Blu-ray and 4K movie reviews: ‘Dr. Phibes Double Feature’ and ‘The Scream’


Here’s a couple reviews that cover some classic horror movies and the resurrection of a popular slasher franchise.

Dr. Phibes Double Feature (Kino Lorber, PG and PG-13 rated, 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 183 minutes, $29.95) — One of my favorite horror icons growing up in the 1970s returns to Blu-ray format to give a new generation of fans a long night of clever murders and a dose of black British humor in two cinematic adventures.

Audiences were first introduced to the nostalgic classic “The Abominable Dr. Phibes, a former concert organist and evil serial killer turned Dr. She met Anton Phibes (Vincent Price).

Phibes is out to take revenge on a group of doctors he blames for the death of his beloved wife Victoria (Caroline Munroe) in the biblical events.

Increasing his anger, the musician was horribly disfigured from a car accident on his way to the hospital to check on his wife.

Now he uses the plagues of Moses to destroy nine doctors by using bats, bees, mice, grasshoppers, and even a frog mask to suffocate a victim.

With the help of Minion Vulnavia (Valli Kemp), he gets rid of incompetent cops, including Inspector Trout (Peter Jeffrey), is embalmed in a sarcophagus with his wife (in suspended animation), and the 1972 sequel “Dr. Phibes Rising Again.”

This time his journey in his quest to resurrect his wife and achieve immortality leads him to Egypt and the pursuit of Darius Biederbeck (Robert Quarry), a Dorian Gray-type character on a mission alongside another bloody rampage pursued by the same incompetent detectives. for his eternal life.

Interestingly, Price, an actor known for his distinctive voice, never speaks directly as his face is a reconstructive mask of prosthetic parts in both films. However, it still has a lot of demonic expressions and offers words when hooked up to a vocal synthesizer.

It would be nice if Kino Lorber offered restored versions of the movies, especially as shown in the screen-filled presentations.

Although there is plenty of vividness and color saturation in the first movie, especially Dr. Examining Phibes’ (and his truly grotesque face) mummified make-up work; or art deco bunkers complete with purple and red curtains and a pipe organ accentuated in neon red.

Unfortunately, the visuals suffer from a lot of scratches and dirt spots appearing on the screen, and the second film has too much soft focus and a very boring color palette.

Regardless, Dr. Phibes’ legacy continues to be appreciated by the next generation, who can enjoy a legendary killer that will impress horror filmmakers to this day.

The best extras: Viewers receive two previously released commentary pieces for the first film, one to the very old and somewhat rambunctious director Robert Fuest (who is basically interviewed by film historian Marcus Hearn) and “The Dr. Phibes” author with a much more informative overview focusing on production design. The Companion,” Justin Humphreys.

Both are worth watching over and over again just for the anecdotes and the nostalgic journey.

for “Dr. Phibes Rises Again,” viewers also receive two optional commentary tracks; a previously released track (from the 2014 Arrow release) with critic and writer Tim Lucas and a new track with Mr. Humphreys.

In his own words, Mr. Lucas speaks not only of the “troubled” sequel, but also of Fuest’s loss of control over production (especially during editing) when describing Price’s career and declining popularity with age and time in the studios. The rift that starts with Quarry.

Mr. Humphreys manages not to overlap too much with Mr. Lucas and brings a much more positive perspective to the film, enjoying the lush musical soundtrack, praising Price a lot, countering the degree of tension between Quarry and Price and letting audiences know “this is real” . an art director’s film” and draws attention to the gruesome cuts in the film.

Again, both parts are worth watching the movie twice more.

To shout (Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment, R rated, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 115 minutes, $34.95) — The fifth installment in the horror franchise, now available in ultra-high definition disc format, brings back a new group of high school victims along with some familiar friends for the latest iteration of serial killer Ghostface.

Serving as a sequel and a reboot, slasher whodunit takes viewers back to the small town of Woodsboro 25 years after the first murder spree, where it’s there to reveal Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), the daughter of original killer Billy Loomis. In the midst of a new murder epidemic, she is in imminent danger with her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) and her friends.

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett perfectly take the mood of the series from the late Wes Craven and continue the cleverly twisted clichés of the slasher genre, brimming with comedy and plenty of grisly murder.

They also inject a welcome level of nostalgia with original Scream characters Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) playing a major role.

Comparing the almost suffocating sequel to series like “Halloween” and “Saw”, “The Scream” is a breath of fresh air, albeit repackaged air to celebrate the horror genre.

The UHD presentation retains the expected clarity, but the production design never had much reason to take advantage of the high dynamic range enhancements due to the light color choices.

The best extras: Start with the always-important optional commentary piece starring Mr Bettinelli-Olpin, Mr Gillett, writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, and producer Chad Villella.

Enthusiastic band members have fun and talk non-stop throughout the movie while offering a fun exploration of the movie and its origins. They touch on almost all aspects, including getting a chance to continue the series, writing the script, the three stories, the shooting sequences, the cast, the challenges of coping with COVID-19 on set, staying within the mythology, and bringing in the old characters. back.

Viewers also get three intros and ass-kisses (each an average of eight minutes) covering the legacy of the series, comparing the originals to the current film, and paying tribute to Craven’s work on “The Scream.”


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