Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy (Blu-ray)

THE FILMS:

Clive Barker’s 1987 British horror film Hellraiser is bloody, bizarre and entertaining, and introduced the globe to one particular of the most memorable second-tier horror villains, Pinhead. Like poor Drew Barrymore in Scream, who misidentified the villain in Friday the 13th, you could be surprised to understand that Pinhead has very small screen time in Hellraiser, and, while he and the Cenobites are present, the accurate villains are human. The violence is usually over-the-prime repulsive, as hooks, chains and clamps tear the flesh from bones, and the mystery of Frank Cotton, his lover and her stepdaughter carries the film. Hellraiser is fashionable, even though not totally logical, and remains an efficient blend of fantasy and horror. Practically twenty years after the film Roger Ebert named a “bankruptcy of imagination” was released, Hellraiser nonetheless frightens.

Cotton (Sean Chapman) has exhausted the carnal and drug-assisted thrills of reality, and opens a mystical puzzle box in hopes of reaching a new higher. What he finds is a fast, painful death at the hands of dimension-traveling Cenobites, ritually mutilated humanoids who can no longer inform the distinction amongst pleasure and pain. The man’s brother, Larry Cotton (Andrew Robinson), moves into identical home exactly where Frank Cotton died, and brings with him wife Julia (Clare Higgins). Semi-estranged daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) lives close by but dislikes stepmother Julia, who was sleeping with Frank. When Larry cuts his hand and drops of blood spill onto the attic floor, Frank is awakened and re-animated. The skinless terror then convinces Julia to murder men so he can feed on their flesh and total his transformation. Kirsty discovers what Julia is doing, and realizes that she and her father are in grave danger.

The majority of Hellraiser concerns Julia and Kirsty, and Higgins knocks it out of the park as the cold-as-ice enabler. The relationship in between Julia and Frank is strange and off-placing, but it drives the narrative. Julia is initially frightened of Frank, but swiftly becomes a true femme fatale, luring men back to the home just before killing them for her undead lover. Larry becomes entangled in the mess, and Kirsty re-opens the puzzle box to make a deal with Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and his minions to save her personal life in exchange for delivering them Frank. The Cenobites are creepy, the practical gore effects appropriately disgusting, and the overall mystery is compelling. Barker developed a memorable fantasy globe with this 1st film, and Hellraiser goes to unexpected areas. The pacing in the initial hour is a bit sluggish, but when the film finds its footing, it by no means lets up. Hellraiser: **** (out of *****).

The sequel came a year later, and picks up straight following the events of the initial film. If nothing else, Hellbound: Hellraiser II feels like a Clive Barker film, even though Barker turned the director’s chair more than to Tony Randel. Right here, Kirsty is haunted by visions of her dead father, who she fears is trapped in hell. 1 of her psychiatrists, Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham), searches for the Lament Configuration puzzle box, and convinces a mentally ill patient to spill blood on the mattress exactly where Julia died. This awakens the woman, who seduces Channard and kills far more of his sufferers to enhance her strength. Channard’s sins arouse the Cenobites, and Kirsty ends up in their dimension, trailed by Julia, and runs into a really angry Frank. This loved ones reunion in Hell is plagued by low cost sets and dodgy visual effects, but delivers a quicker pace and much more action than its predecessor.

There is a lot going on in Hellbound, and it’s apparent the quick turnaround did not enable Barker and screenwriter Peter Atkins to do a lot polishing of the script. Even so, the film expands the Hellraiser mythology nicely, and Higgins and Laurence once again give efficient performances. I like that Barker and firm took the story in a distinct direction whilst utilizing the original’s important players. Pinhead again requires a backseat to Julia, Kirsty and Frank, but we find out a bit far more about the Cenobites’ origins and the laws of their universe. Some scenes are scantily developed, and the film feels a lot more like a wild chase in its climax than horror. The greatest of the several sequels, Hellbound is a nice companion to the very first. Hellbound: Hellraiser II: ***1/2 (out of *****).

The Dimension Films logo at the starting of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth tells you a lot about what is coming. This second sequel, directed by Anthony Hickox, feels significantly less like a Hellraiser film than one of the studio’s several generic horror films released in the 1990s. Nevertheless, Hellraiser III is not without having its charms. Pinhead finally gets center stage right here, even though it borders on the standup-comedy-Freddy Krueger territory of later Nightmare on Elm Street films. Element three even has a stylish sex scene set to rock music, so you know it is 1992. I actually like a single core element of this story: Pinhead’s soul, or id, or one thing is split in two. There’s the WWI British Army Captain Elliot Spencer and his evil counterpart, present in Pinhead kind. Spencer gets stuck in limbo, and Pinhead is trapped on the Pillar of Souls seen briefly at the finish of the earlier film. A douchey nightclub owner (Kevin Bernhardt) buys the pillar, unaware of its origin, and awakens Pinhead, who forces the man to bring him souls.

