27th 1994 in the US.

But when the videos went out, the film had been edited down unbeknownst to anyone associated with the film, including Rifkin. Most of the gore and violence and the sex and the nudity in the film had all been edited out. And were not talking about small snip-its of the film to secure an R rating (no one knows why these cuts were made or who did them for that matter) but cuts to the film that were so bad it leaves huge holes in the plot or scenes that just awkwardly cut to another scene, never showing any of the violence, blood, gore, sex and nudity in the film.

Viewers of the film instantly knew that major cuts had been made. Because of this, Psycho Cop 2 took on this mysterious vibe, leaving viewers wondering for years what had been cut from the film and when they could finally see it restored in a fully uncut edition.

Thanks to Vinegar Syndrome, that came to fruition this year with their release of Psycho Cop Returns in its fully uncut edition. All the violence, gore, sex and nudity was put back into the film and finally we get a movie that makes sense, unlike its home video predecessor.

The newly scanned 2K restoration from 35mm vault elements looks spectacular! Vinegar Syndrome cleaned up the print just enough that the picture and colors pop off the screen, but don’t diminish the grain of the 35mm film too much – one still gets the feeling that they are watching a grindhouse/home video movie on Blu-Ray format.

There is a forty-three minuet documentary called “Habeas Corpus” on the making of Psycho Cop Returns that is a must watch for fans of the film and to gather a little more insight into its creation, featuring new interviews with: Adam Rifkin, Robert R. Shafer, Dan Povenmire (screenwriter), Pert Schink (editor), Miles Douglas (co-star), Rod Sweitzer (co-star) Nick Vallelonga (co-star), Barbara Niven (co-star) and Melanie Good (co-star). The only downside to the documentary is that Julie Strain was missing from the interviews, and it would have been nice to hear what she had to say about the film.

“The Victims of Vickers” is the second documentary on the film with interviews by SFX Artist Mike Tristano. The segment is much shorter, but still very well done and goes in to great detail about the effects in the film and how some of them came to be, as well as the strange cuts that were made to the home video release.

The commentary track with Adam Rifkin and Vinegar Syndrome’s very own, Elijah Drenner, is well done and fun to listen to. Rifkin explains how he got started on the project, how the casting was done, the effects, the strange cuts to the home video version of the film, and a life-altering story that you’re only going to hear on the commentary track– so listen to it!

The Blu-Ray/DVD combo is Region Free (AWESOME!).

There is reversible cover artwork – but we did not get that with our copy. Not a big deal though.

Vinegar Syndrome really went above and beyond to produce this for us collectors. And I have to thank them for doing so. Finally we got to see Psycho Cop Returns as it was intended, not the watered-down version that was released on home video so long ago.

Companies like Vinegar Syndrome are keeping physical media alive for us collectors. We need more films like Psycho Cop Returns to be saved from obscurity, and places like Vinegar Syndrome to restore them for future generations to enjoy – so buy physical media and support them and other restoration companies like Vinegar Syndrome. It’s you, the consumer, who can and will keep physical media alive. Do your part!

Well done Vinegar Syndrome. Well done.

10 out of 10 stars.

you can order a copy here: http://www.mcssl.com/store/18046487/psycho-cop-returns-blu-raydvd-combo

Blu-Ray REVIEW: Wes Craven’s ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’

By

Frank Ford

Wes Craven’s ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’ Blu-Ray Special Edition from Shout! Factory released this week.  As thrilling as it is to have one of the ‘master of horrors’ greatest cinematic achievements on a Special Edition Blu-Ray, I was left a little wanting on this release.

