Movie Review: The Upper Footage (2013)

The Upper Footage poster
The Upper Footage poster

THE UPPER FOOTAGE works out to be a horror film, but more in the psychological and moral sense.  A dark, unrelenting look into the world of the young and the privileged, and how their personalities are reflected through a morass of the illness of “affluenza” and today’s pervasive, twisted obsession with social media notoriety.  One thing is absolutely certain: the acting, shooting and direction is unsettlingly well-done.  There is never one minute’s doubt that what you are seeing is actual footage of the documented fateful evening’s events, or the crime that is ultimately perpetrated.

Another sure thing: there will be no middle-of-the-road reaction to the dead-on depiction of spoiled little rich kids, getting themselves deeper and deeper into what becomes an abyss from which they cannot escape…not without everyone’s lives being changed forever, not for better, as the old song goes.

And characterization is one of several points to consider, when examining this film as the latest effort to try and capture the mantle of “the ‘BLAIR WITCH PROJECT’ for millennials.”

Love it or hate it, ‘WITCH’ was the film that popularized the “found-footage” horror genre, and became the ‘apex’ by which all films in this category have since been measured.

The Upper Footage still oneOne predominant point to look at with UPPER is the cinematography.  With similar films, like CLOVERFIELD, one flaw in the aspect of the camerawork is that a “found-footage” film can’t look too ‘cinematic.’  It distracts too much from the “you-are-there” urgency, if you have to wonder if a shot you’re seeing was done somehow with a Steadicam…which some guy with a camcorder wouldn’t have access to, while running for his life.  Another pitfall: shots that are too erratic, either with the extreme variables in lighting, or the deadly “shaky-cam” effect that so many people complained about with both BLAIR WITCH and CLOVERFIELD.  Completely realistic and expected when the camera person, once again, is running for their lives with the equipment.  Watching it back, however, is a totally different experience, and one that certain viewers can find annoying, nauseating, or both.  Yet another to mention: static shots – scenes where the camera is set down or dropped in one place, so that the audience has a very realistic POV as to what that looks like.  Not necessarily engaging or entertaining, however, if the camera’s pointing toward a wall, the ground, or one fixed object for what seems like an intolerable amount of time.

UPPER tries hard to walk the tightrope between these different aspects, and though it achieves a measure of success, the filmmakers at some point made the choice between maintaining a sense of realism, versus keeping the audience engaged, and though I commend them on choosing the the former instead of the latter, it definitely is going to hurt them with a considerable part of the audience demographic.  Establishing realistic parameters is where this movie excels – but in the process, it turns off those viewers who are not just experienced, but have even been somewhat jaded by everyday examples of what raw, real “found-footage” looks like. Watching evil, rich celebutards doing bad things is still shocking, but pales by comparison to being able to access clips of real beheadings and hangings on YouTube.

Which brings us back to characterization once again.  Johnny Depp, in his film, THE LIBERTINE, introduces his character by including a line that is an unforgettable caveat: “You will not like me.”  UPPER kind of does the same thing with its opening, showing stills and text describing the parties involved.  You already get a sense that depending on what you bring to this film, in terms of your own everyday experiences and philosophies, you will either love or love to hate the people you are about to spend about ninety minutes of your time with.  And if you’re anything like me, the second truly applies.

The Upper Footage still twoAnd unless you can view the film and what it depicts with a certain level of detachment – kind of like a sociologist observing a strange, newly-discovered native tribe for a filmed study, THE UPPER FOOTAGE is going to be a far-from-pleasant experience for you, and one that many may not be able to stay with.  Granted – the subject matter the film presents is NOT supposed to be pleasant or even entertaining.  It SHOULD be unsettling to watch.  But a film that offers no one to really root for or empathize with, had damn well better have something else going for it – smashing performances, dazzling effects, a story arc for at least one character that brings them over – even a little – from the dark side to the light, or vice versa.  UPPER, unfortunately, has few to none of these things to offer a horror movie fan in search of what they would consider to be a “good horror film.”

Which is not to say that the performances aren’t effective.  I can’t emphasize enough that if you didn’t know this was a film in advance, you would swear that this was actual, raw footage of the kind that media tabloids like TMZ and EXTRA are notorious for uncovering in their many celebrity “exposes”, (in fact, several of the infotainment shows are given shout-outs at the very beginning, to give it that additional touch of realism.)

