Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Just Desserts (Synapse Films Blu-ray) - Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!

Michael Felsher is an experienced documentary creator who has worked on a number of short subject works for the films that you love and has been a prominent force to be reckoned with in the past couple of years. Pick a movie you love and then search his IMDB credentials to see if he has ever had a hand in creating a doc for it as a director or even as an editor (check out his IMBD HERE: With the new release of Just Desserts on Blu-ray from Synapse, we go back in time to 2007 just as Felsher was beginning to make an impact in the documentary and informative video short world. Synapse Films always delivers a nice package for the full length features, and this documentary much like their work on Document of the Dead, is exceptional. Now we get the perfect storm of caring, thoughtful document filmmaker with label that always chooses quality over quantity of releases. As a Creepshow fan, this is very exciting for me. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I helped crowdfund this the Blu-ray release of this project. I am a happy funder who got exactly what he paid for if not more.

The heart of this release is the full length documentary from Felsher that provides interviews with the major players on the release as well as some a few faces with which you may not be familiar. That’s actually great for the doc and gives you a well-rounded perspective on the production rather than just listening to George Romero tell you about the big picture. Romero, Savini, Wrightson, Harrison (he’s more than just a great composer folks) are all prominent. You get a few words from Adrienne Barbeau and Ed Harris. Stephen King is missing from the roster as are some of the more prominent actors. Some have passed on of course and it would appear that we are without archival interviews to use. Others may have been inaccessible at the time, but the stories about those folks are just as valuable as the words that might have come from their mouths. Is it disappointing? It is. You know what won’t be disappointing? Seeing Tom Atkins talk about hitting Stephen King’s son. That story never gets old.

I would also note that I think the opportunity to include more about Creepshow 2 and Tales from the Darkside as well as commentary on Creepshow 3 would have been appropriate, but I would imagine that budgetary restrictions might mean the focus on the doc had to be concise. Also Creepshow 3 was just hitting when this documentary was being put together (probably at the tail end). I would be unfair to assume that there would have been access to this picture anyway for the crew. I say all this to address my own fan boy desires that many of you may share rather than to offer it as true critique of a very well-put-together feature.

Just Desserts looks excellent on Blu-ray especially for a low budget independent effort. The transitions between scenes/chapters are well organized and the segues are in theme with the Creepshow vibe. The cover is just brilliant. A fun mashup of the movie. One of the great things about Creepshow is the artwork that surrounds the marketing of the movie which I feel the documentary took to heart in the physical release outside of the UK Blu-ray. Perhaps an effort to explore the fandom that surround some of the art might have been appropriate given the wide diversity of one sheets and video releases. Collector culture loves Creepshow.

The extras are off the hook. Yeah there’s extended interviews with those folks featured in the movie itself. That’s just great, but what you really want are the juicy bits. The Horrors Hallowed Ground that shows you the shooting locations as they are now. That’s a favorite of mine especially as a Horror movie tourist. You do get some rare cast/crew interviews in the vintage magazine segment. It’s a nice addition to the doc. The inclusion of Scream Great Volume 1 that even includes a Savini commentary track is tremendous. The quality of that isn’t great, but it’s a way to watch it legally.

This is a must purchase documentary for any fan of Creepshow even if you have the documentary on the UK release of Creepshow. The doc itself is fully of juicy stories that will give you gory goosebumps. The extras are complete, and characteristic of a Synapse’s commitment to releases that include everything possible. I’m impressed, and I’m glad I was able to contribute in some small way by participating in the funding campaign. The inclusion of the additional Savini content was a great opportunity.

You can purchase Just Desserts now from Synapse Films or DiabolikDVD.

From Synapse Films:

Production year: 2007 Not Rated Genre: Horror
Director: Michael Felsher
Cast: George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Ed Harris

In 1982, Author Stephen King, and Director George A. Romero collaborated on a feature-film tribute to the controversial EC comics of the 1950s. Told through five jolting tales of terror, CREEPSHOW has become a celebrated horror classic over the past three decades. With an all-star cast and featuring groundbreaking special effects by genre legend Tom Savini, CREEPSHOW stands as a horrific and hilarious tribute to the stories that helped influence (and corrupt) a generation of writers and filmmakers. Now the tales behind the creation of this chilling masterpiece can finally be told!

Featuring rare behind-the-scenes footage and photographs, JUST DESSERTS: THE MAKING OF CREEPSHOW also contains over a dozen interviews, including George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins and many others. These are the terrifying stories behind the film that promised you... The Most Fun You'll Ever Have... BEING SCARED!

Bonus Features:
•Audio Commentary with Director & Editor Michael Felsher
•Audio Commentary featuring interviews with Actor John Amplas, Property Master Bruce Alan Miller, and
•Make-Up Effects Assistant Darryl Ferrucci
•Creepshow Days -- An interview with Director of Photography Director Michael Gornick
•Extended Interview Segments with George A. Romero, Tom Savini, and Bernie Wrightson
•Behind The Screams -- A compilation of on-set video footage from Tom Savini
•Horror's Hallowed Grounds with Sean Clark
•Scream Greats Volume One: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects with Optional Audio Commentary with Tom Savini
•Vintage 1982 Evening Magazine Segment shot on the set of the film, featuring rare cast and crew interviews
•Behind-The-Scenes of CREEPSHOW Photo Gallery

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