Note: this is a review of the Blu-Ray Special Edition disc only; not a review on the film.

serpenty

Serpent

Shout announced late last year that they were planning on putting out a Special Edition to ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’, to be released in late January – that date was pushed back until late February. This marked the second Wes Craven film to be released on Blu-Ray Special Edition since his passing last August.  The first was ‘Shocker’, released merely days after his death.  Serpent’s releasing on Blu-Ray completes the trilogy of films he did for Universal starting with ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’ (1988), followed by ‘Shocker’ (1989) and finally ‘The People Under the Stairs’ (1990).  I thought the date had been pushed back to punch-up the extras on the Blu-Ray, or to pay respect to Wes Craven with an outstanding Blu-Ray that would leave fans drooling honoring the late director.  On paper (or computer screen) the extras looked fantastic, but in reality…meh.

serpent1

My biggest gripe is the commentary track with Bill Pullman and Rob Galluzzo (Icons of Fright) who moderates the film with him.  Don’t get me wrong, the commentary is good between the two of them and they have a very good rapport, but the commentary abruptly ends because Pullman has to leave in the middle of the film do to other obligations.

Okay, Bill Pullman couldn’t stay to finish the film’s commentary track – not his fault and not a problem in my opinion, I get that work comes first, as well as commitments  – but that leaves us with only half of the film with a commentary track now.   Why didn’t the track continue with just Rob Galluzzo? Or get someone else to talk about the film along with Galluzzo and Pullman, so when Bill left there would still be a completed commentary track to finish out the film?  Maybe Shout! had reached out to other people who were connected to the film for commentary but were unable to get them? I don’t know.

Shocker

The extras are very sparse on the Blu-Ray too:

A new making of featurette that includes interviews with: Author: Wade Davis, D.O.P: John Lindley, and Special Effects Artists: Lance and David Anderson.  A Theatrical Trailer. And a still gallery, which is quite good.

serpeant-and-the-rainbow-2-craven-official

The making of featurette says that it contains new interviews with Bill Pullman.  This is true, yet untrue, as what he says in the featurette is pulled directly from his commentary track (questions asked by Galluzzo on the track) and laid into the video featurette.  Still, the featurette is decent with the participants reminiscing about Wes Craven and what a pleasure he was to work with, as well as the history of Wade Davis’ book of the same name, voodoo ceremonies they attended, the special effects of the film, and shooting on location in Haiti.

People

Yet, one of the biggest problems is the lack of Wes Craven’s commentary on the film or interviewed in the featurette.  I do believe if his insight would have been on one or both, my opinion would be vastly different about this releasing.  Craven had done commentary to almost all of his films, and if you have ever listened to his commentary tracks, you already know they are some of the best tracks to listen to.  Craven was both funny and incisive, and you couldn’t help but be enthralled by listening to him talk about the making of his films.

But I have to send compliments to Shout! Factory for dedicating the Blu-Ray releasing in memory of Wes Craven.  That shows a lot of class from Shout! Factory and the impact the filmmaker had on so many people in the business of movie making and distributing, and to his fans around the world.  This small gesture has a huge impact when you see it on screen, and it brings tears to your eyes knowing the master is gone…

wes-craven-the-serpent-and-the-rainbow

wes-craven

As for the Blu-Ray 1080p transfer, Shout! Factory did a fantastic job restoring the film as they always do.  The colors are bright and vibrant and the darks are desolate and moody, which really enhances the whole voodoo madness feel of the film.  The sound in DTS is perfect and really puts you in the middle of the movie. I especially took notice to this when Pullman’s character, Dennis Alan, is being dug up from the grave after he’s been zombified; felt like someone was digging me out of a grave too, putting me right there with his character.

SerpentRainbow11

I know it sounds like I’m bashing this releasing, but really I’m not.  I’m glad that Shout! Factory put Serpent out on Blu-Ray Special Edition, especially since ‘The People Under the Stairs’ and ‘Shocker’ both got fantastic Shout! treatments – a great trilogy (unofficial) to have of Wes Craven’s films.  But this releasing just left me wanting more and a little bummed that we didn’t get what we should have.  For a film like ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’ and the recent passing of a horror icon, Shout! should have put more effort into this disc.  Much lesser films, with a less notable director and stars, have gotten better Blu-Ray releases than ‘The Serpent and The Rainbow’ has.

Serpent

7 out of 10 stars.

 

Halloween Returns with the Producer’s Cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

By

Frank Ford

With Halloween 6: The Producer’s Cut finally getting its own Blu-Ray release it should make hardcore fans happy to finally have this lost version of the film in HD.