Even those who aren’t students of pop culture and electronic journalism, won’t have to be psychic to know that the combination of these progeny of the 1%, mixing with an evening of unchecked drugs and booze will not lead to a happy ending. Though the climax has been described as ‘heart-stopping’ and ‘terrifying’, sadly, those with sharper deductive skills will have sussed out the ending well before it even arrives.

Overall, THE UPPER FOOTAGE gets four stars for effort, but only about two for actual execution.  A curio that will attract lookie-loos and those completists who are obsessed with seeing everything “found-footage” related.  But there have been better, and there will be better entries into the field.

Check out the trailer for THE UPPER FOOTAGE:

Movie Review: The Horror Network (Volume 1)

Horror Network poster
Horror Network poster

If you’re looking for something with a little bit of international flair The Horror Network Vol. 1 should appease your appetite. The film is an anthology made up of 5 shorts, by 4 different directors. Each is set with distinctive national or international flavor. It’s a smorgasbord of viewing delights that is bound to have something to satisfy even the most discerning palette. Filmed in various locations nationally (USA) and in Spain, the anthology offers some varied horror tales.

 

Any epicure will tell you  a five course meal needs to contain certain elements of balance, variety, a theme of sorts, to make the meal cohesive from course to course; anthologies are no different. There needs to be a logical flow to tie the shorts together into a singular piece, yet each piece needs to be strong enough to stand on its own building interest and desire for the next course (short). The tie that binds The Horror Network Vol 1 for me was mental illness; whether that was real or perceived who knows (that’s part of the beauty). As viewers we are left to sort it out for ourselves.

Anthologies are one of those things that never go out of style.  It’s a great way to get introduced to directors and actors you may not be familiar with, and this particular compilation takes it a step farther by adding a  level of international distinction with such names as Javier Botet (Rec,) Artem Mishin (Strapped), Manuel Marin, Ignacio Martín Lerma (Lluvia), Nick Frangione (Strapped), Joseph Graham (Strapped), rounded out by Brain Dorton and Lee Matthews.

3am
3am

On the menu in this anthology we have:

3:00 A.M.~ A woman taunted by an unknown caller in the middle of the night, tries to hold back her fears, but is it paranoia or something more menacing waiting?

EDWARD ~ A patient turns to his doctor for the answers to the question of good and evil after waking two days prior covered in blood, with no recollection as to where it came from.

THE QUIET ~ A  young girl bullied for her disability is left to fend for herself when she is not picked up by her mother at the bus stop. Lurking nearby is a strangers car, but what can she expect from them help or harm??

MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS ~ A mother and daughter caught in the after effects of an abusive past try to regain their lives, but find themselves unable to move forward, with the past looming closer than they realize.

THE DEVIANT ONE ~ Neighbor preys on neighbor, in this black and white arthouse style horror short.

Merry Little Christmas
Merry Little Christmas

The Horror Network Vol 1 began as many films with the first 3 shorts being respectable but they weren’t particularly new in story or delivery. The last two shorts, however, blew me away. Merry Little Christmas is delivered with a shocking realistic brutality that shook me. It is not only graphic and cringe worthy but it also has a really interesting visual twist to it in the way the father is perceived by the daughter, absolutely stunningly done! The Deviant One feels very Gacy-esque, but it is done in this very refined and judgmental way, with the use of Biblical Quotes to help move the story along rather than dialogue. It is quite brilliant, really.

 

The only real problem I had with the film was the sound quality in the first 2 shorts. It was very brassy and didn’t level out. This is one of those things that I may have written off as the equipment I was using to watch on, but once I got to the third installment of the anthology I had no more sound issues, leading me to believe technical issues within the film were at fault.

The Deviant One
The Deviant One

On a whole the film is a really nice surprise. All the stories were worth watching, and flowed from one to another with relative ease; it was a logical procession. And although the last two were definite standouts for me please don’t the entire film works well and it is definitely worth a watch. I will be keeping my eyes out for these names again in the future! The Horror Network Vol 1 satiated my horror hunger.

Check out a trailer for THE HORROR NETWORK Volume 1:

POP! Goes the Weasel by Robin Dover

 

Pop! Goes the Weasel by Robin Dover
Pop! Goes the Weasel by Robin Dover

Jacob brooded over the old wooden jack-in-the-box. His stare was fixed. His breathing was deep and slow while grinding his teeth. His father walked into his son’s bedroom and stared at him leaning against the door of his walk-in closet.