The protagonist right here is a young reporter, Joey Summerskill (Terry Farrell), who witnesses a Pinhead victim get ripped apart in a hospital emergency room. With the support of the victim’s friend, Terri (Paul Marshall), Summerskill begins rooting about the nightclub, which becomes the scene of a violent massacre. Hellraiser III floats the concept that this Pinhead is breaking the rules of the Cenobite universe with no the humanity of Spencer to hold him in verify. That is fine, but I’m not certain the filmmakers even saw the preceding films if they think that Pinhead was some law-abiding Cenobite. This entry is also full of undesirable acting and over-the-best kills, which both aids and hurts the film’s entertainment worth. This is a silly film that feels out of place in the original trilogy, but it is responsible for bringing us leading-man Pinhead. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth: **1/2 (out of *****).

THE BLU-RAY COLLECTION:

Picture AND SOUND:

Horror fans waited numerous years for Arrow to release its Hellraiser box set in America. Released in both elaborate “Scarlet Box Restricted Edition” and standard trilogy variants in the UK, the trilogy initially receives only the much more elaborate release in America. Sadly, Arrow Video only provided verify discs for overview, hence I can not comment on the ultimate good quality of the image and sound. Nevertheless, even these screeners offer exceptional technical presentations, so I assume the final item is impressive. If I obtain a retail version in the future I will update this review.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

Even though I did not obtain the retail version, fans need to appreciate the elaborately packaged set, which includes all 3 movies on separate discs, a Blu-ray bonus disc and many physical extras, such as art cards, a booklet and poster. I can comment on the on-disc content material, which is excellent. On the Hellraiser disc you get Interviews with Sean Chapman, Stephen Thrower and Doug Bradley (26:24, 18:11 and 12:31, respectively) an substantial documentary, Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser (1:29:18) an Image Gallery, Television spots, Trailers, an Original EPK Featurette (5:58), a vintage featurette, Hellraiser: Resurrection (24:26) a Commentary with Writer/Director Clive Barker and a Commentary with Clive Barker and Ashley Laurence.

On the second disc you get a Commentary with Director Tony Randel and Writer Peter Atkins a Commentary with Tony Randel, Peter Atkins and Ashley Laurence Leviathan: The Story of Hellbound: Hellraiser II (two:00:46) Interviews with Sean Chapman and Doug Bradley (11:35 and 10:53, respectively) an excised Surgeon Scene (4:49) a Lost in the Labyrinth featurette (17:03) an On-Set Interview with Clive Barker (3:18), On-Set Interviews with the Cast and Crew (four:45) Behind-the-Scenes Footage (1:51) Storyboards Tv Spots and Trailers.

On disc 3 you get an Alternate Unrated Version (96:38) a Commentary with Writer Peter Atkins a Commentary with Director Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley Hell on Earth: The Story of Hellraiser III (32:01) Interviews with Paul Marshall, Anthony Hickox and Doug Bradley (14:55, 14:00 and 13:46, respectively) SFX Dailies (23:49) an EPK featurette (five:12) the Theatrical Trailer and an Image Gallery.

The fourth disc is the Clive Barker Legacy bonus material. It contains featurette Books of Blood and Beyond (19:25) documentary Hellraiser: Evolutions (48:17) and 3 Short Films (31:40, 18:29 and 42:59, respectively).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Fans of the Hellraiser series will want to speedily order this Limited Edition Scarlet Box Trilogy before it sells out. Though a normal Blu-ray trilogy is likely on the horizon, this version is reasonably priced and handsomely packaged. Clive Barker’s original film is daring, bloody and unique, and the two integrated sequels offer their own thrills. If the final solution mirrors the screener discs sent to DVD Talk, the technical presentations should impress, and the set includes a daunting quantity of bonus characteristics. Extremely Advisable for horror fans.

William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and appears forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

What Do You Consider?


