Blu-Ray reviews for December
This is one of the very best film adaptations of a Stephen King novel ever. I would argue that Kathy Bates performance as Annie Wilkes not only made her a major star and Oscar winner, but lifts the material above the horror of the original book. The story follows famed writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) who has a car accident while driving through a snowstorm and is rescued by Annie, his ‘number one fan’. However, it doesn’t take long for her obsessiveness and instability to shine through and when she discovers he’s killed off her favorite character, Paul’s life may be in danger.
First the good news. The original blu-ray release of Misery had no features, none. Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition is just chock-full of new interviews with the director and crew, new audio commentaries by Rob Reiner and Screenwriter William Goldman, and no less than seven different featurettes. It is an amazing amount of in-depth, great content. Here is the bad news: the 4K new transfer looks like it has had some digital noise reduction or something applied to it. The image is not great and barely good. Grain is all but completely annihilated and lots of fine detail has been lost. The film is watchable but only just, and people looking for a clear, well-preserved film image are going to be annoyed. I found it distracting and will probably hold onto my old bare-bones disc just for viewing the movie. It’s not quite as bad as the Vaseline-slick image of the Predator Blu-ray, but it is disappointing for such an otherwise awesome release.
Billy, at 5 years old, witnesses this parents being murdered by a robber in a Santa Claus suit. This messes him up for life and he ends up growing up in an orphanage. In his first job at a toy store, Billy is put in the traumatic position of having to play Santa which causes a mental break and he begins to ‘punish’ (murder) anyone he sees as ‘naughty’.
Silent Night, Deadly Night has always been a weird film. I was never banned from seeing horror films but there was something always a little forbidden about it. Perhaps something about the controversy surrounding its release (angry parents got it pulled from advertising and theaters) or its indie, semi-grindhouse nature that implies that it’s gorier than it is. In reality, by today’s standards, even the uncut version is quite tame; there is far less gore than any given Saw movie.
Speaking of the Uncut version, the uncut negative is still seemingly lost to time. However, the video footage of the uncut scenes has been matched relatively well and I have to say that a slight drop in picture quality at the film’s darkest moments actually works stylistically. It makes SNDN somewhat even darker and more terrifying. The R-rated cut is presented on the other disc of this two-disc edition. Also, check out the long list of special features:
- Theatrical Version of the Film : NEW 4K Scan of the original camera negative
- R-Rated Theatrical Trailer & VHS Trailer
- TV Spots
- Radio Spot
- Extended Unrated Version of the Film: NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative with standard definition inserts
- NEW Slay Bells Ring: The Story Of Silent Night, Deadly Night – Featuring Interviews With Writer Michael Hickey, Co-Executive Producers Scott J. Schneid And Dennis Whitehead, Editor/Second Unit Director Michael Spence, Composer Perry Botkin, And Actor Robert Brian Wilson
- NEW Oh Deer! – An Interview With Linnea Quigley
- NEW Christmas In July – Silent Night, Deadly Night Locations – Then And Now
- NEW Audio Commentary With Actor Robert Brian Wilson And Co-Executive Producer Scott J. Schneid
- Audio Commentary By Michael Hickey, Perry Boykin, Scott J. Schneid, and Michael Spence
- Audio Interview With Director Charles E. Sellier, Jr. from Deadpit Radio (Extended Version)
- Santa’s Stocking Of Outrage
- Poster And Still Gallery
Dennis Cooper (Michael Palin) is a barrel maker’s apprentice who decides to seek his fortune in the city so he can marry a peasant girl who’s actually none too keen on him. Upon arriving in the city, Dennis finds that a monster has been terrorizing them and a contest is being held to slay it, with the winner to be married to the princess. Through a series of mishaps, Dennis finds himself facing off against the dreaded Jabberwocky.
Jabberwocky stands at an interesting place in Master Director Terry Gilliam’s career. It is his first solo film outside of Monty Python but the influence is undeniable, from the pacing and setting all the way down to the casting of Michael Palin and Terry Jones. His talent and the early touches of his visual style are on display here, but not quite as developed as his own biting satire that would appear in later films. The result is a film that is like a Monty Python film, but not as funny, and like a later Terry Gilliam, but in a prototypical state. It is a ‘growing pains’ film but still has good moments throughout and stands as the bridge in the emergence of a single creative force.
Special Features include:
- New 4K digital transfer from a restoration by the BFI National Archive and The Film Foundation, approved by director Terry Gilliam
- 1 surround mix, supervised by Gilliam and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
- Audio commentary from 2001 featuring Gilliam and actor Michael Palin
- New documentary on the making of the film, featuring Gilliam, producer Sandy Lieberson, Palin, and actor Annette Badland
- New interview with Valerie Charlton, designer of the Jabberwock, featuring her collection of rare behind-the-scenes photographs
- Selection of Gilliam s storyboards and sketches
- PLUS: An essay by critic Scott Tobias
Adam Ruhl is a writer and life long Cinephile. He is the Executive
Cinema Editor of Pop Culture Beast’s Austin branch; covering festivals,
conventions, and new releases. When not filing reports, Adam can be
found stalking Alamo Drafthouse Programmers for leads on upcoming
DrafthouseFilms titles. Adam once blocked Harry Knowles entrance to a
theater until he was given extra tickets to a Roman Polanski movie.