June 2, 2013

4 Films Horror Collector's Set: 3

This pack and the following one were both released at the same time in March 2010 so it's pretty much impossible to give them a chronological "volume number". Amazon calls this "Vol. 5", but it's the third of these packs that I saw and bought. I didn't really want yet another copy of "Night of the Living Dead" (which I now have 14 times!), but I got it cheap in a "4 for $10" pawn shop deal.

Even though "Night of the Living Dead" is a space-filling reissue from their first series of classic horror multi-feature DVDs, Echo Bridge Home Entertainment put together quite a varied set here. The three "new" films are ones which most people wouldn't have gone out of their way to buy previously.

There are several known stars in these movies, but as usual, their performances (and the movies themselves) vary in quality. Let's face it, if these were top-notch horror movies, they wouldn't be in a $5 multipack.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

"When a brother and sister visit the gravesite of their deceased father, the dreaded trip turns into a terrifying nightmare when night falls and a flesh-eating zombie attacks. Starring Russell Streiner and Judith O'Dea."

If you don't know this classic George A. Romero movie by now, you can consider your "horror licence" revoked. I'm not going to review it again.

There's an apology about the print quality before "Night of the Living Dead" begins which is nice. You might think it's unnecessary since they've used the same Public Domain master as every other DVD version, but this transfer is particularly bad.

If you've honestly never seen "Night of the Living Dead" before, this is the cheapest way of getting it on DVD other than downloading it and burning it to DVD yourself. Ideally, most fans would rather pick up for the true "remastered" Elite Entertainment version instead.

Hindsight (2008)

"When an unexpectedly pregnant—and broke—couple lists their unborn baby for adoption on the internet to score an upfront payment, they're lured into a twisted, sadistic game of desperation and deception. Starring Jeffrey Donovan, Leonor Varela, Waylon Payne, and Miranda Bailey."

"Hindsight" is a solid but very slow thriller with some violence and a creepy twist that almost makes it a horror movie.

The production values are good, the acting is decent, and Leonor Varela is beautiful. Does that save it from being a bit boring though? Not really.

Give or take some of the more adult scenes, this is almost Hallmark Channel stuff. With its cast made up of actors who have all been quite successful in TV dramas fairly recently, "Hindsight" is a contemporary non-horror genre movie which would be better in a "4 Films Thriller Collector's Set" if such a thing even exists.

A very recognisable face in this movie is Richard Riehle who plays Peter (as in "Saint Peter" if you haven't guessed the twist from the title itself).

Cruel World (2005)

"A vengeful reality show reject traps nine co-eds in his own sick version of reality TV—where the challenges are bizarre, the danger is real and death is just a competition away. Starring Edward Furlong, Jaime Pressly, and Andrew Keegan."

Having never heard of it before, I wasn't expecting a lot from "Cruel World", but it's only supposed to be a fun "Ten Little Indians"-style slasher film with a decent budget anyway.

Just because it has some humour, "Cruel World" isn't really a horror-comedy in spite of how some sites categorise it. If you hate reality TV shows, the satire is kind of cool in places, but you'll still hate reality TV shows just as much afterwards. The drawback is that everything looks, feels and sounds like a slick teen movie rather than a reality TV show so there's no catharsis possible.

Sadly, Jaime Pressly is only in it for the first 15 minutes, but it's enough to get your fix if you fancy her. There are several other pretty girls with very little characterisation (or clothing) to make up for her absence otherwise.

Much maligned Edward Furlong really seems to enjoy his role as a slob, but how much of that is acting or a result of how things were for him at the time is hard to tell. Whatever the case, he definitely stands out more than anyone else and gleefully chews the scenery.

The kills in "Cruel World" range from mildly amusing to effective although, ultimately, this movie is a huge waste of acting talent. The epilogue/end is nothing but hastily cobbled together nonsense.

Razor Eaters (2003)

"A lethal mix of Fight Club, Jackass and Natural Born Killers, RAZOR EATERS follows an anarchistic gang on their week-long rampage of violence, death, and destruction. Based on shocking true events."

Based very loosely on the exploits of the Hedge-Burners gang who plagued Melbourne, this violent Australian movie provides a powerful and very serious finale.

The trouble is that it looks cheap and nasty like a film school student's project. It probably is one too, but I don't really know any of the details about how it came to be made. All I can say is that if you're expecting this to be another "Romper Stomper", "Chopper" or "Snow Town", you'll be very disappointed.

The switching between handheld cameras and badly lit, grainy film makes a mockery of the decent $1,500,000 budget (which the IMDb claims it had). Windowboxing it to save space on the DVD doesn't help either.

Crime films aren't really my thing no matter how much bloodshed there is in them, so "Razor Eaters" is the least watchable of the movies in this pack for me. I didn't get very far into it before switching it off through boredom. Your mileage, however, may vary.

As entertaining as it might be overall, once again, we have another weak link in these multi-feature sets. While offering very good value, the three newer movies can only be rated as 3.5 out of 10 on a good day, and less than that on a bad one.

Even with the inclusion of "Night of the Living Dead", I wouldn't recommend buying this "4 Films Horror Collector's Set" unless you are a completist. Now that these movies make up half of "The Midnight Horror Collection: 8 Movie Pack Vol. 6" (with the others being the final "4 Films Horror Collector's Set" from June 2010), the 8 pack is the better way to go.

It has to be said that "The Midnight Horror Collection: 8 Movie Pack Vol. 6" (the final obviously numbered one) is pretty weak too though. You may want to save your money for a newer one with a good combination of Full Moon and Miramax horror titles in it instead.

No comments:

Post a Comment