“It’s broke again, Dad. Fix it.”

“Son, you’re obsessed. Get out and play instead of secluding yourself inside. You’re eight years old. Besides, that’s an antique. It’s not really a toy.”
The aged jack-in-the-box was made of strong, treated mahogany edged in metal and covered by obscure, multidimensional faces with offset eyes.

Jacob screamed and threw the jack-in-the-box across the room, “Fix it!”

John picked up the box and attempted to turn the crank. It wouldn’t budge. He sat it on the floor in front of Jacob and gently took hold of his son’s shoulder. “Learn to think outside the box.”

“I don’t want to! I want to think inside the box! Mom wouldn’t fix it! You do it!”

“I fixed it once. You’re too rough. No wonder it’s damaged.”

“Where’s Mommy?” John said.

“She’s gone!” Jacob replied.

“It’s my fault. It should be in a museum. It’s time to grow up, Jacob.”

“I don’t want to! Fix it!”

“Son, you could fix it. It’s not broken. Look closely. The crank is bent. I’ll tell you what – show some initiative and fix it – and I’ll let you keep it.”

The boy nodded and picked up a hammer.

“No. You need a pair of pliers,” John said.

Jacob struck his father in the head several times.

“I wanted you to fix it!”

He searched for the pliers, but to no avail.

He removed the hammer buried deep in his father’s head and began beating the jack-in-the-box.

He dented the top corner and grazed the side of the crank straightening it back into its original position. But the dented metal edge over the top blocked the door from springing open. The faces on the box changed.

The boy turned the crank. Pop! Goes the Weasel played frantically as Jacob feverishly chanted. He turned the crank faster and faster. Every time it reached the point when the top should spring open, it didn’t. He screamed and threw it across the room again, slamming it into the wall.

Jacob stood over the jack-in-the-box – hammer dripping in blood – and began to sob. “I want to be with you! I kept my promise!”

He opened the door to his closet. “I killed them all!”

A butcher knife glistened beside his mother’s stiff body. She was in a pile of dirty laundry, head on a pillow.

“You’re not finished, Jacob. There’s one left. If you really want to be with me, do it. Do it now.”

Jacob began pummeling his head with the claw end of the hammer.

The crank began turning on its own. The old nursery rhyme filled the room.

Jacob lay still beside the box, his vision fading.

Pop! Goes the Weasel – and the top of the box sprang open.

Jacob stopped breathing.

The jack-in-the-box fell over beside the boy’s head, allowing his blood to creep into the box.

Movie Review: The Dead 2 (BluRay)

The Dead 2 AKA The Dead 2: India

The Dead 2 poster
The Dead 2 poster

The Dead 2 is the new zombie horror film by The Ford Brothers, who impressed horror fans globally with their hit debut film, The Dead, which was set in and shot on location in West Africa using local talent and West African citizens as extras. This installment is kind of a prequel and certainly could take place concurrent to the events of the first film… at least partially. The reason why I state this is because in the first film, it is pretty clear even from the flashback beginning of the story that a zombie apocalypse is in full swing and the lead characters enter already knowing what they are dealing with.

The new film, set in India, begins with a boat returning to Mumbai from Somalia where essentially patient zero for the subsequent outbreak in India peacefully returns to his home clutching his arm where he was bitten while working in Africa. Since the outbreak has only started in Africa and still somewhat unconfirmed, no one is expecting the horror that is about to unfold and as a result within one night, the streets of Mumbai are filled with citizens in panic, shot guns firing, zombies attacking and huge military helicopters flying over the city. A lone young Indian woman calls her secret American boyfriend to tell him she is pregnant with his child and her parents don’t know. The American (Joseph Millson), a turbine engineer contracted by the military, is completing a wind-farm when he gets her call, which is shortly followed by a call to his partner, who informs him that he must abandon the assignment and return to Mumbai by the night to get the last plane out to the States. With his partner refusing to risk his life by picking up his girlfriend, the engineer battles his way across 300 miles of zombie infested wilderness. During his journey he rescues an orphan (Anand Goyal), who becomes his guide in return for protection from the undead.