Previously the only way one could get their hands on a copy was to buy a bootleg DVD off the internet.  Let’s face the facts here, the bootlegs were not great.  They were hard to see, grainy, the sound was terrible, making one feel as if they were watching something filmed off a movie screen in the late 90s when pirated VHS were flooding the streets.

The only other way, until now, to get your hands on a Blu-Ray HD copy of Halloween 6: The Producer’s Cut was to shell out eighty-some dollars for the 10 disc Halloween Collection, or over one-hundred dollars for the 15 disc Deluxe Edition; both contained the Producer’s Cut of the film.  This was a rip-off in my opinion; Anchor Bay has been milking every last cent from the Halloween series for years, sometimes putting out crap copies like the Blu-Ray editions of Halloween 4 & 5 with limited special features (less than what their DVD editions had) and with a twenty dollar price tag.  Though one could argue that they were Blu-Ray HD, but I still find the price outrageous!

But this week brings the solo copy of Halloween 6: The Producer’s Cut, and I must say that I was impressed with how the film looks and sounds.  The 1080p Letterbox HD transfer is crisp, vivacious, and clear, really giving one the impression that the film takes place during Halloween.  The sound is great in 5.1 DTS-HD and helps give the film the mood and feel The Producer’s Cut needs to tell its story.  The one down side to owning the disc is that there are no special features on it, which would have been a lot of fun to have.  That being said, the film is still a must own for any true Halloween fan.

Now that I have some of the technical issues out of the way, it brings me to the part of my review about The Producer’s Cut of the film.   But before I dive into the movie, I want to bring anyone who doesn’t know the story behind The Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6 up to date.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was written by Daniel Farrands, a die-hard Halloween fan who had the ugly task of trying to figure out who the man in black was in Halloween 5 and what that symbol tattooed on Michael Myers’ wrist meant.  What he did in his script was admirable; setting out to explain Michael Myers and the mythology around Halloween, a huge task while trying to tie all the films together.

Everyone liked Farrands’ idea and the script, including the producers and director, Joe Chappelle.

So they set out to make that film – somewhat.

Dimension sees the movie and lets a test audience see how the film’s playing, as is the model for a studio film.  The test audience does not like the movie, and Dimension wants to do re-shoots because they fear the film isn’t working in its current state.  They want more energy, more MTV-style music and editing, and more brutal killings in hopes to cash-in on the kids of the era going to see the movie – you have to remember this was the mid-90s, and underage kids getting in to see R-rated movies wasn’t really a big deal, unlike nowadays in our overly worried, PC world.

The re-shoots were ordered and over a third of the film was re-shot and edited.  The cult angle of the film was almost completely dropped, cutting a lot of Dr. Loomis’ and Dr. Wynn’s scenes in the process as well as changing major plot points in the film.  But there was a HUGE problem now.  Donald Pleasence (Dr. Sam Loomis) had passed away and they had to come up with a way to save the film and the more ambiguous ending was worked into the movie.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers came out on September 26 1995.  Though it had the biggest opening in franchise history to date, it was still a critical failure.

I will try to sum up the differences in the two versions of the film like this –

Theatrical version of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers:  chaotic, incoherent, mean, nasty, flashy, and fun.

Producer’s Cut version of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: story driven, more in-line with John Carpenter’s Halloween tone and feel, a thinking man’s Halloween.

To really compare the two is hard, as they are vastly different movies to one another.

I have always liked the theatrical version of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.   After Halloween 5, which is my least favorite, I found the new take on this movie refreshing and the flashy psychedelic cuts and music gave the film a breath of fresh air.  It was fast moving, yet very suspenseful at the same time.  To this day I still like the film, even though it has plot holes you can drive a dump truck through, and things are not fully fleshed out nor understood about the cult and Michael’s connection to them or Thorn in the theatrical version.

