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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Species II and Species III/Species Awakening (Scream Factory Blu-rays)

SPECIES II

After enjoying the original Species I never went on to watch the sequels. They came out during a time when I was focusing on Euro Horror and less on Sci-Fi based, alien Horror. We all go through phases, and so when Scream Factory announced that they’d be releasing all of the sequels to Blu-ray, I knew this was a chance to check out movies that would clearly play on the gratuity of the original movie, with plenty of naked bodies on display, creature creation and effects awesome and, hopefully, a variation on the original story that could carry not just one sequel but three. We begin with Special II.

What a fun movie. This is the kind of over the top sequel with plenty of exploitative elements that doesn’t exactly drive a story forward, but really makes up for the lack of a cohesive series narrative. That means you should drop expectation of this being any bit as good as the original Species and allow yourself to have fun watching folks die at the hands (or tentacles) of a sexy mutation trying to find a genetically suitable mate. Of course this time the alien being is a dude instead of Natasha Henstridge but don’t worry, there are plenty of hot bodies on the screen. Henstridge is back mind you; just under a different name and with a different role. The effects are over the top and not wholly out of line with the original picture though the budget doesn’t feel quite as robust as in the original picture.

This release is jammed with extras. For a movie I barely batted an eye at when it was released, I’m shocked to see how much effort Scream Factory has afforded it interviews, featurettes both making of and creature creation and the standard bundle of stills and trailer. The art is traditional. The transfer looks good though not having seen this movie previously I cannot compare it to a previously release. I’ll simply say that it is a more modern film. The original print was in good condition and the transfer looks clean and crisp.

Bless that Michael Madsen. He makes every movie feel better than it is.


You can order your copy now via Scream Factory or DiabolikDVD:
https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-horror/species-ii

or

http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Horror-[sl]-Thriller/Species-II-(Scream-Factory)-(Blu~Ray).html

From Scream Factory:

Having just returned from a mission to Mars, Commander Ross (Justin Lazard) isn't exactly himself. He's slowly becoming a terrifying alien entity with a one-track mind – to procreate with human women!

When countless women suffer gruesome deaths while bearing half-alien offspring, scientist Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger) and hired assassin Press Lennox (Michael Madsen) use Eve (Natasha Henstridge), a more tempered alien clone, to find Ross and his virulent brood. But they underestimate Eve's maternal drive, and before long she escapes to mate with Ross in order to create a pure, unstoppable race that could spell doom for mankind.

As time is running out, the ultimate battle takes place in a chilling climax that puts Darwin's theory to the ultimate test... only the strongest species will survive.

Bonus Features

NEW From Sil To Eve – An interview With Actress Natasha Henstridge
NEW Creature Creations - Interviews With Creature & Special Make-up Effects Creator Steve Johnson, Supervising Cosmetic Designer Leonard MacDonald, Transformation Supervisor Joel Harlow, And Chrysalis Effects Supervisor William Bryan
NEW Alien Evolutions – An Interview With Screenwriter Chris Brancato
NEW Special Effects Outtakes & Behind-The-Scenes Footage
Audio Commentary With Director Peter Medak
Scenes From The Film Featuring Uncut Footage Not Shown In Theatres
Species II: Eve Of Destruction Featurette
Theatrical Trailer
Still Galleries – Posters, Lobby Cards, Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Special Effects Behind-The-Scenes Photos And H.R. Giger Sketches

 
Species III and Species The Awakening

With Species III and The Awakening I’m afraid the series takes a dip into repetitive regurgitation with little to drive the franchise except the name and the sexual aspect of the movie. Unfortunately even those elements that worked for the original two pictures don’t exactly stand out. The budgets are both subpar yielding inadequate new effects. Our solid actors are now replaced with a troop of C listers. The story line becomes the standard “daughter of the monster”  tale in Species III before becoming a strange road movie in The Awakening.

For however ordinary the series had become by the time the third and fourth installments had hit, Scream Factory continues to include a rather packed set of extras including five separate featurettes for Species III and a commentary. Species The Awakening has fewer extras including only two interviews, but I didn’t think the movie even deserved that. The cover art is both of the original poster/cover concepts in double feature fashion.

These are two movies made in the 2000’s that were clearly meant for the 1990’s. The audience had moved on from the power of genetic Horror after being wowed by the original Species and of course, Jurassic Park. What we have here are two movies attempting to dig up an audience that once loved Natasha Henstridge and parlet that sexual attraction into movie sales for an older audience who once snuck into an an auditorium to see boobs.

You can order your copy now via Scream Factory or DiabolikDVD:
https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-horror/species-iii-species-the-awakening-double-feature

or

http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Horror-[sl]-Thriller/Species-III-[sl]-Species:-The-Awakening-(Scream-Factory)-(Blu~Ray).html

From Scream Factory:

A Double-Dose Of Sci-Fi Terror, Uncut And Unrated!

SPECIES III

In the ongoing fight for supremacy between mankind and human-alien hybrids, a fatal weakness among the hybrids has given humans the advantage… until now. When Sara (Sunny Mabrey, Snakes On A Plane), the daughter of Eve (Natasha Henstridge, Species), is born, she develops into the most genetically perfect alien form yet! Seeking to repopulate Earth with her kind, this dangerously beautiful femme fatale heeds an overwhelming drive to mate... while a crack military team trails her in an attempt to end the war between the two species forever!


SPECIES – THE AWAKENING

When brilliant college professor Miranda Hollander (Helena Mattsson, American Horror Story) suffers a mysterious blackout and awakens amid the bloody aftermath of a mass slaughter, she turns to her uncle for answers. But when he reveals the shocking truth... that she's only half human, a clone from a hybrid of human and alien DNA, they must flee to Mexico to locate the scientist who created her. Soon they find themselves locked in battle with a horde of rampaging, unstoppable hybrids... and time is running out before Miranda will inevitably surrender to the killer instinct that lurks inside her own body!


Bonus Features

SPECIES III

Audio Commentary With Director Brad Turner, Writer Ben Ripley And Actor Robin Dunne
Alien Odyssey: Evolution Featurette
Alien Odyssey: Species DNA – Production Design Featurette
Alien Odyssey: Alien Technology Featurette
Alien Odyssey: Intelligent Lifeforms – Creature Design Featurette
Species III: Genesis Featurette
Trailer

SPECIES: THE AWAKENING

NEW Alien Awakenings – An Interview With Director Nick Lyon
NEW Miranda's Memories – Interview With Actress Helena Mattsson


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