The Dead 2 zombie still
The Dead 2 zombie still

Basically The Dead 2 does not cover much new ground with the main characters this time being an American Engineer and an Indian boy instead of an American and African soldier as seen in the first film. While there are some great fight sequences, a few legitimate scares, and moments of Hindu spirituality trying to explain why the zombie apocalypse has begun, there just is not enough for a grown man and a little boy to do in a zombie horror flick while in the first film, there were more sequences and encounters with varied adult characters and the two leads made for a team you could relate with. Young Anand Goyal is a very likable child actor, but he is still a child and thus there is only so much that can be shared between the two lead characters.

Ultimately the action parallels the action of the first film very closely with just some cosmetic changes that distinguish it from the first. Essentially The Dead 2 is more of a fable than the first film. It telegraphs what is to come with little subtlety, but while I liked the first film better, The Dead 2 is still a better than average zombie horror film. I hope if The Ford Brothers make a third installment, they will aim for a different kind of story that takes everything forward and in a new direction rather than what feels like a loose retread of the original that seems more like a prequel than a sequel. The character reactions are not consistent to what was shown in The Dead. Here it feels like it is just beginning while the other film clearly gives the impression that everyone is well aware of the problem and trying to deal with it.

The Dead 2 still twoAnchor Bay Entertainment’s Blu-ray Disc edition presents The Dead 2 in a beautifully sharp high definition 1080p/24fps (1.78:1) widescreen aspect ratio that is quite colorful at times and uses the on location scenes shot in Rajasthan, Delhi, and Mumbai to create one of most visually impressive zombie horror films ever made. There was a scene in the film where the dialogue spoken between main characters sounded kind of hollow or had a kind of echo quality to it that I am unsure is due to bad ADR looping or some glitch in the disc itself. Outside of that, the

English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Soundtrack is just fine and English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired as well as Spanish Language Subtitles encoded onto the Blu-ray Disc as options.

Extra value features include an interview with the filmmakers from Frightfest TV (29:12), two deleted scenes (2:21) and trailers for The Dead (2:18) and Battle of the Damned (2:18), which precede the main menu.

The Dead 2 debuted on Blu-ray Disc on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at retailers on and offline courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Check out the Dead 2 trailer:

Movie Review: Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Halloween 6 poster
Halloween 6 poster

[Editor’s Note: Halloween: The Ultimate Collection is now available and contains EVERY Halloween movie made! Check it out!-TMW]

Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers  (Theatrical version) – 1995

Directed by Joe Chappelle. Starring Donald Pleasence; Paul Rudd

When Halloween V failed to recapture the success of its predecessors (it’s the lowest grossing Halloween film to date), Michael Myers lay dormant for six years. Then the early 90’s saw attempts to resurrect slasher properties with Jason Goes to Hell and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.  Consequently, 1995 saw the series return with Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers.

The story picks up six years after the jailbreak which ended part V, with Jamie Lloyd  (JC Brand, replacing Danielle Harris to no great effect)  having been abducted and held prisoner in a sanitarium by the mysterious man in black who freed her uncle. It’s established that Michael is also being kept on hand by this man, who is the leader of a shadow group that worships Thorn, a force represented by the strange, triangular tattoo revealed to grace Michael’ s arm in the previous film.

There’s a poorly edited sequence which seems to imply that Jamie is impregnated by her uncle before she flees, with Michael in quick pursuit of her and her newborn baby.

Paul Rudd appears in this entry.
Paul Rudd appears in this entry.

The film switches back to Haddonfield, where a realtor has moved his family into the old Myers house (which he cannot sell, due to its history) while an adult Tommy Doyle – the boy Laurie Strode babysat in the original Halloween (played here with quirky charm by Paul Rudd)- watches from a boarding house next door, spending his time researching the cult of Thorn and deducing that Michael will soon return.  Oh, and some college kids are protesting that Halloween has been banned in Haddonfield and have invited an obnoxious radio talk host to come to town on the holiday to make their point.

Most of the film focuses on the family in the Myers house being stalked by Michael. The thread about Thorn is introduced and we’re told that Michael was chosen to sacrifice his family so the cult can benefit, but it’s never properly fleshed out.  An attempt to merge these plots at the climax is a convoluted mess.*

On the plus side, Curse is well shot and the special effects are excellent (the kills are brutal).  Donald Pleasence (in his final role) invests the film with as much class as he can, with an able assist from Paul Rudd. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to save the movie.

Beware the Shape!
Beware the Shape!

It’s worth a look for the effects, Donald Pleasence and a solid early performance by Paul Rudd. Otherwise, with a plot that is both ridiculously convoluted and underwhelming, Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers is easily the weakest film to feature The Shape.

