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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Double Feature of Double Features: Cellar Dweller, Catacombs, The Outing and Godsend

Ever get the feeling like you want to blast Queensryche’s Empire while reviewing Blu-rays? That just happened to be with the newest double shot of double features coming from Scream Factory since Cellar Dweller is on the docket. Now I’ve reviewed all of these movies before when they were released as part of the All Night Horror Movie Marathon 4 packs that came out from Scream Factory via DVD. I’m going to repost my comments from those reviews concerning content, but will update some info regarding my second viewing experience with these titles in such a short period of time concerning the durability and rewatchability. Of course I’ve included notes about the quality of the Blu-ray for the updated releases. The most important thing to take away from this review will be this: the quality on the Blu-rays is far superior to the DVD releases and should be purchased accordingly especially if you waited for the Blu-ray releases. I’ve included a couple screen caps of each to demonstrate differences.

Cellar Dweller/Catacombs

First off, I prefer the menus on the All Night Movie Marathon discs. They had that grindhouse dusty and scratch to them, but that’s just my personal preference. The new menus are crisp, clear and vibrant. This is probably going to be much more to your liking.



Cellar Dweller saw the most improvement of any of the Blu-rays. Not only do we get the benefit of lighter, more detailed picture quality that allows for awesome detail, we get a wider aspect ratio allowing for more content on screen. These releases all come with a disclaimer stating that they may not come from camera negatives, but they are clearly not VHS rips. They are filmlike and though not perfect, there is simply more info on the screen. Cellar Dweller is a must watch piece of Jeffrey Combes history, perfect for comic book fans, 80’s horror nuts and boob lovers everywhere.

Catacombs also looks more clear and full of details. I was not the biggest fan of Catacombs upon my first viewing of the movie, but I’ve grown to appreciate the final sequence. David Schmoeller is a true gift to the horror world, and the creepy opening sequence combined with a nice finish drowns out some of the slow moving middle ground. This is classic 80’s occult horror without the hair metal and with less gore. It’s for the more sophisticated audience I supposed.  Definitely a better experience this time around. Remember to enjoy the Schmoeller commentary included as an extra.

From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer


From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer

From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer

 
From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer


From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer

Original sentiment from my Liberal Dead review about Catacombs:

This is where I get off. I’m afraid that my beloved director David Schmoeller didn’t exactly do me a solid when he created Catacombs. Schmoeller is the evil genius behind Crawlspace (also release this past year by Scream Factory) and one of my all time favorite horror movies, Tourist Trap. Hey, there’s a beast of the apocalypse under this here monastery… and I couldn’t give a rats ass. Aside from the opening sequence, I found this to be snoozer. This is another Empire production from 1993 (thought it was shot in 1988) and was also release under the alternate title Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice. At least as a bad direct to video sequel it stands a chance at being shit-loved. Sorry to Schmoeller. I actually feel bad about being so mean to one of his movies.

Original sentiment about Cellar Dweller from the crossover review, posted on Doc Terror:

This has got to be the movie that absolutely had me. I had thought I had previously watch Cellar Dweller, but I was wrong and I’m mad. This comic book based feature has some amazing artwork, awesome music, EC homages direct and indirect as well as fun effects, campy at times and gruesome others. We’re talking about a feature that should be watched often and should have seen a proper release years before this. Jeffrey Combs is brilliant, the women are hottie hot hot hot and there’s plenty of loose clothing. Some of my favorite cheeseball acting from the males. We even named a band after this one, The Third Street Cellar Dweller’s based on my enthusiastic love of the cover art.

From Scream Factory:

CELLAR DWELLER
1987 / Color / Not Rated / New HD Transfer!

The promising career of a horror comic book artist ends in a fiery death when he confronts the bloody carnage of his own imagination in his studio. Years later, an ardent devotee of the artist's work becomes a resident in his house, now an art academy, unaware that her imagination has revived the grotesque murderer of the past...and that she may be the next victim.


Trailer not from Scream Factory (and liberties taken on the music)

CATACOMBS
1988 / Color / Rated R / New HD Transfer!

For over 400 years, the curse of the Abbey at San Pietro was kept a secret. Buried deep beneath the monastery lies the Beast of the Apocalypse. The power of evil is unleashed when an American priest and a beautiful young schoolteacher uncover the unholy terror of a diabolical spell cast centuries ago. Now, it will take the ultimate sacrifice to stop the curse that will not be denied.

Trailer not from Scream Factory



The Outing/Godsend

This release also has an updated menu, removing the grindhouse flair and going for a more polished look. This is in keeping with the HD transfers for this release. Not my preference, but it absolutely makes sense. New buyers won’t notice this difference, but I suspect will certainly appreciate the quality.

Both the Outing and Godsend are clearer, detailed versions with this updated transfer. There’s simply more information on screen and both features look great on big screen TV. Both movies faired strong my first review out, and I think my appreciation for Godsend has grown some. That’s one terrifying movie especially if you’re a parent. The Outing continues to be the fun, creative kill by number flick it was the first time only more clear this time out.

From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer

From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer

From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer

From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer

From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer

From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer

From the All Night Horror Marathon DVD
From the new Scream Factory HD Transfer


Excerpt from The Outing review from Doc Terror:
True fun, camp 80’s classic. Let’s lock everyone in an X and then set something loose to kill them ALL. Make sure they get naked and die horrific strange deaths. Split them in half in a swimming pool using crazy green electric spooky light, attack them with a giant Djinn, have snakes tear at their flesh or have them dropped on an axe blade. This is what a horror movie in the 80’s was. It’s iconic; the perfect example of an 80’s splatter film that hoped to be bigger than it’s budget might ever allow. The opening sequence is 15 minutes of some of the best horror I’ve seen in ages (camp classic horror mind you). Worth the price of the whole disc which wasn’t that much to begin with.

Excerpt from Godsend reviewed by Doc Terror:
Disturbed the shit out of me. You magically find a woman and adopt her child who then proceeds to kill your other kids one at a time. It’s like the Omen with siblings. There can be only one! Having kids and somehow taking the camped up acting seriously didn’t help me, but I loved it. I actually was tense. Brilliant suspense, excellent ending score by Roger Webb and solid performances by all including the baddest of the bad seeds. If this isn’t on your kid horror list, you haven’t seen it.

From Scream Factory:

THE OUTING (AKA The Lamp)
1987 / New HD Transfer!

An ancient genie is released from a lamp when thieves ransack an old woman's house. They are killed and the lamp is sent to a museum to be studied. The curator's daughter is soon possessed by the genie and invites her friends to spend the night at the museum, along with some uninvited guests.


Trailer not from Scream Factory

THE GODSEND
1980 / New HD Transfer!

When a strange woman has her baby at the Marlowe's house, then disappears, Kate Marlowe is forced to keep the baby, Bonnie. She loves the child, but when her own children are systematically killed, suspicion turns to Bonnie.

Trailer not from Scream Factory

Remember that the fans clamored for these titles to be put on Blu-ray as opposed to the DVD format they were initially released upon. That means that you should support these titles. The number one complaint I saw for the original marathon discs was that they were not Blu-ray and not surprisingly the quality suffered. They were watchable and it was nice to get these titles on discs on DVD in any format, but the fact is that now you have no excuse to avoid these releases.



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