Blu-Ray Reviews


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The Member of the Wedding: Limited Edition (Blu-ray)

&#13 Frances “Frankie” Addams, the lanky and reckless 12 year-old tomboy at the heart of Fred Zinnemann’s The Member of the Wedding (1952). is uncomfortable in her personal skin. She’s not afraid to let everybody know it, either: her patient housekeeper Berenice Brown (Ethel Waters), her sickly but precocious young cousin John Henry (Brandon de Wilde), her “pals” from college and the neighborhood, her all-but absentee father (William Hansen) and, most lately, her dear older brother Jarvis (Arthur Franz) and his lovely fiancée Janice (Nancy Gates), who will be married within the week. It is this latest event that is gotten Frankie (Julie Harris) particularly worked up: there is nothing at all for her in this modest Southern town—at least nothing at all she desires, apparently—and one particular of her final remaining remnants of a content childhood is leaving for his honeymoon in a matter of days. For Frankie, The Member of the Wedding is a turbulent coming-of-age story for the audience, it really is a litmus test for anybody who thinks they are prepared to raise a teenager.&#13

&#13 Primarily based on Carson McCullers’ extremely effective 1946 novel (and in turn, the well-known 1950 Broadway production that also starred Harris, Waters, and de Wilde), The Member of the Wedding remains a spirited slice of Southern drama that, despite a quantity of nagging faults, does a decent job of adapting the source material. It’s not possible to get by way of any write-up of the film without mentioning that the 12 year-old Frankie was portrayed by Harris at age 26—and to her credit, it’s a nicely-which means and memorable performance that is much more genuine than distracting. Nevertheless, there are issues right here: Harris—and to a lesser extent, her two returning co-stars–look so comfortable with the material in its stage format that they typically aim for the back seats: this is in no way much more evident than Frankie’s violent outbursts, which sooner or later wear thin on the ears of all but the most patient viewers. I quickly found myself far more interested in Berenice (along with her foster brother “Honey”, played by James Edwards), John Henry, and the newlyweds.&#13

&#13 Nonetheless, The Member of the Wedding has far more than its fair share of excellent moments: the lead trio usually impresses when they are in the identical area, and the downward spiral of Frankie’s emotional balance as the wedding approaches is fascinating in its raw, unfiltered presentation. It really is the type of film that’s effortless to get wrapped up in engaging sufficient the first time, but 1 whose bleak backdrop and steady, unsettling momentum is not specifically high on replay worth. It really is suggested to mature viewers who went via a equivalent knowledge for the duration of young adulthood…but for every person else, The Member of the Wedding will likely maintain you at as well considerably of a distance to make a lasting effect.&#13

&#13 Luckily, Twilight Time’s sparkling new Blu-ray package guidelines the scales in its favor, serving up a pristine A/V presentation and a properly-rounded collection of old and new bonus characteristics that dissect the film and its source material in fairly sturdy detail. It really is at least worth a rental for any person halfway interested in this production…but considering its final house video release was a 2008 DVD (portion of a boxed set highlighting the profession of producer Stanley Kramer), this belated but welcome bump to high definition will make Twilight Time’s disc a have to-have for die-difficult fans of the film.&#13

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&#13 Presented in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, this crisp 1080p transfer is a fine work that eclipses Sony’s 2008 DVD in every division, even although it seems to be taken from the very same source elements. Image detail and texture are quite impressive with strong black levels (specifically throughout the outdoor scenes), great contrast, and no glaring amounts of dirt and debris along the way. Digital imperfections are kept to a minimum, with no excessive noise reduction, contrast boosting, or compression problems to speak of. Either way, this is prime-tier work that represents The Member of the Wedding‘s ideal house video presentation to date for that alone, lengthy-time fans need to be thrilled.&#13


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&#13 The principal alternative (aside from an Isolated Music Track, presented in lossless two.) is a DTS-HD Master Audio 1. mix that preserves the film’s one-channel roots. This is a relatively sturdy work with crisp dialogue and occasional moments of depth, whilst background effects and Alex North’s music cues rarely fight for interest. Volume levels and dynamic variety are steady from start to finish even though it is obviously significantly less wealthy in comparison to larger-spending budget films, The Member of the Wedding sounds younger than its age implies. Optional English SDH subtitles are incorporated in the course of the film.&#13

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&#13 The interface is plain but perfectly functional, with fast loading time and the bare minimum of pre-menu distractions. This 1-disc release arrives in a common keepcase with striking black-and-white artwork and a good little Booklet featuring production stills, vintage promotional artwork, and the usual essay penned by TT typical Julie Kirgo.&#13