** out of ***** Effective kills and both Pleasence and Rudd deliver.  Beyond that, it’s a mess.

*The Producers Cut of this film is longer, with alternate footage and a different ending.  There’s less gore and it’s a bit more coherent, but it’s still a very weak entry.

Check out the Halloween 6 trailer:

Movie Review: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Halloween 5 poster
Halloween 5 poster

[Editor’s Note: Halloween: The Ultimate Collection is now available and contains EVERY Halloween movie made! Check it out!-TMW]

Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers – 1989

Directed by Dominique Othinin-Gerard. Starring Donald Pleasence; Danielle Harris

With the success of Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers, the fires of the franchise had again been stoked.  To capitalize on this renewed interest,  a year later horror fans were treated to Halloween V (subtitled The Revenge of Michael Myers in all of the promotional materials and later home video releases, but on screen referred to merely as Halloween 5).

 

The film opens a year after Return, with a now-mute Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) spending her days under care at a pediatric hospital. Also present at the hospital is Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who has become aware that a strange psychic bond exists between Michael and his niece. Whenever Michael is on the hunt anywhere in the vicinity, Jamie can sense where he is. Loomis realizes that this could give everyone the edge they need to stop Michael and wants to exploit this connection, but Jamie is understandably reluctant.  Unfortunately, Michael -having survived the assault at the end of the previous film- has resumed his murderous rampage, once more targeting Jamie, leaving her little choice but to face him again.

Dr. Loomis tries to appeal to Myers.
Dr. Loomis tries to appeal to Myers.

 

This flick is wildly uneven. In the negative column,  Director Othinin-Gerard has no clue how to elicit performances from his supporting cast. The secondary characters here are all interchangeable cannon fodder, existing specifically to set up gruesome kill shots (it must be noted, though, that the makeup effects here are terrific. Halloween V features some of the bloodiest deaths of the franchise and they are well executed).  Also, the ending to this one is convoluted and bombastic, another cliffhanger involving a mystery man who breaks Michael out of a cell. This time it comes off as irritating, not intense.

 

Countering these faults are solid performances by Pleasence and Harris, the latter really taking it up a notch. Considering she doesn’t have any dialogue for roughly the first half of the film, Danielle Harris does an incredible job here.

 

This little girl has gone through Hell and back.
This little girl has gone through Hell and back.

The cinematography is pretty sharp, too. There’s a car chase through some fog-enshrouded woods, a scene in a barn and a cat and mouse chase through a dilapidated house that are all eerily shot and really capture the creepy vibe of the holiday.  It’s also worth mentioning that Michael himself is an impressive visual presence here. A stuntman/actor by the name of Donald Shanks assumes the role, and the man stands about 6’7. Michael is an imposing force throughout and he’s graced with a redesign of the classic mask that looks unusually sinister. There’s a real sense of physical danger in the scenes where he’s pursuing Jamie.

 

Factor all of these elements together and you have a sequel that only partially succeeds as a Halloween film, but is a surprisingly effective slasher flick.

 

It’s flawed, but you could do a lot worse than Halloween V.

***1/2 out of ***** Standard slasher fare with a bit more story and style.

Check out the Halloween 5 trailer:

Movie Review: Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween 4 poster
Halloween 4 poster

[Editor’s Note: Halloween: The Ultimate Collection is now available and contains EVERY Halloween movie made! Check it out!-TMW]

Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers

Directed by Dwight H. Little. Starring Donald Pleasence; Danielle Harris

By1988, sequels to A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Phantasm, Friday the 13th and Hellraiser were scoring at the box office.  Producer Moustapha Akkad realized that the time was ripe to resurrect the slasher who had started it all.

Thus October 1988 saw the arrival of Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers, which picks up ten years after the events of Halloween II.

In the film, we’re introduced to young Jamie Lloyd, the recently adopted daughter of the Carruthers family and biological daughter of Michael Myers’ sister Laurie Strode (who, we learn, has apparently died in the interim, covering the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis wasn’t interested in returning to the role).

Michael- who survived the fiery blast at the end of part II – learns about his niece, discovering that she lives in his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois.  He violently escapes custody and attempts to find and kill the girl. As Michael returns home and subjects the town to another deadly rampage, little Jamie and her older step-sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell) find themselves struggling to stay one step ahead of the psychopath.

