Offbeat Blu-ray Review: Sisters – The Criterion Collection

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hitchcockmaster

Spine #89

Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Criterion Collection (USA)

Release Date: October 23, 2018

Region: Region A

Length: 01:32:42

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: English Mono Linear PCM Audio (48 kHz, 1152 kbps, 24-bit)

Subtitles: English SDH

Ratio: 1.85:1

Bitrate: 34.71 Mbps

Notes:The Criterion Collection had previously released a DVD edition, but this is the film’s Blu-ray debut.

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WARNING:This article contains spoilers. We prefer not to discuss a film’s plot in intricate detail so that spoilers aren’t an issue, but it was necessary to compare very specific elements in Sisters to those found in Alfred Hitchcock’s work. We apologize in advance.

De Palma 1973 Brian De Palma in 1973

“I have found that people who like and are knowledgeable about Hitchcock also like Sisters—they know the references I am making to his films and they seem to appreciate it all the more for that. Which is good, because you could so easily…

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Blu-ray Review: Strait-Jacket / Berserk!

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Blu-ray Downlow

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Distributor: Mill Creek Entertainment

Release Date: September 25, 2018

Region: Region A

Length:

Strait-Jacket – 01:32:52

Berserk! – 01:36:18

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 1.0 English Mono Uncompressed PCM Audio

Subtitles: English SDH

Ratio: 1.85:1

Notes:“Strait-Jacket” was recently given its own individual release from Shout! Factory (which used a slightly different encoding of the same transfer). The biggest difference between the two discs is that Shout! Factory included supplemental features and this disc includes “Berserk!”

STRAIT-JACKET Title

Strait-Jacket (1964)

Strait-Jacket proves once again that William Castle has nothing in common with Alfred Hitchcock. Robert Bloch was commissioned to write the screenplay, but it never approaches the brilliance of Psycho. Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic prowess elevated the material contained within Bloch’s novel, and Castle simply doesn’t have what it takes to elevate the pedestrian nature of Bloch’s screenplay for Strait-Jacket. They are obviously making a terrific effort to capitalize on…

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4K UHD Blu-ray Review: Halloween

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hitchcockmaster

Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Lionsgate Films

Release Date: September 25, 2018

Region: Region A

Length: 01:30:56

Video: 2160P (HEVC, H.265)

Main Audio: 7.1 English Dolby TrueHD (48kHz, 24-bit)

Alternate Audio: Mono English Dolby Digital Audio

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Ratio: 2.35:1

Notes:This title has seen many DVD releases and two Blu-ray releases. This marks the film’s UHD debut. Special features are never consistent when it comes to this particular title, and this creates a problem for anyone who wishes for a clean upgrade. The transfer for the UHD disc was sourced from different elements than the included Blu-ray (see below for a more detailed analysis).

Halloween

“Well, you call it a slasher film. I guess the original slasher film was Psycho. That was the film that all of these things are kind of based on… Psycho was the big daddy of them all. And it had a literal slashing scene in…

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Blu-ray Review: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

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Blu-ray Downlow

Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Olive Films (Signature Series)

Release Date: October 16, 2018

Region: Region A

Length: 01:20:19

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz, 1854 kbps, 24-bit)

Subtitles: English

Ratio: 2.00:1

Bitrate: 31.50 Mbps

Notes:This title has been released previously on Blu-ray and DVD by Olive Films, but this “Signature” edition represents a notable upgrade. It contains a better transfer and several worthwhile supplemental features that were not included on that earlier release. However, it should be made clear that this release has been limited to 5,000 units.

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The 1950s isn’t a decade that springs to mind when it comes to terrific science fiction or horror films. Such films in this particular decade tended towards ridiculously large bugs, blobs, mutations, the tamest of space creatures, and the ravages of nuclear fallout. It is simply much too difficult to take such films seriously as they…

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4K UHD Blu-ray Review: Evil Dead

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Blu-ray Downlow

Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Lionsgate Films

Release Date: October 09, 2018

Region: Region A

Length: 01:25:26

Video: 2160P (HEVC, H.265)

Main Audio: 5.1 English Dolby TrueHD Audio

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Ratio: 1.33:1 & 1.85:1

Notes:This release includes a Blu-ray disc and a digital “Ultra-Violet” copy of the film.

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“I always thought that Evil Dead was a little campfire story that you tell at a camp to kids to scare them at night. But, I don’t think anybody thought it was a beautifully produced, theatrical experience. It was shot in 16mm, all the effects were done for a quarter… It was something that was crudely done…” –Sam Raimi (Horror Galore, March 25, 2015)

The “crude” and low-budget nature of Evil Dead’s production is really a major part of the film’s charm. Unlike Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there is an over-the top superficiality…

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Blu-ray Review: Summer of 84

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Blu-ray Downlow

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Distributor: Gunpowder and Sky

Release Date: September 06, 2018

Region: Region A

Length: 01:45:38

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH

Ratio: 2.39:1

“The setting is our childhood.” -François Simard (Screen Anarchy, August 09, 2018)

Summer of 84 didn’t exactly set the box-office on fire when it was released to theatres this summer but it deserved a much better response. The film was helmed by the “three-headed-dragon” known as RKSS (François Simar, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell)—an independent filmmaking collective that one hopes will gain a huge following in years to come.

The premise is simple and straightforward: Every serial killer is somebody’s neighbor. 15-year-old Davey (a boy whose conspiracy theories have raised the eyebrows of those close to him for quite some time) becomes convinced that the policeman that lives across the street from him is a serial killer known for…

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Blu-ray Review: Village of the Damned

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Blu-ray Downlow

Blu-ray CoverDistributor: Warner Bros.

Release Date: July 31, 2018

Region: Region A

Length: 01:17:19

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz, 1973 kbps, 24-bit)

Subtitles: English SDH

Ratio: 1.78:1

Bitrate: 34.39 Mbps

Notes:This is the Blu-ray debut of Village of the Damned, but the film was given a DVD release along with Children of the Damned in 2004.

Title

“What interested me was not to make a fantastic film but a film that was very real. To take an ordinary situation and inject extraordinary events into it.” -Wolf Rilla (The Guardian, December 04, 2003)

One could read quite a lot into Village of the Damned. It belongs to a period of horror that preyed on people’s fear of communism. There are two kinds of horror: one group tackles the evil within ourselves while the second preys on people’s natural fear of “the…

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