From Beyond

commentary-frombeyond

Stuart Gordon‘s 1985 film, Re-Animator, remains one of the absolute best horror/comedies of the last three decades thanks to its spectacular mix of over the top, extremely bloody shenanigans and blackly comic sense of humor. The creative forces on that film (including Gordon, writer Dennis Paoli, producer Brian Yuzna, stars Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs, and many members of the sfx team) joined together on another film a year later that once again adapted the work of H.P. Lovecraft into an eyeful of a movie. From Beyond never achieved the same levels of popularity or infamy as its predecessor, but it remains a fun, sexy and practical effects-filled romp into the unknown. Scream Factory continues their bid to become the Criterion Collection for genre fans by bringing the uncut From Beyond to Blu-ray for the very first time complete with a beautifully restored picture and loads of special features. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for From Beyond.

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discs natalie portman

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Beautiful Girls Willie Conway (Timothy Hutton) has returned home for his high school reunion at a very confused time in his life. His long time girlfriend (Annabeth Gish) joins him on the trip as he visits with friends, strikes up a purely platonic relationship with a 15-year-old neighbor girl (Natalie Portman) and decides if he’s ready to settle down and get married. The late Ted Demme has a few fine films to his name including The Ref and Blow, but this sweet, honest and funny movie remains his high point. Portman’s perfect encapsulation of the untouchable teen is fantastic in every regard, but to be fair her storyline is only a small part of the whole. Willie’s friends (Matt Dillon, Noah Emmerich, Max Perlich, Michael Rapaport, Rosie O’Donnell and more) run the gamut of emotional stages as some are satisfied with their lives and others are not, but all of them feel authentic. The story threads fold together so effortlessly, the performances feel so real and the Blu-ray debut is long overdue. Also, Natalie Portman. [Blu-ray extras: None]

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Scream Factory New Releases

Shout! Factory has been kicking ass on the DVD/Blu-ray front for a while now with a mix of genre and pop culture releases that appeal to the movie/TV lovers in all of us. Most specialty labels would be content with those successes, but it wasn’t enough for these folks. A few months ago they rolled out a new genre arm called Scream Factory that focuses on horror films primarily from the 1980s. They’ve already released some pretty fantastic HD transfers and Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of Halloween II, The Funhouse, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Terror Train and They Live, and now they’ve announced their first wave of titles scheduled for 2013… and they include a certain space vampire’s ample and frequently nude assets in glorious high definition. Check below for the list of upcoming awesomeness as well as a look at their exclusive new cover art for From Beyond.

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For newbies to the column, I’m recalling defining moments that made me what I am: A Special Effects Make Up Artist looking for relevance in the 21st Century. The time is 1985, and I have finished a tour of duty for Stan Winston’s Studio. I am 23 years old. Freelance. Footloose and fancy-free. Unemployed again. I had tasted of the good life and knew that, somehow, I needed to return to Stan Winston Studios. It was everything I imagined working in a Hollywood special make-up effects studio would be and more. It certainly was first class all of the way but at the moment, it was irrelevant. Alec Gillis and Rick Lazzarini had left and joined Stan and the rest of the crew in England to continue work on Aliens. I, on the other hand, needed to find work. Toward the end of Invaders from Mars, a rumor began circulating that Rick Baker was putting together a crew to build a Sasquatch suit for a film entitled Harry and the Hendersons. Now, regardless of what others may or may not think, I knew that my work was below the established standard of excellence at Rick’s studio. This was confirmed when I interviewed with him and I wasn’t hired.

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That is, if you can take your eyes off the giant, Cthulu, lightning-based robot cyclops from the future. He’s staring back at you, too. And he’s urging you to go to Fantastic Fest this year because zombie Edgar Allen Poe will be there to fight the entire team from Red vs Blue.

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