The Producer’s Cut solves a lot of these questions and gives backstory to Michael’s relation to the cult, Thorn, (the tattoo on Michael’s wrist) and why he’s unstoppable and wants to kill his entire family – starting with his sister Judith back in 1963.   The Producer’s Cut is very story driven, gone are all the flashy cuts, the gorier scenes (the exploding head, Jamie’s impalement) the whine of the guitar strings, and the fast pacing.  What we get is a fully enriched story that not only gives more insight to Michael and his actions, but dives into the mythology of Halloween itself – some of this is touched upon in the theatrical version of the film but it is just glossed over to quicken the pacing and get to the next suspense, action or kill scene.

The major difference in the two films is the aspect of the cult.  In the theatrical version of the movie, the cult is almost like a side note; you are never given a reason why the cult is in the movie or their agenda.  In the Producer’s Cut you find out how big of a role they played in Michael’s actions over the past four movies.

Sadly, dropping this aspect from the theatrical version of the film lost a lot of Donald Pleasence’s wonderful last performance.  He is truly astounding in this movie and has a lot of screen time.  In the theatrical cut of the movie, it’s almost like Loomis was a guest character – he has very little screen time and when he shows up in scenes they seem almost out of place.  Whereas in the Producer’s Cut, there is a reason for why he’s there – this is notable when Tommy runs into him at the hospital; in the theatrical cut it makes no sense that Loomis would be in the hospital the same time as Tommy.

Still the Producer’s Cut isn’t without its flaws.  As I’ve come to understand this was a working print of the film (first watchable cut) and when it was delivered to Dimension, the executives were told that work still needed to be done with the editing and some scenes needed to be tightened and fixed.  These flaws can be seen in the Producer’s Cut.  There are a few scenes that feel unfinished or out of place in the context of the film, and some plot details are still not fully fleshed out in this cut and leave you scratching your head in wonderment.

Do I think this version of Halloween would have made fans happier had they went with it for the theatrical release at the time?

No.

I believe had they released The Producer’s Cut of the film, people would still have been upset with the outcome.  The hardcore fans may (I use ‘may’ very loosely) have liked it, but I seriously doubt that.  The pacing and tone of the movie are far too slow for the average horror movie watcher, and anyone coming into the series at this point would be wondering what the hell is going on?  For a horror movie, and especially a horror movie in 1995, there is way too much story, making you feel like you are watching Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen than a Halloween movie.

Had they been able to combine both the theatrical cut and The Producer’s Cut of the movie (and I’d love to see someone tackle this) into one coherent piece, we would have gotten one of, if not the best, Halloween sequels to date, and it could have really saved the franchise at that point.

All-in-all Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: The Producer’s Cut is a really good, story-driven horror film that relies heavily on mood and tone, rather than flashy cuts and gore like its theatrical counterpart.  I highly recommend seeing it if you have not.  And even if you have seen one of the bootleg versions, I suggest picking up a copy on Blu-Ray and watch the film as it was meant to be seen.

8 out of 10

Invasion USA (Blu-Ray) Review

By

Frank Ford

Who do terrorist have nightmares about?

Chuck Norris!

invasion-usa-4

With the recent events in Belgium and France, and the nations battling terror around the world, I write this article with the utmost respect towards all countries, the families affected, and those who protect us and keep us safe from terrorism on a daily basis.  No, I’m not getting political in this review, but since Invasion U.S.A. deals with terrorism head-on (even if it’s in a Chuck Norris movie) I didn’t want to come across as unsympathetic towards the subject in my review of the Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray just released from Shout! Factory, and wanted to pay my respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice around the world.

Back in 1985 when Invasion U.S.A. was produced, there wasn’t the slightest thought that terrorism would hit the United States.  America had not seen a mass invasion since the war of 1812, even though the attack on Pearl Harbor was in 1941, Hawaii was not yet a state. America had thought their borders were secure from such an attack.  Even the tagline for Invasion U.S.A. reads: No one thought it could ever happen here…America wasn’t ready…but he was.

Inavasion-USA

But the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and later the 9/11 attacks changed America’s perception of terrorism forever.

It’s kind of strange to watch Invasion U.S.A. now and realize what is happening on the screen (though far-fetched; it is still an action movie and meant to entertain after all) is similar to the events that are taking place not just in America but in countries around the world as well.

