The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)
Director: Nathan Juran
Starring: Kerwin Mathews, Elaine Devry, Scott Sealey & Robert J. Wilke
Released by: Scream Factory
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
After a father-son camping excursion results in dear old dad getting bit by a bloodthirsty beast, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf focuses on curly-haired son Richie (Scott Sealey, Emergency!) and his unsuccessful attempts to prove to the local townsfolk that his father will morph into a turtleneck wearing hairy savage at the next full moon. In his final directorial effort, Nathan Juran (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad) reteams with leading man Kerwin Mathews for this rather bland, modern day retelling of the famous folktale. Highlighting the sign of the times with Richie’s parents being divorced and turning to child psychology for answers to their son’s manic stories, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf exudes a TV movie atmosphere that struggles to scare while, unintentionally bringing smirks to viewers’ faces courtesy of the film’s enjoyably dated werewolf design. As Richie’s pleas go unanswered, secondary characters including, a camper humping couple, a monster believing psychologist (George Gaynes, Police Academy) and most hilariously, a bible hugging cult of hippies led by a Jerry Garcia looking messiah cross paths with the beast, few leaving with their lives. Concluding uneventfully with a setup to a sequel that was not meant to be, this harmless PG rated opus mildly charms with its yesteryear plotting during such an artistically groundbreaking decade while, remaining largely forgettable for its bygone approach. Paired with the snake-slithering shocker Sssssss throughout its drive-in heyday, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf earnestly howls for suspense but, unfortunately comes up scareless.
Never before available, Scream Factory presents The Boy Who Cried Werewolf with a new 1080p transfer, sporting a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Amid instances of minimal speckling, occasional cigarette burns and sporadic nighttime scenes possessing overly grainy appearances, the film’s color scheme is strong and vibrant with detail looking pleasingly sharp. Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix, dialogue is efficiently relayed while, werewolf howls and the film’s few music cues make decent, if not limited, impacts on the otherwise basic track. Unsurprisingly limited, special features include, a Photo Gallery (3:32) and the film’s Original Theatrical Trailer (2:24). However lackluster the tame, fang-toothed feature is, horror/cult saviors Scream Factory must be graciously thanked for rescuing and presenting, for the first time on home video, a cobweb invested picture such as The Boy Who Cried Werewolf for horror enthusiasts to experience in noteworthy quality.
Available now from Scream Factory, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf can be purchased via ShoutFactory.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Director: Philip Kaufman
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum & Veronica Cartwright
Released by: Scream Factory
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Kickstarting a movement of science fiction makeovers for golden age classics that would permeate the following decade, Invasion of the Body Snatchers takes place in San Francisco where Department of Health associates Matthew (Donald Sutherland, Don’t Look Now) and Elizabeth (Brooke Adams, The Dead Zone) discover a dark phenomenon of mysterious pods cloning the population and discarding the human originals. Plagued by fear and paranoia, the silent overtaking of the planet increases aggressively as the desperate duo and their equally frantic friends rush to save the human race. Impressively hailed by audiences and critics alike for its gloomy tone and nail biting suspense, Director Philip Kaufman’s (The Right Stuff) modernization earns the rare honor of taking a revered concept and pollinating it with unique touches that both adheres and expands upon its foundation. Featuring an eclectic pool of talent from Sutherland and Adams to genre legend Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek), Veronica Cartwright (The Birds) and an early appearance from a youthfully scrawny Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) as a failed poet, all are perfectly in synch while, original Body Snatchers star Kevin McCarthy returns for a glorified cameo as a frightened civilian forewarning the danger coming. Seeped in a cloud of dread that the cast admirably conveys through their frightened performances, Invasion of the Body Snatchers impresses doubly with its gooey special effects work that spotlights unsettling reproductions of the cast being birthed via pods. In addition, a crossbred dog possessing its human owners face stands as yet another unforgettable snippet of disturbing imagery that enhances the film’s fear inducing aura. While Jack Finney’s novel has inspired two more adaptations in the wake of Kaufman’s slow-building box-office favorite, 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a championed chiller that will leaves audiences in a state of hypnotic fear all the way to its shocking conclusion.
Scream Factory presents Invasion of the Body Snatchers with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Appreciatively scanned in 2K from the interpositive, the pod people redo looks refreshingly crisper than previous releases with a filmic quality throughout and colors respectfully leveled to more natural appearances. Furthermore, detail is most impressive during pod birthing scenes allowing viewers to marvel at the intricate cob-like effects work on the bodies. While the atmospherically dark cinematography still possesses moderate levels of noise speckling, Scream Factory’s handsome new transfer is a breath of preferable fresh air that should easily appease viewers. Equipped with a perfectly satisfactory DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that relays dialogue and startling sound effects effortlessly, an optional DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix has also been included. Entered into the label’s esteemed Collector’s Edition series, bonus features include, an Audio Commentary with Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman plus, a second vintage Audio Commentary with Director Philip Kaufman. Other newly recorded supplements courtesy of the relentlessly talented Cavetown Pictures include, Star-Crossed in the Invasion with Brooke Adams (9:06) where the leading lady recounts her working relationship with Kaufman who allowed her to write her own scene in the film as well as her reservations appearing nude on screen. Next up, Leading the Invasion with Art Hindle (25:04) who portrayed Adams’ quickly overtaken beau recalls his lifelong obsession with science fiction in this chatty featurette while, Re-Creating the Invasion with W.D. Richter (15:43) finds the writer discussing the San Francisco setting of the film and his original intentions and ultimate alterations that occurred throughout the film’s making. In addition, Scoring the Invasion with Denny Zeitlin (15:34) explores the composer’s sole film credit and his unique approaches to the material.