The entry that introduced Danielle Harris to the franchise!
The entry that introduced Danielle Harris to the franchise!

Once again pursing the unrelenting maniac is Dr. Sam Loomis ( the always entertaining Donald Pleasence), who also survived that terrible night in 1978, albeit worse for the wear. The characterization of Loomis in this sequel is one of the strongest aspects of the film. At times, the doctor seems almost as crazed as his most notorious patient as he ceaselessly pursues the killer. Pleasence really sells it, refusing to just phone it in.

 

Top marks as well to Danielle Harris, who delivers a remarkable performance as little Jamie. This kid ably holds her own with Pleasence and the rest of the cast. Playing off Harris directly for much of the running time,  Ellie Cornell is also terrific, with her character demonstrating incredible inner strength as the film progresses.

 

The mantle is passed?
The mantle is passed?

Dwight H. Little (who would go on to direct the excellent version of Phantom of the Opera starring Robert Englund the following year) directs the proceedings with a sure hand, while Alan B. McElroy’s tight screenplay gives us a film with a focus on suspense rather than gory shocks.  For a slasher sequel released in the late 80’s, Halloween IV is admirably restrained with the bloodletting. It also boasts better than average plotting.  Characters in this movie avoid the stupid mistakes abundant in most horror films, taking proper, logical precautions to protect themselves. Yet they still find themselves fighting for their lives.  That’s a lot more frightening than watching teen models stumble around in the woods making one idiotic decision after another.  Even the cliffhanger ending- by this time already an overused genre trope- is effectively staged.

Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers represents a welcome return to form, ranking as one of the best of the series.

****1/2 out of *****.

Check out the Halloween 4 trailer:

Halloween Forevermore & Terry M. West at DAYS OF THE DEAD this weekend!

Days of the Dead: Los AngelesDays of the Dead is a horror convention that will be held this weekend at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott. Halloween Forevermore will have a table, and we will be selling our Halloween Wax Warmers for a special convention rate of $20!

 

ghost on displaycreepy image of Terry M. WestAlso on hand will be Halloween Forevermore managing editor and horror author, Terry M. West. Terry will be signing copies of his books and DVDs. Also on hand for the convention will be: Clive Barker, Tara Reid, Sid Haig, Corey Feldman, Kane Hodder, Bill Moseley and many more! If you plan to attend, please drop by the table and say hello!

TV Review: The Walking Dead Season Three (BluRay)

Walking Dead S3 Bluray[Editor’s note: The countdown to The Walking Dead Season Five continues! The fifth season will shamble back to AMC on October 12th. To celebrate, we will feature a  review of each season leading up to the 5th season premiere. We wish to thank Mark Rivera for allowing us to reprint his TWD reviews from his Genreonline site! Today we look at Season Three!]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season: 5 Disc Set

Genre: Drama/Horror

Media: Blu-ray Disc

Region: A

Stars: Andrew Lincoln, David Morrissey, Danai Gurira, Laurie Holden, Sarah Wayne Callies, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, Iron E. Singleton, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson and Michael Rooker

 Languages and Sound: English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Surround Sound and French Dolby Surround Sound 2.0 Caption & Subtitles: English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and Spanish Language Subtitles

Bonus Features: Episode Specific Featurettes, Audio Commentaries on Episodes 4, 5, 8, 9 and 15 and Deleted Scenes

Running Time: 688 minutes

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Packaging: 5-Disc Elite Blue BD Case With A Cardboard Slip Cover

The Walking Dead Season 3 cast
The Walking Dead Season 3 cast

The third season of the hit AMC original series The Walking Dead, based on the graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, begins strongly with nearly a year having past and Rick and his survivors now operating with stealth like a professional special ops group while moving from place to place until they come upon a prison and decide to take it in the hope of creating a safe and self sufficient haven for themselves. Not too far away exists a fortified town where the survivors under the guidance of The Governor (David Morrissey) seem to have created an idealized mini “Our Town.” Andrea and her savior from the second season finale Michonne (Danai Guira) end up there after being discovered by none other than Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker), who was last seen trapped on a department store roof in an overrun Atlanta. We know he escaped because when the survivors returned for him in the first season they discovered that he sawed off his own hand to escape the roof.

It is not long before we discover that Woodbury is not the perfect friendly society that it appears to be on the outside and Rick, who has been hardened since the events of the second season, and his group discover that they are not alone in the prison. The whole season basically slowly heads toward what is set up as an inevitable confrontation between Rick Grimes and his group and The Governor and his mercenaries over power and survival.