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&#13 Aside from the Isolated Score described above and a new Audio Commentary with Suzanne Vega, Derek Botelho, and David Del Valle, everything of interest from the 2008 DVD is also on board (with the exception of a quick Julie Harris video clip, but it did not add much). These recycled extras contain an older Audio Commentary—this time with Virginia Spencer Carr, author of Carson McCullers’ biography—as effectively as two mid-length Featurettes (“The Journey from Stage to Film” and “The Planet of Carson McCullers”, 25 minutes total), a brief Introduction by Stanley Kramer’s widow Karen, and the film’s original Trailer. Overall, it’s a effectively-rounded collection of bonus attributes that fans must take pleasure in from start to finish they look and sound quite excellent too, although the lack of optional subtitles is disappointing.&#13

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&#13 Fred Zinnemann’s The Member of the Wedding examines a quantity of universal themes that still carry weight today, making this turbulent drama a serviceable adaptation of the original Broadway play…and porting more than the three lead performers seems like a logical fit. Yet its stage roots are all as well evident in some respects: Julie Harris aims for the back seats, whilst many moments really feel overly rehearsed as an alternative of all-natural. Due to the intensity of its central character, The Member of the Wedding must appeal far more to those who went through a similar predicament in the course of young adulthood I didn’t, so Frankie’s plight didn’t resonate as deeply as it may well for a person else (it is also why I identified myself much a lot more interested in the largely neglected supporting characters). Nonetheless, it really is aged effectively sufficient for a 64 year-old period drama, and Twilight Time’s Blu-ray is a perfectly nicely-rounded effort with strong A/V marks and a handful of sturdy bonus attributes. Firmly Advised to established fans newcomers could want to rent it very first.&#13

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Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey by day and film reviewer by evening. He also does freelance style function, teaches art classes and runs a site or two. In his restricted cost-free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs and writing in third person.&#13


Blu-Ray Testimonials


Lilies of the Field: Limited Edition (Blu-ray)

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&#13 Ralph Nelson’s Lilies of the Field (1963), adapted from William Edmund Barrett’s novel from a year earlier, remains one of star Sidney Poitier’s most memorable and iconic roles. Of course, it is virtually better recognized as the one particular which earned him the Oscar for Ideal Actor that year, a historic win that hadn’t been matched since Hattie McDaniel’s efficiency in Gone with the Wind virtually 25 years earlier. Lilies of the Field is also notable for a folk-tinged, memorable score by the late Jerry Goldsmith, then just nine years into his prolific profession that would last four far more decades.&#13

&#13 The story is about as simple as motion pictures get: it really is got the absolute bare minimum of setup, permitting this character-driven drama to unfold at a relaxed pace. Ex-G.I. Homer Smith (Poitier) stops for water at a farm in Arizona, obliged by a group of European nuns led by “Mother Maria” (Lilia Skala). There’s an apparent language gap as the women know quite small English, but Maria instantly understands one point: the strapping young Smith (dubbed “Schmidt” by the group) has been sent by divine circumstances to create a chapel on the property. He’s a skilled handyman—a jack-of-all-trades, even—but reluctant to assist: it’s a large job for a single man, they have quite tiny funds, and he doesn’t share their Catholic faith. But pride wins out: before he knows it, “Schmidt” is laying bricks and sharing meals with his new hostesses, unsure of exactly where they’ll get the rest of the considerably-required supplies. He’s also teaching them a bit of English along the way, whether by means of conversation or song (in certain, Southern Baptist gospel music).&#13

&#13 Most movies, message-driven or otherwise, reside or die by their lead functionality and Lilies of the Field is no exception. Luckily, Poitier is his usual magnetic self and carries the film with a charismatic, quickly accessible performance. It’s the film’s most apparent saving grace (pun intended), and a single of the causes why Lilies of the Field is still enjoyable in spite of getting so firmly rooted in the previous. It may possibly as effectively be a hundred years old at this point, but that is just element of the charm. Goldsmith’s score is not far behind it’ll most likely be stuck in your head for hours afterward.&#13

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&#13 New audiences unfamiliar with Lilies of the Field‘s message, on the other hand, may not be entirely won over. I first saw it throughout my late single-digit years and enjoyed the surface-level story, in no way fully processing that the film was truly playing to a particular kind of religious audience. Whilst the back-and-forth debating among “Schmidt” and the nuns can be appreciated by those of all beliefs (or lack thereof), there is a robust undercurrent of higher school-level philosophy that actually rubbed me the wrong way one particular man even describes his faith as “life insurance coverage” by way of Pascal’s paper-thin Wager. It is just one particular of several eye-rolling moments for those who cannot fully embrace Lilies of the Field‘s sometimes narrow sentiments…but to the film’s credit, it overcomes the restricted scope with (largely) 3-dimensional characters and a slow but steady pace that feels excellent for a relaxing weekend matinee. &#13