As fun as it is to watch Invasion U.S.A. and recall the fond memories I had as a kid watching Chuck Norris dispatch as many bad guys as he could, I can’t help but feel a little sad that the world is actually facing a problem of this magnitude.

But with all that said, it should not deter you from enjoying the highly entertaining action flick with Chuck Norris at the height of his career.

inva

Invasion U.S.A. was Chuck’s second biggest box-office success, only second to Missing in Action which came out just the year prior.  Strangely, both of Chuck’s biggest hits were directed by Joseph Zito (The Prowler, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, and Red Scorpion) and produced by Cannon Films.

Missing_In_Action_1984_0019-MasterNorris_com

Chuck Norris in Missing in Action (1984)

The movie has a pretty straight forward plot: the terrorists group led by Soviet, Rostov, (the always excellent Richard Lynch) rage war on America by attacking shopping malls, churches, suburban streets, and major U.S. Cities in guerilla warfare style.

invasion-usa-04

But there is one man standing in Rostov’s way that he must kill before he can carry out his plan fully on America: ex-CIA agent, Matt Hunter, (Chuck Norris).  Big mistake!

invasion-usa

As serious as terrorism is in today’s culture, and the more realistic films we have gotten about the subject over the last several years, Invasion U.S.A. is a rather fun film to watch.  You can indulge in a ‘what-if scenario’ there was a guy like Matt Hunter out there going around cowboy-style protecting the innocent from the bad guys with no one to reign him in.

inva

This is a Cannon film after all.  Cannon films were always meant to be pure entertainment and nothing more – that’s what makes them so AWSOME! Movies like Invasion U.S.A. are meant to be enjoy on a fantasy, escapism level; to watch good overcome evil and not to be taken too literally even if the subject matter is real.

There are a lot of great actions sequences in the film, all done by real people on camera, no CGI here folks. They blow up real houses in a suburban neighborhood, totally destroy a real mall, and drive a pickup truck through a window while a human is hanging off the side – ah 1980s actions films were the best.  The scale and scope of the movie feels big (with only a budget of around 10 to 15 million, director Zito really maximized his money for the screen) and you get the sense that America is being overrun by a group of well-supplied terrorists who will stop at nothing until they see their plan come to fruition.

invasion-usa-7

Surprisingly though, Chuck Norris who’s known for his martial arts, does very little hand-to-hand fighting in this movie.  And, out of all of Chuck’s films, Matt Hunter is probably the darkest character he’s ever played. Hunter’s a no nonsense guy who tortures his victims for information, shoots firsts and ask questions later, and doesn’t blink an eye when it comes to taking out the bad guys in the film.

invasion-usa-3

Also Chuck Norris delivers one of the best lines ever captured on celluloid – don’t worry I won’t spoil it here, but it’s worth the price of the Blu-Ray for this line alone.

invasion-usa-

Richard Lynch is cast perfectly as the unhinged Rostov; he chews up every scene he’s in as the ultimate bad guy.  Rostov is such a nasty

dude that he jams a cocaine hooker’s face down into a metal straw as she snorts blow, and shoots not just ONE, but TWO men in the crotch in anger. Priceless!

invasionusa

INVASIONUSA-000

Little known fact: Invasion U.S.A. was going to have a sequel, but when Chuck Norris was uninterested, they reworked the script into Avenging Force (also produced by Cannon) and starred Michael Dudikoff as Matt Hunter.  Though the characters in both movies share the same name, the films have no connection to one other.

avengingForce

The Blu-Ray Collector’s Edition disc from Shout! Factory is well done with Commentary track from Director Joseph Zito (which is informative, fun, and entertaining).  New interview with writer James Burner.  New Interviews with Special Effects Masters Tom Savini, Howard Burger, and Greg Nicotero.  Theatrical Trailer, and TV Spots.

The Blu-Ray transfer looks great in 1080p and the sound in DTS puts you in the middle of the battles and fights.

Inavasion-USA

8 out of 10 stars.

If you’d like to pick up a copy you can order one here at The Crimson Screen.

www.thecrimsonscreen.com

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms4y7OXTRMM&w=560&h=314]