The acting is top notch and besides introducing Michonne to the TV series, the fan favorite character Tyrese (Chad Coleman) from the graphic novel is introduced as well. The third season has more action than the second season, but the character development is lacking.

Characters that were important in the graphic novel appear and are killed off so fast that there is no time to have any emotional investment in them. The other big problem with the third season is that it reduces the zombie threat to a point where we have barely armed characters traveling for miles in the woods and picking off the walkers like they were a joke.

Let's give this zombie a hand. Or two.
Let’s give this zombie a hand. Or two.

Kirkman has stated that the zombie threat would be intensified for the fourth season and a return to character development would be strictly adhered too. From the online trailers it seems as though the zombies will indeed become far more dangerous than before, but as for everything else, we’ll have to wait and see.

Anchor Bay Entertainment presents the complete third season of The Walking Dead across five discs in their broadcast high definition AVC encoded widescreen aspect ratio of (1.78:1) with an enveloping English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Surround Soundtrack. A French Language Dolby

Surround 2.0 Soundtrack and English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired as well as Spanish Language Subtitles are encoded across all five discs for all of the episodes.

Extra value features include episode length audio commentaries featuring Iron E. Singleton, Guy Ferland, Gregory Nicotero, Danai Guira, Robert Kirkman, Dave Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd, Michael Rooker and Chad Coleman respectively for episodes that include “Killer Within”, “Say The Word”, “Made To Suffer”, the mid season premiere and “This Sorrowful Life.” The commentaries are both retrospective and scene specific.

The majority of the featurettes are on the final disc and they include a reel of deleted scenes (13:20), and behind the scenes shorts detailed as Rising Son (6:46), Guts & Glory (7:31), Moving The Dead (8:04), Safety Behind Bars (9:42), Michonne Vs. The Governor (5:10), Heart of a Warrior (8:24), Gone But Not Forgotten (8:13) and Evil Eye (7:50).

An advertisement for “Before The Farm: The Walking Dead Video Game” (1:08) and a TV spot for Breaking Bad (:33) wrap up the bonus content within this Blu-ray Disc set.

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season is available on Blu-ray Disc now at retailers on and offline courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.  For more information visit AMCTV.com.

Check out The Walking Dead Season Five trailer:

Movie Review: Scream Park (2013)

Scream Park posterScream Park

Starring Nivek Ogre, Nicole Beattie, Kailey Marie Harris, Doug Bradley. Written & directed by Cary Hill. Wild Eye Releasing.

 

Tonight’s latest offering comes thanks to the kind folks over at WILD EYE RELEASING. Here’s the skinny on what my eyes endured on this dreary and stormy night of movie viewing.

 

Jennifer (Wendy Wygant) works at Fright Land, a theme park that’s closing after years of declining sales and lack of interest from the general public. While initially reluctant, Jennifer agrees to attend a party held by the other park employees to memorialize the park’s closing.  But  something feels off about the night’s events and Jennifer’s suspicions are soon proven to be correct. She learns that park owner, Mr. Hyde (portrayed in a Pinhead like fashion by Doug Bradley) has decided that the only way to save the park is to hire two men to murder all of the park’s employees. He theorizes that after the killers complete their task, morbid murder fans will pay large amounts of money to visit an amusement park organized around the murders.

Doug Bradley in Scream Park

 

If you’re in the mood for some 80’s style slasher cheese, then you might as well stop by the store and pick up some cheap wine and crackers because this is the film. However, take heed and don’t go in hoping for anything new or overtly exciting, as you won’t find either here.

 

Scream Park  is exactly what I presume it’s meant to be;  just a fun popcorn cheese-fest. Even though the majority of the kill scenes failed miserably, the acting from Nivek Ogre gives a ton of enjoyment and saves the film. Nivek’s outing  and the performance from Doug Bradley keeps Scream Park from being a complete waste of time. Now don’t get me wrong; the acting from a few of the others was decent and well played but for the most parts their death scenes could have been better portrayed  by children.

Scream Park still

 

The effects were sub par but the ambiance set forth was nicely done and that accompanying the aforementioned performance from Nivek Ogre allows this movie to work.  If you’re in the mood for some good old get drunk and watch people die cinema, then check it out.

 

 

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