&#13 Initially released on DVD by MGM back in 2001, Lilies of the Field was offered a slight DVD upgrade by Kino significantly less than six months ago of course, any person familiar with MGM titles should’ve recognized a Twilight Time Blu-ray was right about the corner, as they at present hold exclusive high-def rights to the studio’s huge back catalog. It really is been worth the wait, too: Twilight’s Blu-ray serves up an improved A/V presentation, even adding a few thoughtful extras for very good measure. Those with fond memories of the film (followed by a 1979 sequel starring Billy Dee Williams, yet to be released on disc) need to definitely contemplate an upgrade, thanks to its straightforward charms and apparent replay worth.&#13

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Video &amp Audio High quality&#13
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&#13 Presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, this crisp 1080p transfer (supplied by MGM, and exclusive to this release) is a extremely good work that easily eclipses both Kino’s 2015 DVD release and the much older MGM disc. Image detail and texture are quite impressive with sturdy black levels (specifically throughout the numerous outdoor scenes), good contrast, and no glaring amounts of dirt and debris along the way. Digital imperfections are kept to a minimum in truth, my only nitpick is what appears to be trace amounts of noise reduction…despite the fact that to be quite truthful, it could just be that the film grain is much a lot more noticeable in particular shots. Either way, this is nonetheless best-tier function that represents Lilies of the Field‘s ideal property video presentation to date for that alone, lengthy-time fans must be thrilled.&#13


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&#13 DISCLAIMER: These compressed and resized screen captures are strictly decorative and do not represent the Blu-ray beneath overview.&#13
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&#13 The major option (aside from an Isolated Music Track with limited effects, presented in lossless two.) is a DTS-HD Master Audio 1. mix that preserves the film’s one particular-channel roots. This is a relatively strong work that attributes crisp dialogue and occasional moments of slight depth, even though background effects and Jerry Goldsmith’s music cues (and, of course, the on-screen singing) rarely fight for attention. Volume levels and dynamic variety are steady from start off to finish even though it’s naturally significantly less complete and wealthy in comparison to much more contemporary films, Lilies of the Field sounds a decade or two younger than its age implies. Optional English SDH subtitles have been included throughout the principal feature.&#13

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Menu Design and style, Presentation &amp Packaging
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&#13 The interface is plain but perfectly functional, with rapid loading time and the bare minimum of pre-menu distractions. This a single-disc release arrives in a standard keepcase with striking black-and-white artwork and a good little Booklet featuring production stills, vintage promotional artwork, and the usual essay penned by TT normal Julie Kirgo.&#13

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Bonus Features
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&#13 Aside from the Isolated Score described above, we also get a full-length Audio Commentary with film historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo, and Nick Redman, as properly as the film’s lengthy Theatrical Trailer. The commentary, as expected, is a properly-rounded and entertaining track, with lots of historical tidbits and dissection of the principal themes. Even though more first-hand participation or vintage extras would’ve been appreciated (Poitier’s Oscar acceptance speech?), the simple reality that there’s far more work here than both prior DVDs ought to please die-hard fans of the film.&#13

Final Thoughts

&#13 Ralph Nelson’s Lilies of the Field isn’t star Sidney Poitier’s greatest film…but it is one particular of his ideal performances, and that alone makes it worth watching. The film’s charm can be a tiny deceptive, although: it tries attractive to all audiences but might distance those who never share its faith, drawing a line in the sand that most likely should’ve been left alone. Yet this clearly dated production still endures due to Poitier’s terrific (and rightfully award-winning) lead efficiency and Jerry Goldsmith’s memorable score. Either way, Twilight Time’s new Blu-ray must appeal to established fans, serving up a robust A/V presentation and more bonus characteristics than both earlier DVDs. Those new to the film should try out the considerably cheaper DVDs first, but interested parties will get their money’s worth. Suggested.&#13

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Randy Miller III is an affable workplace monkey by day and film reviewer by evening. He also does freelance design function, teaches art classes and runs a website or two. In his restricted cost-free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs and writing in third person.&#13


Blu-Ray Critiques


Vampires (Limited Edition Series) (Blu-ray)

THE FILM:

John Carpenter directed my favorite film, Halloween, and many others that I love, including The Fog and The Thing. That earns him a permanent pass on lesser projects, at least in my book. Carpenter’s more recent films lack the legacy and longevity of his earlier works, but Vampires is a solid B-movie for an A+ director. Released in 1998 before the onslaught of terrible vampire movies that continues today, this gory Western is the rare film in which James Woods plays the good guy. Based on John Steakley’s novel “Vampire$ ,” Carpenter’s film stumbles over its convoluted plot and unlikeable characters but is a bloody, often-exciting homage to legendary Western filmmaking.