Ported over from MGM’s previous Blu-ray release, Re-Visitors from Outer Space, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pod (16:14) features insight from Kaufman, Sutherland, Richter, Cartwright and others on the film’s enduring impact. Practical Magic: The Special Effects Pod (4:38) allows SFX Artist Howard Preston to detail the creation of the film’s impressive opening sequence while, The Man Behind the Scream: The Sound Effects Pod (12:47) and The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod (5:24) explores the film’s evocative sounds and camerawork respectively. Lastly, the Theatrical Trailer (2:13), TV Spots (1:02), Radio Spots (4:46), a Photo Gallery (74 in total) and a bonus episode of Science Fiction Theatre’s “Time Is Just A Place” (25:53) based on Finney’s short story and directed by Jack Arnold (The Creature from the Black Lagoon) is also included. Beautifully packaged bearing Justin Osbourn’s newly rendered artwork, a Reversible Cover Art featuring the film’s original 1-sheet poster concludes the stacked supplemental offerings. At the risk of pumping a dry well by upgrading a previously available favorite, Scream Factory has made the decision a no-brainer with a new top-notch 2K transfer, a pod sized offering of new and vintage extra features and an exceptional new cover design that trumps the original poster art. If the seed hasn't been planted more firmly, Invasion of the Body Snatchers Collector’s Edition easily earns a spot in your growing collection of cult gems.
Available August 2nd from Scream Factory, Invasion of the Body Snatchers can be purchased via ShoutFactory.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.
Director: Chad Archibald
Starring: Elma Begovic, Annette Wozniak, Denise Yuen, Jordan Gray & Lawrence Denkers
Released by: Scream Factory
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
After returning from a Dominican Republic getaway, Bite centers on uncertain bachelorette Casey (Elma Begovic, Save Yourself) as she succumbs to an infected bug bite that grossly alters her both physically and mentally. Introducing viewers to a trio of girlfriends through the lens of their shaky camera as alcohol consumption, self-doubt and infidelity paint the portrait of their tropical vacation, Bite spares viewers further found footage style filming as the narrative thankfully reverts to traditional means. Nursing an itchy insect bite received abroad, Casey’s case of marital cold feet and guilty conscience weighs heavily on the soon-to-be bride as she contemplates her true desires. Disdained by her fiancé’s mother who disapproves of premarital sex, Casey’s uncertainty of her future increases as her health rapidly declines in the days to come. Developing hypersensitive hearing and an endless urge to purge, Casey’s metamorphosis into a yellow-eyed, larva spewing insectoid with a killer instinct breeds creepy carnage for those who cross her path. Embraced by audiences at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival, Bite suffers from subpar acting, indubitably caused by its shaky screenplay that lacks meat on its bones. While Casey’s troubling martial woes and dramatics brought upon by her jealous best friend are established if not, secondary to the film’s anticipated moments of gooey nastiness, Bite’s true saving grace is found in star Elma Begovic’s bold performance that strips away her attractive looks for the benefit of becoming a snarling, bug-eyed creature. Much like Casey’s husband is forced to wait on consummating, viewers are tasked with settling for a mediocre tale until the anti-hero spews acidic vile upon her mother-in-law from hell and engages in a fatal girl on girl smooch while, a head crunchingly awesome blow befalls the creature formally known as Casey. An impressive showcase of modern day special effects magic with minimal CG enhancements, Bite may not infest in all the right ways but, excels when living up to its creature feature markings.
Scream Factory presents Bite with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. While early POV footage ranks as some of the more crisper moments of the film, the remainder casts a colder, intentionally shadowier appearance that boasts respectable black levels yet, lacking continuous streams of detail. Free of any unsightly anomalies, Bite looks as pleasing as can be. Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, dialogue is relayed with sterling clarity while, the slimy sound effects of Casey’s ever-changing body equally impresses. In addition, an optional DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix has also been included for your listening pleasure. Special features include, an Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Producer Chad Archibald and Co-Producers Cody Calahan & Christopher Giroux. Furthermore, five behind-the-scenes featurettes consisting of Makeup (5:42), On Set (6:02), Fantasia (5:53), Chad’s Wedding (5:16) and Dominican (5:30) are also joined by the film’s Theatrical Trailer (1:23) plus, a Reversible Cover Art. Enjoyably revolting when it wants to be, Bite may make viewers wait for its more larva discharging moments but, thankfully makes the ride worth it in this commendable creepy crawly feature.
Available August 2nd from Scream Factory, Bite can be purchased via ShoutFactory.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.