Carpenter had a hell of a run in the 1980s, when his career peaked, and released a handful of interesting projects in the early 1990s, including Body Bags, In the Mouth of Madness and Village of the Damned. The plot of Vampires is uncharacteristically complicated for a Carpenter film and involves a lot of hastily explained backstory. Jack Crow (Woods) and Anthony Montoya (Daniel Baldwin) are vampire hunters paid by the Catholic Church, which long ago created the first vampire. Crow’s boss, Cardinal Alba (Maximilian Schell), urges Crow to allow Father Adam Guiteau (Tim Guinee) to join the hunt for Jan Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith), the original, all-powerful vampire. The film retains hints of the novel, but loses much of its plot about the monetization of vampire hunting.

The opening sequence is thrilling: Crow and company roll up to a vampire safe house in daylight to execute a cleanse. There are human casualties, but Crow manages to harpoon several bloodsuckers and drag them to a fiery death. Later, Crow and Montoya party with strippers at a seedy hotel, where Valek attacks them. One of the women, Katrina (Sheryl Lee), is bitten, and becomes a human compass of sorts, as she is able to forecast Valek’s location and behavior. The guys use her to track Valek as she comes closer to turning into a vampire. The middle of Vampires is somewhat dull, and the film spins its wheels with too much character building for Crow and Father Guiteau. The chase to locate Valek is what viewers want to see, and Vampires never lays the appropriate groundwork to make the Catholic-warrior mythology compelling.

Obviously emulating the works of John Ford and Sam Peckinpah, Carpenter nicely weaves the supernatural into the Western framework. Vampires rise from the desert sand to serve their master, and Carpenter stages a number of impressive action set pieces in the final act, where the film’s pulse quickens considerably. I wish these characters were better written, as I enjoy watching Woods and Baldwin no matter their roles. As they stand, Woods’s Crow is ceaselessly grouchy and one-dimensional, and Baldwin’s Montoya does a near-instantaneous 180 from potential rapist to knight in shining armor. Katrina turns into the film’s unlikely hero. Leave it to Carpenter to empower the stripper. Vampires is technically strong, which is no surprise given the talent behind the camera, with a sparse, unique Carpenter score and some impressive practical effects from Greg Nicotero and KNB Effects. This is lesser Carpenter, sure, but that makes it better than most horror films.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Twilight Time releases Vampires on Blu-ray for Sony, which provides a strong 2.35:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer. The entire presentation is pleasingly film-like, with evenly resolved grain and excellent fine-object detail. The desert landscapes are sharp and deep, and the image lacks aliasing and shimmer. Carpenter gives the film a desert-tan look, which occasionally results in blown-out highlights and hot skin tones. Black levels are inky, but black crush does at times creep into the image, which creates heavy shadowing. This is not a big problem, and I did not spot DNR or edge enhancement.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix benefits from good fidelity and balance. Dialogue is clear and uninterrupted by effects and score. Carpenter’s score is given appropriate respect, and action effects are quite raucous. Gunfire, hand-to-hand combat and vampire shrieks pan the sound field, and the subwoofer rumbles to life throughout. A 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is also included, as are English SDH subtitles.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

Released as part of Twilight Time’s “Limited Edition Series,” Vampires arrives in a clear case with an accompanying booklet. Extras include Twilight Time’s trademark Isolated Score Track, in lossless audio; The Making of John Carpenter’s Vampires (5:53/SD), a vintage EPK featurette; and the film’s Theatrical Trailer (1:41/SD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

My favorable opinion of John Carpenter’s filmmaking probably sways my judgment on his Vampires, which is far from his best film. Even so, this bloody Western has its moments. The plot is overly complicated, and James Woods and Daniel Baldwin deserve better characters. The action and nods to John Ford and other Western filmmakers are pleasing, and Twilight Time’s Blu-ray is an excellent way to enjoy this B-movie. Highly Recommended.

William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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